Okay, so does the Solstice beat the MX-5 now?
It’s a nice dream, the 2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP. And from the stage at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show, it looks real enough, sitting there in its yellow finery, bolstering GM’s claims that yes, they are building cars that people can get excited about owning. Ah - yes. About that ownership thing. What’s real on stage will be a reality for only the lucky few who get to purchase one this fall, and a silent nightmare for those poor souls caught in the waiting list netherworld. Come on -- you can’t even buy a regular Solstice, so buying a high-powered GXP model will be like winning the lottery – or picking Texas by three in the BCS Championship Game. But all the same and all things equal, this the Solstice enthusiasts have been anticipating, the one GM put a priority on when it became apparent that the Mazda MX-5 was still more fun to drive. Not so much, not anymore, as long as you’ve got that GXP badge on the back and GM’s Ecotec 2.0-liter turbocharged engine under the hood. As the most powerful production engine in the Ecotec family, the 2.0-liter delivers 260 horsepower and 260 lb. ft. of torque, power that propels the Solstice to a 0-60 mph time of under 5.5 seconds. That will make even the proudest of MX-5 owners feel a bit slow and chumpish one lane over, and maybe a little envious. What they won’t be going green over is the amount of green GXP buyers are likely to lose on the deal, compared to the modestly priced and under-the-radar MX-5. Nor will they lose sleep over a Solstice interior that, while improved to include a GXP instrument gauge, leather wheel trim and red seat stitching, fails when it comes to quality fit and finish. It’s not so much a matter of equipment as it is supply and demand: As the demand for the Solstice rages, and the supply trickles, the GXP will command more for less. As it is, however, the Pontiac Solstice GXP comes with more than just that Ecotec. Also standard are features such as GXP front and rear fascias, dual-outlet exhaust, StabiliTrak vehicle stability enhancement system, a sport suspension system. four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, limited-slip rear differential, power window/locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry and18-inch polished aluminum wheels. Many of these features, such as the sport suspension system, four-wheel disc brakes and power controls, are also available on the regular Solstice. Additional options on the 2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP include a rear deck spoiler, leather seating, sport metallic pedals, chrome wheels, enhanced audio options, including XM Satellite Radio, and OnStar.
Photos by Ron Perry