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2004 Pontiac GTO - Road Test

Behind The Wheel Of The '04 Pontiac GTO

Photography by General Motors, Henry De Los Santos,

The analog dash is refreshing with its red-tinted backdrop, 200-mph speedo and 7,000-rpm tach that redlines at 6,000. The digital readout is configurable just about any way you wish. The interior is splashed with brushed aluminum highlights including a set of pedals that helps keep your feet firmly connected. Our only other gripe with the GTO is a narrow foot box that precludes a far-left dead pedal, requiring us to twist our left foot past the clutch pedal to reach the floor.

As always, the T-56 is a pleasure to shift, limited only by that aggravating Skip-Shift 1-4 part-throttle sop to CAFE. The ratios are tight, and if you look in our included Details chart, you can see that the Fifth gear Overdrive is only 0.84, with Sixth a slightly deeper 0.57 compared to 0.50. This allows the LS1 to pull decent acceleration even at 40 mph in Fifth gear-a testament to the LS1's torque.

Conclusion
While everyone pines for the days of the '60s musclecars, the reality is that today is the best of times. This would include two GTOs-a return to high school days with a '64 four-speed cruiser for Sunday afternoon trips to the Dairy Queen and a brand-new GTO for the other six days of the week. This is the real deal-a no-bull GTO with the testosterone to back up its image. It is indeed the Gran Turismo.

The Details

Car: '04 Pontiac GTO, front engine, rear-wheel drive

Engine: GM LS1 all-aluminum, pushrod V-8, bore and stroke of 3.90 x 3.62, 10.1:1 compression ratio, 92-octane fuel, 350 hp at 5,200 rpm, 365 lb-ft of torque at 4,000, sequential fuel injection, coil-near-plug ignition

Transmission: 4L60-E auto (standard), optional Tremec T-56 six-speed

Gear ratios:
First: 2.97
Second: 2.07
Third: 1.43
Fourth: 1.00
Fifth: 0.84
Sixth: 0.54
Rev. 3.46

Rear axle: Holden differential, 3.46:1 rear axle ratio, limited slip

Front suspension: Independent MacPherson strut with progressive rate springs and gas pressure shocks

Rear suspension: IRS with semi-trailing control link and gas pressure shocks

Steering: Power-assisted variable rate steering, three turns lock-to-lock

Brakes: Four-wheel disc brakes, four-channel ABS; (front) 11.7-inch rotor, PBR calipers; (rear) 11.3-inch rotor, PBR calipers

Wheels and tires: 17x8-inch alloy wheels with 48mm offset, 5x120mm bolt pattern, BFGoodrich 245/45R17 g-Force KDWS tires

Dimensions: 109.8-inch wheelbase, 189.8 inches overall length, 61.8-inch track width

Curb weight: 3,725 pounds

Weight dist: 55% front, 45% rear

Performance: 14.0 at 102 mph corrected time, LACR

Lateral g: 0.80 g (Motor Trend test)

Price: $33,000 (est.)

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