shortly after GM product czar Bob Lutz signed on to help enhance the company's product line, he asked Pontiac designers to come up with a rear-wheel-drive roadster concept. They called it the Solstice, and response was so positive at the 2002 North American International Auto Show that Lutz made it his mission to see the concept translated into a production vehicle. Twenty-seven months later (a blink of an eye in automotive terms), the first rear-wheel-drive, two-seat Pontiac roadster was rolling into showrooms. The first thing people notice about the Pontiac Solstice is its shapely body. Hyrdroformed body panels give it seductive compound curves and flowing lines. True sports car features include rear-wheel drive, a four-wheel independent suspension, 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels and a near 50-to-50 weight balance. For power, the Solstice relies on a 2.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine rated at 177 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque. A close-ratio five-speed close-ratio manual transmission is standard. Opening up the car's manually operated top reveals a roomy interior. Overall, we're impressed by the grip and fun factor offered by the 2006 Pontiac Solstice. It's an affordable and truly American sports car.
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