- The Washington Times - Friday, January 18, 2002

To put the 2002 Grand Prix in a better perspective, think back to 1962. That's when Pontiac gave birth to this beauty or maybe you're too young to recall.
This famed nameplate has reached a milestone and is celebrating its 40th anniversary. In spite of its age, the 2002 model is an exceptionally youthful, muscular sedan with a gutsy engine capable of producing an exciting performance. One reason for the outstanding performance is WideTrack handling that pushes the wheels farther apart compared to those on other cars. The extra inches of width give the four-wheel independent suspension more adhesion when in a hard, fast turn.
Helping the driver get into the fast turn is a 3800 Series II Supercharged V-6 engine. The supercharger boosts the 280 foot-pounds of torque with amazing quickness because the engine gets maximum power at the low end of the torque curve.
But the 2002 Grand Prix GTP is much more than just a dynamite performer. At 40 years, this looker has style that will turn heads: a hood-mounted air extractor, subtle rear spoiler, plus two dual-exhaust pipes. All this sits on 16-inch, polished, five-spoke aluminum wheels. Helping to make appearance even more stunning is the newest color: dark cherry metallic. I've never seen a color like it. It comes with a two-tone ruby red and graphite leather seating package.
Embroidered into the backrest of the front seats is a GTP 40th Anniversary patch which could become a collector's item since this is a limited edition.
Bob Krout, the product manager, said Pontiac expects to build 5,000 to 7,000 Grands Prixs and predicts "They'll go like hot cakes.
"Ordinarily, the Grand Prix has a 10- to 12-day turnaround rate sitting on a dealers lot, compared to 50 to 60 days for other cars," he said.
The driver's seat in my tester had a seat warmer. On chilly mornings it felt good but even more enjoyable were the numerous thoughtful amenities, enhanced by about $4,000 worth of options including a sunroof. The base price is $25,805 but my tester, including destination charge, sells for $30,050.
The Bose sound system is distinctly better than in most other cars. After presetting my favorite stations on the AM and FM bands, all I had to do was touch buttons on the steering wheel to change stations, or to mute or change the volume. As I did, the station would be indicated in the Heads Up Display, which was projected discreetly onto the windshield, thus eliminating distraction.
Incidentally, the HUD also indicates the speed, turn signals and high beams.
Another button within easy reach is on the mirror. Push it and a voice says, "OnStar. How can I help you?" Of course, if I had been in an accident and an air bag had gone off, help would have been dispatched if I hadn't answered, and my exact location would have been identified through the satellite system. OnStar also gives directions or makes reservations at restaurants or motels. It's nice to be pampered with just the push of a button.
My tester also had traction control and four-wheel anti-lock brakes, and numerous safety and crash-avoidance features. The instrumentation panel, containing loads of information, has a lot of eye appeal. I appreciated the Driver Information Center that told me if the trunk was ajar, the washer fluid was low or if the oil needed a change.
As expected of quality cars, the Grand Prix GTP includes a theft-deterrent system, remote keyless entry, as well as power windows, seats, and mirrors. Forty years ago, it didn't have any of these things. Obviously, this handsome muscle machine just keeps improving with age.

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