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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.

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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