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Here's the cars.com overview of the Solstice....a couple of new items I learned....


2006 Pontiac Solstice
170-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder

Five-speed manual
Against all odds, Pontiac not only has committed to producing its Solstice roadster, but also has built a prototype that’s true to the concept, in both its styling and projected low sticker price. When the Solstice goes on sale in late 2005 as a 2006 model, it will cost roughly $20,000. Similar to the concept, the production Solstice borrows components from almost all of General Motors’ global divisions. Frankenstein’s monster never looked so good.
To make the Solstice a reality, GM had to develop a new rear-wheel-drive platform called Kappa, on which the company also built the Chevrolet Nomad and Saturn Curve concept cars — perhaps a sign of what’s to come. The Kappa architecture, which has characteristics of unibody and space-frame construction, employs one-piece hydroformed frame rails and a central transmission/driveshaft tunnel that is said to provide structural stiffness, a necessity in a topless car.

In 2002, when Bob Lutz, General Motors vice chairman of product development, was asked if anybody would want a $20,000 version of the two-seater cobbled together from existing GM parts, he said it could be done effectively. The company undeniably pulled it off — at least as far as the sheet metal is concerned. The car looks virtually identical to the concept, with all the important proportions intact. The front and rear fascias are a bit longer, and though the rear end is no longer a duck tail, it made the transition to a legal rear bumper without forfeiting the original aesthetic.

The hood remains a front-hinged clamshell design, and the integral hard tonneau cover retains the mounds behind each seat. The convertible top was not displayed on the show car, but it will be a manual soft-top to keep weight and cost low.

Eighteen-inch five-spoke wheels are standard. Some of the components from the GM parts bin are visible though not particularly recognizable on the exterior. The front fog lights and rear backup lights are from the GMC Envoy. The taillights are unique to the Solstice, shaped to be visible from the side, eliminating the need, and cost, of separate side marker lights.

GM calls again on the Ecotec four-cylinder engine to power the Solstice. Where the concept had a supercharged 2.2-liter, the real deal will have a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter that will produce 170 horsepower and 170 pounds-feet of torque on regular gasoline. This marks the first time an Ecotec has been mounted longitudinally to drive a vehicle’s rear wheels. Though they’re usually associated with more expensive cars, hydraulic engine mounts were employed to control noise and vibration.

As of now, it’s believed that the manual transmission will be a close-ratio five-speed supplied by Aisin, with a short-throw shifter. The rear differential comes from the Cadillac CTS. Pontiac predicts that the Solstice will sprint from zero to 60 mph in about 7 seconds.

Pontiac emphasizes that none of the suspension components is borrowed. To ensure excellent ride and handling, the independent front and rear suspensions were engineered from scratch. They use short-and-long-arm double-wishbones and coil-over monotube shock absorbers. The control arms are aluminum for low unsprung weight.

Four-wheel disc brakes with 11.7-inch front and 10.6-inch rear rotors are standard. ABS will be optional.

The Solstice prototype’s interior is actually more impressive than the concept’s — but at this early stage, it is far from being what customers will see in the real product, at least in terms of the materials and build quality. GM claims to have committed to improving the interior quality of its vehicles, but we must wait for each model to come out in salable form before we judge.

The interior boasts even more components borrowed from GM divisions and partners around the world. The seat frames come from an Opel Corsa (Germany), the air conditioning vents come from Fiat (Italy), and the gauges come from the Chevrolet Cobalt, which replaces the Cavalier in 2004.

Pontiac expects to build roughly 20,000 of the Solstice roadsters per year. In its size and price class, competitors are few. The Mazda Miata and Toyota MR2 Spyder are the main targets.

45 Posts
breaks are easy to upgrade. I would be willing to bet that the s/c version has bigger brakes anyway. It will probably be part of a sport package with more power, better brakes, better wheels etc.

21 Posts
When i had my 1989 C1500 I had a 4.3 v6 with a 5 speed. I never used my brakes very much because I downshifted. I will do the same with my solstice.
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