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I hope this is OK to do this. this is a review from redlineforums.com


Making a good first impression is everything.

From the first time you look at the Solstice, it impresses you. The design is aggressive and clean, with a very classic shape to it and smooth lines that are easy on the eyes. Nothing about the exterior styling of the car clashes; everything has a place and is there. The shape is classic, with a long hood and short rear deck.

However, when you're making new acquaintances, you can't just stun everybody the first time you meet, and then be lacking everywhere else. That's why the Solstice shines.

You get inside, and you're greeted by very minimalist gauges; you get fuel, a speedo, and your tachometer. You don't even know if the car's warmed up yet; the lack of the coolant temperature gauge is a bit unnerving, but if you're easy with the car for the first ten minutes or so, everything should be alright. The seats are supportive and the driving position is comfortable.

On my drive, I never once felt like I was at odds with the interior ergonomics. In some cars, when you're close enough to the pedals to be comfortable, you're too close to the steering wheel, or the shifter is not in the right spot.

In the Solstice, everything is right there, within easy reach. The most satisfying part is the location of the shifter - your right arm sits right on the center tunnel, and your grip of the shifter is perfect. The steering wheel is the right size and shape, with a simple three-spoke pattern. Although it isn't wrapped in leather, it still feels sturdy and comfortable in your hands, and is thick enough to give you the perfect grip for cornering.

Once you've gotten used to your surroundings, putting the top down is a very simple process. Just open the trunk, pull the latch above the rearview mirror, and fold the top back. It slips easily into the trunk, and it only takes about 20 seconds. Many people will gripe about the lack of a power top; first off, don't be lazy. Secondly, a power top adds weight, and the Solstice is all about being slim and lithe.

Once you're on the road, you'll notice the dual nature of the Solstice. The around-town, easy driving manners of the car are apparent right away. The engine and transmission are quiet at low revs, and the clutch is light enough to prevent fatigue if you get stopped in traffic. The engine is perfectly happy just sort of humming along.

Then there's mean monster Solstice. Equipped with the 177-hp 2.4L Ecotec with variable valve timing, the engine has plenty of grunt for the 2880-lb roadster. The most interesting characteristic of the 2.4L is how it doesn't behave like a long-stroke 4-cylinder. It loves to rev up to high RPM's, and sings to its 7000 RPM redline with a very mechanical engine note. Unfortunately, when you wind the motor out, the sound of the exhaust is impossible to hear over the intake sounds as well as the mechanical noises of the engine & transmission. A bit more open exhaust would make the sound a little more visceral.

The 5-speed Aisin manual transmission is a good match to the engine. The throws are short and positive, and it never has trouble keeping up with the 2.4 liter. The gates are very tight, and feel like a 6-speed like Toyota's unit in the Celica GTS, but unlike the Toyota's gearbox, you never wonder if you're in the right gear.

When you get into hard driving, the Solstice is deceptive. The engine has decent amounts of torque, but as I stated before, it loves to rev. It has the characteristics like that of a Honda engine, where you have to keep the RPMS over 4000 to get any significant power. This requires a little more rowing of the gears, and downshifting another gear from what you think is appropriate for the speed you're going.

When you're blasting down country roads, it's fine, because 2nd and 3rd gear are perfect for zipping through the twisties. However, on the interstate, I downshifted from 5th to 4th gear, expecting the midrange to carry me into the flow of the fast lane, but I found it decidedly lacking. A downshift into 3rd gear, however, plopped the engine at 4500 RPM and it squirted forward happily.

Top-down motoring is quite a pleasure in the Solstice. The wind is in your hair, the sun is shining, and you never feel like you're being buffeted or abused by the elements. At speeds of 55-60, the noise in the cockpit is quiet enough to carry on a conversation at normal volume. At highway speeds, the wind noise increases; putting the windows up quiets down the cabin to a very appropriate volume.

When you throw the Solstice into the turns, it feels extremely solid. The test numbers register .90 G's on the skidpad, but test numbers only tell half the story. The other half is how it feels; if you were driving a Ferrari, it would feel very razor-edge, where one wrong move would put you into the ditch. The Solstice is forgiving, and predictable, with very flat handling. There is barely any body roll when the car is driven smoothly and nothing is done to upset the traction. It's a car you could easily make quick laps around a race track in even as a rookie.

For such a handler, the ride is very compliant and not at all uncomfortable. Over terrible Michigan roads, even with the 18-inch wheels and stiff chassis, road imperfections were not an issue. Everything felt solid, and vibrations were minimum. Even over the choppiest of bumps, the steering didn't feel darty or jittery. It stayed on course, and went directly where I told it to with zero drama.

I have to say my Saturday morning jaunt around Livingston County in the Solstice was an enjoyable, almost addictive experience. I know if I had the $20,000 in disposable income to put down on a car like this I would do it in a heartbeat. The car is solid, well engineered, and a blast to drive. It grabs all sorts of attention, and I'm pretty sure my drive made plenty of good first impressions.

For photographs of the Solstice, go here:
http://www.redlineforums.com/forums...read.php?t=3319
 

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Who wrote that review? Just curious whether Pontiac is giving cars to the press now or whether someone borrowed one of the shakedown cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I found this at redlineforums.com. Then go to active topics. The review is under "Urban's Preformance Car Review". I'm not sure if he works for GM or not.
 

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tcl said:
Who wrote that review? Just curious whether Pontiac is giving cars to the press now or whether someone borrowed one of the shakedown cars.
Don't think this guy is not press but he writes like he is. This is one of those test cars that are floating around. Don't think it's official press test drive, more of he borrowed the car from someone who has one.
 

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Yeah, it's the same guy that got the pictures a few days back of the Deep w/ Cloth. The thread Pics of Solstice, here on our forum, was the one with the link originating over to Redline Forums and the thread with the pictures. The link at the bottom of this review points to the same thread. I dunno why he didn't just edit his first thread and add in the review.
 

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mceb said:
Don't think this guy is not press but he writes like he is. This is one of those test cars that are floating around. Don't think it's official press test drive, more of he borrowed the car from someone who has one.
regardless, the analysis is thorough, and making me wet my lips. it's going to be a long wait :willy:
 

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Some really nice key points for me;

The 5-speed Aisin manual transmission is a good match to the engine. The throws are short and positive, and it never has trouble keeping up with the 2.4 liter. The gates are very tight, and feel like a 6-speed like Toyota's unit in the Celica GTS, but unlike the Toyota's gearbox, you never wonder if you're in the right gear.
...
Top-down motoring is quite a pleasure in the Solstice. The wind is in your hair, the sun is shining, and you never feel like you're being buffeted or abused by the elements. At speeds of 55-60, the noise in the cockpit is quiet enough to carry on a conversation at normal volume. At highway speeds, the wind noise increases; putting the windows up quiets down the cabin to a very appropriate volume.
 

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2Xphoenix said:
regardless, the analysis is thorough, and making me wet my lips. it's going to be a long wait :willy:
Yup, things like this review are teases but nice to read.
 

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spyderone said:
Many people will gripe about the lack of a power top; first off, don't be lazy. Secondly, a power top adds weight, and the Solstice is all about being slim and lithe.
I'm sorry but that's just a little humorous. Even GM admits that the Solstice is a little overweight. But that's not unusual for car designs that are rushed through the development stages.
 

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2Xphoenix said:
regardless, the analysis is thorough, and making me wet my lips. it's going to be a long wait :willy:
just your lips? I'm nearly wetting my pants in anticipation! :leaving:
 

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beat me to posting this. the guy isn't press, or work for GM, his dad does though, and he got to make the drive with him in the car. very cool if you ask me.

his last review was of the '06 Vette and mentioned some technological additions. he want's to be a car reviewer, and i think he does a good job, especially for not being trained to.
 

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spyderone said:
...the lack of the coolant temperature gauge is a bit unnerving...
Really? weird. I mean, really weird. The coolant gauge is one or the most important gauges to provide. At least the DIC the will provide it. Right?

High engine temperature doesn't just make engines seize, it can destroy other components, too. My Camaro's plugs, wires, and ignition coil went bad, presumably, they were burned when the car was running way too hot (because of a failing water pump). I've gone through three water pumps so far on that 1994 Camaro.

I can't believe there's no dedicated coolant temperature gauge in the Solstice.
 
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