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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
October issue of Automobile magazine is in my hands (I'm a subscriber).

Red Solstice on the cover with title "Solstice Rocks!" (but we crash the party with a Mazda MX-5).

I'll scan it tomorrow at work. Later I'll add some quotes.
 

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great article and worth scanning... I believe we are 5 for 5 in positive articles on the newstand. :grouphug:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Article title "Turning the Corner", The Solstice is a Pontiac that an enthusiast might actually want to own.

Starts of with Lutz (all these articles start with him). He dreamed of an inexpensive roadster at Ford (came out the Capri) and again at Chrysler (only concepts).

This drive was out in Oregon.

"How does the Solstice stack up against the classically excellant Mazda MX-5? If this were a beauty contest, the Sosltice would pocket all the marbles. Top down it gushes charisma by the drum. The side view looks like a Hot Wheels for adults with tires too big for it's britches. The nose and rump have the sexiest curves this side of Hollywood and Vine."

Talks about interior as "simple and inviting". Low seats and high beltline make you feel as if you're wearing a "metal turtleneck".

On the highways came accross as an easy-riding, half asleep softie. To rouse the genie within we took the first exit toward the gorge and dropped the shifter lever down 2 gears.

"Steering builds in a smooth, even crescendo. Turn the wheel and the chassis takes and arc as if it's reading your mind. Determined gas-pressure dampers hold the body flat and maintain a steady frame of reference.

Long before his roadster dream Lutz worked at BMW, where properly groomed suspensions are standard operating procedure. Some of his insights have been passed down to Steve Padilla, the GM engineer responsible ride and handling, who added his own gymkhana and road racing experience. The result is a Solstice too good to be a Pontiac.

Major downer is weight. The "fast-built process left no time for dieting, so it hugs the road at 2879 lbs."

One of the toughest problems was building a the top that delivered on the original show car's promise. "Mimicking Ferrari and BMW cabriolets, the Solstice has a top with flying buttresses."

"The less said about the trunk the better."

"So where does this leave the Solstice vs. the MX-5? The featherweight MX-5 wins most of the performance categories but the margins of victory aren't enough to matter. Visually there is no contest."

"Odd as it may seem, our crystal ball says that Hollywood starlets-in-waiting will be lining up at Pontiac dealers."

"This is a Pontiac that thinks it's a Porsche."

0-60/0-100: Solstice 7.3/22.0, MX-5 7.4/19.8
1/4 mile: Solstice 15.8 @ 89 mph, MX-5 15.4 @ 91 mph
30-70 passing: Solstice 11.9, MX-5 7.8
Cornering (left/right): Solstice .92/.92g, MX-5 .95/.93g
Braking 70-0: Solstice 160ft, MX-5 154 ft

Solstice First impressions:
Classic late 50's California sports racer designed and updated for the 21st century
Hydroformed steel construction is solid but 2879 lb curb weight hampers agility.
World class steering, damping and overall balance eclipse Pontiac's past aspirations.

MX-5 First Impressions:
Exterior pays tribute to 1989 Miata original, which itself paid homage to the 1962 Lotus Elan
2.0 liters never felt so good. Geared to go, light and always on its tiptoes.
Runs out of suspension travel, structural rigidity and damping at adhesion limits.
 

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Everything is fairly close except this one. "30-70 passing: Solstice 11.9, MX-5 7.8"

4 seconds is a very long time compared to how close everthing else is.
 

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Makes you wounder what gear were they on when this test of 30 - 70 was done.
 

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Glad someone else noticed the structural rigidity issues with the MX-5.

Everything has a price - reduce weight too much and you can end up with less structure than you should have.

Supports what I think is going to be the case - no clear winner, two different approaches to the same thing: fun, top-down 2-seat driving.
 

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solsticeman said:
Supports what I think is going to be the case - no clear winner, two different approaches to the same thing: fun, top-down 2-seat driving.
I disagree - For +90% of the driving public, the subtle performance differences won't make any real difference (although arguments will rage to the contrary). Where there is a difference (styling), the Solstice wins, hands down. :yesnod:

And yet, there will be thousands that will opt for something other than a Solstice, for a lot of reasons (availability #1, brand loyalty, some assinine hangup w/ domestic cars,... :yawn: ).


Mazda has already admitted defeat - seeing Europe as the primary market for the MX-5 :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
MAKsys said:
Mazda has already admitted defeat - seeing Europe as the primary market for the MX-5 :cool:
But isn't that just by the fact that their is 1 competitor in their market space? Immediately they lose 50% of their market share in US.
 

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MAKsys said:
I disagree - For +90% of the driving public, the subtle performance differences won't make any real difference (although arguments will rage to the contrary). Where there is a difference (styling), the Solstice wins, hands down. :yesnod:

And yet, there will be thousands that will opt for something other than a Solstice, for a lot of reasons (availability #1, brand loyalty, some assinine hangup w/ domestic cars,... :yawn: ).


Mazda has already admitted defeat - seeing Europe as the primary market for the MX-5 :cool:
Point well taken, and will be the eternal argument - for some, the styling is everything, for others, grip or that extra .3 seconds 0-60. For miata-lovers, the only good car is a light car - whether or not it has structure (ehhh - those old roadsters didn't have any structure, why do WE need it...). Others need a solid structure...

Believe it or not, some people actually prefer the MX-5 over the Solstice for styling. I've actually talked to two people that said so. Granted, they were/are current Miata owners (insert possible brand-bias here).

The question as to whether one or the other "wins" is still going to be a draw. The specs don't place the cars in different classes. You say the Solstice wins in the styling category, others would disagree. (the fact that there are MX-5's on dealer lots, but dealers are trying desperately to get Solstices on their lots may weigh in if you measure "styling" as "marketing desire"... in which case, you're right, the Solstice wins.)

Regarding the 0-60 times - I don't know but IIRC some of the magazines compensate for rollout, others don't. I think Automobile doesn't compensate - if this is the case, then the actual 0-60 times are about 0.3 second quicker to put them on level with the other mags. 0-60/0-100 for Solstice 7.0/20.7; for MX-5 7.1/19.5 if you are to compare to the other mags.

70-0 braking at 160 feet. Now imagine if the Solstice had similar summer-only tires as the MX-5... :lol:
 

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mceb said:
.....Cornering (left/right): Solstice .92/.92g, MX-5 .95/.93g
Braking 70-0: Solstice 160ft, MX-5 154 ft.....
RE lateral g's, anybody know what kind of sneakers the MX-5 wears? Put some Pilots or F1s on the Solstice and I bet it sticks like glue.
RE the braking performance. Must be a real problem with their test mule cause the one I drove had braking to die for. WAY, WAY less than 160 ft by all other accounts.

Motortrend: Braking 60-0 at 113ft, Pontiac 60-0 , similar numbers, seat of the pants, similar numbers.
 

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30-70 passing: Solstice 11.9, MX-5 7.8

Can this be right? Are the torque numbers that different, are there rpm vs powerband differences to explain this?

Something seems amiss here. You get 0-60 in 7.3 but 30-70 takes 60% longer? :confused:

I have to say, this is where I really love the turbo. Downshifting to pass is mostly a distant memory.
 

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Excellent cover shot. mceb, the cover mentions an article about the 10 greatest sports cars. What were they in Automobile's opinion?

Regarding the comparo, I can confirm the statement "2.0 liters never felt so good". I'm appreciating the engine more as I get further into the break in period.
 

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Breeze said:
RE lateral g's, anybody know what kind of sneakers the MX-5 wears? Put some Pilots or F1s on the Solstice and I bet it sticks like glue.
RE the braking performance. Must be a real problem with their test mule cause the one I drove had braking to die for. WAY, WAY less than 160 ft by all other accounts.

Motortrend: Braking 60-0 at 113ft, Pontiac 60-0 , similar numbers, seat of the pants, similar numbers.
Almost all the MX-5's I've seen have been equipped with the 17" Michelin Pilot Preceda (summer-only).

70-0 differences of 5' are sort of equivalent to seeing a tenth difference in max lat.

It may have seemed your 70-0 braking distance was way way less that 160 feet, but you were prolly experiencing more like a 70-30 stopping distance. That is a HUGE difference - very few people I've ever seen evaluating braking actually do a stop right down to 0 mph - that's a full force brake apply slightly above 70 MPH, and holding it until the car comes to an ABSOLUTE stop. Most people brake really hard - maybe even into ABS acutation, but stop decelerating at 25 or 30 mph... which can easily be done in under 120 feet. anything under 175 feet for 70-0 braking is pretty good. Anything under 166-170 is in the great category. Most cars require pretty grippy tires to get under 165 ft from 70 mph.
 
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