September 27, 2002
GM reveals 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix
Dallas, Texas and Oshawa, Ontario – Pontiac, the “Excitement” division of General Motors, today unveiled the ninth generation of its midsize performance sedan – the 2004 Grand Prix.
David Whittaker, vehicle line executive for premium midsize and luxury vehicles, says the vehicle development group took everything that was successful with the current Grand Prix and improved even more. “We know Grand Prix has a large and loyal following, so we took what people loved about it and concentrated on making it better inside, outside and under the skin.”
“What began with the sleek design of the 2003 Vibe and Solstice concept car can now be seen in this Grand Prix and soon after the all-new GTO,” said Pontiac GMC president, Lynn Myers.
The car’s smooth, “Coke-bottle” sides extend into twin-port grilles with a two-tone lower fascia. Up front, the large, aggressive driving and park/turn lamps accentuate the car’s “Wide Track” stance. In profile, the cleaner look is also apparent, and the standard protective mouldings are nicely integrated into the design. At the rear, large, corner-mounted taillight shapes integrate into the deck lid and bookend the flowering rear spoiler. Twin-styled dual exhaust outlets are standard on all models for a true performance car effect. Larger, 16-inch and 17-inch wheels and tires also add to Grand Prix’s sporty look. The overall car is the same size as the model it replaces. Bob Kraut, marketing director for the Grand Prix, said the size was not altered “because current Grand Prix owners told Pontiac that the size was just right.”
Inside the fabrics and leather are richer and more contemporary, giving the interior a more refined look and feel. Larger analogue gauges have a three-dimensional appearance, and satin nickel accents on the doors, wheels and shifter give the car a stylish, upscale feel. The standard Driver Information Center and optional Trip Computer and Head Up Display (HUD) units feature view screen reconfigurability with more capability than the previous model. The HUD features a more readable green backlighting and displays more information in three languages, including speed, turn signals, high-beam indicator, warning messages, radio/CD/tape status, ice warning, outside air temperature, and compass.
A stealth mode for the HUD is a first for Grand Prix. When stealth mode is selected, the instrument panel cluster lights are extinguished, allowing the driver to navigate solely using the HUD. Radio and air conditioning control heads are now flush with the surrounding dash. All together, the interior is more refined and premium in appearance.
For 2004, the base model SE has been eliminated, and customers can choose from the GT, GTP and GTP with the Competition Group package.
For those truly serious driving enthusiasts (to whom about 10 percent of Grand Prixs are sold), the all-new Competition Group (or Comp G) option available on GTP provides maximum grip, the sharpest possible steering response and peak road holding with a firm, yet supple ride. This suspension also produces less body roll and better bounce control through road swells. With specific chassis tuning and high-performance 17-inch racing wheels and tires rated to 142 mph, the package delivers .83 lateral g’s – and is designed for best-in-class handling performance for a front-wheel drive car.
The Competition Group package also includes StabiliTrak Plus, a segment-exclusive feature. Stabilitrak Plus expands cornering stability during high performance maneuvers and adverse conditions. This four-channel vehicle stability system not only keeps the vehicle tracking the driver’s intended path, but also maximizes handling in corners.
The 3800 V6 provides 200 hp, and the supercharged GTP model up to 250 hp (at press time), with a best-in-class 280 lb-ft of torque. A more efficient fifth-generation Eaton supercharger boosts horsepower by 10 horses over the previous model. In fact, Grand Prix’s “base” horsepower begins where some competitors’ top models end.
Another racing-inspired feature is the all-new Formula One-style TAPshift (Touch Activated Power), which is standard on GTP with the Comp G package. Drivers can engage a paddle on the steering wheel and switch from the ease of an automatic transmission to the fun-to-drive quality of a manual. The system has the fastest fingertip shifting response in the industry and better simulates a manual driving experience than any other car.
Rear doors now swing open to a full 82 degrees (nearly a right angle) with the addition of a third hinge detent, compared to the previous 67 degrees and two detents. The wider opening makes entering and exiting the car as well as loading bulky items like TV sets or computers into the back seat simpler. It’s also now easier to load large cargo like bicycles or extra wide boxes into the trunk, because the opening is nearly 10 inches wider, and the lift-over height is almost six inches lower.
The 60/40 split-folding rear seats fold nearly flat, extending the load floor well into the interior. A nine-foot kayak and other long items such as skis now fit securely inside the vehicle with the trunk closed, thanks to an optional double-hinged front passenger seat that also folds flat and extends the load floor to the instrument panel. Tie-downs are strategically located to keep cargo in place when the car is in motion. Overall, the flexibility of the Grand Prix is unmatched by any other midsize sedan.
The car will be manufactured at GM’s Oshawa, Ontario, assembly plant, which most recently placed first overall among all assembly plants in North America in J.D. Power’s 2002 Initial Quality Study. A combination of significant improvements bolsters the vehicle’s quality, reliability and durability ratings for 2004.
More durable components like a single-piece side frame body structure, a one-piece door ring and magnesium cross car beam reduce complexity and add to body stiffness. A new glass-mat battery lasts 160 percent longer than a typical battery, according to extensive testing in Las Vegas taxi fleets.
Numerous crash avoidance features include StabiliTrak Plus, which is included on the GTP with Comp-G; standard traction control and ABS; larger, more effective brakes; and a tire inflation monitoring system. Advanced occupant protection features include dual-stage air bags, optional head curtain side air bags and front-seat safety belt pretensioners and force limiters. An aluminum engine cradle and cross-car beam improve the body structure. Production of the 2004 model Grand Prix will begin early in the first quarter of 2003.