For people like me that are not generally huge convertible fans or those that live in a less than hospitable climate, Pontiac is releasing (6 years after the convertible) the 2009 Pontiac Solstice coupe. It should arrive at dealerships early next year.
Like the convertible, the base coupe uses a normally aspirated 2.4-liter Ecotec in-line four-cylinder engine, good for 173 horsepower, while the GXP model packs a 2.0-liter turbocharged Ecotec engine with 260 horsepower matched to a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic gearbox. (Check out my article on the Mallet-tuned Solstice which will certainly be looking to upgrade this car with a Corvette engine as well)
Paradoxically, the Pontiac’s coupe actually weighs a little bit more than the roadster. (Convertibles generally are heavier do to reinforcement needed because of the missing roof) The targa-style roof features a removable magnesium roof panel that weighs only 31 pounds. Unfortunately if you remove the roof you have to leave it at home. (It doesn’t store in the vehicle) But there is a foldable soft top to protect you should be caught in the rain.
The coupe is pretty much mechanically the same as the roadster in most other ways. Which is a good thing. Not only is it the best selling convertible in the country, but it is quite a nice sports car and not just a pretty face.
The roofline has a “fastback” shape with stylized “rails” that run from the front of the roof to the rear, culminating in ducktail-style rear spoiler. (They say it’s functional….moving on)
Despite its dramatic new look, engineers made only minor structural changes to create the Solstice coupe. The rear fenders and rear fascia are the same as those on the convertible. New taillight assemblies flow more smoothly into the tapered roofline.
“The Solstice coupe represents a major collaboration of design and engineering,” said Bruce Kosbab, chief engineer. “The sleek lines of the new roof give the car a fresh appearance, yet only minimal changes were made to the body structure – it’s a great example of building on an already solid foundation.”
Because the change to a coupe body style resulted in only a slight increase in curb weight, no drivetrain or suspension changes were necessary to shift from the convertible body structure. Initial tests have shown that the Solstice coupe will deliver ride and handling, acceleration, braking and fuel economy comparable to the convertible model.
Much of the coupe’s interior remains the same as that of the convertible. However, the area behind the seats was redesigned for easy access to the cargo area, and a storage tray was mounted directly behind the headrests.
The convertible sells in the mid-20 grand range and generally they are more expensive than their hardtop brethren. So rejoice cold weather citizens, the hardtop should be quite attainable.