Something Rotten in Denmark: 2007 Pontiac G6

Today’s car can claim to be special by dint of its rarity. GM never sold the G6 in Europe and so this vehicle must be one of a very small handful of examples on this side of Atlantic. In Denmark it has no peers**.

2007 Pontiac G6 convertible: bilbasen.dk

Three hypotheses: it came from the US as a by-product of work secondment from the US to Denmark (“We have to bring the Pontiac, Carol”). Two, it is a very specific and personal import for someone who just happened to really like the G6 (“There is nothing like this car, I must have it”). Three: it came to Denmark via a US soldier stationed in Germany (“We have to bring the Pontiac, Nick.”). A quick call might answer that and maybe I’ll find out.

Given its rarity I suspect that the next owner will be someone buying on a whim. I doubt many people are just hunting for a Pontiac convertible. The next owner may also already have an American car (60s or 70s) and wants nothing more than to have something newer that isn’t a boring Euro car.

2007 Pontiac G6 rear view: bilbasen.dk

In order to understand the Pontiac we’ll need to find out a bit more about it: Epsilon platform, 2.85 metre wheelbase, 4.8 metre nose to tail (the Cascada is 10 cm shorter, as is the wheelbase roughly). The convertible came only with the V6 engines but the saloon also could be had with L4 in the US-standard of 2.4 litres. Mom and apple pie, that.

2007 Pontiac G6 interior with fake wood trim fergodsake: bilbasen.dk

With that in mind what does it compare to? In one sense it doesn’t compare to anything directly. As I said, the most likely future owner is the owner of a large and thirsty American classic and who will be happy that the car starts, stops and looks different. There is a better than off-chance that there might be a person browsing among all available convertibles and who sees this car by chance… they will be more demanding.

2007 Pontiac G6 rear interior: bilbasen.dk

Getting back to the story. Pontiac’s G6 concluded the Grand Am series, the G standing for GrandAm and 6 being the sixth generation. There was G8 too and a G5. Production of the G6 ended when GM applied the bolt-gun to Pontiac’s brow in 2010, just five short years after its first model year, six if you count the year of first sale. This car is from 2007 with a 3.5 litre V6, the LX9 which is derivative of a long line of sixty degree V6s whose ancestor first turned over in 1980.

The Wikipedia page on this is so long it reaches from the laptop screen down to the floor (some may argue it’s not the same engine at all – be my guest). The G6 must have been among the last applications for this power plant so this fine car is veritably a piece of history, albeit a veritably very tiny piece of history.

And another thing, the G6 came as a saloon, a two-door and this convertible so it’s almost a full line of cars.  Pontiac seemed to be trying. The only really significant version missing was the hatchback – a Pontiac estate makes no sense and even in 2005 the demand for long roofs must have melting as fast an ice-cube in cup of fresh tea. We are lucky it existed, a last throwing-up of the dice.

The G6 shared its platform with quite few other cars. How does this list strike you – Fiat Croma, Cadillac BLS, Chevrolet Malibu, Opel Signum, Opel Vectra, Saab 9-3, Saturn Aura. The core of that range is the GM Epsilon platform, engineered in Russelsheim. GM got a lot of value out of that, didn’t they. Presumably, Opel carried the cost but didn’t get a pay back for the cars derived from the platform. We’ve been here before.

Back to the car again: on the one side, this car can claim to be one of GM’s few convertibles, a hard-top convertible, along with the Saab 9-3, one of two on the Epsilon platform. It isn’t offensive looking on the outside. On the downside, the car suffered from a lot of scuttle shake, really a lot of scuttle shake. Nothing learned since the Olds Cutlass of 1990-something that also wobbled.

Furthermore, you sir and madam can see from the photos the interior quality looks a bit below par. I think that the dash plastic looks ungrained – is it? It certainly looks very shiny. Autotrader.com also considered it unconvincing. Evidently all the money went on heavy, complex and unreliable hard-top system. Still, it’s got performance.

2005 Pontiac G6 in launch colours: cars.com

If you do look at at this car and imagine you might like it you may start considering cars quite like it. From America there’s the Chrysler Sebring. I have shown the 2003 version. A short-lived successor appear in 2008.

2003 Chrysler Sebring convertible: edmunds.com

Or a 2005 Saab 9-3 convertible. You know what that looks like but click here to see more.

Should you plump for the Pontiac, you will get ABS, an alarm, alloy wheels, automatic gearbox, central locking, electric steering, power operated seats, heated rear mirror, climate control, trip computer and a roof light and an information centre and cruise control and, of course, the retractable hard top. And heated seats too. That’s for when the roof is down and it’s cold. But not less than -10 degrees because then the mechanism will not function, by design.

In case you are wondering, the side view of the G6 looks like this.

2007 Pontiac G6 cabriolet: autotrader.com

It’s ended up looking like a Ford Focus CC and, I would gently argue, not really looking very Pontiac. What were they to do? The previous Pontiac style had depended on plastic cladding. With Olds dead, the plastic cladding could go, leaving cars with bland bodywork, just like a lot of lesser Olds.

That doesn’t say Pontiac, that side view. It says “convertible Opel Vectra”.

Let’s turn back to the particular car in question here. The seller has the only example of a car not otherwise on sale in Denmark and, well, they forgot to photograph with a clear view of the roof up. That’s why I’ve posted the silver metallic example. They have also managed to photograph the black car in shadow on a bright day.

The camera has closed its little retina to deal with the bright background and the car has sunk into a pool of black. It’s not  a cheap car so it deserves at least clear photography to lure in that single buyer. People are looking for excuses not to buy this vehicle.

For my money, if I started looking at this car I’d start to consider either the Saab 9-3 for a lot less money or the nicer Opel Cascada which may lack the V6 yet has a far nicer exterior and interior style not to mention much more impressive quality.

** if you have a very tight definition. If you don’t there’s also the W209/C209 Mercedes Benz cabrio which matches the general size of the Pontiac and ran from 2002 to 2009 and had an idiotic mix of engines, all too big and some far too big.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

10 thoughts on “Something Rotten in Denmark: 2007 Pontiac G6”

  1. Excuse my ignorance, but do they still make Pontiacs? It seems to be the very absence of a brand. It means absolutely nothing. I think of a Pontiac Trans Am from the 70s, but after that it gets very hazy.

    You could argue it has a place – a broadly middle-class kind of American family car – but then you remember there is also Buick and its case falls apart.

    1. Jacomo: I have not read the answers below yours yet. The answer is Pontiac meant performance cars. Pontiac closed in 2010.
      We turn again to my three way brand values split: economy, performance and luxury. Those are or maybe were the three main polarities. Pontiac was affordable performance (placing it between economy and performance). Buick was affordable comfort (placing it between economy and comfort). Oldsmobile was a real problem since there was no place on the triangle for it. Cadillac sat at the comfort end, with a higher price than Buick.

  2. Most likely it was bought by a member of the US occupation force in Germany. They don’t import their cars personally, they can buy any US market car they like tax free. If you drive around places like Mildenhall or Lakenheath in East Anglia, you’ll see all kinds of LHD US market crud.

  3. HA! As an American, I always love seeing out mediocre-to-bad cars wafting around in Europe.

    I don’t hate the way the Coupe looks, and the Sedan was famous for Oprah giving away 130 of them to every audience member on her show way back in 2005.

    The car itself? Not good. Epsilon I wasn’t a bad chassis, but it’s weird how all the cars on it range from pretty OK (Saturn Aura) to awful (2004 Chevy Malibu).

    Pontiac was supposed to be a sporty version of the GM USA lineup, but that car is anything but. The 60-degree pushrod V6’s feel old school, the suspension is wallowy, the steering isn’t great. But inside, the car ergonomically felt like they were almost there; the driving position and cockpit feel notably sportier and lower than the Malibu or even Saab 9-3. Too bad all the inputs aren’t great.

    But it was fairly cheap! And the 2.4L and 3.5L are fairly reliable for what they are (the 3.9L isn’t that great, and is notorious for eating head gaskets)

    When Pontiac went under in 2010, you could get a pretty well equipped example for roughly 60% of what you’d pay for a comparable Camry or Accord.

    1. So you are going with the American-in-Europe story. May I ask how wallowy is the supension really? Mark Gillies at Car & Dri(ver) liked the ride quality Personally I like the idea of a V6. The plastic finish would put me off though. It looks like they didn´t put a texture on the material or it is too fine.

    2. Richard,

      The ratio of the steering is slow and rubbery, but it has little road feel. It also is over boosted at higher speeds.

      The suspension is soft, the Saturn Aura had a better more taut setup.

      Also, these V6’s are kind of bad. The 3.4-3.9 were designed as replacements for the old-school, dates back to the 1960’s Buick-designed 3800.

      The 3.1, 3.4, 3.5, and 3.9 were narrower than the 90 degree 3800, but the 3.8L Buick version still delivered better real world performance, economy, and reliability. In fact, with a 4-speed automatic, it wasn’t uncommon to be able to nurse a 3800 equipped Buick or Chevrolet past 30MPG US on the freeway!

      The 3.5L and 3.9L have torque by the boatload, but they don’t really like revving and they’re not very eager motors. I think a few cars near the end of the G6’s life cycle got the quite good DOHC 3.6L that GM uses in basically everything now.

      The G6 was a symptom of GM’s fail and restructuring in 2008. Compare a Pontiac G6 to a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord. The G6 feels low quality, unrefined, small, usually had no resale value.

  4. Also, this car (Along with the Chrysler Sebring) was a big fleet queen. These clogged up rental lots (and it’s sedan version) for those looking to get a convertible cheaply for the weekend.

    It’s also one of the slowest convertible tops I’ve ever used.

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