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A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
2005 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP
By Alain Gayot

In short: A family sport sedan in disguise.

By just looking at the car from any angle, you might never know that under its plainclothes hides a speed demon. For the most part the GXP is a Grand Prix with an attitude and a few bells and whistles added to make it a real sportscar. Perhaps only the front fender vent might give it away.

You can seat five, you get a nice trunk, you pay a decent sticker price (base model is under $30,000) and hopefully you can keep your insurance down. Our tester came in an iridescent blue-green. GM engineers buried a 5.3-liter V8 Displacement on Demand engine coupled with paddle shift on the steering wheel and installed some beefy performance. For good measure, they added performance-tuned suspension, wider front track design and Stabilitrak, 18-inch aluminum wheels and Magnasteer II. With that package, you’re ready for the track, since pushing the GXP to performance on the streets might get you into trouble. All that power seems to be a bit much for the front wheel drive causing swaying and commanding the driver to hold on tightly to the wheel. Don’t let grandma drive this one. You’ll also experience some understeer, especially at higher speeds.

The car has an interesting interior layout with stylish stitched leather on the front bucket seats, lots of plastic and the cool heads-up display you find in the Chevrolet Corvette and Cadillac XLR. Furthermore, the front seats fold forward completely.

It’s fast, somewhat comfortable and practical but not expensive. Head to your local friendly dealer for a test drive.

Warranty/Service: 36-month/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Price as tested: $29,335

Technical Specifications

Performance Data

Engine: 5.3L V8
- 303 horsepower

Transmission: Four-speed automatic

Safety: Dual stage front air bags, OnStar system

Top Speed: >125 mph

Acceleration: 0-60 in 5.7 seconds

Braking: Performance brake package, ABS with full traction control

Fuel Economy: 18 city/27 highway

Handling: Traction control

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Photography: AlphaMedia

(Updated: 07/29/08 HC)

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