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GM @ NYIAS: Solstice Coupe

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Looks great... it's a very clever use of existing sheetmetal, and it doesn't look as if they merely tacked on a hard roof shell.

PONTIAC UNVEILS 2009 SOLSTICE COUPE

Hardtop Extends Appeal of Classic Design

NEW YORK – Drawing inspiration from classic sports cars, the 2009 Pontiac Solstice coupe was created for drivers who appreciate both dramatic styling and balanced performance. Unveiled at the New York Auto Show as a GXP model, the Solstice coupe builds on the success of the convertible model while offering a greater range of all-season driving opportunities.

For drivers still wanting an open-air experience, the coupe also features a removable roof panel, fully opening the cockpit to all of the sensations of the road.

"Today's Solstice is the top-selling roadster in the U.S., and we believe this new model has even broader appeal," said Jim Bunnell, Buick-Pontiac-GMC general manager. "The coupe has all the design cues and pleasing performance of the original roadster, and is an all-season alternative for people who enjoy open-air driving."

The coupe is expected to arrive in Pontiac dealerships in early 2009.

The making of a coupe

The new coupe was inspired by the Solstice coupe concept shown at the North American International Auto Show in 2002. True to the concept, it is a modern sports car with classic lines. The roofline has a "fastback" shape with stylized "rails" that run from the front of the roof to the rear, culminating in a stylish and functional ducktail-style rear spoiler.

The coupe's roof is fixed aft of the B-pillars, with side windows and a rear liftglass for access to the cargo area. The roof panel is easily removed from the passenger compartment, and an optional soft roof cover stores in the cargo area. A home storage case for the roof panel will be offered through GM Accessories.

Engineering the design

Despite its dramatic new look, engineers made only minor structural changes to create the Solstice coupe. The rear fenders and rear fascia are the same as those on the convertible. New taillight assemblies flow more smoothly into the tapered roofline.

"The Solstice coupe represents a major collaboration of design and engineering," said Bruce Kosbab, chief engineer. "The sleek lines of the new roof give the car a fresh appearance, yet only minimal changes were made to the body structure – it's a great example of building on an already solid foundation."

Lightweight structure

The roof's structure was strengthened with additional support elements, including an aluminum roof bow attached with aluminum brackets. The bow and brackets are stiff, yet low in mass, a design feature that pervades the coupe's overall construction. The roof includes a lightweight sheet molding compound cover affixed to a rigid aluminum frame for additional lightweight support. A lightweight magnesium roof panel frame weighs just 31 pounds (14.2 kg) and can be removed by one person. The cover is also made of sheet molding compound.

Powertrain and suspension

Because the change to a coupe body style resulted in only a slight increase in curb weight, no drivetrain or suspension changes were necessary to shift from the convertible body structure. Initial tests have shown that the Solstice coupe will deliver ride and handling, acceleration, braking and fuel economy comparable to the convertible model.

The coupe is powered by a standard 2.4L Ecotec four-cylinder engine that generates 173 horsepower (129 kW), while the GXP version is equipped with a 2.0L turbocharged Ecotec engine with 260 horsepower (194 kW).

Interior additions

Much of the coupe's interior remains the same as that of the convertible. However, the area behind the seats was redesigned for easy access to the cargo area, and a storage tray was mounted directly behind the headrests.

Removing the folding-top mechanism made way for a new, flat cargo floor and several storage compartments. The cargo area's covered bins provide secure storage for smaller items. Cargo tie-down hooks help secure irregularly shaped items.

Edited by empowah
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How tall are you?

6' or so (perhaps 6'1" with shoes). There didn't seem to be a lot of room in the 'vert Solstice, but I guess there isn't any more room in it with the top up than there will be in the targa so maybe I'll fit.

EDIT: There's an inch less headroom in the targa than the coupe. 38.4 vs 37.4. GTO is listed at 37.3 though so maybe I'd be fine.

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This looks perfect.

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6' or so (perhaps 6'1" with shoes). There didn't seem to be a lot of room in the 'vert Solstice, but I guess there isn't any more room in it with the top up than there will be in the targa so maybe I'll fit.

EDIT: There's an inch less headroom in the targa than the coupe. 38.4 vs 37.4. GTO is listed at 37.3 though so maybe I'd be fine.

I'm 6 ft, and I fit in it, however I don't remember what the seat setting was, at the time. I'm attracted to this car, but being I will be 39 in June, I can just hear my wife now saying this is my mid-life crisis car, and I refuse to go down that road just yet.

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
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I love the Z4 coupe, and M coupe, they are just my kind of car and they look so good and so sporty and so small and crazy, and that is so me. And this is definitely a great alternative to them. This revitalizes the lower half of the bodylines thanks to really attractive roofline. Wonder why they decided to go with the spoiler? Love the wheels, love the rear window, and you just gotta love the idea of newfound practicality for Solstice, a coupe- look and an open-air experience. Certainly a unique car that serves an underserved segment. This will help keep the buzz at Pontiac for the show. Now if only they had updated the interior as well. But we can only ask for so much :). the price will be good on this one regardless, there should be lines for this.

Edited by turbo200
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wow... beautiful!! almost Bill Thomas Cheetah-esque in the profile

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This is Pontiac. The purest, cleanest, sexiest, most romantic, athletic and perfect expression of Pontiac styling in decades. Beautiful. For a weekend trip, slip off the hardtop and leave it in the garage, attach the soft top. Drop off your suitcase at the hotel, stow the soft top in the load area, and you're ready to cruise. Very complete package. I. want. one. I think I might stay home from work today and just stare at these pictures. :wub::drool::bowdown:
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If you are just over 6 foot you will fit in this car.

The only thing you will need to do is take care getting in or out just as in a Lotus.

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It will be tricky getting into this car, I've stood next to it scratching my head wondering how many tall people will bang their heads on the roof, without the roof on it won't be a problem. I am short(5'6)so I am lucky in a sense getting into this car.

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oh

my

god!

does anyone notice how many times during this week GM has made me say this? these products are exactly what we need!

this car is absolutley stunning!

BEST SHOT EVAR!

solstice-coupe-5.jpg

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The perfect triumph of form over functionality.

Yes, much like the smart roadster targa. I think the lines on this car are beautiful, but I hope that the driving dynamics, interior functionality (usable cupholders, better plastics), and fuel economy are improved.

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I have to ask, and I am truly not trying to start any trouble here by saying this, but will Saturn get a coupe version of this for the SKY???

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What no bitching???

Let me start then. Why would a coupe increase the weight over the convertible? That defies the logic, as coupe is already structurally rigid compared to the convertible. Hence, it does not need added reinforcement to increase its rigidity. I was thinking it to be at least 40-50 lb lighter than the drop top. :P

In seriousness this may just be Cayman and Z4 beater for that price. Its performance (GXP) will even have 350Z peeing in pants. Kappa is already a rigid platform. So with coupe characteristics, this thing will dance in the corners. A very good affordable racer. Good job GM.

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