The Pontiac Solstice made a splash right after it debuted as a concept car in 2004 and when it was finally put into production a year later, the initial interest in the model was palpable. Built off of the GM Kappa platform, the Solstice shares DNA with the Saturn Sky, Opel GT, and Daewoo G2X. Pontiac didn't even need to overdo their ad campaigns for the model. In fact, the demand was so high for the Solstice as it became available that Pontiac had no choice but to double their first-year production numbers. The first full year of the Solstice was a resounding success, as the sporty roadster picked up a nomination for North American Car of the Year and put up excellent sales numbers in a segment that at the time, needed a boost from a domestic automaker.
There are two main trim levels for the Pontiac Solstice, the base model and the GXP. The base Solstice shows off a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine with variable valve timing. The GXP turns it up a notch with a turbocharged direct-injection 2.0L 4-cylinder engine that cranks out up to 260 horsepower. Other upgrades for the GXP from the base model include Pontiac's Stabilitrak (traction control), anti-lock brakes, and high-performance tires. Pontiac's website claims the Solstice can go from 0 to 60 mph in under 5.5 seconds, which prompted a surge of interest from those who were skeptical about the performance capability of the car. Available in a coupe or convertible, the wheelbase for the Solstice measures in at 95.1 inches with a height just over 4” and a curb weight of 2, 877 lbs.
In 2009, the targa coupe Solstice was released. Drivers have the choice of a hard or soft targa top. Both variations can be removed but the hard top cannot be stored in the trunk while the soft top can. Various concept versions of the Solstice have been unveiled throughout the years at several auto shows, most notably SEMA. The Weekend Club Racer was shown off at the 2005 SEMA Show. It displayed 18 inch wheels, a removable hard top, cat-back exhaust, and an engine capable of 325 horsepower. A year later at SEMA, two other Solstice concepts made an appearance, the GXP-R and the SD-90. The GXP-R had 19” wheels, an SSBC Performance Brake Package, and robust 300 horsepower engine. The SD-90 was a racing concept with such parts as a driver-side windscreen, exhaust system, roll bar, and rear spoiler. Yet another concept was rolled out at the SEMA Show for 2009. This time, the Solstice GXP Coupe featured air intake, racing suspension, and an exhaust system. Sales of the Solstice have always been strong. Between 2005 and 2008, average sales have been around 13,100 units per year, easily marking it as one of the most successful contemporary roadsters to hit the pavement.
As soon as Pontiac debuted the Solstice, many in the public excitedly proclaimed "this is what we were waiting for!" The Pontiac Solstice could be best described as the "thinking man's roadster." Besides the hyperactively sleek and innovative body-shape, the Solstice throws some efficiency into the mix with its four-cylinder engine. Normally a turn-off, this offering has actually made the Solstice more of a hot item, as a wide range of enthusiasts have enjoyed the “rev” and handling their ride gives. On the fast track to becoming a custom-legend fitted with the best accessories and parts, the Solstice has turned heads coast-to-coast.
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