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Pontiac Fires Up 2005 GTO

Bonnet scoops should please GTO traditionalists

After a considerable time in hibernation, the Pontiac GTO was re-introduced in 2003 in America, and now an updated model returns with more power and style for 2005.

While its Australian donor car, the GM Holden Monaro, gets a tuned 5.7-litre Gen III V8 small block engine worth 350 horsepower or 260 kilowatts, fans of the Pontiac nameplate will be treated to even more power and torque - not to mention a few more cubic inches too.

The 2005 model GTO is now powered by the same engine that Chevrolet wedged into the stunning C6 Corvette (click here for the C6 article), General Motor's new Gen IV small block LS2 V8, which displaces 6.0-litres.

While environmentalists may be pounding their desks with rage at such a huge engine, one that laughs in the face of the move towards more fuel efficient technologies such as hybrids and diesels, the enthusiasts will no doubt be licking their lips with glee at this new petrol-powered pushrod V8.

Thanks to the Gen IV LS2 engine, power has been improved dramatically - the '05 GTO now outputs 295kW (400hp), which is up from 260kW (350hp), and this figure is expected to arrive high in the rev range like the new C6 Corvette, @ around 6000rpm.

The 364 cubic inch 8-cylinder mill still makes use of 2-valves per cylinder (one intake, one exhaust), and torque levels have been boosted, rising from 495Nm (365lb.-ft.) to a whopping 546Nm (395 lb.-ft.) of torque.

Compared to the Gen III-based LS1, the 2005 GTO's LS2 V8 incorporates several significant changes to help improve performance, including upgraded cylinder heads and camshafts, that help deliver the airflow necessary to complement the engine's larger capacity.

The GTO's power is transferred to the car's 18-inch rear alloy wheels via either the ageing and clunky Hydra-Matic 4L60-E 4-speed automatic (which is standard), or the optional Tremec 6-speed manual, the latter transmission gifting the 2005 model GTO with a 0-96km/h (0-60mph) time of "less than 5 seconds" according to Pontiac.

Visual changes to the new Pontiac sports car coincide with those of the VZ Monaro (click here for the article), and enthusiasts will immediately spot the brawnier '05 GTO thanks to new badging and a revised rear fascia that incorporates a new dual-exhaust system, which gives the rear a wider, more muscular appearance.

Also available is a new hood design incorporating a pair of stylish air scoops, that Pontiac says "draw fresh air in to the GTO's engine compartment".

The badges identifying the new GTO's bigger V8 include a "6.0" badge on the trunk lid and revised "GTO" fender badges, which now incorporate "6.0 Litre" designations as well. 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.

Together with the GTO's power increase and updated look comes improved braking performance from larger brake rotors, calipers and pads. The calipers are painted red and the front calipers feature the GTO logo, which is a nice touch.

In addition to the customised brake calipers, 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 - so if something does fall off you can blame the factory fitters and not your best mate.

Four leather bucket seats come as standard for the 2005 Pontiac GTO, as well as a leather-covered steering wheel and shifter knob, while items such as stainless steel sill plates and racing-inspired drilled metallic pedals add some sportiness to the package.

All told, the new 2005 model Pontiac GTO has enhanced in order to bolster sales of the sports car, and thanks to the more advanced - and not to mention bigger engine - it increases acceleratory performance significantly, and the addition of the twin bonnet scoops and fat exhaust pipes were added after customer feedback indicated that these traditional styling cues were sorely missed in the GTO's initial 21st century offering.
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