The Pontiac Solstice was the first car to use GM’s Kappa platform specifically developed for rear wheel drive roadster production with the aim of taking some market share away from the Mazda Miata and BMW Z4. The first car to use this platform was the Pontiac Solstice which uses the traditional roadster layout of a front-mid-mounted engine, two seats and rear wheel drive.
Power comes from the Ecotec four cylinder also seen in the Vauxhall/Opel Astra coupe. Steering and suspension are both excellent giving this car handling more akin to European sportscars than those from the US but unfortunately it keeps a little too much of the weight of the latter which dulls its sporting edge. As you might expect, GM added power to the Solstice rather than shave off pounds in reaction to this.
The Solstice along with the other cars under the Pontiac brand were phased out during 2009.
While the Pontiac Solstice is a well balanced roadster it couldn't compete with quicker German competition like the Porsche Boxster until the GXP was launched. It was later joined by the Saturn Sky which sharedboth its platform and engines and was rebranded for European and Korean markets.
The Pontiac Solstice GXP uses a 2 litre ecotec engine along with a potent dual-scroll turbocharger to provide a punch of power that gave new life to the American sports car. The engine was the first from an American automaker to feature direct fuel injection which allowed a higher power output while keeping fuel economy under control.
The GXP also features 'Stabilitrak' traction control and a limited-slip differential to improve high speed handling along with anti-lock brakes to improve stopping power. There was also an optional engine remap that would further boostpower to 290 bhp and 340 lbft of torque.