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We've gotten a few of the new G6 GTPs in, both coupe and sedan, both automatic and manual. Being a driving enthusiast and not bashful about pushing a car to find its limits, I took my first opportunity to take them out on my 'performance car' test drive route.

This car hustles! IMO, the 3.9L V6 is even smoother than the standard 3.5L and the hydraulic power steering seems better weighted with more feedback. Now I've been a fan of the G6 since my first drive in one. I am confident its the best car Pontiac has ever built from the standpoint of overall styling, fit and finish, quality of materials and, most importantly, driving dynamics. Forgive me if I seem a little biased.

The GTP gets the same suspension setup as the GT with the addition of 18" wheels and lower profile, higher performance rubber. It also gets the same automatic transmission but it seems to me that in the GTP it shifted differently, almost as if it were a manual transmission. Perhaps it would be better described as an aggressive shifting auto. Not quite as seamless and unobtrusinve as the very smooth shifts of the G6 V6 and GT. The bottom line is that its a good gearbox with good spacing and even though its only 4 forward gears, the engine is so ripe with power it works great. The shifting seems very appropriate for the GTP version.

As far as the 6-speed manual gearbox goes, in truth I didn't spend as much time with it so I didn't get fully comfortable. First gear seems a little short for the car as the engine has so much torque on tap, but certainly 2nd through 5th were very nicely spaced and pretty easy to find with the stick. I found the shifter a tad on the notchy side, but with decent throws and only one missed shift. Not too bad for first time out with a six speed.

What I like most about this car is the excellent road manners and chassis dynamics. Pontiac engineeres have done a fabulous job sorting this car and the Epsilon platform is nothe short of fantastic. You may not know this, but even the long wheelbase version that the G6 is built on (112+ in.) has longitudinal and torsional rigidity measurements on par with Mercedes Benz and BMW sedans. Tight, to say the least. For a front wheel drive car this thing is beautifully balanced. Turn-in is quick, precise and predictable with minimal understeer, even through mid corner, and no bothersome torque steer whatever. The car goes right where you point it and feels very balanced through both tight corners and sweepers. It is a confidence inspiring drive.

One last thing I found impressive is the car's stability under heavy braking. I prefer a little more initial bite in my braking systems, but a brake pad upgrade would certainly take care of that in the G6 GTP. With stock pads the pedal was nicely progressive and the chassis very stable at the front and rear, even when trail-braking. I doubt my test drive put enough pressure on the braking system to find out its fade threshold, suffice to say I experienced no brake fade.

All in all, I like the way the car handles and brakes even better than the Grand Prix GXP, which is not slouch.
 

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Good review.

But there was a guy on another forum who test drove the manual G6 GTP who was "flogging it hard" and said that the torque steer was very noticeable. But he's the kind of guy that excessive torque steer gets him excited, so it may have been one of those "if it ain't broke, you ain't drivin it right" situations....

:lol:

He also said that 1st was a little short for the power of the car...

Why is this such a common problem with today's cars???
 

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I have driven a G6 GTP too, also in automatic trim. I am yet to find a manual in the area to try. Although the test drive route I was taken down didn't have too many turns I could take aggressively, I did get a good feel for the powertrain and was impressed. The car seemed to want to leap forward from any speed with a push of the throttle (in manumaitc mode). In full auto mode, it was a little sluggish, but still not bad for an automatic. Overall it definately felt like a car that wanted to be driven quick. I also thought balance felt good.

I didn't notice much torque steer in a straight line, but I definately could feel it going around corners even with the traction control and stability control on. I may be a little over senstive to it too because I have not owned a FWD car in 3 years. It wasn't really a negative, just different.

My overall impression was that the G6 GTP is a wonderful touring coupe. It was roomy enough inside to be very comfortable, but the car is not so huge as to feel like your piloting a boat. Fit and finish were great. It has a ton of stuff (options) for the price. The 18 inch wheels look great, and the styling really sharp. I thought it was a really nice vehicle, especially for the price.
 
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