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Revived GTO mild on styling, hot going down road!

THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION
Thursday, June 30, 2005
By James M. Miller​

At the gasoline station where I was filling up the test drive vehicle, another customer asked, "Is that the Pontiac G6?"

Well, no, it was the 2005 Pontiac GTO.

While it has a lot going for it, including 400 horses crammed under its hood, the powerful rear-drive, midsized coupe from Down Under has yet to carve out its own strong public image.

When Ford has a hot new Mustang with styling cues from the original and the Chrysler Group has a cool retro-look Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger, a car called the GTO should be more distinctive.

Maybe it's just bad timing. A decade ago, this car - a modern rendition of the muscle cars of 30 or 40 years ago - would have stood out more and been received with more enthusiasm. But now we're into "retro" looks.

There's nothing bad in the GTO's styling, but it seems a bit mild for something trying to revive that legendary model name.

It's also a little odd that General Motors chose to reinvent the GTO by rebadging a two-door car built by Holden, GM's division in Australia.

The General might have found more acceptance of this car by borrowing one of the other names from the Holden lineup - like Cruze, Monaro or maybe even the Jackaroo, if the marketing folks wanted to emphasize the Australian heritage.

Make no mistake, there's nothing mild about the car's performance. From the first rumble at startup to punching it to pass on the expressway, the engine is ready to go.

The styling of the first edition of the reborn GTO in 2004 drew a less than an enthusiastic response from some quarters, so designers gave the GTO a couple of scoops on the hood and tweaked the front fascia for 2005.

The 2005 GTO has more horses under those two scoops. The previous model had a 5.7-liter V-8 engine rated at 350 horses, while the latest version has a 6-liter V-8 rated at 400.

As fans of muscle cars know, there's no substitute for more power.

The test model is fitted with a four-speed automatic. The GTO is also available with a six-speed manual transmission, which is probably more fun but might mean more shifting than some people would like. A six-speed isn't that much fun in stop-and-go traffic.

I like the way a rear-drive performance car handles, and the truth is that a lot of today's machines handle better than many of the classic muscle cars. With the new GTO, you can hit the gas in a curve and power through with confidence.

Straight-line acceleration is great. It has a nice exhaust note, but hard-core muscle car fans might wish for more growl and rumble.

Like the Chevrolet Camaros, Pontiac Firebirds and Ford Mustangs of the 1960s and '70s, the new GTO has a small back seat that's not easy to get into, and probably is best left to smaller children.

The GTO's price includes a gas-guzzler tax of $1,300. The tax is supposed to be a deterrent, but I suspect that most people who want a car like the GTO and would pay $33,000 for it will be just as willing to pay $34,300.

QUICK TAKE
2005 Pontiac GTO
BASE PRICE: $32,295

PRICE AS TESTED: $34,295

DRIVETRAIN: Front engine,

rear drive
ENGINE: 6-liter V-8

HORSEPOWER: 400

MPG: 16 city, 21 highway

BUILT: Elizabeth, Australia

***
 

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i'm sure just about anyone here already knows this, but it's important to note that the gas-guzzler tax is only applied to A4s. M6s have no gas guzzler tax, but that option runs and extra $695. Still, that puts you $605 cheaper than the A4.

Mike
 

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With all the talk about the subtle looks of the GTO, the original wasn't much different in appearence than the Tempest it was based on. It wasn't it's own model till 1966 and in 1969 it weighted 3,672 lbs. So what goes around, comes around :)
 

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Wow, this guy is an idiot. He obviously "reviewed" the car after reading other reviews, then peeking in the window at a real one. Only room in the back seat for small children? WTF?

However, he does have a firm grasp of the obvious:

The General might have found more acceptance of this car by borrowing one of the other names from the Holden lineup - like Cruze, Monaro...
OK, good, but then...

...or maybe even the Jackaroo, if the marketing folks wanted to emphasize the Australian heritage.
Jackaroo? (1) WTF are you smoking and (2) Can I have some?

And this insicive piece of "No-Sh1t Sherlock":

I like the way a rear-drive performance car handles, and the truth is that a lot of today's machines handle better than many of the classic muscle cars.
Thanks, Mario!
 

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Another less-than-stellar review. Big suprise, I dont know why I even bother reading these. I know some of you dont like the spoiler or scoops but I think the car is beautiful just the way it is. I am happy I was able to buy a Pontiac and be so happy with it, giving some well-deserved money to an American car company.
 

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I'd venture a guess that if anyone could jump into a factory new 60's - 70's musclecar today (Chevelle, Charger, GTO, Cuda, Camaro, Mustang, ...you name it) they would be appalled at how bad they were. But that was 35-40 years ago. Bias-Ply tires, tempermental carbeurators, solid rear axles, drum brakes, shift levers measured in feet, seats that came all the way up to the bottom of your shoulder blades, no head restraints, over assisted power steering via recirculating ball, 13 MPG, comical instruments, marginal headlights, and so on. Good trunk space though and nice vinyl roofing.

Yeah, it's no wonder than even a Nissan Altima is worlds ahead.

Jackaroo would have been cool but Koala GT would appeal to the chicks.
The Marsupial 8 would give the broadest recognition to the land of origin.
Of course the Platypus Stinger 6.0 would be a contender too.

Oh yeah, if you have a small child that is 6ft tall and weighs less than 225lbs I can assure you they will be comfortable in the back seat of the GTO. I can't comment on their suitability for larger children.
 

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C5ORGTO said:
I have a G6, and it looks nothing like a GTO.
To most people, at first glance the cars do look similar, expecially looking straight at the front end. And I get asked all the time if mine is a G6 or some other Gsomething. The car wash guy insisted that my car had offered a V6 for several years, and that the V8 was a special option. He still doesn't believe that this is only a 2 year old model in the US.
 

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The only design cue I don't like (aside from the spoiler) is the quintiscential Pontiac nose/grills. I would have liked one a little more like a Holden, or anything else for that matter.
 

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I wonder if someone could design a full width grille that would fit the bumper once you cut the middle piece out. It would have to have a flush bezel surround to make it look factory.. I think it would look good .. Here is my poor attempt at painting it.
 
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