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Monday, August 4, 2008

2009 Pontiac Solstice GXP Coupe

By Matt DeLorenzo • Photo by Jay McNally
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Way back in 2002, when the Pontiac Solstice was introduced as a concept at the North American International Auto Show, there were actually two versions of the car, the current roadster and a coupe. Now, at the New York Show, that vision has been fully realized with the introduction of the Solstice Coupe for the 2009 model year.

Although it has the same fastback shape of the concept — with a rear glass hatch and ducktail rear spoiler, the production version adds a lift-out Targa panel between the windshield header and the B-pillar. In addition to that fixed panel (which is too large to store onboard), the car comes with a soft-top cover to provide protection from the elements.

The basic look of the car remains unchanged, although the rear taillamps have been tailored to flow more smoothly into the tapered roofline. The additional space beneath the rear window doubles the car's load space to 5.6 cu. ft.

The coupe is available in both base and GXP trim levels, which offer buyers a respective choice of a normally aspirated 173-bhp 2.4-liter four or a turbocharged 2.0-liter four making 260 bhp. Since the new top is a composite-covered aluminum structure, curb weight is up marginally over the stock vehicle. The lift-out panel, for instance, weighs just 31 lb. and can be easily removed or installed by one person.