Pontiac Grand Prix GTP Comp G Review

pontiac grand prix gtp comp g review

I'm convinced my local highway on-ramp was designed by the Pawtucket (Rhode Island) Fire Department. Drivers have just 100 yards of tarmac to join the outside lane of a three-lane road that immediately and violently kinks left. The ramp ends on a bridge, so there's no breakdown lane for failed mergers and there's an off-ramp 200 yards ahead. As you'd expect, cars line up like F14 pilots on a carrier deck. It's the perfect Death or Glory test track for the Pontiac Grand Prix GTP with Competition Group Package: the "Comp G".

Pontiac gave me a fighting chance by transversely mounting a supercharged V6 under the bonnet. The 3.8 litre unit may be older than Abba, but it stables 260 horses. Equally helpful, the super six cranks out 280 ft. lbs. of torque at 3200rpms. By all accounts, it should have been sufficient oomph to keep Pawtucket's paramedics in front of their soap operas.

The instant I mashed the go pedal I realized that a Comp G at full chat handles just like a Ferrari. Not the car; the logo. The one with the rearing stallion. This front-wheel-drive Pontiac simply can't put its power down from a standing start – or anything resembling a standing start. For the first few seconds, I was literally spinning my front wheels. Finally, with the smell of burning rubber wafting through the AC, with the sound of porcine torture ringing in my ears, the Comp G was off and away.

Obviously, I made it. Once the Comp G's front hooves found purchase, once the ironically named StabiliTrak system tamed the torque steer tsunami, the Comp G rocketed forward with welcome determination. It was fast enough to give credence to Pontiac's claim that their car will sprint from zero to sixty in 6.5 seconds, and finish the quarter mile .564 seconds behind a BMW 330i. Whether or not the Comp G is a credible sports saloon, well, that's another matter…

It sure doesn't look like one. In fact, the Comp G's exterior might have been cobbled together by GM's Performance Car Plausibility Testing Team. Their half-hearted designers grafted every sports car cliché known onto a rental car shape. (Tiny) red painted brake calipers, (blobby) rear spoiler, (faux) quad pipes, and side skirts and a chin spoiler that wouldn't stand out on a mountain bike. The Comp G's front end is its only distinctive feature. It resembles nothing so much as a slightly demented Pokemon character.

The interior also fails to advertise or promote the Comp G's sporting intent. Where the nifty little Mazda6 S, superswift VW Golf R32 and other Comp G enemies boast sexy brushed-aluminum dashboards, clever knobs and multi-colored dials, the Comp G has a dark plastic dash, disco era rotary controls and white-on-grey dials. On the positive side, the XM satellite radio provides plenty of distraction, and the Comp G's "heads-up" speed and radio display is exactly the kind of cool feature that gets the Playstation generation's fingers twitching.

Pontiac proudly promotes the fact that twitching fingers can use the Comp G's wheel-mounted Tapshift buttons to "transform its automatic transmission into operating much like a manual". That depends how you define the word "much", as most manual transmissions have more than four gears. Although the Tapshift's a slick shifter, the limited gearing options restrict its utility to changing down a gear for overtaking or "hey watch this" wheel spins – either of which you can do just as easily by simply flooring it.

Even if you baby the throttle, the Comp G is no hoot to drive. Those of you who know about such things will have already clocked the fact that the Comp G's weight transfers rearwards under hard acceleration, resulting in an inevitable and dramatic loss of front end grip and control. It's what the technically-minded call "excessive understeer" and anyone attempting to blast the Comp G around a corner would call "a bad thing". The Comp G may be relatively safe – the front tyres squeal at the onset of an understeer slide – but it wouldn't be my first choice for a high-speed romp down an unfamiliar twisty.

Given the firepower lurking in the engine bay and the average American petrolhead's distaste for anything other than a straight road, even these handling "issues" would be put to one side if the Comp G was cheap. Thirty thousand US dollars says it isn't. Truth to tell, the only good news is that the top-end Grand Prix is a lame duck. Next year, GM will rebadge and sell the Holden Monaro: a rear-wheel-drive, V8-powered, Australian-made, 2+2 sports sedan with an optional manual gearbox. Sources suggest it will cost only slightly more than a loaded Comp G. The Pontiac GTO will go like Hell and handle like a dream. American onrampaphobics' salvation is at hand.

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  • Svenson2009 Svenson2009 on Apr 08, 2008

    Ok. Lets get this right. I have an 04 gtp comp G. You say it shouldnt be a sport sedan you are dead wrong. i have bought an underdrive kit and a cold air intake for mine totaling around $480. Thats all i have done and with those minor adjustments i am getting 0-60 in mid 4s. Not only did it make a hugh difference in my 0-60 time it cut whole numbers off my quarter mile. When i purchased the car it was told to run the 1/4 in about 15.3-16.2. I am breaking the quarter mile line now in anout 13.8-14.2. The only thing i tell people when i beat them on the street is" Sedan B***H". It feels great to drive a 4 door and stop mustangs and camaros. The grand prix gtp comp g is by far the the cream of the crop. In may i get about 2,500 back and can wait to see 12.8 on those lights when i fly by, and after i get done doing that. I'm gonna drive off the track and go pick up my kid from daycare.

    • CHRONOS CHRONOS on Feb 25, 2014

      I agree, my 2005 Comp G Limited edition with the 5.3 V-8 as amazed my with the g-for on take off. It's a very strong motor and love the gadgets. I don't care if it black plastic. Most dashes are plastic anyway. My favorite color is black. I put the Black out package on it and love everything about it. The outside body not only looks classy but it looks ready to get gone as well. I have also blown away mustangs and cam arose. I'm not a GM person and was hesitant on buying this car. I have no regrets with this purchase. Now that Ponyiac is discontinued meets 3 things to me. #1 repairs wil cost more for parts and labor. #2 take better care of it then ever. #3 it will increase in value over time. How many old cars or trucks you see on the side of the road wasting away and you know what it could be worth? This cat it a wet dream all the way around........

  • RON S. RON S. on Oct 29, 2009

    I HAVE A 2004 GTP/COMPETITION ITS A GREAT CAR. EVERYONE LOVES IT! ITS GRAY WITH THE COMPETITION MAG WHEELS,(NOT THE SAME IN THIS MAGAZINE, BETTER LOOKING) FACTORY WHEELS, RED BRAKES, TIRES 245'S AN BLACK WINDOW LUVER'S, AN COMPETITION RED LOGO ON THE DOOR. NEEDLESS TO SAY I KEPT IT WAXED. I THINK YOU ARE WRONG ABOUT THE PONTIAC DESIGN TEAM, IN MY OPINION THEY DECIDED THE OUTSIDE AN INSIDE RIGHT!!! RON S.

  • MRF 95 T-Bird The Buick 215/3.5-liter aluminum V8 was one of GMs great engines. Unfortunately GM being GM in one of their greatest mistakes was selling off the tooling to BL. If they kept it around and improved upon it it would have been a fine motor for their compacts and midsize models through the OPEC oil crisis.
  • Chris P Bacon Not sure why a '21 is getting reviewed, because there have been improvements to the 4xe. I've got a '22 4xe Sahara. May 2022 build in High-Velocity yellow with a soft top. As soon as it was announced I knew I wanted to try it, not for the fuel mileage, but for the technology. I don't have a Level 2 charger, it charges fully overnight on the included Level 1. I see an indicated range of 27 miles regularly. Today it indicated 29 when I unplugged. I've only filled the gas tank three times in 2500 miles, a full charge costs me about $3 based on my current electricity supplier. I don't experience the rough transitions between electric and gas, so maybe Jeep figured it out? It's stupid fast when using all the power off the line. So much so that it will break the rear wheels loose when you stomp on it. I agree that plugin hybrids are the future. I see no need for a pure electric. This is the way to go.
  • RHD The word B R O N C O written in contrasting paint on the dashboard is quite unnecessary. The passenger certainly knows what kind of vehicle he or she is in. That detail is a big fail. The red and white Bronco looks great, especially with tires that have honest-to-goodness sidewalls on them.
  • Luke42 Aren't those trim levels just different colors of paint?That's what they sound like, at least. 🤷‍♂️
  • Varezhka BEVs are not getting any more affordable because most of the cost is material, unlike mostly steel (cheap) gas powered cars.It’s like asking why gold and platinum aren’t getting any cheaper. And it’s only going to get worse with the sudden global interest in BEVs.
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