2004 Pontiac GTO: A command performance

2004 Pontiac GTO: A command performance

No other name in automotive history says “muscle car” like GTO. When the GTO was introduced in 1964, its performance list included such descriptions as “tri-power,” “four on the floor,” and “389-cid V-8.” The car virtually defined true street performance. Now, the legend is back.

Pontiac’s 2004 GTO is a modern-day incarnation of classic street performance. When you turn the key and hear the throaty dual exhausts announcing the 5.7L V-8, you’ll know you have your hands full.

Compared to its 1960s namesake, the new GTO sports a suspension that is tighter, an engine that’s more powerful, and a four-on-the-floor manual transmission that boasts two additional gears. The car will hit 60 mph in less than six seconds and run the quarter-mile in less than 14 seconds. There’s nothing like it in its class.

Total performance

The completely new GTO isn’t just about horsepower, of course. Its unique personality includes impressive cornering abilities, a smooth ride, and surprising comfort. But the heart of the GTO is indeed a truly awesome 5.7L LS1 V-8 engine, also known as the base powerplant for the Chevrolet Corvette. The LS1 produces an estimated 340 horsepower at 5,200 rpm, and with 360 pounds-feet of torque, it has no problem leaving a stop with purpose.

Seventeen-inch alloy wheels and performance tires are matched to a fully independent, performance-tuned suspension featuring direct-acting stabilizing bars and power rack-and-pinion steering. Traction control and a limited slip differential also come standard.

Today’s GTO revs through six forward speeds with the close-ratio manual transmission; a four-speed Hydra-Matic is available. Both come with a 3.46:1 final drive ratio.

Performance-oriented interior

The GTO is, first and foremost, a driver’s car. Every detail, from the chrome satin-finish steering wheel to the race-inspired metallic pedals, gives the driver a sense of performance. The standard feature list begins with leather 2+2 bucket seats, in black or color-coordinated with the vehicle’s exterior color. The high-tech seats provide lateral support, wrapping around the driver and front passenger and complementing the great handling characteristics of the chassis. Also standard are a six-disc CD changer with premium 10-speaker sound system, cruise control, multifunction driver-information center, keyless entry system, and a host of other features to enhance the driving experience.

Modern design

Rather than create an imitation of the original legend, the 2004 GTO provides a contemporary interpretation of the classic Pontiac sports coupe. The distinctive, tautly stretched exterior, aggressive lowered stance, and sleek, simple form all help express the clean, athletic styling direction of Pontiac. Add this to the obvious performance of the vehicle, and you have a rear-wheel-drive V-8-powered premium sports coupe wrapped in a seamless, modern design.

Safety and quality

Bringing the GTO to a safe stop is accomplished through standard four-wheel disc brakes (ventilated front, solid rear), part of a four-channel antilock braking system.

Other standard safety features include dual front air bags, three-point safety belts for all occupants, and an emergency mode that automatically shuts down the engine, turns off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and turns on the dome light anytime the air-bag system is deployed.

Production of the 2004 Pontiac GTO began in September 2003 at Holden’s award-winning Elizabeth plant in Australia using the latest techniques to ensure both measurable and “perceived” quality. The projected annual production is 18,000 vehicles.

Copyright National Hot Rod Association Jun 11, 2004

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