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#211621 - 05/05/05 05:38 PM GXP Review
Mike Lewis Offline
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Registered: 05/01/02
Posts: 1
Loc: Sammamish, WA
Pontiac was nice enough to have me and a few others down to Arizona to put their new Grand Prix GXP to the test around the road course at Bob Bondurant School of High Speed Driving last weekend. Here’s a review of the weekend.

I’ll start with the people.

I got to meet a lot of screen names I’d never had the pleasure of meeting, spend time with some I had only spent a short amount of time with before and see friends I don’t get to see enough of. It was great to put faces to some names. What a kick in the ass group to hang with.

I was sure when we started the autocross that all these drag racers would have cones flying everywhere. I was totally wrong. Everyone pulled through the course pretty well. Mike Walters got a cone award he didn’t deserve. He wasn’t anywhere near the cones. Ed Morad broke every rule in Autocross and pulled out a win. Go figure but I guess it’s fitting. I might have kicked some ass on the go-kart track but one guy kept blowing by me. I heard he’s from North Carolina and is Robert Yates’s son so I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad.

Thanks have to go out to Larry Pryg from Pontiac for the invitation, opportunity, coordination of the event and being a part of the team that made the car what it is. Jim and Phil from Pontiac for their time and knowledge, answering all the questions coming at them from every direction. To Mike Napurano and Chris Green for helping Larry to coordinate the event. To Roger Sears for doing what he did to make this car what it is. As fun as it was, it would have been better with Roger there. To everyone who attended for a great time, the people really made the event. Last but not least to Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving for their hospitality, professionalism and courtesy. Put a trip to Bondurant’s on your wish list and just pray you get an opportunity to spend some time there, you’ll never forget it.

On to the car. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I get to drive some pretty nice stuff on the road course somewhat regularly; V8, rear wheel drive, 6 speed. Corvette, GTO, even a Lotus and a Viper. So a FWD automatic isn’t something that I get goosebumps anticipating. But if someone invites me to a nice track to run a car hard, I don’t need to be asked twice, especially if that someone is with Pontiac and they’re inviting me to Bondurant’s.

Two words really come to mind fast. Balance and braking. It was evident early on that the car was very well balanced. Roger Sears pulled a coup getting the larger wheel/tire combo on the front of this car. I was able to pull some very nicely balanced 4 wheel drifts in a couple of corners, one good enough to scare the crap out of one of the track personnel coming out of the last turn onto the straight with some really good speed. A huge part of the handling capabilities are due to that wheel/tire setup. Anyone with a FWD car that is looking for handling should take notice of this setup.

The brakes have been mentioned plenty but are worth mentioning over and over again. Big, badass brakes are just sexy. They were jumped on hard, over and over again and just kept their poise. They are the best brakes you’ll find on any American sedan and better than what you’ll find on most sport coupes as well. A very well engineered package. Again, something Roger Sears should be applauded for.

The Bilsteins are incredible. I haven’t seen anyone mention it but these are a direct bolt on to the 97-03 GP as well as the 04/05 GP. Kudos to the team for not only getting those on the car but getting them done right. Another engineering feat conquered.

The 5.3L was sweet. Smooth and powerful, it is a nice package. To tell you the truth, I forgot all about the DOD during the drive on the highways. I never noticed it at all which could be because it was very seamless or because with Napurano and I at the wheel, it never kicked in. As mentioned, the exhaust was sweet. Listening to the car pull away at full throttle, it sounded like a Grand Prix should sound. I have a new answer to all those people who ask us how to make their Grand Prix sound like a V8…go buy a GXP, you’ll have a Grand Prix that sounds like a V8.
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PFYC - Grand Prix Store
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#211622 - 05/05/05 06:20 PM Re: GXP Review
AustinGTP Offline
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Registered: 05/23/03
Posts: 8077
Loc: Austin, TX
Pics!
You can't come in here with info like this and not supply any pics!
Sounds like it was a blast.
thumbsup
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Died 5/1/08, resurrected 5/15/08
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#211623 - 05/06/05 10:12 AM Re: GXP Review
framos242 Offline
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Registered: 07/15/04
Posts: 3141
Loc: Chicago, IL
I can only of the event since there are no pics. wink

Would have loved to been there.

Looking forward to the GXP.
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#211624 - 05/06/05 03:27 PM Re: GXP Review
rayainsw Offline
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Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
The approach of the GXP does intrigue me. A lot.

Here is what I see:
(Subject to change without notice.)

I see additional value in several areas that justifies the MSRP.

(Note: All “value” I refer to here is based on specs and reports from those who have driven Pilot Production copies . . Subject to modification after my own test drives.)

1 – All-aluminum LS4 - 5.3 V8 – 303 HP / 323 TQ w/DoD.
Value to me here is:
A - Additional 43 HP and 43 TQ over the 3800 S/C at 260 / 280 – with no increase in weight.
B – V8 exhaust burble (I hope).
C – V8 smoothness.
D – Plus same EPA gas mileage estimates as CompG: 18 / 27.
[[ edit: Pontiac.com = 17 / 28 ]]

2 – Significantly upgraded / strengthened 4T65-E trans.
Value to me here is:
I expect that the upgrades mean this trans. would last longer (all other factors being the same) compared to a 3800 S/C modified via aftermarket to approx. this HP / TQ level.

4 – Lowered.
A - I expect that it will look better – to me.
B – I will not be tempted to buy lowering springs – and risk screwing up the suspension geometry.

5 – Bilstein gas-charged dampers and higher rate springs.
Value to me is a better ride / handling compromise than the CompG.

5.1 – Stiffer rear stabilizer bar.
Again, better ride / handling.

6 – 18” wheels / W-rated tires.
I will not be tempted to buy 18” wheels and tires to replace the 17”-ers on the CompG. And I happen to like the wheel style chosen.

7 – Significant brake upgrade over CompG. Including larger, cross-drilled rotors.
A good thing.

8 - Restyled front and rear. (In effect, this also includes the $675 PDC group of after production accessories - grill inserts, larger spoiler and exhaust tips.)

Although I do find that I can only fairly judge a 3D object like a car by seeing it in person, (and styling is clearly VERY subjective) the styling changes as I have seen in the pictures released indicate something that appeals to me better than the CompG.

So – if the CompG version was worthy of the MSRP assigned, I think the GXP is clearly worth more – to me.

Current rumor has it (from the guy that ran the Grand Prix ’04 re-do) that this will likely be a 5.7 sec. 0 – 60 car. Based on the C+D CompG test numbers (0 – 60: 6.6 and Quarter: 15.0 at 93) I still expect a stock GXP to post low 14s (at close to 100) . .

[[ edit: MT current issue published times:
0 - 60 6.0
1/4 = 14.3 at 98.1
Lateral Accel = 0.85G]]

And I also expect that it will be entertaining to drive.

I could be wrong.

Again, TMV / eventual transaction cost of a GXP (after any discounts, incentives, etc.) will be a key factor.

We will see . . .

- Ray
Waiting (oh, so patiently) to see one and drive one . . .
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#211625 - 05/09/05 07:40 AM Re: GXP Review
Jizz Offline
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Registered: 03/22/04
Posts: 766
Loc: Central Maryland
I am courious to see on after a dyno.
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#211626 - 05/09/05 10:58 PM Re: GXP Review
TastyBake Offline
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Registered: 07/29/04
Posts: 1560
Loc: Ohio
I'm upset other car companies got v6's smaller than ours making 300. But we got to go to a v8 that is over 5 liters. frown
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#211627 - 05/10/05 02:46 PM Re: GXP Review
rayainsw Offline
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Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
“I'm upset other car companies got v6's smaller than ours making 300. But we got to go to a v8 that is over 5 liters. “

I am confused.

The Acura RL is one of the (very) few V6s in a current production car that have 300 + / - HP. And the TQ on that 3.5L V6 is only 260 – up at 5,000 rpm. I’d much prefer to have the GXP’s 300+ at low RPM (and 323 at peak, and a relatively flat curve) in most of my daily driving. . .

R&T (often posting the quickest times, recently) published a 0 – 60 time of 6.7 and a quarter mile time of 15.1 @ 95.1 for the RL. (Part of this is due to the weight: Just over 4,000 pounds. But part is certainly due to the relatively low maximum TQ - and a rather ‘peaky’ TQ curve – compared to the 5.3L V8.)

The only published GXP acceleration numbers I have seen were the MT numbers of 6.0 and 14.3 @ 98+. I’ll take the GXP’s numbers over the RL’s.

The EPA fuel mileage estimates for the RL are 18 / 26. The GXP is 17 / 28. So the smaller V6 does not appear to have much of an advantage here either.

And to buy an RL, you must take AWD (living near HotLanta, I do NOT want to carry that added weight and complexity and driveline drag around for the life of the vehicle) a NAV system – and an MSRP up near $50K.

I suppose the Infiniti G35’s V6 also qualifies, as the 2005 now is rated at 298 HP. But it is rated at 270 TQ. At 4800 rpm. And even with a 6-speed manual trans., the same article in MT quotes 0 – 60 at 5.8 and the Quarter in 14.1 at 99.7. (EPA 19 / 26.) If you really want RWD (or AWD as an option) and a manual trans., the G certainly merits a look. But I generally prefer the way a V8 goes about delivering both maximum performance and general overall driveability – compared to these V6s. But that’s just me.

And that 5.3L V8 is actually lighter than the S/C 3800.

I think the GXP – at $29.9K (base including Dest.) and widely available today for something like Invoice + $49 less current incentives in the $2,500 range = actual transaction price of approx. $25K.

This strikes me as a “screaming bargain” – if it fits what you are looking for . .

- Ray
Thinking it MAY fit what I want . . .
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#211628 - 05/10/05 03:05 PM Re: GXP Review
Jizz Offline
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Registered: 03/22/04
Posts: 766
Loc: Central Maryland
Which goes right back to

No replacement for displacement
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#211629 - 05/10/05 03:24 PM Re: GXP Review
rayainsw Offline
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Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
"Which goes right back to

No replacement for displacement"


There are replacements – each has pros and cons.

I was actually surprised (for several reasons) to learn that this V8 was chosen for the GXP, as opposed to an S/C 3800 ‘tuned’ to roughly the same HP / TQ levels. Combined with the ‘beefed up’ trans., I’d expected a 300 / 320 - ish version of the S/C 3800 to power any new version developed for the existing FWD Grand Prix platform. I am guessing that the 5.3 / 5300 with DoD will find its way eventually into other GM products. It is certainly going into the Impala SS and Monte Carlo this Fall.

Supercharging, combined with intercooling is (or can be) one very good way to develop 5.3L HP and TQ from 3.8L of ‘actual’ displacement.

- Ray
Who will likely take the unique V8 heterodyne beat over the V6 . . .
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#211630 - 05/10/05 03:41 PM Re: GXP Review
BryantGTP Offline
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Registered: 03/26/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Franklin, MA
Anyone have info on the engine bay? Was it modified at all, or are we going to see some people swapping the V6's for V8's?
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#211631 - 05/10/05 08:56 PM Re: GXP Review
Jizz Offline
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Registered: 03/22/04
Posts: 766
Loc: Central Maryland
But you miss the point -- the V6 is already SUpercharged to reach the V8s performance N/A -- Ok Now SUpercharge the V8...AHHHHH EXACTLY! eek

Quote:
Originally posted by rayainsw:
"Which goes right back to

No replacement for displacement"


There are replacements – each has pros and cons.

I was actually surprised (for several reasons) to learn that this V8 was chosen for the GXP, as opposed to an S/C 3800 ‘tuned’ to roughly the same HP / TQ levels. Combined with the ‘beefed up’ trans., I’d expected a 300 / 320 - ish version of the S/C 3800 to power any new version developed for the existing FWD Grand Prix platform. I am guessing that the 5.3 / 5300 with DoD will find its way eventually into other GM products. It is certainly going into the Impala SS and Monte Carlo this Fall.

Supercharging, combined with intercooling is (or can be) one very good way to develop 5.3L HP and TQ from 3.8L of ‘actual’ displacement.

- Ray
Who will likely take the unique V8 heterodyne beat over the V6 . . .
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#211632 - 05/12/05 01:56 PM Re: GXP Review
rayainsw Offline
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Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
“But you miss the point -- the V6 is already SUpercharged to reach the V8s performance N/A -- Ok Now SUpercharge the V8...AHHHHH EXACTLY! “

Actually, I think I do get (and appreciate) the point. And a supercharged V8 (WOO-HOO!) would likely be entertaining, at least on a drag strip.

My point was that with an existing motor that could be tuned for substantial additional HP and TQ with relatively simple and proven techniques, I was (and still am) a bit surprised that GM chose to go with a completely different motor, with all the issues associated with that change.

With a smaller S/C pulley and some internal and external modification (like an intercooler) the existing L67 could certainly have produced a reliable 300 / 320. I’d have thought that would be less expensive than going the V8 route.

Please understand, though, I do like the route they did choose. A V8 that makes such lovely sounds (as well as such HP / TQ numbers) and weighs LESS than the L67 does sound yummy. Just really wish I could find one closer than 100+ miles from where I live to test drive . .

- Ray
Checking GMBuypower every day . . .
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#211633 - 05/12/05 04:00 PM Re: GXP Review
Arcxnus Offline
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Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 1921
Loc: Texas
But there's still one vital point missing ..


Where are our pictures?! laugh
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#211634 - 05/12/05 05:51 PM Re: GXP Review
UMfan Offline
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Registered: 08/09/03
Posts: 3256
Loc: Oregon
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#211635 - 05/15/05 10:26 PM Re: GXP Review
TastyBake Offline
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Registered: 07/29/04
Posts: 1560
Loc: Ohio
I placed a post that was too general as I was in a hurry. My error. Let me clarify.
The replacement for displacement is increased efficiency. Sounds stupid? Well, the competitors don’t think so and prove it all the time.

I am not happy that a 5.3 V8 is being sold with those hp/tq numbers. I am basing this lack of efficiency solely on hp/liter ratio. Not completely scientific as there are other factors like low-RPM hp vs. high RPM hp. However, it’s sad when all we can do is make an engine bigger to get some numbers where the competition keeps the current size and increase MPG and HP.

Examples of hp/liter ratios:
Grand Prix V-8 5.3L 303HP: 57
Mustang V-8 4.6L: 300HP: 65
300c V-8 5.7L 345HP: 60

Grand Prix 3.8L 200HP: 52
Montana 3.4L 185HP: 54
Taurus 3.0L 153HP: 51

Accord V-6 3.0L 240HP: 80
Frontier V-6 4.0L 265HP: 66
Altima V-6 3.5L 245HP: 70

Cavalier I-4 2.2L 140HP: 63
Civic I-4 2.0L 160HP: 80
Altima I-4 2.5L 175HP: 70


I see we are getting better at it with the new models. The Lacrosse and the ford 500 are examples of some progress in the art of more power with less liters.
Buick Lacrosse 3.6L 240HP: 67
Ford five hundred 3.0L 203HP: 67

The “No replacement for displacement” ideology was good in the muscle car era but holds a lot less water when designing engines for the 21st century.
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#211636 - 05/16/05 07:54 AM Re: GXP Review
Jizz Offline
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Registered: 03/22/04
Posts: 766
Loc: Central Maryland
Ok - What car is making over 300hp and less displacement?

Ok lets use the Acura RL - it has 300hp and gets 18/26 BUT only has 260tq.

The GP has 300hp get the same milage but has 323tq - Hum.....

I understand your theory on the "power per liter" but usually the gas milage is around the same and I like the V8 sound a lot better. Also the 5.3L enginge is way down in its potential where as Acura's 3.5L is running near the edge of potential.

Power does not only come in "horses" is also comes in Torque laugh
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#211637 - 05/17/05 12:26 PM Re: GXP Review
TastyBake Offline
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Registered: 07/29/04
Posts: 1560
Loc: Ohio
Again, I acknowledged that the first post regarding 300 HP was over generalized and I did that in haste. The point was competitors are making more horsepower and MPG with smaller engines which I really wish we did. Not particularly 300HP. See the Mustang vs GXP comparison engine comparison.

True, by the laws of physics, more displacement usually means more torque. I prefer more torque over HP.

After reading the comments, one thing I noticed was true.

Am I still impressed with the numbers of this 5.3L engine?
Not at all. But hey, maybe its not designed to be super high performance engine. Just something smooth running and underrated. If its supposed to be high performance, then I’m disappointed. frown

Do I think it has great potential to increase HP/TQ?
If the components are strong enough to take it, Absolutely. Since it is 5.3L, a S/C and other strong mods could push it to 400HP+ where it belongs. If so, Intenses’s Bonneville FWD record is in great jeopardy.
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#211638 - 05/17/05 02:19 PM Re: GXP Review
rayainsw Offline
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Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
Well, where to start???

First, I have no problem with you looking at whatever aspects of a potential car purchase you want to look at. Utilize whatever metric(s) you desire to help you decide. And I do not dispute your numbers.

I am just surprised to see a focus on one metric, to the (apparent) exclusion of all others.

0.5 – I like Torque. Great, steaming piles of (relatively) low speed torque. My bias. For me, this makes a car more enjoyable in the vast majority of my driving, where I cannot (legally and / or responsibly) explore very high speeds or handling limits. The feeling of effortless acceleration is something I can enjoy during much of my driving.

1 – HP / Liter of displacement is one measure of raw efficiency, I suppose. I think that HP / weight of motor might be another of potential interest here. With the LS4 weighing slightly less than the L67 S/C 3800, and developing an additional 43 HP and 43 TQ, it is certainly ‘better’, by this measure. And it produces EPA estimates (17 / 28) that are essentially the same as the CompG. I consider that a significant accomplishment.

2 – Another measure could be 0 – 60 & Quarter mile acceleration related to EPA fuel mileage estimates.

3 – One could also argue that a relatively low stressed V8 likely makes for less engine wear and tear, and better longevity, all other factors being roughly equal – or at least comparable.

4 – The Honda S2000 (now enlarged to 2.2L) still has a VERY high specific HP / Liter = 240 HP / 2.2L = 109!! But I found it not much fun (the 1 time I drove one, a2 liter version, some years ago) from an acceleration standpoint – at least at anything less than WOT and v. high rpm, as it made little torque low down – and really had to be revved to produce any acceleration. (TQ = 162 at [wait for it . .] 6,500 rpm!!) Yikes. Although sometimes that sort of driving can certainly be fun, I know that I would find that tedious as a steady diet. [[ And yes, it did handle very well. It was very agile. ]]

The Lacrosse 3.6L / 240 HP motor you mention only produces 225 LB/FT of torque. Personally, if I am only going to have 240 HP, I’d much rather have the 3.8L S/C torque of 280. But that’s just me. With a 3640 test weight, the Lacrosse Motor Trend tested produced (um) a rather uninspiring 0 – 60: 8.0 and a Quarter mile of 15.8 at 90.7. EPA estimates: 19 / 28.

Then there is the Honda Accord V6 Hybrid. I expect that there will be many more such vehicles in the future. A V6 – plus an electric motor (and batteries) to achieve decent acceleration – and exceptional fuel economy, given that acceleration. The only published test I can find at the moment is from C+D. The reported 0 – 60 at 6.7 and the Quarter at 15.2 at 93 mph. Not far off the GP CompG numbers C+D reported for an ’04. Yet with EPA City / Highway numbers of 30 / 37. Better even than the 4 cylinder Accord. What metric(s) would be appropriate to apply here?

Anyway. There are certainly a bunch of other data one could consider and weigh.

The numbers and (p)reviews I have seen suggest that the GXP will be fun to drive. That is one overriding consideration for me.

I am waiting to test drive one before making any further judgements.

- Ray
Almost resigned to driving 250 miles on Saturday to test drive one . .
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#211639 - 05/17/05 04:36 PM Re: GXP Review
why2kmax Offline
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Registered: 05/01/03
Posts: 589
Loc: Bel Air Maryland
I drove one at the GM autoshow in motion, the car has a LOT of torque, which IMO is where the fun is. It handles great. Driven side by side with the comp G, the GXP is hands down the winner in ALL categories. The Comp G feels weak by comparison.

The airbox on the V8 looks smaller than the v6 GTP and the TB looked a LOT smaller but that might be because the MAF was combined in the older cars. I forgot where the MAF was on the V8 but thought if they open that thing up its going to HAUL. However Id bet its going to also be pretty well torque managed to save the tranny which means it wont be as fast as it should be but will have great potential.

A weakness I wish Gm would fix is their penchant for putting in transmissions and drivelines that just barely handle what comes from the factory and then fudging in a saftey margin with PCM schenanegans.

both the M6 and A4 GTO LS2 is like this. frown
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#211640 - 05/19/05 09:18 AM Re: GXP Review
rayainsw Offline
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Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
Executive Summary: I like it. A lot. I want one. I may buy this one - as early as this weekend.

Background / Context: I currently drive a 2003 Lincoln LS V8 Sport. 5-speed automatic with TAP Shift-like manumatic function. RWD. 3.9L - 280 HP / 286 TQ and weight around 3800. Previous 2 cars were AWD and RWD. One reason I really wanted to drive the GXP is that I have not driven a FWD performance car in several years . .

I am looking for a new replacement that is:

0.5 - Fun to drive. Entertaining

1 - Sedan – for occasional 1 or 2 additional passengers and better visibility than most “sports cars”.

2 – Manumatic.

3 – Comfortable.

4 – Reasonable cruising range.

5 – Reasonably priced.

6+ . . A few other desirable but negotiable features . .

I have been looking for a GXP available to drive close to Atlanta since the official release. Closest one to me as of last night (actually at a dealer lot, not in transit) was in Augusta – over 100 miles away.

So, since it was equipped close to what I’d order, I decided to contact their Internet Guy and drove down yesterday PM for a test.

Car: Graystone. Leather / Suede (PCH). Premium Audio (PVJ). Sunroof (CF5). XM (U2K). Auto Dual Zone A/C (CJ2). Remote Start (AP3). List: $33K even. Invoice: $30,178. . .

I arrived at the Dealer (Master) after 2+ hours on the road at just after 4:30 PM yesterday afternoon. The sales guy (OK guy, overall – for a sales guy) and I crawled all over it inside and out. I took a few pictures.

I had asked that the car be closed up and not run for a while, if possible, to test the A/C. It was sunny and 80+ degrees – and the inside of the car was hot. Precisely as I wanted. To test the A/C cooldown. I asked the sales guy to start it, and headed back to put my digital camera back in my car.

When he fired it up, the exhaust bark and burble stopped my in my tracks. “Now that sounds good!”

At this point (sadly) it was about 5 o’clock. And Augusta has lots of traffic. (sigh) But I did drive it for about 20 minutes. Since I must currently spend some significant time slogging through HotLanta traffic, this was actually a useful exercise. And I did have about 5 minutes of freeway run, at 65 – 75 mph.

Impressions of:

Car appearance / Exterior – The Graystone metallic paint is impressive in depth. Looks well applied. Pity they will not have this color for 2006. Styling changes vs CompG suit me very well. The wheels and tires and wheel / fender well gap work OK for me. Exterior = acceptable.

Interior – Every aspect of the driving environment also works well for me. I had expressed concern regarding headroom earlier on this forum, based on a couple of minutes trying to find a comfortable position in a CompG with sunroof. At 6’-0”, I was struggling to achieve a position that would allow easy TAP Shift access and still allow me enough headroom for comfort. This time, I was able to adjust things reasonably quickly. No issue. Everything works well, ergonomically, for me. Controls are acceptable in placement and feel. The HUD with gear position is a very nice touch. The seats (as well as I can judge in such a brief drive) seemed like they would be supportive and comfortable for my typical driving. Interior = acceptable.

I drove only with the radio off, the sunroof at vent (sunscreen open only an inch or so), but not retracted back – and one rear window open an inch or so. With the exception of the radio, this is typically how I drive year round, preferring fresh air with heat or A/C adjusted to comfort. I wanted to focus on the car, not the stereo. The A/C did cool the interior well – and the suede inserts felt fine, probably preferable for me compared to all leather.

Driving – By far, my 2 most acute & lasting impressions are of the exhaust and the Torque. I will try not to repeat too much of what has been posted here before. The exhaust is just perfect for me. I have no interest in setting off my neighbors’ car alarms when I start it up in my garage early on workday mornings. The GXP’s V8 rumble and heterodyne “beat” were always there during my around town driving (0 – 45 / 50) and is just lovely. Perfect. No need for me to address this with aftermarket equipment. For a daily (every day) driver, I would not want it any louder. I prefer to clearly hear V8 exhaust, but little or no mechanical, engine ‘thrash’. No other extraneous noises noted. Check.

The Torque is always there, and provides just the sort of effortless acceleration I am looking for. Check.

Driving = (more than) acceptable.

Ride – My impression is that the ride is not much different than my Lincoln. My LS has 50 series Michelins and a relatively aggressive tuning of dampers, springs and bushings. (OK, very aggressive, for a Lincoln!) And the GXP was much the same. Always well damped and composed, aware of the surface and what the wheels were doing, but not intrusively so. The harshness was within acceptable limits. Really only noticeable when encountering broken pavement or concrete slab expansion joints / seams. Ride = acceptable.

Handling – Due to conditions, I was not able to give this aspect much of a workout. Ultimate cornering Gs are something I do not attempt to explore with a dealer sales guy in the right seat anyway. I trust other reports that indicate it will be fine for me.

Brakes – Again, I was not even interested in probing their limits here. I believe that they will work great. In typical conditions, they were smooth and intuitive.

Acceleration – Oh, boy. With the constant background accompaniment of the bass exhaust, there was plenty of acceleration for any situation I can envision. I expect that some will “need” another 50 or more HP. For me, for now, 303 / 323 (in a 3600 pound car) will do nicely, thank you. I did not run this green engine (arrived on their lot a couple of days ago) hard. I do not think I exceeded 4,500 RPM. I did run WOT – a lot. Just not high RPM. I may buy this particular example. And I certainly was able to make smooth, quick progress without resorting to high RPM.

I experienced no torque steer in turning and accelerating at moderate (say 35 – 75%) throttle on dry pavement. I did not try full throttle while turning at low speed. And there was no opportunity to evaluate behavior on low friction surfaces.

TAP Shift – This feature worked much better than I remember in the early 2004 CompG I test drove. Trans. shifts up and down were generally well managed – most noticeable aspect was the RPM rise / drop. Shifts were quick and firm but not harsh.

I do have one question here. The only “anomaly” I noticed in my drive was an odd behavior on the highway portion. At 60 or so I have an opportunity to floor the throttle in M / 4. The expected TCC unlock and RPM rise smoothly occurred. Then, after a couple of seconds, the TCC locked – RPM dropped – and a few seconds later the TCC unlocked again. My foot was flat on the floor through it all (maybe 10 seconds?). Smooth enough, but very odd. Anyone else see anything like this??? I would not expect the TCC to lock again until I backed out of the throttle. . .

Steering – Precise, poised, relaxed, stable. In all my 20 minutes or so of driving, my sense was that the all the various aspects of the chasses dynamics worked in harmony. This seems like a car I could enjoy even when stuck in traffic or driving (as I sometimes do) 6+ hours at a time.

Visibility – The rear view mirrors are well placed and sized to allow confident monitoring of traffic.

Do I sound like a commercial? Sorry. I am very impressed with the thought and effort and development that clearly went into this GXP. A car with no significant flaws (for me) – at a base price of $30K. Remarkable.

Radio / XM – After we returned from the drive, I asked for a “tour” of the radio, particularly XM, as I was not very familiar with it. (I also wanted to continue sitting in the seat – to help me judge longer term comfort and support. I was impressed with several aspects of the XM system. A couple that stood out – constant traffic & weather reports for major metro areas. One annoyance with trying to obtain traffic info in my driving around Atlanta is that even severe tie-ups are typically reported only once every 10 minutes or so. And only during ‘rush hours’. This particular feature may help me at times. Also – they broadcast all Major League Baseball games – and have the ability to (for instance) display the score and inning info. on the radio screen. Pretty cool stuff. And overall, probably worth the subscription cost for me.

One small correction / clarification: The Window Sticker shows EPA = 18 / 27 (brochure shows 17 / 28 - odd?)


I have not had a GM car since my ’97 GTP. Unless something completely unexpected happens, it looks like this will be my next one.

Cheers,
- Ray
Ready to negotiate . . .
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#211641 - 06/02/05 03:42 PM Re: GXP Review
framos242 Offline
Member
Registered: 07/15/04
Posts: 3141
Loc: Chicago, IL
So does this mean that there will be a GXP in your driveway???

Sounds like it. If so, do it now with the GM Employee rate.
_________________________
DHP V1.0, Slotted rotors, S/S Brake Lines, Custom CAI, GMPP Handling Kit, KYB's, Jimmy C DP (U-Bend delete w/ Hi-flow cat), Flowmaster Super 40's, drilled 180° T-Stat, Alt. Rewire & Alt. Voltage Booster Combo, 605's, ZZP Motor Mounts

"The only difference between me and a madman is that I am NOT mad!" - Dali
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#211642 - 06/02/05 06:14 PM Re: GXP Review
AustinGTP Offline
Member
Registered: 05/23/03
Posts: 8077
Loc: Austin, TX
Nice post, Ray.
I'm now wanting to take a trip to my local Pontiac dealership and take one for a test drive.
IF, which I'm not, but if I were to get one, the first thing I would have to do is put a set of Flowmasters on it. I gotta hear that V8 behind a set of 40's, unresonated.
_________________________
Bobby

Died 5/1/08, resurrected 5/15/08
ASCD SD hood, 17" Bullitts, Overkill PCM, 3.4" Pulley, NGK TR55IX, K&N 9" cone filter, JimmyC D/P, U-bend removed, Flowmaster 40 series, Hooker big bore tips with resonators, S/B brake lines, drilled/slot rotors, GMPP handling kit, KYB struts, F&R strut supports, HID's, LED's, 2.5" Air Dam, red GTP overlays on custom badges, white rear insert.
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#211643 - 06/03/05 08:25 AM Re: GXP Review
rayainsw Offline
Member
Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
Quote:
Originally posted by framos242:
So does this mean that there will be a GXP in your driveway???

Sounds like it. If so, do it now with the GM Employee rate.
That is the plan.
If an agreement can be reached regarding my trade, I will buy one before the 'GMS for all' program ends.
- Ray
Trying to be patient . . .
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#211644 - 06/03/05 08:33 AM Re: GXP Review
rayainsw Offline
Member
Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
Quote:
Originally posted by Austin G T P:
. . if I were to get one, the first thing I would have to do is put a set of Flowmasters on it. I gotta hear that V8 behind a set of 40's, unresonated.
When you drive one, please do post your impressions of the exhaust. Thanks!

I know some people want really LOUD exhaust. For me, as I posted above, the GXP exhaust is “just lovely. Perfect. No need for me to address this with aftermarket equipment. For a daily (every day) driver, I would not want it any louder. I prefer to clearly hear V8 exhaust, but little or no mechanical, engine ‘thrash’. “

I was quite pleasantly surprised – and likely would not change the stock system.

I’d know better after living with it for a little while, but I expect that I would not want it any louder. And neither would my neighbors . .

- Ray
Preferring burble to **** BURBLE ***
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#211645 - 06/03/05 02:40 PM Re: GXP Review
AustinGTP Offline
Member
Registered: 05/23/03
Posts: 8077
Loc: Austin, TX
I went to the dealership to try and test drive one. They don't have any in the Austin area. He said there are about 6 or 7 in the DFW area and he can get one down here and have me in it on Monday. After already telling him about 4 times that I was not interested in buying one, only in see/hearing one, I once again told him I was not looking to buy one.
He said there is a guy here in Austin that is buying one as soon as he can decide on the color. When he decides, and they get it here, they'll call me so I can come down and take a look at it.

I hate car salesmen. Of course the first thing he wanted to know was "What's it going to take to get you in one?". I told him it will take 2 things, if you can handle the second, the first one will be a breeze.
1) You have to be able to get me out of my current car... that white GTP out there.
2) You have to produce a 2 door GP/GXP.
He starts telling me how "it could happen.."
I'm thinking, "oh yeah... how when they are going to end the production of the GP, real soon, or maybe they already have?".
Morons...
I doubt he'll even call be back.
_________________________
Bobby

Died 5/1/08, resurrected 5/15/08
ASCD SD hood, 17" Bullitts, Overkill PCM, 3.4" Pulley, NGK TR55IX, K&N 9" cone filter, JimmyC D/P, U-bend removed, Flowmaster 40 series, Hooker big bore tips with resonators, S/B brake lines, drilled/slot rotors, GMPP handling kit, KYB struts, F&R strut supports, HID's, LED's, 2.5" Air Dam, red GTP overlays on custom badges, white rear insert.
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#211646 - 06/03/05 02:51 PM Re: GXP Review
BrianR Offline
Junior Member
Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 6
Loc: Austin, TX
I've just come back to the list from a few years break. I just traded my 97 GTP for a new Greystone Metallic GXP and love it. Just a little sad since my 97 was still in great shape and ran well.

First, the V8 sounds good from inside at low rpms when accelerating. Cruising on the highway, it's quiet not like my 97 with Flowmasters and the droning. To me is sounds like a Mustang. Haven't let anyone drive it so I don't know what it sounds like from the outside except for remote start (I can't find the throttle linkage under the hood to rev it).

Austin GTP: You probable went to the same dealership I did and I might be the guy waiting to figure out what color. They don't know anything about the GXP and since they don't have one, no one will trade and they put me off for days trying to get one. When I first when in, they said they could get one for MSRP, but I used GMBuypower and got invoice quotes which they matched. I just drove my 97 to Dallas (they guaranteed a trade in value without seeing it) and drove back in my GXP. After that, they called saying the color I wanted was bought (yea by me, those idiots).

If you want to see it, we may be able to meet up.
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#211647 - 06/03/05 04:08 PM Re: GXP Review
rayainsw Offline
Member
Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
"(I can't find the throttle linkage under the hood to rev it)."

I don't think you will find a traditional 'linkage' - I believe that at least on the GXP, it is now an electronic linkage.
- Ray
Not an automotive engineer, but . . .
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#211648 - 06/03/05 06:11 PM Re: GXP Review
AustinGTP Offline
Member
Registered: 05/23/03
Posts: 8077
Loc: Austin, TX
Hey Brian, I went to the dealer on 183 at Lamar, Champion I think. The guy I talked to was an idiot. I told him I wanted to check out a GXP, so he took me over to the Bonneville's and said.. "that's what you want!", I said "no it's not... I want to see the Grand Prix, not the Bonneville."
I just might have to take you up on your offer. I really want to check one out, if anything just to hear it. I'm going to be a bit tied up tomorrow, it's the little princess' birthday party. I may not be too busy on Sun if you're available.
What part of town are you in?
I'm at Parmer & Mopac.
_________________________
Bobby

Died 5/1/08, resurrected 5/15/08
ASCD SD hood, 17" Bullitts, Overkill PCM, 3.4" Pulley, NGK TR55IX, K&N 9" cone filter, JimmyC D/P, U-bend removed, Flowmaster 40 series, Hooker big bore tips with resonators, S/B brake lines, drilled/slot rotors, GMPP handling kit, KYB struts, F&R strut supports, HID's, LED's, 2.5" Air Dam, red GTP overlays on custom badges, white rear insert.
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#211649 - 06/04/05 09:57 AM Re: GXP Review
BrianR Offline
Junior Member
Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 6
Loc: Austin, TX
I sent an email to you Excite account.
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#211650 - 06/08/05 04:23 PM Re: GXP Review
BrianR Offline
Junior Member
Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 6
Loc: Austin, TX
Anyone with another GXP (or any technical background):

I have the remote and auto dual zone. The manual states that after remote starting the system will cool or heat depending upon what I set last. I had an aftermarket and this basically turned on all accessory power so if I left the AC in max it would come on.

Now, when I remote start, no accessory power comes on, but the fans do blow but not very cold air. The radio and dual climate temps do not come on. Does anyone else have this problem or is it designed not to fully use the AC? I haven't tried setting the controls to auto, but have left them in manual.

Also, I get static from the monsoon speakers when the radio is off or muted and also when I open the doors to get in the car (after ~10 secs, it stops). A sound person said the amps aren't turning off and picking up interference. Anyone else have this? It's really faint so the only time I hear it if it's quiet outside.

Thanks
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#211651 - 06/09/05 07:55 AM Re: GXP Review
rayainsw Offline
Member
Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianR:
Anyone with another GXP (or any technical background):

I have the remote and auto dual zone. The manual states that after remote starting the system will cool or heat depending upon what I set last. I had an aftermarket and this basically turned on all accessory power so if I left the AC in max it would come on.

Now, when I remote start, no accessory power comes on, but the fans do blow but not very cold air. The radio and dual climate temps do not come on. Does anyone else have this problem or is it designed not to fully use the AC? I haven't tried setting the controls to auto, but have left them in manual.

Also, I get static from the monsoon speakers when the radio is off or muted and also when I open the doors to get in the car (after ~10 secs, it stops). A sound person said the amps aren't turning off and picking up interference. Anyone else have this? It's really faint so the only time I hear it if it's quiet outside.

Thanks
I have an appointment to drive (and possibly buy) a GXP this afternoon.

I will try to check on both these issues - and will let you know anything I learn.

- Ray
Heard of both these 'issues' before. . .
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#211652 - 06/09/05 06:54 PM Re: GXP Review
rayainsw Offline
Member
Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
I bought a GXP this PM.

More later, but for now:

After driving it for a quick eval. / shake-down in the west NC mountains, buying it, and driving back home - I am very, very pleased with the car and with my decision to travel (125 miles each way) to another state to buy it – as the buying experience was simple, honest and straightforward in every respect.

Black. XM. Premium Audio. Leather / Suede (Heated) Front Seats. Dual Zone A/C. Sunroof.

MSRP: $33,000.

Torque.

Exhaust.

Yum!

More impressions, etc. when I have more time . .

- Ray
GXP owner (finally!)
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#211653 - 06/09/05 07:00 PM Re: GXP Review
AustinGTP Offline
Member
Registered: 05/23/03
Posts: 8077
Loc: Austin, TX
Congrats!
They are sweet.
_________________________
Bobby

Died 5/1/08, resurrected 5/15/08
ASCD SD hood, 17" Bullitts, Overkill PCM, 3.4" Pulley, NGK TR55IX, K&N 9" cone filter, JimmyC D/P, U-bend removed, Flowmaster 40 series, Hooker big bore tips with resonators, S/B brake lines, drilled/slot rotors, GMPP handling kit, KYB struts, F&R strut supports, HID's, LED's, 2.5" Air Dam, red GTP overlays on custom badges, white rear insert.
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#211654 - 06/10/05 07:19 AM Re: GXP Review
rayainsw Offline
Member
Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
Link to 1 pic - taken a few miles from the Dealer - in the mountains of west NC - before it rained . . .

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v298/rayainsw/P1070229test17x.jpg
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#211655 - 06/13/05 02:53 PM Re: GXP Review
rayainsw Offline
Member
Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
Impressions, as promised:

Again (skip if you don’t care about background) I have been driving RWD or AWD cars the past 5 years or so. MSRP on my last 3 has been approx. $38 – 42K. I have enjoyed each of them. I will refer to at least 2 other cars here, 1 – The 2003 Lincoln LS V8 Sport that I traded in, and 2 – The 2006 M45 Sport that I test drove 3 times, and did not buy. (Details below, in case anyone cares.)

Given that the GXP is FWD. And given that the MSRP is $33K with everything available except NAV and side airbags. And given an actual transaction price of something just below $27K (my paperwork is in the car) this qualifies as a ‘screaming bargain’, in my book. OK, a ‘deep, throbbing, rumbling, V8 rapping exhaust’ bargain???

The FWD advantages are well publicized. The downsides, particularly for a high power / high torque application (torque steer, front weight bias) have been addressed so well in the GXP that I do not see them as significant.

My experience and observations (in somewhat random order) so far:

Upon arrival at the dealership in NC (previously only in touch via email and telephone) I was able to take a quick evaluation / shake-down run. Alone. I could have driven longer, but having driven 3 previously, I really just wanted to make certain that there were no issues with this particular example. I did quickly find a tightly twisting side road just off US 441 / 23 (in Dillsboro, NC) to check the steering response and handling (at 6 tenths or so – unfamiliar road, no runoff areas or shoulders) under those conditions. Very nice. Fun.

Then I drove home. Trip is about 125 miles, generally south and then southeast, starting with typical NC / North GA mountain (tall hill?) area road conditions. A lot of up then down grades – as much as (posted) 7%. Not great for gas mileage. Some road construction. Some small towns with lowered speed limits. Generally well maintained roads. Then a 50+ mile run down I985 to I85 back toward the north side of Atlanta. Ran at 65 to 75 most of this leg. A couple of blasts over 80. Just because I wanted to . . . Traffic was building as I approached the I985 / I85 split, so I took Satellite Blvd for several miles – see below.

Then I drove my typical commute into Mid-Town and (and back) . . Fuel mileage: Based on a VERY limited sample (1 tank, details on the mileage thread), I expect that the 27 MPG highway estimate could be achieved in an “open road, light traffic, steady 70+ mph” scenario. And that is what I was hoping for. For such a performance level, for a car with a (relatively speaking) big honkin’ V8, for a car that I drive to enjoy, I am quite satisfied – and will continue to be even more satisfied, if I can achieve 26 or 27 mpg on long, primarily highway trips!

The ride is excellent under almost all conditions. Overall I rate it (surprisingly) actually slightly better than my Lincoln LS. It is clearly better when traversing a set of RR tracks I drive over several times each week. It is as good an my LS in a few other areas, and not quite as good in only a couple. (Fortunately, the ride in not any worse in any circumstances I encounter regularly! Worn concrete surfaces, like long, slightly bowed upward, bridge deck sections, with ridged expansion joints between the slabs, for example, it handles just a bit worse. It starts to set up a slight harmonic that I’d likely find quite annoying if I experienced it very often. And the tires do transmit some ‘thump’ over any short, sharp bump, like on broken pavement. Often, this is as much perceived as noise, rather than much wheel / tire motion pass through. And any such abrupt motion is quickly smothered by the Bilsteins.)

Now, I am not suggesting that there is no impression that you are turning fairly hefty sized front tires (255 / 45 x 18) supporting a large percentage of the total vehicle weight. Just that it is an awareness without any real attendant downside. . . The GXP goes where I intend, it deals with application of power while turning with surprising grace. It always feel tied down and very well damped.

Coming back from NC, I drove it down a stretch of Satellite north of Pleasant Hill Rd. in Gwinnett County (North of Atlanta, GA) to further evaluate the handling and ride. This is not a challenging stretch because of broken pavement or because you can explore the outer limits of the handling envelope. You can’t, and I would not on public roads, anyway. And there are rather high curbs and no shoulders for the entire length I drive. The challenge here is more because at even the speed limit and a bit above (45 – 50 mph) the almost continual varying radius turns combined with rolling elevation changes and many areas where the pavement has settled, developing sharp dips and longer amplitude drops and rises stresses up / down and side to side damping. This combination really tests the total suspension tuning of any car I have driven here. The GXP again felt extraordinarily well damped and controlled without significant harshness. Kudos.

The seats are quite comfortable. Lumbar support adjustability is excellent – the ability to move the support up and down as well is appreciated. And the seat bottom front raises / rear lowers = excellent support when I want it for my thighs. I expect that the wide range of seat adjustability will be useful on long drives, minimizing fatigue.

Aside: 1/2 of lumbar adjustment (up / down, I expect) goes away for 2006 – 4 way becomes 2 way . .


The instruments and displays are clear and arranged logically. The controls are arranged sensibly and work well – mostly intuitive. I do not find the trim quality offensive. It is not an Audi interior (another thread) but it appears well screwed (welded, snapped, glued) together and nothing strikes me as misaligned or mis-fitted. Overall build quality is acceptable to me. I have noticed no body / chassis flex and no squeaks or rattles - so far.

The engine lights almost immediately. I happen to find the mechanical sound of the starter grinding as the motor turns over somewhat irritating . .

The TAPShift manumatic function works very well, resulting in excellent (quick but well damped) up and downshifts when requested. This is a key point for me, and I am quite pleased. Amazingly, I would place shift response and execution above the 5 speed manumatic in my LS. Downshifts would be a bit better if the GXP has the really trick ‘rev match on downshift’ that the M45 does have. Oh, well. They are still well done.

I enjoy the big torque low down style of power delivery. A very personal preference, clearly. And I also prefer the low RPM at cruise. 2,000 rpm is over 70 mph. Just a bias - one of mine that is not entirely logical. At steady cruise, the exhaust fades into the general background noise, and is covered by the stereo even at low volume.

The brakes are powerful and linear in response. Confidence inspiring.

Outward visibility is excellent. The inside and outside mirrors are placed and sized nicely to allow me to deal with Hot-Lanta area (NUTS!) traffic.

Oh, did I mention that I enjoy the acceleration? The ‘lunge’ in first or second gear is entertaining. And the exhaust tone / volume is just right. For me. (Such a childish pleasure, for one so old – sigh.) It certainly does feel quicker than my LS. And the smooth, strong, immediate power delivery leaves me with a feeling of effortlessness. And it feels like the quickness is right up there with the M45, once rolling, though the GXP is likely more of a challenge to launch - if absolute, maximum timed acceleration is required. I will be interested to read additional instrumented tests, when published. . .

And I am enjoying XM. This is my first experience with Satellite Radio. I will be buying a subscription, for several reasons.

Bottom Line. For me, at this point in time (with GMS pricing) this GXP is the ideal compromise for what I need – and what I want. There is no significant flaw – for me. And the value proposition is valid, again - for me.

I was thinking while stuck in traffic on Friday evening that one thing I really appreciate (as a [very] long time computer programmer, systems analyst, and IT manager) is the complete systems approach taken in the GXP. They did not just increase the HP and TQ. They devised an exhaust system that convincingly mimics a true dual system sound, and featuring low restriction. They also developed a thoroughly improved braking system, and completely revised suspension that works very well with the much larger wheel / tire package. They cleaned up the front & rear fascias. Etc. Etc. A systems approach. Works for me. (Obviously.)

Yes, I expect that the depreciation on the GXP will be steep. It was on my ’97. It was on every car I have bought recently. That’s just the way it is. And assuming I pile on miles as I have recently, I will be out of the original GM warrantee in around 2 years. Trade or buy MasterGuard extended warrantee coverage??? A decision for another day . .

Just my opinions . .
- Ray
Truly sad to see that GM has such problems, when SOME of their products are exceptional!!!

= = =

My 2003 Lincoln LS V8 Sport. I drove this car just over 25,000 miles in 17 months. It is documented at roughly high 14s at 96 mph in the quarter. RWD. 3.9L V8, HP / TQ = 280 / 286. Weight approx. 3800. Shod with 235 / 50 x 17 Michelins (not very sporty – I would likely have replaced them with Pilot Sport A/S, had I kept the car much longer . .)

The 2006 M45 Sport is quite a car. If I decided to buy a car in this price class, this is what I’d buy. It ** IS ** , however, in the $50K (or more) price range. With possible discounts to $1,000 / $1,500 over Invoice, if one is willing to travel. Point is: Much, much more expensive than a GXP. I in no way mean to say or imply that this car is a direct competitor to the GXP. At very low 14s to very high 13s, it appears a bit quicker than the GXP. I decided on the GXP largely due to the fact that (for me) the GXP delivers 90% or even 95+% of the enjoyment of a $50K car, for something like 60% of the cash . . . And I can always find other things (including more $$s to my 401(k) ) to do with the difference!
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#211656 - 06/30/05 02:17 PM Re: GXP Review
rayainsw Offline
Member
Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 51
Loc: atlanta
"dual climate temps do not come on. Does anyone else have this problem or is it designed not to fully use the AC? I haven't tried setting the controls to auto, but have left them in manual."

From GM:

P/N: 12603159
CVN: 0000993D
Description: New software to address A/C performance during remote start.

- Ray
Hoping to have this addressed at first service . .
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