What's New for 2005
The 2005 Pontiac GTO receives a new engine -- the 6.0-liter LS2 V8. The new V8 produces 400 horsepower, up from 350, and 395 lb-ft of torque, up from 365. More rumble comes from a new split dual-exhaust system, and new exterior options include two new colors and an available hood scoop.
The GTO legend started back in 1964, when Pontiac offered Tempest/Le Mans buyers a GTO option package. That performance-enhancing option proved so popular that the GTO became its own model and is often credited as the first true "muscle car." Although some purists would say the "real" GTO died in 1973, the GTO name lasted until 1974 when the car was based on the Pontiac Ventura, itself a thinly disguised Chevy Nova. With only 200 horsepower and distinct Nova looks, it's easy to see why many do not consider the '74 to be a true GTO. As the performance dwindled, so did the popularity of the GTO and sales swiftly declined. The introduction of the more realistic "net" horsepower rating in the early '70s couldn't have helped, as it was surely difficult for local dealers to explain why a '71 GTO with a 400-cubic-inch V8 produced only 255 hp. By 1972, some of the GTO's former glory was restored, but the dark cloud of emissions control and government-mandated bumpers loomed large, and the once-proud Pontiac became nothing more than just another GM clone. Miraculously, GM has resisted the urge to slap the GTO badge on anything since 1974. It seems all the more curious given how fast and loose Chevrolet plays with its once-coveted "SS" moniker. We can't help but wonder how close the first Grand Prix GTP came to being labeled a GTO, but thankfully those in charge at Pontiac realized that "GTO" shouldn't be within a mile of a front-wheel-drive V6 automobile -- V8s only, please. GM was able to deliver on that promise thanks to a little help from its Holden division in Australia. The Holden Monaro CV8 is the basis for the modern-day GTO, and like GTOs of the past, the new version is a 2+2 coupe. The Holden received styling revisions to make it look more like a Pontiac. The resulting twin grille and a slightly familiar rear-end treatment say "Pontiac" even from 20 yards away. Initially, the GTO was powered by GM's LS1 V8 making 350 hp. For 2005, Pontiac slid the LS2 6.0-liter V8 under the hood, good for 400 hp. Blasting from zero to 60 in less than 5.5 seconds and blitzing the quarter-mile in under 14 ticks means a 2005 Pontiac GTO will simply embarrass nearly any old Goat you could name. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard, and all GTOs come with four-wheel antilock disc brakes, as well as a limited-slip rear end and traction control. An optional six-speed manual transmission only adds to the fun, and with a fully independent, performance-tuned suspension and 17-inch wheels wrapped in performance tires, the car is able to hold its own in the corners while still delivering a relatively supple ride.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2005 Pontiac GTO is offered as a 2+2 sport coupe in one generously appointed trim level. The standard features list includes full leather trim (seats, steering wheel, shift handle); a premium Blaupunkt audio system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer; keyless entry; eight-way power-adjustable front seats; a trip computer; power windows, locks and mirrors; air conditioning; cruise control; and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Aside from choosing a transmission, there are no additional options.
Powertrains and Performance
There is only one engine available on the 2005 Pontiac GTO -- a 6.0-liter V8 rated at 400 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque. The standard transmission is a four-speed overdrive automatic, but a six-speed, close-ratio manual transmission is available as an option. Regardless of which transmission is selected, all GTOs come with a limited-slip differential and electronic traction control.
All GTOs come standard with four-wheel antilock disc brakes, electronic traction control, multistage front airbags and an emergency mode that shuts down the vehicle's systems and unlocks the doors in the event of an airbag deployment. Side airbags are not available, nor is stability control. The GTO has not been crash tested.
Interior Design and Special Features
Unlike the original GTO, this modern-day version is no stripper. Comfortable leather-trimmed seats; a 200-watt, 10-speaker sound system; and a comprehensive trip computer all come standard. The overall design is straightforward with large analog gauges and an easy-to-use climate control system. Access to the rear seats is tight as you might expect, but they are quite comfy once you're seated.
On the street, the 2005 Pontiac GTO has a luxury carlike ride quality, and when pushed a bit, it seems to handle predictably and respectably, despite a fair amount of body roll. But when driven more aggressively, the car feels heavy and the steering a little slow and numb. Blazing engine performance and powerful brakes, however, showcase true muscle car roots.