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#150710 - 03/22/03 01:50 PM '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
rayainsw Offline
Member
Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
I attended this event at Atlanta Motor speedway this morning. I am working on my impressions - and I will post them later.

I can verify: The TAP will upshift on forward press of either 'paddle'.

Does anyone else have any specific questions?

Cheers,
- Ray
Previous owner of a '97 GTP with Thrasher pulley and Magnaflows . . .
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#150711 - 03/23/03 06:31 AM Re: '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
Cliff Cherry Offline
Member
Registered: 03/08/03
Posts: 140
Loc: Caldwell, NJ
Looking forward to another "man on the street" (test track?) review of the GTP WS6!
_________________________
2005 bleen Comp G!

Just checkin' in periodically :-D
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#150712 - 03/23/03 12:25 PM Re: '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
rayainsw Offline
Member
Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
I attended a GP drive event held yesterday morning at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Again, I apologize for not posting that it was going to be happening – but my excuse is that the person I pre-registered with at the Pontiac toll free number told me that an information packet would be sent and would arrive well before the event. So – I was going to post information once I received that – so that others in this area could attend if they wanted. And – as of yesterday’s mail, it still has not come ?????

Anyway – on to the car. They had 1 car to display and Craig Singhaus (of Motorweek) gave a marketing pitch. I was able to crawl in and around it for a while.

Then on to the 4 cars and a low speed ‘handling’ course. I believe that these were all early production cars – as opposed to specially assembled one. All were GTPs with the Comp. Group / WS6, moonroof, and leather.

We were allowed 3 circuits – there was no place to exceed maybe 40 mph without mowing down a BUNCH of cones. I chose not do risk that. We had to wear helmets – affecting the ability to judge NVH.

So -

Power – Good power at these low speeds. Very smooth. Very easy to smoke the front tires at launch – over half those I observed driving did so – some quite dramatically, given the tight course. (This is with the standard traction control on - interesting.) Further, I expect that the 3.29 final drive comes into effect here. I believe this may lead to variation in published 0-60 and SS ¼ mile times depending on the level of expertise of the driver in launching high torque FWD automobiles . . . The Motorweek “road test” (update of the preview that aired a while ago) quoted the GM 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds, but made no mention of further performance numbers – no quarter mile time / speed.

[Possible S/C pulley swap? Looks like the same basic set-up as ’97 – ’03. Meaning a quick, easy, cheap 20 – 30 hp increase will likely be available for those willing to risk possible drivetrain warrantee issues.)

Trans. – As has been confirmed, the TAP paddles upshifts by pressing either paddle forward. In ‘(M) manual’ mode, you can start in either 1st or 2nd gear? Smooth shifts. TAP paddle positions swung beyond the noon / 6 positions in this tight course – and they were ‘in motion’ during much of the run. Thus, I will need more seat time to judge some aspects of their use. [Sadly, the GP is not a Grand Prix car – where full lock is typically not much more than 90 degrees!] The fact that the TAP allows a forced upshift at WOT at less than red line is a plus compared to BMW’s Steptronic, for instance.

Ride – no real opportunity to judge – see below under noise.

Handling – Overall: Responsive. ‘Rotates’ well. 225/55 BF Goodridge Comp T/As howled under high load – but hard to tell how they would sound under normal (umm . . ) “brisk” street driving. Again, further, real world test drives will certainly be required.

Steering – Again: responsive. Good feel, given conditions.

Interior –

Overall, the interior impressed me with a good overall presentation, logical and clear control and display placement, excellent legibility, and very good quality of materials. The climate control offers flexibility – 2 intermediate positions on the rotary knob between each of the 5 primary / main Mode settings – for fine tuning. A good design.

DIC: much improved in display and flexibility / functionality from the one in my ‘97. Several personalized settings possible. Trans. temp can be displayed, for instance.

?? “18 HUD functions?” I see 17 listed in the “Getting to know your 2004 GP” guide (from page 12) = Vehicle speed, high beams, turn signals, 8-position compass, secondary PRNDL, outside air temp., TAP up/down gear position & Upshift ISO, Radio station frequency. Single CD: track number, Multiple CD: disc number and track number, Cassette Active, Check trip computer, Cruise Set, Traction Control active, Traction control off, Stability control active, and Stability control off.

Room:

Front seat - fine (though understandably a bit tight with a helmet on).

Rear seat – sitting behind myself (6’0” and about 225) there was probably only reasonable room for someone 5’6” and 175. And toe space was very tight, as I typically drive with the seat lowered as far as possible. OTOH, I could probably have adjusted the driver’s seat somewhat to provide a bit more room, if necessary. And again, all cars I examined had the optional moonroof and a possible impact on headroom. The fold flat forward passenger front seat, that produces a sort of desk – including the mesh / netting found on the seat back as a mechinism to hold the things I often just toss into the passenger seat, is quite an interesting and useful feature.


Comfort –

Front seat excellent – bolsters felt more supportive than in some other cars that look like they ought to be . . .

Rear seat – probably OK for people of, say, 5’ 6” to 5’ 9” tall - though a fold down armrest would certainly be useful – and this seems rather an odd omission.

The traction control can be turned off – and so can the Stability system – according to the information I see. But there have been instances (the new G35, for example) where the traction control system cannot actually be completely disabled.

Noise – Again, NVH very hard to judge given course and helmet. No visible or audible problems with the section of the course that including several tacked down tire tread ‘bumps’. Structural integrity seemed ok – particularly given the huge hole you can open between the trunk and interior.

Styling – Well, this is clearly VERY subjective, I acknowledge. But now that I have spent a while around several of these new cars, here is my reaction. This is an attractive car. The lager rear spoiler as well as the quad round exhaust tips and the grill inserts available as RPA-s all further enhance the appearance, in my view. The red painted calipers look terrific through the wheel spokes – but may be a cleaning nightmare.

But then, I’d probably replace the exhaust with a Borla, Corsa or Magnaflow a.s.a.p. anyway . . .

Conclusions –

It was certainly great fun to toss these cars around with someone else responsible for replacing the tires! BTW: I checked 2 of the front left tires (clockwise circuit) for wear – and they looked to be holding up rather well to the abuse.

The new GP is clearly a large step forward. Though I’d love to see 300 + HP and TQ, a six speed trans. and AWD, I suppose that is not likely now anytime soon. They have addressed several of the reasons that I did not buy a new GP when the time came to trade my ’97 GTP. I will drive one or 2 when the time comes to trade.

If anyone has further questions, post and I’ll try to answer – but it also sounds like new GPs are hitting some dealers.

Enjoy, all!
- Ray
Who probably made a mistake by taking a ride in a NASCAR stocker at over 165 mph just before driving the ’04 GTP . . .
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#150713 - 03/23/03 12:57 PM Re: '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
Cliff Cherry Offline
Member
Registered: 03/08/03
Posts: 140
Loc: Caldwell, NJ
Thanks for the very thorough review; too bad it wasn't under more "real world" conditions, but it sounds like a lot of fun nontheless. If you caught last Monday's Inside Winston Cup on Speed Channel, Michael Waltrip made a similar comment about fast cars - if you want a really high performance car, you should try ours. He was just kidding, but you actually got to go out in one! I guess even the WS6 is a come-down from a NASCAR stocker frown
_________________________
2005 bleen Comp G!

Just checkin' in periodically :-D
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#150714 - 03/23/03 09:50 PM Re: '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
fpo701 Offline
Junior Member
Registered: 12/21/02
Posts: 25
Loc: Akron, OH
rayainsw,
Having had a quick drive of a WS6 on Saturday, I think I know the missing 18th HUD feature. When you push the center position of the HUD positioner to toggle features and switch to Stealth Mode, the HUD displays "STEALTH MODE ACTIVE". Perhaps this is the missing 18th.

Frank
_________________________
2000 Bright Red GTP
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#150715 - 03/24/03 06:13 PM Re: '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
Redshift Offline
Member
Registered: 05/01/02
Posts: 172
Loc: Raleigh, NC
Finally a real review that isn't a bunch of marketing fluff. Thanks, Ray! cool
_________________________
- Brian
- GPN Administrator
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#150716 - 03/24/03 06:18 PM Re: '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
rayainsw Offline
Member
Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
Yes, Brian - at least an attempt at being "Fluff Free"!

My local dealer has only 1 GP - a GT1.

I asked the first sales droid I saw to let me know when they have a GTP CompG that I can drive.

Cheers,
- Ray
Who has been known to scare a sales droid (or 2) during test drives . . .
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#150717 - 03/24/03 09:10 PM Re: '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
fpo701 Offline
Junior Member
Registered: 12/21/02
Posts: 25
Loc: Akron, OH
I caved. laugh Ordered GTP on Saturday. Changed to WS6 tonight. Also, sales manager of my store took their WS6 over the weekend. Push on TAPSHIFT is upshift, pull is downshift.

Now, what the hell is CDX? It's part of the Monsoon radio, but no one at dealer knows what it is.

Frank
_________________________
2000 Bright Red GTP
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#150718 - 03/24/03 10:01 PM Re: '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
Cliff Cherry Offline
Member
Registered: 03/08/03
Posts: 140
Loc: Caldwell, NJ
Excellent choice, Frank! laugh Near as I can tell, CDX refers to the 6 disk changer in the Monsoon system.
_________________________
2005 bleen Comp G!

Just checkin' in periodically :-D
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#150719 - 03/24/03 10:34 PM Re: '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
R. Alexander Offline
Junior Member
Registered: 03/22/03
Posts: 10
Loc: Fort Collins, Colorado
Congratulations Frank. I picked up my Polo Green Comp G on Saturday and am still learning some things about it. But, I think that I finally got just about everything figured out. I think that you're really going to like the car alot with the WS 6 option because the Tap Shift system is alot of fun and with the 3.29 axle ratio the performance is awesome. The red painted brake calipers look great as well. If you have any questions, please let me know.
_________________________
2004 Polo Green WS6 GTP
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#150720 - 03/25/03 07:50 AM Re: '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
Marc Harbison Offline
Moderator
Registered: 05/01/02
Posts: 389
Loc: Fredericksburg, VA
Hi Ray... it's nice to see a familiar face... so to speak.

Thanks for the review! It was objective and informative. I look forward to sitting in a new one myself for an evaluation ride.

Take care,
Marc
_________________________
'00 Trans Am WS6 w/ 25K miles - Lovin' it!!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
RIP '99 GTP w/ 41K miles - Totaled in fire
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
RIP '97 GTP w/ 192K miles - Totaled when broadsided
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#150721 - 03/25/03 08:58 AM Re: '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
fpo701 Offline
Junior Member
Registered: 12/21/02
Posts: 25
Loc: Akron, OH
CDX is the CD Text thing. If a CD is encoded with Track Title information, I would guess it is displayed. Sure would be nice to see it in the HUD, but that may be just a pipedream.

Cliff, thanks. Two things I'll miss are Climate Control and the Auto-dimming Mirror. frown
_________________________
2000 Bright Red GTP
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#150722 - 03/25/03 09:12 AM Re: '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
rayainsw Offline
Member
Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
Well, R. Alexander – a few questions.
(I did try my local dealer – no GTP CompG-s – yet . . .)

Have you had a chance to check steady highway speed rpm? 60, 70, 80 mph?

One interesting possibility with a ‘throttle by wire’ system is to implement a throttle ‘blip’ on downshifts, much as one might on a manual trans. Does it feel like GM has done this? How smooth are the downshifts, particularly when the rpm change in the shift to the next lower gear in substantial?

How do you find the ride? Information I have indicates that the difference between the GTP and the CompG suspension-wise is only ‘firmer bushings and spring rates’. Meaning not also dampers / shock absorbers. How is the resulting compromise? The isolation of short sharp bumps or broken pavement vs. body control over longer dips at higher speeds (float) and body lean in higher speed corners?

And related: What tire pressures are you running? What are your initial impressions of the BFG Comp T/A tires?

How is the highway speed steering feel on the Magnasteer II?

Have you hit the 142 mph top speed limiter yet?

Well – you offered to try to answer questions. . .

Thanks,
- Ray
Who hit the 126 mph limiter on the ’97 a few times . . .
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#150723 - 03/25/03 12:44 PM Re: '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
Cliff Cherry Offline
Member
Registered: 03/08/03
Posts: 140
Loc: Caldwell, NJ
We've got way too many concurrent discussions going on in this thread confused but here's some more!

Frank - Thanks for the CDX Xplanation. Might as well put it in the HUD; they've got everything else going on there. Also, you're right about the dual climate control. That was one of the first things I noticed about the 04; ours in the 97 has been a true blessing many times over. Very disappointing they couldn't carry it over to the new model.

Ray - Sounds like you have some traffic law issues eek ; I do admire your attention to detail and your thorough knowledge and handling of cars, but I think I'll steer clear of the Atlanta area from now on! wink
_________________________
2005 bleen Comp G!

Just checkin' in periodically :-D
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#150724 - 03/25/03 01:06 PM Re: '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
rayainsw Offline
Member
Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
Well, I only exceeded 126 in my GTP on a closed course (amateur driver, however) at Maxton, NC - an unused airport runway and a sanctioned speed event run by ECTA . . .
Cheers,
- Ray
Who would, nontheless, support an American Autobahn with areas of less severe speed limits!
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#150725 - 03/25/03 01:13 PM Re: '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
Cliff Cherry Offline
Member
Registered: 03/08/03
Posts: 140
Loc: Caldwell, NJ
Ray,

Sorry for jumping to conclusions (sometimes the only exercise I get!) Actually R. might have a decent chance out in Colorado to push the speed limiter under Autobahn-like rules cool
_________________________
2005 bleen Comp G!

Just checkin' in periodically :-D
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#150726 - 03/25/03 01:53 PM Re: '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
michaelgamrat Offline
Junior Member
Registered: 03/25/03
Posts: 2
Loc: Michigan
I was wondering what is up with the new antennae? Anyone know if you can get it built into the rear window still?
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#150727 - 03/25/03 03:11 PM Re: '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
Fluid Offline
Member
Registered: 01/24/03
Posts: 104
Loc: Alaska, USA
The standard radio antenna is built into the window. The two external antennas are for OnStar and for the optional XM radio.
_________________________
2004 GS GTP/WS6
3.4" puley, BIG conical K&N filter
14.22@96.5 mph
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#150728 - 03/25/03 11:23 PM Re: '04 Pontiac GP test drive 'event'
JCHoefer Offline
Junior Member
Registered: 11/13/02
Posts: 24
Loc: Scotia, NY
....and OnStar is standard.
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