- The Washington Times - Friday, January 30, 2009

PONTIAC G5

A more efficient version of the 2.2-liter Ecotec engine delivers a dramatic increase in fuel economy for the 2009 Pontiac G5. The engine uses variable valve timing to optimize fuel economy at all speeds, for an EPA-estimated highway rating of 37 mpg. It also brings a slight horsepower increase.

In addition to increased power and fuel economy, the 2009 G5 coupe offers a wide range of standard comfort, convenience and safety features wrapped in a sporty coupe design. Also new for the 2009 G5 lineup is the addition of Bluetooth connectivity with the OnStar system.

Changes and new content reflect revisions to popular equipment packages. They include: Sun and Sound Package, including a new, AM/FM/CD radio with MP3 playback with premium Pioneer seven-speaker sound and a power sunroof; new Mylink Package, including includes 16-inch machine-face wheels, four-wheel ABS, cruise control, chrome exhaust tip, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, steering wheel audio controls; and Bluetooth capability.

Both the G5 base and GT models employ the Ecotec 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine. It is rated at 155 horsepower and 150 foot-pounds of torque. The Pontiac G5 delivers a crisp driving experience, using a MacPherson strut-type front suspension, semi-independent torsion beam rear suspension, and front and rear stabilizer bars for more exact body-roll control.

Base model estimated mpg: 25 city/37 highway

Estimated starting price: $16,935

PONTIAC G8

The Pontiac G8 is the first North American application of GM’s new global rear-wheel-drive architecture. The 2009 lineup features three models: G8, G8 GT and the new G8 GXP.

The base G8 receives a 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 256 horsepower. The G8 GT is powered by a uniquely configured 6.0-liter small-block V-8, rated at 361 horsepower and features active fuel-management technology, which allows the engine to switch from V-8 power to four-cylinder. The GXP packs a 6.2-liter V-8 that tops 400 horsepower.

The GXP takes the G8’s responsive driving, refined passenger environment and aggressive good looks to a new level, with distinctive design cues, unique interior elements and a stirring driving experience. It rewards the driver with sharp, immediate responses, and a well-balanced road feel during spirited driving.

A Brembo braking system matches the GXP’s boost in performance with an equivalent increase in stopping power. The system includes 14-inch vented front and 12.76-inch rear disc rotors, with special quad-piston alloy calipers in front.

The GXP rides on unique 19-inch polished aluminum wheels with a special machined face. Performance summer tires are standard and a comparable all-season tire is available.

Base model estimated mpg: 17 city/25 highway

Estimated starting price: $27,995

PONTIAC SOLSTICE

The Pontiac Solstice lineup expands in 2009 with a new, sleek coupe model. The coupe is equipped with a removable roof that enables an open-air driving experience, yet offers a greater range of all-season driving opportunities.

The new coupe is available in base and GXP models - the latter powered by a 2.0-liter 260-horsepower turbocharged Ecotec engine with direct-injection technology. The base Solstice is powered by a 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine producing 173 horsepower.

Content changes for all 2009 models are few, but bring popular performance and safety features to all models as standard equipment. They include anti-lock brakes and StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, limited-slip differential and a revised appearance on standard 18-inch wheels. Bluetooth capability is integrated with Solstice’s standard OnStar system for 2009.

The coupe features a fixed roof aft of the B-pillars, complete with side windows and a rear liftglass that opens to provide access to the cargo compartment. The roofline slopes rearward in a classic fastback, including stylized “rails” that run from the front of the roof to the rear, culminating with a stylish and functional ducktail-style rear spoiler.

The removable roof panel over the passenger compartment can be removed by one person and the roof has a carved-out inner contour that greatly enhances headroom.

Base model estimated mpg: 19 city/25 highway

Estimated starting price: $23,870

PONTIAC VIBE

The all-new 2009 Pontiac Vibe is a modern remix of a classic hit, infusing the functionality of a compact crossover with a bolder attitude of athletic styling, increased performance and tight handling.

Packing more off-the-line power than ever before, the 2009 Vibe delivers responsive performance. A 132-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder is standard on base models. Customers desiring higher performance can opt for the larger, 2.4-liter dual-overhead-cam engine with 158 horsepower.

Driving dynamics of the new Vibe have been refined to deliver a responsive driving experience with a special focus on reduced noise, vibration and harshness. An array of chassis control systems enhances ride and handling, as well as safety.

The popular all-wheel-drive and GT models return to the Vibe lineup for 2009. The 2009 Vibe includes a number of all-new and enhanced features, including a more powerful 1.8-liter base engine and a new, high-output 2.4-liter engine; athletic exterior styling with a faster windshield; all-new sheet metal and lighting elements, refreshed, driver-focused interior styling with more harmonious integration of the controls; standard electronic vehicle stability control and tire pressure monitoring systems; six standard air bags and active head restraints; enhanced functionality with an integrated cargo management system and fold-flat front seat on all models equipped with the 2.4-liter engine.

Base model estimated mpg: 26 city/32 highway

Estimated starting price: $15,985

PORSCHE 911

Completing a triple update of the 2009 911 model lineup, Porsche introduces the new 911 Targa.

The most striking visual highlight of the 911 Targa is its 16.58 square-foot glass roof made up of two segments - an elegant sliding roof at the front and a more practical tailgate at the rear. The roof slides smartly beneath the tailgate within seven seconds, conveniently offering almost 5 square feet of open space above the passenger cabin when opened completely.

The focal point of the Targa’s interior is the new Porsche Communication Management 3.0 system, which features a touchscreen for simplified operation of the audio system as well as the optional hard-disk-drive navigation system.

The 911 Targa 4 is powered by a new 3.6-liter flat-six engine, developing a maximum output of 345 horsepower for a top track speed of 176 mph. The 3.8-liter 911 Targa 4S engine delivers a maximum output of 385 horsepower that accelerates this exclusive sports car to a top track speed of 184 mph.

Base model estimated mpg: 16 city/23 highway

Estimated starting price: $89,500

PORSCHE CAYENNE

For the 2009 model year, Porsche increases its family of unrivaled all-wheel-drive sport utility vehicles with the introduction of a new flagship model, the 550-horsepower Cayenne Turbo S.

Building on the dynamics of the Cayenne GTS and potency of the Cayenne Turbo, the Cayenne Turbo S offers its driver unparalleled levels of exhilarating road-going performance, all-wheel-drive stability and luxurious accommodations for five people.

The lineup now consists of the V-6-powered Cayenne, the naturally-aspirated V-8-powered Cayenne S and Cayenne GTS, and the turbocharged Cayenne Turbo along with the new Cayenne Turbo S. All share an appropriately aggressive face, taut, muscular sheet metal highlighted by broad wheel arches that hint at the available awesome performance, on the road and off. All boast all-wheel-drive as standard equipment complemented by traction and stability enhancing technologies.

In addition to the debut of the flagship Cayenne Turbo S, the 2009 model year brings important enhancements to the entire Cayenne model range. The optional Porsche communication management system, which is standard equipment on the Turbo models, has been revised. The system now uses a touchscreen rather than a separate keyboard. There are fewer keys and menus, which simplifies the system’s use. The optional navigation system is now based on a 40 GB hard drive.

Base model estimated mpg: 14 city/20 highway

Estimated starting price: TBA

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