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Official: Pontiac Solstice Coupe at NYIAS

All season Solstice

All season Solstice

The Pontiac Solstice has been living up to GM's expectations and has today resulted in the addition of a new model to the Solstice range, the Pontiac Solstice Coupe. The Solstice Coupe will arrive at dealerships in early 2009.

The Pontiac Solstice is based on Europe's Opel GT Roadster but has now surpassed its preceptor. The Solstice Coupe on show at the the New York International Auto Show is based on the GXP model, powered by a 2.0L turbocharged Ecotec engine with 260 horsepower (194 kW). The regular Solstice Coupe will feature a 2.4 liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine generating 173 horsepower (129 kW).

The Coupe is a multi-functional car with its detachable roof, after all summer will eventually make it up to Maine too. “The coupe has all the design cues and pleasing performance of the original roadster, and is an all-season alternative for people who enjoy open-air driving,” said Jim Bunnell, Buick-Pontiac-GMC general manager.

EDAG had already once put a hard-top onto the Solstice too, with a less slanted roof line, but Pontiac primarily took inspiration from their own 2002 Pontiac Solstice Coupe Concept. “The sleek lines of the new roof give the car a fresh appearance, yet only minimal changes were made to the body structure,” said Bruce Kosbab, chief engineer.

Source: GM Corp
Published Mar 19, 2008 5:54 am By Frank de Leeuw van Weenen

Hardtop Extends Appeal of Classic Design

Drawing inspiration from classic sports cars, the 2009 Pontiac Solstice coupe was created for drivers who appreciate both dramatic styling and balanced performance. Unveiled at the New York Auto Show as a GXP model, the Solstice coupe builds on the success of the convertible model while offering a greater range of all-season driving opportunities.

For drivers still wanting an open-air experience, the coupe also features a removable roof panel, fully opening the cockpit to all of the sensations of the road.

“Today’s Solstice is the top-selling roadster in the U.S., and we believe this new model has even broader appeal,” said Jim Bunnell, Buick-Pontiac-GMC general manager. “The coupe has all the design cues and pleasing performance of the original roadster, and is an all-season alternative for people who enjoy open-air driving.”

The coupe is expected to arrive in Pontiac dealerships in early 2009.

The making of a coupe

The new coupe was inspired by the Solstice coupe concept shown at the North American International Auto Show in 2002. True to the concept, it is a modern sports car with classic lines. The roofline has a “fastback” shape with stylized “rails” that run from the front of the roof to the rear, culminating in a stylish and functional ducktail-style rear spoiler.

The coupe’s roof is fixed aft of the B-pillars, with side windows and a rear liftglass for access to the cargo area. The roof panel is easily removed from the passenger compartment, and an optional soft roof cover stores in the cargo area. A home storage case for the roof panel will be offered through GM Accessories.

Engineering the design

Despite its dramatic new look, engineers made only minor structural changes to create the Solstice coupe. The rear fenders and rear fascia are the same as those on the convertible. New taillight assemblies flow more smoothly into the tapered roofline.

“The Solstice coupe represents a major collaboration of design and engineering,” said Bruce Kosbab, chief engineer. “The sleek lines of the new roof give the car a fresh appearance, yet only minimal changes were made to the body structure – it’s a great example of building on an already solid foundation.”

Lightweight structure

The roof’s structure was strengthened with additional support elements, including an aluminum roof bow attached with aluminum brackets. The bow and brackets are stiff, yet low in mass, a design feature that pervades the coupe’s overall construction. The roof includes a lightweight sheet molding compound cover affixed to a rigid aluminum frame for additional lightweight support. A lightweight magnesium roof panel frame weighs just 31 pounds (14.2 kg) and can be removed by one person. The cover is also made of sheet molding compound.

Powertrain and suspension

Because the change to a coupe body style resulted in only a slight increase in curb weight, no drivetrain or suspension changes were necessary to shift from the convertible body structure. Initial tests have shown that the Solstice coupe will deliver ride and handling, acceleration, braking and fuel economy comparable to the convertible model.

The coupe is powered by a standard 2.4L Ecotec four-cylinder engine that generates 173 horsepower (129 kW), while the GXP version is equipped with a 2.0L turbocharged Ecotec engine with 260 horsepower (194 kW).

Interior additions

Much of the coupe’s interior remains the same as that of the convertible. However, the area behind the seats was redesigned for easy access to the cargo area, and a storage tray was mounted directly behind the headrests.

Removing the folding-top mechanism made way for a new, flat cargo floor and several storage compartments. The cargo area’s covered bins provide secure storage for smaller items. Cargo tie-down hooks help secure irregularly shaped items.

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Comments (15)

richie0380
Like the article said, the car is based on european Opel GT Roadster. Does anybody know, if there will be an Opel GT Coupe in future too...?
Apr 8, 2008 6:34 pm
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BMWer
Nice car overall. Never liked the roadster, but looks way better as a coupe. When will American manufacturers get it in their heads that chrome is BUTT UGLY??!?! I don't see anyone else ever doing this, why them? CHROME IS OUT!!!
Mar 20, 2008 12:43 am
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ck314
Chrome has always been around, and far from being out it's a sign of distinction most of the time, except on radical sports cars. However I agree chromed wheels are generally butt ugly.
Mar 20, 2008 12:55 am
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gmfan09
What chrome are u talking about? The wheels?
Mar 20, 2008 4:36 am
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BMWer
Oh yeah, sorry, I meant to specify chrome rims. I don't mind chrome on the body as long as its very selective and there;s very little of it. I find chrome looks cheap. For some reason, I keep seeing manufacturers in the US use chrome wheels. If I recall correctly, the new ZR1 has chrome wheels, the viper had chrome wheels...these all end up looking like tacky afermarket rims. They should stick with higher quality finishes, such as polished, anodized, or brushed finishes.
Mar 21, 2008 8:26 pm
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greenflag
Good looking car, better than the roadster. The rear window/rear deck section is almost a pefect copy of BMW's Z4 coupe,which is a good thing.
Mar 19, 2008 4:00 pm
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ck314
Very nicely executed, with some british taste. And, yes, Solstice was the base for Opel's GT. Too bad the latter was assigned the infamous dashboard from the Sky instead of this.
Mar 19, 2008 3:41 pm
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Joe_Limon
meh on looks, I prefer the sky with its chiseled edges.
Mar 19, 2008 3:02 pm
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carcrazy1234
sadly... i agree :P it IS probably the best looking american car
Mar 19, 2008 1:16 pm
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122
Side profile somewhat reminds me of a TVR. Not a bad car to look at i guess.
Mar 19, 2008 12:16 pm
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gmfan09
Tell me this car isn't sexy as hell!
Mar 19, 2008 11:39 am
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joelynn
Very nice indeed, though why not admit it's a targa? the word is never mentioned, and in my opinion it was a great body style thats rather overlooked these days in favour of the often ungainly folding metal roof. also didn't the Solstice come before the Opel GT roadster?
Mar 19, 2008 11:38 am
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Bristol411S3
Targa is actually a term used exclusively by Porsche, although us petrolheads often use it generically when describing cars with removable roof panels.
Mar 19, 2008 6:07 pm
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gorgonzola
I would totally agree...aslo the only good looking american car itnerior is not "tooo bad" either.....
Mar 19, 2008 10:17 am
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mickey_f1
This is one of the very few good looking and probably good performing American cars! It just gives a presentiment of a great car!
Mar 19, 2008 10:11 am
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