When Pontiac first showed the Solstice concept, the public and the press had just two words for the people at GM: Build it. And build it they did. Three years into production, the
2009 Pontiac Solstice roadster is an unqualified success, combining exotic good looks with a sturdy chassis and world-class handling. Despite the obvious use of in-house parts (the ventilation controls are borrowed from the Hummer H3 and the reverse lights from the GMC Envoy), and the less-than-user-friendly convertible-top mechanism, the Solstice comes off as fresh and original. Visually, the Solstice easily rivals such stylish competitors as the
BMW Z4 and
Audi TT, yet costs half as much.
Tucking a turbo beneath the Solstice hood supplies performance to match the roadster's richly-curved, assertively-shaped skin, while weight distribution near 50/50 contributes to the GXP's balanced sports-car handling. Clever design provides a hidden compartment for the
convertible top, though it steals trunk space and raising or lowering the roof isn't a simple task.