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Pontiac ’s new G6 family is about to get a bit bigger. GM’s “excitement” division will be... Read more »
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Pontiac’s new G6 family is about to get a bit bigger. GM’s “excitement” division will be rolling out a new coupe to compliment the compact sedan that debuted last autumn. That pair will be joined early in the ’06 model year by a G6 convertible that takes the retractable hardtop concept to a new — and much more affordable — market niche.

Struggling to rebuild the once solid brand, General Motors is launching a wave of new Pontiacproducts over the next twelve months, including the Torrent crossover vehicle, as well as the two G6 spinoffs.

“The headline,” says Bob Lutz, GM’s chief product czar, “is brand building. GM is committed to revitalizing all of its brands.”

The G6 is the centerpiece of the effort at Pontiac. The new sedan has scored a modest hit since its introduction, though not quite the home run GM was expecting. The coupe should connect with younger buyers drawn to its more sporty styling, company officials hope. It’s a 2+2, though the backseat is more usable than many other two-doors in the segment, thanks to a relatively long, 112-inch wheelbase. Rear legroom is 35 inches, about 1.5 inches less than in the larger Pontiac Grand Prix.

But the real attention-grabber is likely to be the convertible, which features a hardtop that folds away, origami-style, in a mere 30 seconds. The technology is not new, but until now, it’s been limited to far more expensive products, such as the Mercedes SLK or Lexus SC430. With the top up, there’s 5.8 cubic feet of trunk space; 1.8 with the top down.

Both coupe and convertible will be offered in two trim packages. The GT models features a 200-hp, 3.5-liter V-6, while the performance GTP package makes 240-hp with its 3.9-liter, high-output six. A four-speed automatic is the base transmission for both trim levels, though there’s also a manual six-speed available on the GTP.

The public will get their first look at both of the new G6 models when the Los Angeles Auto Show opens its doors this week.

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