Click above for a high-res gallery of the Pontiac Solstice Coupe

For those who can't stand the nightmare contraption that is the Solstice top, Pontiac now has an answer for you. Behold the Solstice Coupe. Those who want some fresh air without the hassle of the Solstice soft top can partake in this car's removable roof panel of the targa variety. The new coupe has looks derived from the original coupe concept that debuted at the same time as the roadster in 2002. While the roof panel doesn't fit in the car when removed, there's no need to be concerned (too much) about getting caught in the rain. A soft roof cover can be stashed in the back and put in place in case of a sudden downpour. The hard roof panel has a magnesium frame around the SMC plastic shell and weighs just 31 lbs. Aside from the top, the coupe is pretty much mechanically the same as the roadster. It gets the same 2.4L normally aspirated and 2.0L turbo direct-injected four-cylinder engines with five speed transmissions of the self-shifting or manual kind. If you're hankering for this hard-top Solstice, you'll have to wait alongside the Camaro fans until early in 2009 to get one.

Related Gallery2010 Pontiac Solstice Coupe

[Source: General Motors]


PRESS RELEASE

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.

# # #

PONTIAC SOLSTICE COUPE PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS

Overview

Models:

Pontiac Solstice Coupe, Solstice GXP Coupe

Body style / driveline:

2-passenger, 2-door coupe; front-engine, rear-wheel drive

Construction:

welded galvanized steel enclosed central tunnel and hydroformed tube

EPA vehicle class:

two-seater

Manufacturing location:

Wilmington , Del.

Key competitors:

base: Mazda MX-5 Miata retractable hardtop
GXP: Nissan 350Z Coupe

Engines

Ecotec 2.4L VVT

Ecotec 2.0L DI Turbo VVT

Type:

2.4L DOHC I-4

2.0L DOHC I-4

Displacement (cu in / cc):

145 / 2384

122 / 1998

Bore & stroke (in / mm):

3.46 x 3.85 / 88 x 98

3.39 x 3.39 / 86 x 86

Block material:

cast aluminum

cast aluminum

Cylinder head material:

cast aluminum

cast aluminum

Valvetrain:

DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder; variable valve timing

DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder; dual continuous variable valve timing

Ignition system:

electronic direct

individual coil-on-plug

Fuel delivery:

sequential multi-port fuel injection with high-pressure injectors and electronic throttle control

spark ignition direct injection (SIDI) with variable high-pressure rail and electronic throttle control

Compression ratio:

10.4:1

9.2:1

Horsepower (hp / kW @ rpm):

173 / 129 @ 5800*

260 / 194 @ 5300*

Torque (lb-ft / Nm @ rpm):

167 / 226 @ 4500

260 / 353 @ 2500-5250*

Recommended fuel:

premium recommended but not required

premium recommended but not required

Max engine speed
(fuel cut-off):

7000 rpm

6350 rpm (fuel shut off)

Emissions controls:

close-coupled catalytic converters; Quick-Sync 58x ignition system; returnless fuel rail; fast-response O2 sensor

close-coupled catalytic converters, Quick-Sync 58x ignition system; returnless fuel rail; wide-range O2 sensor

EPA estimated fuel economy (city / hwy):

19 / 24 (automatic)
19 / 25 (manual)

19 / 26 (automatic)
19 / 28 (manual)

Transmission

Type:

5-spd manual (MA5)

5L40 5-spd automatic

Gear ratios: (:1):

First:

3.75

3.42

Second:

2.26

2.21

Third:

1.51

1.60

Fourth:

1.00

1.00

Fifth:

0.73

0.75

Reverse:

3.67

3.02

Final drive ratio:

base: 3.91:1
GXP: 3.73:1

base: 3.91:1
GXP: 3.73:1

Chassis/Suspension

Front:

base: independent short/long arm, with hollow 27.2 x 4.5 mm stabilizer bar
GXP: independent short/long arm, with hollow 33.3 x 4.5 mm stabilizer bar

Rear:

base: independent short/long arm, with hollow 24.2 x 3.0 mm stabilizer bar
GXP: independent short/long arm, with hollow 25.4x3.0 mm stabilizer bar

Steering type:

hydraulic power-assisted rack-and-pinion

Steering ratio:

16.4:1

Steering wheel turns, lock-to-lock:

2.7

Turning circle, curb-to-curb
(ft / m):

34.8 / 10.6

Brakes

Type:

four-wheel disc, with ABS and electronic stability control (StabiliTrak)

Rotor diameter x thickness (in / mm):

front: 11.7 x 1 / 297 x 25, vented
rear: 10.9 x 0.5 / 277 x 13, solid

Swept area (sq in / cc)

front: 243 / 1570
rear: 189 / 1221

Wheels/Tires

Wheel size and type:

base std: 18-inch x 8-inch five-spoke painted alloy; base opt: 18-inch x 8-inch five-spoke chromed aluminum and polished aluminum alloy
GXP std: 18-inch x 8-inch five-spoke polished aluminum alloy or chromed aluminum

Tires:

base: P245/45R18 Goodyear Eagle RSA 96V all-season
GXP: P245/45R18 Goodyear Eagle F1 GS2 96W high-performance

Dimensions
Exterior

Wheelbase (in / mm):

95.1 / 2415

Overall length (in / mm):

157.2 / 3992

Overall width (in / mm):

71.3 / 1810

Overall height (in / mm):

50.9 / 1292

Track (in / mm):

front: 60.7 / 1543

rear: 61.4 / 1560

Curb weight, base (lb / kg):

base: 2930 / 1329 (est.)
GXP: 3018 / 1369 (est.)

Weight distribution (front / rear), approx.:

50 / 50

Interior

Seating capacity:

2

Headroom (in / mm):

37.4 / 950

Legroom (in / mm):

42.8 / 1086

Shoulder room (in / mm):

52.4 / 1332

Hip room (in / mm):

50.6 / 1284

Capacities

EPA interior volume (cu ft / L):

50.8 / 1438

Passenger Volume (cu ft / L)

48.5 / 1373

Cargo volume (cu ft / L), includes storage beneath load floor:

5.6 / 159

Fuel tank (gal / L):

13.6 / 51.5

Engine oil (qt / L):

5 / 4.7

Cooling system (qt / L):

Base with:
manual: 8.9 / 8.4
automatic: 8.7 / 8.2
GXP with:
manual: 9.5 / 9.0
automatic: 9.3 / 8.8

*SAE certified.