Pontiac For 2000
By Carey Russ
Pontiac goes into the new year with substantial changes, highlighted by a new Bonneville luxury sedan. The other models have not been forgotten, with new equipment throughout the lineup.
The last version of the Bonneville, Pontiac's luxury-performance flagship, lasted nearly a decade. Its replacement is almost completely new, sharing only the name and powertrain with its forebear. The new Bonneville is built from the latest generation of GM's large sedan platform, with vastly increased rigidity for improved ride and handling and a quieter driving experience. "Refinement with an edge" as Pontiac calls it. Three trim levels are offered. All share muscular Pontiac styling and have a fully-independent suspension for sporty handling and four-wheel antilock disc brakes for safe stopping power. There are differences in styling, equipment levels, and suspension tuning as befit their intended markets. The premium SSEi has a supercharged engine for luxury with Pontiac attitude.
The smallest Pontiac hasn't been forgotten. It is offered in coupe, convertible, and sedan body styles. Freshened styling outside and a revised interior may be the most noticeable changes, but there are some important mechanical upgrades as well. A new 5-speed manual transmission is standard in coupes and sedans, and available in the convertible. The antilock braking system and all audio systems have been upgraded.
Last year, the naturally-aspirated 3800 Series II V6 in the Grand Prix GT got increased horsepower. This year the 3.1-liter V6 in the SE gets a significant increase in power and torque. This is not at the expense of exhaust emissions -- the 3.1 and supercharged 3800 in the GTP meet LEV standards, while the regular 3800 meets ULEV standards. A limited-edition "Daytona Pace Car" replica package is offered, with 2000 copies available for the year 2000.
The Firebird continues, and the WS6 Ram-Air Package adds new, wider wheels. The Grand Am, thoroughly revised for 1999, gets the same new 5-speed gearbox as the Sunfire, and the Montana minivan has a number of interior revisions.