October 2, 2002 - Pontiac has unveiled the 2004 Grand Prix, the ninth generation of its midsize performance sedan. The Grand Prix demonstrates Pontiacs new cleaner and simpler design direction.
In profile, a cleaner look is apparent, with slim integrated protective moldings replacing the formerly 'Pontiac-trademark' ribbed plastic cladding. The 'coke-bottle' bodyside features strongly defined rear shoulders and sculpted lower doors and sills that give the car a lighter, more sporting appearance.
Twin-port grilles and a two-tone lower fascia define the face of the Grand Prix, along with large, aggressive driving and park/turn lamps that accentuate the cars 'Wide Track' stance. At the rear, large, corner-mounted taillight shapes integrate with sculptural forms in the deck lid, while twin-styled dual exhaust outlets continue the overt sporting theme.
Inside the fabrics and leather are richer and more contemporary, for a more refined look and feel. Larger analog gauges have a three-dimensional appearance, and there are satin nickel accents on the doors, wheels and shifter. An innovative stealth mode for the Heads-Up-Display is a first for Grand Prix. When stealth mode is selected, the instrument panel cluster lights are extinguished, allowing the driver to navigate solely using the HUD.
The base GT model achieves 200 hp, and the GTP model up to 250 hp, with a best-in-class 280 lb-ft of torque. A more efficient fifth-generation Eaton supercharger boosts power by 10 hp over the previous model.
Another racing-inspired feature is the Formula One-style TAPshift (Touch Activated Power), which is standard on GTP with the Comp Group package. Drivers can engage a paddle on the steering wheel and switch from an automatic transmission to the fun-to-drive quality of a manual. The system is claimed to have the fastest fingertip shifting response in the industry. An electronic throttle control system (ETC) with speed-based response keeps the car maneuverable at low speeds and in parking lots, but ready for quick action on the highway.
The 60/40 split-folding rear seats extend the load floor well into the interior. A nine-foot kayak and other long items such as skis now fit inside the vehicle with the trunk closed, thanks to an optional double-hinged front passenger seat that also folds flat and extends the load floor to the instrument panel. Tie-downs keep cargo in place when the car is in motion.
Safety features include StabiliTrak Plus, standard traction control and ABS, a tire inflation monitoring system, dual-stage air bags, optional head curtain side air bags and front-seat safety belt pretensioners. Production of the 2004 model Grand Prix will begin early in the first quarter of 2003.