NEW FOR 2009:

– Solstice GXP coupe with removable roof panel
– Antilock brakes, limited-slip differential and StabiliTrak electronic stability control standard on all models
– Bluetooth capability with OnStar
– Exterior colours: Deep Blue hue changes; Merlot Jewel added

For 2009, the Pontiac Solstice roadster is joined by a new coupe model, which will be a late availability item. The coupe has a fixed roof behind the B-pillars, but with a removable roof panel over the passenger compartment that can be removed by one person, with a home storage case offered through dealers.

The Solstice is available as the base roadster model with a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine, and as the GXP, in coupe or roadster, with a direct-injection 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder. Both engines use a five-speed manual transmission or optional five-speed automatic.

Both configurations are two-seater, and the roadster includes a manually-operated cloth top with glass rear window and electric defogger.

Features on the Solstice roadster include 18-inch alloy wheels, manual remote mirrors, variable intermittent wipers, electric rear defogger, driver information centre, tire pressure monitoring system, tilt wheel, cloth seats, power driver’s height adjuster, CD/MP3 stereo, automatic headlamps, and OnStar.

The GXP adds unique fascias, fog lamps, power mirrors, cruise control, floor mats, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, power windows, power locks with keyless entry, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, XM satellite radio, Monsoon seven-speaker audio system, and sport suspension.

Depending on the model, available options include air conditioning, deck lid spoiler, chromed aluminum wheels, leather seats, and a Club Sport Pack with track-prepped sport suspension.

A sister car to the Saturn Sky, the Solstice expands to all-season driving with the introduction of the new coupe. The roadster remains the ultimate in open-air motoring, but the top is awkward and time-consuming to put up and down, requiring trips in, out and around the vehicle to complete, and its position in the trunk, along with the location of the fuel tank, means that there is only a shallow, narrow storage trench that doesn’t leave much room for any type of cargo. Interior cubbies are equally small. If you can live with that, though, this is a great boulevard cruiser.

Large for a two-seater, the Solstice offers quick and nimble steering and a very stiff chassis. The base model lacks many of the features found on most vehicles, and most buyers will want to add some extras.

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