The Pontiac Solstice has been the rare ray of sunshine in General Motors' winter of discontent. The
Wilmington, Delaware, plant is working three shifts and Saturdays keeping up with Kappa-car demand,
now stretching beyond Pontiac and Saturn (Sky) to Opel (GT) and Daewoo (G2X). Andrew Aquilante
drove a Solstice to a podium finish in its SCCA showroom stock debut, and slideways champion Rhys
Millen is hanging tail in a Red Bull-sponsored Solstice drifter. Tuners, including GM's own Performance
Division, are juicing Solstice engine bays with hot V-8s like it's a reincarnated 1932 Ford.
The best news is that the turbo edition, rumored from Kappa's birth and affirmed at this year's Los
Angeles auto show, is ready to motor beyond Mazda's MX-5 to play in the performance-roadster league.
Tested here first, the ripped 2007 Solstice GXP packs 260 hp and 260 lb-ft. The only powertrain
carryover is cylinder count. Revised 2.0-liter block, head, crank, rod, and piston architecture is force-fed
with direct-injected fuel and turbocharged-and-intercooled air.
The Solstice GXP's appearance is, in a word, stealthy. The front bumper is molded with D-shaped
brake-cooling dimples and an intercooler goatee. In back are dual exhaust pipes, a discreet GXP badge,
and an optional lip spoiler. The side view is unmolested.
Underneath, the GXP has a taller axle ratio, a shorter third gear, Bilstein dampers, twenty percent firmer
spring rates, fatter antiroll bars, and a few stiffer bushings. ABS, stability control, and a limited-slip
differential are standard. Goodyear Eagle F1 all-season radials share the base car's 245/45WR-18 size,
but the new rubber is tuned for sharper steering response and minimal tail wag.
If the standard Solstice is Pontiac's poodle, the GXP is its whippet. Boost rises quickly just past idle,
with peak torque invigorating the driveline by 2000 rpm. With the throttle floored and 18 psi of boost
tickling your ribs, you need a quick hand to keep up with gearchanges. The joy begins petering out by
4500 rpm, but there's still plenty of urge up to the 6300-rpm redline. The run to 60 mph is a fleet 5.7
seconds, only a tick slower than the Ford Mustang GT, and the quarter mile clicks by in 14.2 seconds at
99 mph. Boasting a specific output exceeding that of every turbocharged engine on the market save
Porsche's new 911 and Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution, the GXP's four-cylinder is the strong, silent type,
thanks to its small displacement, twin balance shafts, and recycled exhaust energy.
Lively road manners are a pleasant surprise. Compared with the heavy and lethargic tenor of the regular
Solstice, the GXP feels alert and anxious to please with firm, responsive steering and tenacious grip.
Lessons learned tuning this car on the Nrburgring's Nordschleife sing through the chassis and controls
loud and clear. Body motion is promptly snubbed, the suspension steps resiliently over bumps, and
rapid-fire control orders are executed without complaint.
Even optioned up with leather seating and chromed wheels, the Solstice GXP's price is unlikely to break
the $30,000 barrier. At least, that is, until Pontiac dealers tack on their cut for selling you one.
2007 GXP Diamondback (Solbra) conversion done by Wade's Garage, out of Fairmont, WV. It is #9 of 12
ever to be built. One of 4 turbo LNFs and of only 2 5 speed cars. Performance upgrades include a GM
Performance Parts tune, which keeps the factory
powertrain warranty and bumps the power to 290hp and 340tq, raises the rev limiter and adds
no-lift shift. On top of that, I added the Fujita F5 complete intake with boost tubes. This will put the car in
the low 5 0-60 range and high 12's in the 1/4. The car has 33,300 miles, it has a set of Nitto Invos with
only 1500 miles on them, and over all...I would rate it a 9 of 10 condition wise.
The interior is flawless. Leather seats, single CD/MP3/Sat Radio Monsoon system, cruise, power
Exterior wise, it looks real good...but to knit pick...there are some small stone chips where the rocker
panels roll under, a small scuff under the nose(can't be seen without laying on the ground) and the
yellow isn't a perfect match on the lower side panels( lighting changes the shade differently) One rim
has a small scuff the size of a quarter thanks to the guy that changed the tire, but not obvious unless
you get right up on it)
The car is in Cuba NY, and is priced $18,500 firm. Of the 12 cars built, 1 was wrecked and 2 where
shipped overseas. I have no interest in collecting and priced this car at a steal for someone who missed
out on getting one built. The body mod alone goes for $6k. No trades unless you have a Super 7