- First and foremost--LS2 Corvette V8!.
- Seats four full-size adults.
- Clean exterior styling.
- Decent build quality.
- Good handling for such a heavy car.
- Functionality of optional hood scoops doubtful.
- Rear-seat access is a chore.
- Pricey for a Pontiac.
- It's actually an import, thus upsetting hardcore domestic fans.
- Needs more to differentiate from older model.
Press Coverage :
Pontiac GTO – the original muscle car – was re-introduced last year and returns with more power and style for 2005. A new LS2 6.0L V-8 engine replaces the LS1 5.7L engine, bringing with it an increase in horsepower and torque.
The ’05 GTO packs 400 horsepower (295 kw) – up from 350 horses (261 kw) – and 395 lb.-ft. of torque (546 Nm), up from 365 lb.-ft. (495 Nm). Transmission choices are the same as the ’04 model’s: The Hydra-Matic 4L60-E four-speed automatic is standard and the Tremec six-speed manual is optional. GTO’s more powerful engine should lower the 0-60 time to less than 5 seconds.
Enthusiasts will immediately spot the brawnier ’05 GTO, thanks to new badging and a revised rear fascia that incorporates a new dual-exhaust system – it splits the GTO’s two outlets, routing them to opposite sides of the rear fascia. The exhaust tips are polished for a more refined appearance.
Also available is a new hood design incorporating a pair of stylish air scoops. The scoops draw fresh air in to the GTO’s engine compartment.
The badges identifying the ’05 GTO’s bigger V-8 include a “6.0” badge on the trunk lid and revised “GTO” fender badges, which now incorporate “6.0 Litre” designations. The original 1964 GTO also wore “6.0 Litre” fender badges, but at a time when almost every other American manufacturer referenced engine size in cubic inches.
Along with the GTO’s power increase comes improved braking performance from larger brake rotors, calipers and pads. The calipers are painted red and the front calipers feature the GTO logo.
Additional changes to the ’05 GTO include two new colors (blue and grey), as well as driver foot rest. A line of regular production accessories (RPAs) based on the 2004 GTO Performance Plus SEMA concept vehicle is scheduled for start-of-production availability. The accessories include a tall rear spoiler, front and rear fascia extensions, rocker molding extensions and grille inserts. As part of GM’s RPA program, the accessories can be ordered and installed on the vehicle prior to delivery.
Compared to the Gen III-based LS1, the 2005 GTO’s LS2 V-8 incorporates several significant changes to help improve performance. The block is an all-new casting with cylinder bores measuring 4.00 inches (101.6 mm) in diameter. The cylinder heads and camshaft are revised, too, to deliver the airflow necessary to complement the engine’s larger displacement. Other changes include new aluminum block casting with revised oil galleries, flat-top piston design with lower ring tension which reduces friction, piston floating wrist pins which help quiet the engine, more efficient ignition coils, raised compression to 10.9:1, larger 90-mm single-blade throttle body, reduced-mass water pump design with improved sealing capability, raised engine “redline”, and a more powerful engine controller.
The new GTO is a contemporary performer. Its traits include impressive cornering abilities, a smooth ride and surprising comfort. The drivetrain rides on a 109.8-inch (279-cm) wheelbase, with a low stance that enhances the wide-track feel behind the wheel. The front track measures 61.4 inches (156 cm) and the rear track is 62.1 inches (158 cm) wide.
The fully independent suspension features MacPherson struts in front and a semi-trailing arm design in the rear, with specially tuned strut valving and spring rates. Direct-acting stabilizer bars and a variable ratio power steering system also are tuned to provide a sporty feel and increased driver feedback. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels and performance tires are matched to the performance-tuned suspension. Traction control and a limited slip differential also come standard.
The GTO’s premium interior is accented by a harmonious blend of details, complementing its dynamic driving experience. All-leather seating, as well as a leather-covered steering wheel and shifter knob, immediately conveys luxury, while items such as stainless steel sill plates, metallic-look steering wheel styling, satin nickel-look accent trim, and racing-inspired drilled metallic pedals add sportiness to the environment.
The front and rear sports seats are configured in a traditional 2+2 configuration, with side bolsters and the “GTO” name embroidered on the front seats. Interior seat and trim colors may be coordinated to the exterior color, with red, blue, purple and black interiors available. This splash of color extends from the seats to the door inserts to the lower part of the instrument panel to the gauge cluster.
Every GTO comes well equipped with a thoughtful package of interior amenities and safety features, including air conditioning, Blaupunkt 200-watt audio system with six-disc in-dash CD changer and 10 speakers, two cupholders, cruise control, rear defogger, power door locks with lockout protection, programmable keyless entry with laser-etched key for added security, eight-way power adjustable driver and front passenger seats with power-assisted rear seat access feature, theft deterrent system, and an integrated driver information center located below the instrument cluster that includes readouts for average speed, average miles per gallon, trip odometer, trip time remaining, trip distance remaining, fuel used and instant fuel mileage. There’s even a stopwatch feature and a user-programmable overspeed alarm.
All seating positions in the 2005 GTO have three-point safety belts. Retractors for front outboard seating positions have built-in load limiters that allow a controlled amount of give in the belt, thereby reducing the peak load on the chest during the “ride down” in a crash. Dual frontal air bags are standard and GTO is equipped with child seat anchors.
The Pontiac GTO is available with a ground effects kit sure to please any tuning enthusiast. The kit includes front fascia extensions, rear fascia,grille inserts, a rear spoiler, side rockers and exhaust tips.
For a bit of trivia, the Australian Holden Monaro, on which the Pontiac GTO is based, is actually built on Holden's Commodore sedan chassis, which in turn is a stretched version of the German Opel Omega chassis. The rear-wheel-drive Opel Omega chassis dates back to the early 90s. And if you remember, the Cadillac Catera was a rebadged Omega with Cadiilac styling cues. If you look hard enough, you will see Catera design cues on the GTO. This is information Pontiac would like to keep quiet about.
It doesn’t feel like any other car in the General’s North American lineup, not even the Corvette with which it shares a powertrain. Steering feel is fantastic, not quite razor-sharp like the Z06’s but totally natural-feeling, quick, crisp and responsive. Refreshing, really, given the vague, artificial-feeling systems found in other Pontiacs like the Grand Prix. The wheel itself has a nice heft, its leather-wrapped four-spoke shape providing good grip as the steering gets weighty at higher speeds.
On the twisty roads around General Motors’ Milford proving grounds, the GTO simply shines, its chassis almost unflappable over road imperfections and through aggressively driven curves. Its four-wheel independent suspension—MacPherson strut and progressive springs in front, multilinks with semi-trailing arms in back—hunkers down nicely in the turns and rides almost flat. Its 17-inch 225/50R BFGoodrich GForce TAs give a good deal of grip, too, and help the four-wheel disc brakes—11.7-inch vented fronts and 11.3-inch solid rears—and four-channel antilock braking system pull the car to straight stops with little drama.
With all its handling and straight-line prowess, the GTO’s ride never approaches the too-harsh feel of out-and-out sports cars. The car moves smoothly over the road, its taut suspension reading every nuance without bursting a kidney, and transmitting a decent amount of information about what’s going on underneath your seat. The suspension rebounds quickly off of bigger bumps, without upsetting the car but never feeling the least bit wallowy. And only a minimal amount of road noise makes its way into the cabin.
2004-2005 Pontiac GTO
5,665 cc / 350 hp / 365 lb-ft / 3725 lbs / 0-60 mph 5.3 sec.
1998-2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
5,665 cc / 305-325 hp / 335-350 lb-ft / 3495-3627 lbs / 0-60 mph 5.2 sec.