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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I had more or less talked myself out of buying a Solstice because I thought the motor did not have enough power to make me happy. OK, I was wrong. I still think I want a turbocharged GXP, but I'm not so sure I need one anymore. On paper, 180 HP in a 3000-pound car should be fairly alive, and it just didn't feel like it.

Don't blame me, blame the way GM lays out their courses for these events. You can't go too fast so it is very hard to really check out the cars or the motors. I loved the driving experience I got in the Solstice, but every time I drove the 400HP Goat, it raised my pulse and it put a huge smile on my face. I started to feel that I wanted a Solstice but I NEEDED a Goat. And frankly, I was getting all set to buy one this winter. Still want one. Am I a hopeless, unrepentent muscle-car addict, or could I ever be happy with a roadster if it was simple, if it was pure, if it was beautiful.

So I have spent the last 3 days in long lines just to drive these cars, trying to make sure I really want to own one. (Such tortuous work - I know! How I suffered so... :glol: )

Then I had a revelation in the Solstice. I wanted to like it, and in almost every other way it seemed to be a fantastic car - awesome handling without the harsh ride most cars experience to achieve it. I loved sitting low and the look over the hood. I loved cruising along in it and I loved the quick steering. I loved the snug fit of the cockpit, even with the top up. Heck! Especially with the top up. Feels like a chopped hot rod Model A or something.

But the power. I needed more power! So, what happened? I found the missing power completely by accident.

I had given up on bashing the car for its weak motor and just started enjoying the relaxed drives around the course. Not pushing it, not attacking the curves - just flowing with them and trying to get in the zone while coaxing the car around the course as smoothly as possible.

Now, I still can't understand the "good exhaust sounds" some are claiming. But in an attempt to understand it, I decided to drive the entire course in 1st gear. Now I had already driven it a few times in 3rd gear, and found the engine pulled smoothly and never lugged even though I was running below 1000 RPM. And the motor gets huge kudo's for that. But in an attempt to experience this supposed nice exhaust note, I decided to drive the car around the entire course at 20 to 25 mph in 1st gear. And something happened.

You see, in driving the car in 2nd gear all the time, I never got over 3000 RPM and the engine never got up into the sweet part of the torque band. In driving around in 1st gear only, I got the revs up above 3000 and the motor really came alive. At 5000 RPM it was pulling so hard, I had to slam on the brakes or risk wiping out the cones. Maybe thanks to the VVT?

The stupid courses set up by GM were so tight and twisty, with a complete dearth of straight-aways, that you could never get the Ecotec revved up to where it made good torque. Completely by accident, in an attempt to discover the quality of the exhaust note at higher revs, I discovered that the motor produces plenty of power once you get it over 3500 RPM or so. Now, this has been posted on this forum many times. And I knew it in my brain. But I was looking for some seat-of-the-pants confirmation that the Solstice supplied enough power to be fun. And I was not getting that feedback on the carefully controlled course supplied for the GM ASIM event.

Well, at least I now know that there is plenty of power in the Ecotec. I mean, 180 HP is not exactly chicken feed and I had assumed it was plenty of power to move a car this light with suitable authority and haste. I just had to find out how to access that power, and now I know. Keep the engine above 4000 RPM and it probably does just fine, thank you very much. ;)

I probably still want a GXP, but at least now I know I could live with the power of the base motor. The turbocharged motor is not going to give me the low-RPM torque rush that I want anyway. So I'm not so sure I will need to buy a GXP. Heck, I'm not even sure I will buy a Solstice.

I have developed serious doubts about buying a Solstice since attending the Auto Show in Motion, and there is a 50% chance I won't buy one. You see, I FINALLY saw the Saturn Sky in person and fell hard for it's own gorgeous looks. So while I WILL get a Kappa Roadster, I can't be sure it will be a Solstsice. :lol:

Been DYING to see this car since the 1st photos were posted. And frankly, it TOO is gorgeous in its own way. Now I am all confused whether to get a Solstice GXP or a Sky Redline! I'm serious here. The creases in the car's body looked very chic and powerful and the front end looked much better in 3-D than in pictures. And now I am TOTALLY confused. :willy:

But there is one thing I guarantee. I WILL be buying a Solstice or Sky in either base trim or GXP or Redline. You can take that to the bank. The GTO may be a great car, but it is far from perfect for me. I'm getting the perfect roadster now, and I'll worry about getting the perfect muscle car in 4 years or so. 2010 GTO, here I come! But first, the 2007 Solstice GXP. :thumbs: :cheers: :thumbs: :cheers: :thumbs:

So which is it? Solstice or Sky? Hmmm... At least I know what color I want.
 

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But the power. I needed more power! So, what happened? I found the missing power completely by accident.
:glol: jeez, jimbo, you're killing me.

Here's a short confirmation note from BoB Lutz, er, solsticeman:

"Both the MX-5 and the Solstice LOVE to be revved and pushed - they both "feel" better when the engine is winding between 3800 RPMS and 6500 RPMS."
 

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I agree with you jombo about the muscle car. I will never get them out of my system, and if money was no object, I would get a GTO Too. But since money is a problem, I gotta have a Sol. My 65 Malibu vert can satisfy my need for the muscle car feel.
 

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Yup, Rev it up!

If you're used to a V-8, which makes oodles of torque at 1800 RPM and starts to run out of breath by about 5000, you'll have a tough time adapting to a smaller 4 cylinder engine with an aggressive cam curve.

Most race engine builders know that you can build an engine for lots of low end torque, but usually at the sacrifice of high end power. Conversely, if you get the aggressive cam that is still pulling like crazy up past the red-line, it won't have as much torque down low, and you'll have to rev it up and keep it revved up to get good response from it. Without forced induction, you either wind up with a compromise engine, with moderate low end torque and moderate high end power, or one of the previous two low-end versus high end power curves.

The Solstice falls mostly into the high end power curve end of the spectrum. Since I've been driving a 1.9 liter Double overhead cam 4 valve engine in a light car for a while, I'm used to revving up the engine, and keeping it that way. When you do, and you run through the gears correctly, you can get some surprising results, and keep up with some cars that should have otherwise left you in the dust.

In my experience, I'm used to engines set up in the middle ground between low-end torque monster and high end screamer. The same goes for my 1.9. The point is that I'm used to the engine torque falling off fairly dramatically in the last 500 RPM before the red line, and reminding me to shift. Not so with the 2.4 in the Solstice, It is still pulling hard, and continues to develop more and more torque and power right up until you hit the fuel cut-off at 7000 RPM, thus, I've bounced off that rev limiter more than once. Often it's because of tachometer lag, and I get "reminded" to shift even when the tachometer shows 6700 RPM (just a hair's breadth away from the red line markings at 6750) because it's already well past red line and still pulling like crazy.

To me, the gear spacing is a bit wider than I'm used to, and it's taken a couple of thousand miles to encode that, "no, there isn't a gear that will give you 4800 RPM at 65 MPH"

In my SL2, the gearing is a bit lower, and the overdrive is about the same, so for the SL2, first gear red line is at about the same spot, 30 mph versus the 33 or so that the Solstice has, then second gear in the Solstice red lines at 60, where 2nd is topped out at about 52 in the Saturn. Third is where the real difference comes in. The red line I'm used to in the SL2 is at about 75 MPH in third, versus the Solstice's 94 or so MPH.

What does this mean as you run up through the gears? Well, for the SL2, a red-line shift from 1st to 2nd drops the revs to about 4300, and the 2-3 shift at 52 MPH plants it right in the sweet spot at 4500 RPM, where the 1.9 really starts to come alive. Then, the 3-4 shift at 78 MPH again drops it right back into the high torque/power band at 4600 RPM, and once again, it's pulling hard up to the 103 MPH shift from 4th to 5th. That one's pretty tough, because the RPM drops to about 4300 RPM, and it can be troublesome to get it back up above 4800 RPM again where it's making a lot of power, but get it past 108, and it's pulling hard again.

In the Solstice, the 2-3 shift at 58 leaves starts the RPM climb from a shade over 4000. The Solstice does however pull fairly hard even at 4000, it just doesn't "sound" like it's pulling as hard as it is. What is nice is that in the critical range of, "Step aside, I'm coming through," passing power of 80 to 100, the 2.4 is well into its power band again, and it doesn't take long to get to the red line in 3rd.

If you drag race someone from 60 on up, you'll have to fight pretty hard, but you'll make up ground once you get past 80, but if you launch from 75 and above, the Solstice really takes a big bite out of the tarmac, and quickly climbs up to the red line in 3rd.

Now, back to Jimbo's observation... Yes, if you keep it in first, while cruising around at 20 MPH, be sure to lean your head back against the seat cushion before you snap the throttle open, or you're fairly likely to get bopped in the back of the head.

As to the 1st to 2nd shift, if done crisply and with purpose at the red line, you'll bark the tires and get a good kick in the seat. With just a 1/2 second pause between 1st and 2nd, brisk acceleration can be accomplished without all of the drama, but it's a blast to bark the tires and launch away on up to a sooner than expected red line at 58.

Keep in mind, the Solstice is more like a Ferarri than like an old muscle car. With the old muscle cars, you just stamped on the gas at any RPM, and the car would lurch into motion and press you into the seat. With the Ferarri, you've got to rev the engine up, WAY up to get it to make lots of power. The red line on a Ferarri is usually about 10,000 RPM, and the power peaks at about 8500 RPM. Leave a Ferarri in 6th on the freeway and floor it, and you'll accelerate, but not anything like if you dropped it to third and punched the accelerator.

We've seen other reviewers who were unimpressed by 5th gear acceleration at 60 MPH. Drop two cogs to third, and you'll be up to 90 before you realize how fast you're going. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for tips, Crimson. That post should be a sticky!
 

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Wow, this is a very good topic.

Being new to driving a stick I haven't brought the car up past 4000 RPM at all.. I thought that was a bad thing! I'll have try reving it up a big more.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
SlipSlider said:
Wow, this is a very good topic.

Being new to driving a stick I haven't brought the car up past 4000 RPM at all.. I thought that was a bad thing! I'll have try reving it up a big more.
Well, you are in for a pleasant surprise! Just make sure you adhere to whatever break-in you have decided upon and THEN you can rev it up just as high and as long as you like. I think you are going to be delighted with the engine performance when you rev it up high.

The beauty of this motor is that you can short shift it if desired, because the torque will still move you along smoothly at low RPMs. But the high revs are there if you want to take advantage of them, and accelerate briskly.

I think this motor works. Sure, it is not a sports car motor. But then, every Triumph I drove seemed to have a motor like this one. So I can live with that!
 

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I tried reving it up higher in 1st and 2nd and you can really feel the tourqe build! Thank you Jimbo, it's a rush!
 

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Get the Saturn. It looks like a Vette and it's a Saturn. What more could you ask for? I'm holding out for the Sky also. I hate the name, but love the car.

Crimson Avenger you need to drive my Saturn some time around the Streets of Willow. It will mess with your brain when you get back into your own saturn. I'm running a SOHC 5 speed in my SC2 to keep the blower in boost - It's fun and it's scary all at the same time.
 

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Agree with the GTO, had to drive one and whoa Nellie she's got plenty of power!!! Drove it to see if I wanted to buy but I can't get past the looks (or lack of them :) ). I guess I'm in the minority, looks are more to me than speed.
 

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180HP should be fine for most of us. Back in the HP challenged days of the late 70's, I had a '78 Z28 that only rated 175HP but was still lots of fun to drive. Nothing like the HP competitions of today (of which I am participating by bulding a 1971 Camaro RS split bumper with 385HP!) but it still got you to 60 quick enough. My son has two Miata's (one for racing) and you do have to give them lots of RPM's.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Pterosaur said:
Agree with the GTO, had to drive one and whoa Nellie she's got plenty of power!!! Drove it to see if I wanted to buy but I can't get past the looks (or lack of them :) ). I guess I'm in the minority, looks are more to me than speed.
You are very much in the majority. Looks count. The Mustang does not perform any better than the Goat, yet sold 200,000 units last year. If the GTO looked good, it would be leaping off the shelves at over MSRP and they would have sold their entire '05 inventory.

As it is, they will all sell eventually because it is a great car with awesome performance and a nice interior. Your reason is my reason for not buying one.

When I said the GTO is not perfect, I meant the looks are not something I want to live with. I am rabidly looking forward to the 2008 redesign, as well as the possibility of a Camaro. I prefer the Goat over the Camaro, though - pending seeing both new designs. (The Camaro is not a given, but the rumors are running so strong I assume something is in the works.)
 

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This is a good thread for anyone who's only ever owned high output V6's or any V8. If you want the power from this engine you have to get it above 4000 RPM and keep it there while shifting. Once you've properly broken your car in try doing a little experiment. Always stay one or two gears below where you would normally be. Try keeping the RPMs at around 3500 at least or higher. Yeah you're fuel ecnomy will go to poop but you'll keep the car closer to it's power band. Feel how different the car drives compared to being in conservative shifting patterns for fuel ecnomy.
 

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brentil said:
This is a good thread for anyone who's only ever owned high output V6's or any V8. If you want the power from this engine you have to get it above 4000 RPM and keep it there while shifting. Once you've properly broken your car in try doing a little experiment. Always stay one or two gears below where you would normally be. Try keeping the RPMs at around 3500 at least or higher. Yeah you're fuel ecnomy will go to poop but you'll keep the car closer to it's power band. Feel how different the car drives compared to being in conservative shifting patterns for fuel ecnomy.
Good to know.
I usually drive at 50km/h in 3rd at about 2000 RPM
 

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Crimson Avenger said:
We've seen other reviewers who were unimpressed by 5th gear acceleration at 60 MPH. Drop two cogs to third, and you'll be up to 90 before you realize how fast you're going. :cool:
As a proper overdrive which 5th is in this car, an dyou are exactly right. Those same reviewers may have been last in a Honda Civic Si where 5th is not as much an overdrive as it is just a tall gear. In fact the Honda still roars at about 3000 rpm at a liesurely 65-70 mph where an economy minded overdrive (isn't that what it;s for>) would get the rpms back down below 2k.

As Jimbo found out, peak torque is above 4500, and peak power at about 6000. Drive her hard-edged and she won't disappoint!
 

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Yup, The Streets of Willow are a lot of fun...

scdyne said:
Get the Saturn. It looks like a Vette and it's a Saturn. What more could you ask for? I'm holding out for the Sky also. I hate the name, but love the car.

Crimson Avenger you need to drive my Saturn some time around the Streets of Willow. It will mess with your brain when you get back into your own Saturn. I'm running a SOHC 5 speed in my SC2 to keep the blower in boost - It's fun and it's scary all at the same time.
I'm headed up there again Nov 12/13, and December 3/4 with http://www.speedtrialusa.com.

Which group(s) do you drive with?

I am keenly interested in boosting my SL2, and have a brand new motor, so it's not a tired 100k long block. Last year, my wife agreed to let me put a turbo in it (it was cheaper than getting an STI ;)) So, we should meet and talk. I'd love to see your setup.

After the first West Coast Meet, we'll have to arrange to get together and swap stories.
 

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I always thought that a Motor was connected to a Cord!
Engines are in cars unless you are a NASCAR nut!

30 year Mechanic & Electrican.
 

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Brings new light on the Department of Motor Vehicles.... :lol:

On topic edit: I doubt that the base motor would even come close to satisfying my desires "irl". 3800 turbo swap remains on the table...
 

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Motor is only a generic term for a device that changes a different form of energy into kinetic energy. I.E. Gas into motion, electricity into motion, etc.

All engines are motors, not all motors are engines.
 

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jimbo said:
I had more or less talked myself out of buying a Solstice because I thought the motor did not have enough power to make me happy. OK, I was wrong. I still think I want a turbocharged GXP, but I'm not so sure I need one anymore. On paper, 180 HP in a 3000-pound car should be fairly alive, and it just didn't feel like it.

Don't blame me, blame the way GM lays out their courses for these events. You can't go too fast so it is very hard to really check out the cars or the motors. I loved the driving experience I got in the Solstice, but every time I drove the 400HP Goat, it raised my pulse and it put a huge smile on my face. I started to feel that I wanted a Solstice but I NEEDED a Goat. And frankly, I was getting all set to buy one this winter. Still want one. Am I a hopeless, unrepentent muscle-car addict, or could I ever be happy with a roadster if it was simple, if it was pure, if it was beautiful.

So I have spent the last 3 days in long lines just to drive these cars, trying to make sure I really want to own one. (Such tortuous work - I know! How I suffered so... :glol: )

Then I had a revelation in the Solstice. I wanted to like it, and in almost every other way it seemed to be a fantastic car - awesome handling without the harsh ride most cars experience to achieve it. I loved sitting low and the look over the hood. I loved cruising along in it and I loved the quick steering. I loved the snug fit of the cockpit, even with the top up. Heck! Especially with the top up. Feels like a chopped hot rod Model A or something.

But the power. I needed more power! So, what happened? I found the missing power completely by accident.

I had given up on bashing the car for its weak motor and just started enjoying the relaxed drives around the course. Not pushing it, not attacking the curves - just flowing with them and trying to get in the zone while coaxing the car around the course as smoothly as possible.

Now, I still can't understand the "good exhaust sounds" some are claiming. But in an attempt to understand it, I decided to drive the entire course in 1st gear. Now I had already driven it a few times in 3rd gear, and found the engine pulled smoothly and never lugged even though I was running below 1000 RPM. And the motor gets huge kudo's for that. But in an attempt to experience this supposed nice exhaust note, I decided to drive the car around the entire course at 20 to 25 mph in 1st gear. And something happened.

You see, in driving the car in 2nd gear all the time, I never got over 3000 RPM and the engine never got up into the sweet part of the torque band. In driving around in 1st gear only, I got the revs up above 3000 and the motor really came alive. At 5000 RPM it was pulling so hard, I had to slam on the brakes or risk wiping out the cones. Maybe thanks to the VVT?

The stupid courses set up by GM were so tight and twisty, with a complete dearth of straight-aways, that you could never get the Ecotec revved up to where it made good torque. Completely by accident, in an attempt to discover the quality of the exhaust note at higher revs, I discovered that the motor produces plenty of power once you get it over 3500 RPM or so. Now, this has been posted on this forum many times. And I knew it in my brain. But I was looking for some seat-of-the-pants confirmation that the Solstice supplied enough power to be fun. And I was not getting that feedback on the carefully controlled course supplied for the GM ASIM event.

Well, at least I now know that there is plenty of power in the Ecotec. I mean, 180 HP is not exactly chicken feed and I had assumed it was plenty of power to move a car this light with suitable authority and haste. I just had to find out how to access that power, and now I know. Keep the engine above 4000 RPM and it probably does just fine, thank you very much. ;)

I probably still want a GXP, but at least now I know I could live with the power of the base motor. The turbocharged motor is not going to give me the low-RPM torque rush that I want anyway. So I'm not so sure I will need to buy a GXP. Heck, I'm not even sure I will buy a Solstice.

I have developed serious doubts about buying a Solstice since attending the Auto Show in Motion, and there is a 50% chance I won't buy one. You see, I FINALLY saw the Saturn Sky in person and fell hard for it's own gorgeous looks. So while I WILL get a Kappa Roadster, I can't be sure it will be a Solstsice. :lol:

Been DYING to see this car since the 1st photos were posted. And frankly, it TOO is gorgeous in its own way. Now I am all confused whether to get a Solstice GXP or a Sky Redline! I'm serious here. The creases in the car's body looked very chic and powerful and the front end looked much better in 3-D than in pictures. And now I am TOTALLY confused. :willy:

But there is one thing I guarantee. I WILL be buying a Solstice or Sky in either base trim or GXP or Redline. You can take that to the bank. The GTO may be a great car, but it is far from perfect for me. I'm getting the perfect roadster now, and I'll worry about getting the perfect muscle car in 4 years or so. 2010 GTO, here I come! But first, the 2007 Solstice GXP. :thumbs: :cheers: :thumbs: :cheers: :thumbs:

So which is it? Solstice or Sky? Hmmm... At least I know what color I want.
Lee says " If you can find a better car buy it."
 
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