For 2005, changes to the Pontiac Grand Prix are minimal, including new wheel selections, OnStar Gen 6 hardware with hands-free capability, MP3 capability, rear-seat cupholders and a new exterior colour. Also newly available are a navigation system, remote start and dual-zone air conditioning.

The Grand Prix comes in three lines. The base model and GT use a 3.8-litre V6, while the GTP uses a supercharged 3.8-litre V6. It’s the same basic setup used in the Chevrolet Impala SS Supercharged, but Pontiac coaxes out 260 horsepower to the Impala’s 240 — Pontiac always was the traditional performance side of things at GM. All use a four-speed automatic transmission.

The base model includes air conditioning, fog lights, power mirrors, deck lid spoiler, 16-inch steel wheels, variable intermittent wipers, cruise control, tilt wheel, power windows, cloth seats, 60/40 folding rear seat, CD player with six speakers, four-wheel disc brakes, and OnStar.

The GT adds 16-inch aluminum wheels, tire pressure monitor, folding front passenger seat, cargo net, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, six-way power driver’s seat, dual exhaust, Magnasteer magnetic speed-sensitive steering, remote starter and ABS.

The GTP includes 17-inch aluminum wheels, CD with MP3 and traction control.

The Grand Prix is fun with a practical side; even in its normally-aspirated configuration, this Pontiac tracks straight, corners flat and responds well to wheel input. The four-speed shifts smoothly and acceleration is brisk. The interior is screwed together quite well, and with the folding seats and wide-opening rear doors, you should be able to shop at the big-box stores and still get everything home.

In supercharged form, it gets even better – but wait, there’s more! An optional Competition Group package on the GTP adds stability control, sport suspension, wheel-mounted sequential shift paddles, red-finished brake calipers, Head-Up Display (HUD), V-rated performance tires on 17-inch multi-spoke aluminum wheels, and 3.29:1 final drive ratio. Sure, it doesn’t have the cachet of an Audi or a BMW, but it doesn’t have their price tags, either; at $2,290 for the package, you can put the whole thing together for under $37,000.

The Grand Prix GXP, with V8 power, debuted as a mid-year 2005 model. Click here for a full review.

The Grand Prix is built in Oshawa, Ontario.

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