• Mar 19th 2008 at 12:46PM
  • 34
Click above for high-res live shots of the 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe

A self-effacing and impeccably dressed Bob Lutz took shots at the old Pontiac during the live reveal of the 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe. Busting on the arrowhead's former taste for cladding and Iron Dukes in the "excitement" product line, Lutz confidently strode alongside a silver 2009 Solstice GXP Coupe as it rolled out amidst fanfare provided by the Young Lords. Strobe lights flashed, music blared – it was like catching the last act of Kimmel, complete with Pontiac Garage signage. The Solstice Coupe replaces the world's flimsiest soft-top setup with a composite targa panel. 50-Cent also made an appearance and touted the performance of the GXP-trim Solstice, saying "It's faster than a Porsche Boxster. For $30,000... pick this one, not that one," while pointing at the Porsche display. The look of the Solstice Coupe is definitely zoomy - think of a C3 Corvette left in the dryer too long and you get the idea. Inside, the feeling is perhaps slightly less claustrphobic, but the general low-budget interior continues, though the GXP on the stand was wearing leather on the seats. The price of entry will still be a bargain when you look at the style it buys (official pricing hasn't been announced) - and the Coupe may even have enough trunk for an overnight bag.

New York 2008: Pontiac 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, Solstice GXP Coupe

Body style / driveline:

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


welded galvanized steel enclosed central tunnel and hydroformed tube

EPA vehicle class:


Manufacturing location:

Wilmington , Del.

Key competitors:

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


Ecotec 2.4L VVT

Ecotec 2.0L DI Turbo VVT


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


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:



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)



5-spd manual (MA5)

5L40 5-spd automatic

Gear ratios: (:1):



















Final drive ratio:

base: 3.91:1
GXP: 3.73:1

base: 3.91:1
GXP: 3.73:1



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


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:


Steering wheel turns, lock-to-lock:


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

34.8 / 10.6



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


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


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


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


Seating capacity:


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


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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      ....Waiting for the Saturn model which will look cooler. Again.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Im confused, will this cost more or less then a standard Solstice GXP?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Sex on wheels. Except for the automatic; no idea why they'd show this temptress with a slushbox.

      Photos 1 and 6 really show off how tiny the mail-slot side windows are. They're, what, 6" tall? Buyers had better learn to use their mirrors.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I agree, those side windows look dangerously small. I'll turn my head and see roof. I mean look at the guy sitting in there, I think I'd feel clausterphobic.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Very nice looking, I'll take one in black.
      • 7 Years Ago
      what a bummer , it looks like it doesnt get any increased seat track from that one picture from behind the rear window. There are so many potential buyers that are shut out because if you are over 6 feet it just sucks being in one of these things. You can just fit but talk about uncomfortable
      • 7 Years Ago
      Excellent design here. It may not be better overall than the Boxter, but it sure beats it in the looks dept. Along with the BMW, Honda S2000, The Miata, etc,...

      Good job Pontiac.
      • 7 Years Ago
      1) 50 cent is NOT a mere 3rd grade graduate, despite the Porsche enthusiast's assumption (which seems racist to me); BUT that WAS a dumbass thing to say--almost a Bushism in its silliness.

      I'm unsure also why the thing would be heavier--unless it just means that they didn't remove the additional chassis reinforcements needed for the roadster, which would be good. But Pontiac, no side airbags? Yes, I love it, yes, I'll buy one, but no, I do not want to become one with the car if t-boned.

      Why not turbocharge the 2.4? Won't the head fit on that block? 260/260 could become 300/290 easily, no?

      Hope it comes in BRAZEN!!!!!!!!!!!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      An absolutely gorgeous car that will age much better than it's overly busy and technical Saturn sibling.

      Another thing I love about this car - GM purposely engineered it to make V8 swaps easy for hot rodders. How cool is that?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Oh those dual beam are pretty aged alright.
        Those [H13 last time I checked] dual beams are already antiquated.

        If you have to drive at night, get the Saturn.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Overly busy? I think the worst part of the Solstice is the front, because it looks tacky as hell.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Clearly, the look is right. This is a very nice looking car. I looked at the Solstice when it first came out and thought, wow, this is a really nice development mule but it's not finished yet. The interior was not very well thought out, it was hard to adjust the seats, and the top was a disaster.
      From the roadtests that I read about the car, the handling was as disappointing dynamically as it was from a practical sense. Not a surprise, it was rushed to market.

      Has Pontiac fixed the details yet? It's still a stunning car. For its performance it's economical to put gas in. Have they gotten rid of the stupid design flaws to make it a car someone could live with? When I see how low the side windows are and i think how it's going to feel hitting my head on there 3 times a month, I kinda wonder.

      But it will sell at first just on curb appeal. And with that targa, they can quit making the roadster. it's probably easier to take off that roof than it is to opperate the canvas top.

      Does anyone know where the targa fits??? Trunk looks too small.
        • 7 Years Ago
        at 6'2", I kinda worry about that window frame height, as well, although it looks good.

        Good reason to have the top off more often, but then does it really matter that it is a coupe... one reason I keep mentioning Kabura... which would probably be better at that.

        I have a feeling that the reason it has a soft top panel, as well as the hard panel, is that the hard panel is not stow-able in the car. The soft top panel probably is, and can be carried. hard roof panel is probably destined to be hung by a rig, or held on a rack in the garage when not on the car, kinda like a convertible hard-top.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It may be faster, but it still won't give Mazda anything to worry about.
        • 7 Years Ago
        You are comparing miata convertible sales to Solstice convertible sales.

        This is a COUPE. This is different.


        But miatas are not COUPES. IF they were, and we were comparing this to a Kabura (Mazda coupe concept based on Miata) I would probably be on the side of the Kabura, if it looked like the concept did.

        I have been busting that point at every opportunity, yet Mazda does nothing.

        Pontiac and Saturn turbocharge their Kappa convertibles, and Mazda still doesn't offer their very nice turbo engine in the Miata.

        I am considering upgrading my 99 PEP miata to a 04-05 Mazdaspeed Miata with FM upgrades, but I am not going to buy an NC miata until it looks a whole lot better than it currently does, OR it comes in a Kabura Coupe format.

        I wouldn't buy a Solstice Convertible, I might buy a Sky... I'd prefer a new Miata that I liked to look at.

        Coupes are a different matter, and so far Solstice is the only one in the genre below the Z4/Cayman price point.

        All things being equal, I prefer Mazda. But I can't buy a mazda I don't like, or that isn't built.

        As long as Mazda doesn't offer a 2-door, 2-seat, RWD coupe, Solstice Targa is going to be un-challenged.

        Miata vs Solstice Convert/Sky Convert is a different issue.

        I would already own an NB MX5 Coupe, if Mazda had sold them in the US, not just a handfull of them Japan.
        • 7 Years Ago
        How not?

        Mazda, the Zoom Zoom company, Soul-of-a-Sports Car, has nothing on this.

        They have the folding hardtop Miata. It may be slightly more practical than this, but these aren't practical cars, so that amounts to nothing.

        What does count on sports cars like this is power and sex appeal.

        Miata has neither. (NB Miata was sexier. I have one, and am generally a mazda fan, but not blindly-sycophantic)

        Miata has no Mazdaspeed turbo version. Mazda has the 2.3 and soon to be 2.5 DISI turbo engine. Not in the Miata.

        Miata has no coupe variant, targa or solid. They showed the Kabura years ago, and I would probably choose a car as sleek and cool as the Kabura over this Pontiac. But Mazda hasn't built it. I'd prefer the Kabura's transparent fixed roof to a removable hard panel.

        The Japanese-only fixed-roof MX5 would have been a competitor, but the new generation Miata has no such coupe, and the folding hardtop Miata is a good convertible, but nowhere near as attractive to coupe-fans as this Solstice targa is.

        The RX8 isn't the same thing, is not nearly as sexy, powerful, or focused, but rather slightly odd looking (but not horrible), torque-deficient, and compromised for 4 doors and four seats.

        So, Mazda, with the credibility to do something in this market segment, has nothing as an alternative to the Solstice Targa Coupe.

        Mazda had better revisit their game, and step it up. Bring out the Kabura as a production car, and do it fast, to compete with the Solstice Targa.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I agree the Solstice coupe will belong to its own segment (and maybe even dominate it :) ), but with that, I should reiterate my initial point, which was that MX-5's sales will not be effected... as the MX-5 remains uneffected even by its current competition.

        Kabura's a sharp car. Hope to see it soon.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "Miata has no Mazdaspeed turbo version."

        And Mazda has sold more MX-5s so far in 2008 than Pontiacs has with both turbo and non turbo versions of the Solstice.
      • 7 Years Ago
      FUGLY! It's worse than the convertible version. The side windows look awful, they aren't in proportion with the windshield. The bubbly body shape of the Solstice doesn't exude power or class, it just looks cheap. I know that it has a removable roof, but the whole point to the Kappas is to drive with the top down. This is why I only drive my Sky in the warm summer months! :)
        • 7 Years Ago
        This is your brain on drugs.

      • 7 Years Ago
      50 Cent says this Pontiac is better than that Porsche.

      I guess thats what a third grade education will get you :P.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Yeah, that bit is hilarious. But google Coca-Cola and Glaceau you'll find that you may want to be as dumb he.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "as dumb as he is"
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