Disclaimer: I bought this back in February 2015. It took a while to have time to take some good photos of her and type up a review (took
a while 2 years to get back to writing this after saving it in my drafts)
Let me introduce you to Lillith
Holden Monaro Pontiac GTO is an interesting rebirth of a classic American muscle car. With today’s angular and, let us be honest, similar shaped updates of the Camaro, Mustang, and Challenger, the GTO stands out of place. At the time this car came out the only other redesign was the Mustang, which in its first years I felt fell kind of flat. The GTO hit its stride after a slight face lift from the ‘04 MY and the ‘05 MY. The added nostrils, red calipers, and subtle badge changes gave hint to the power this car hid underneath its hood.
To be honest, when there came out I didn’t give them the light of day. I thought it was boring and that they had ruined the GTO moniker. Though after around 10 years and some gained maturity, I have come to love the design that has really held out over time and looks nice and relevant now. Where the Camaro, Mustang, etc need constant refreshes to look modern because the design is from the 60's, this design still looks modern despite its age. I love the subtle bulges, the wing, and the nostrils. With only a few issues from sitting in someone’s garage for a while, the car is immaculate and the blue paint is one of my favorite colors that came on these.
The interior of the GTO is a lovely place to be. The seats are firm, but supportive and actually extremely comfortable for long drives. The leather is a lovely touch and mixes well with the suede trim inserts on the doors and the lower dash. As for the driving position, the only problem could be that the steering wheel is not telescopic. It does tilt, but personally I like to have my legs slightly bent when I am “pedal to the metal” but also have my arms a bit bent. It is harder to achieve in the GTO than other cars, but once I found my position, it is the most comfortable driving position I have ever been in compared to any car I have driven. Vehicles that are 2+2 usually have rear seats that require you to cut off your legs and dislocate your neck to be able to sit there. Not so in the GTO, the seats are separated very well and have a nice bucket shape to them. I am 6'2" and I can fit in the seat with decent comfortability, but might not be able to sit behind a tall driver or passenger. The only odd thing is the way the seats move back and forth in order to enter the rear seats. While the mechanism to move them is intuitive, but the speed is terrible. The seats adjust so SLOWLY! Which is odd because part of the 06 update over the 05 is faster moving seats. They are though, my boss has an 05 and they are quite a bit slower, but it’s still too slow when you think about how modern the vehicle is.
Correction: Apparently it is telescopic, but very stiff. Still leaving the point off for it though
The 6.0L LS2 packs 400 hp and 400 ft-lbs delivered to the rear through a Tremec T56 M12 6-speed manual transmission. This is the most powerful car I have ever owned and up there on the list of most powerful cars I have driven. Thankfully the car came with a cam, headers, and full exhaust. The car sounds great! I love the sound of an LS motor and makes me very happy the radio can be turned off and the windows rolled down. I am knocking off a half point because I have shitty, cheap all seasons on her right now and once I am able to get new tires, that rating would be 10/10. I love the power coming off the line, though my favorite pull is getting on the freeway in third gear. The GTO pulls like crazy and the noise is amazing. I can’t wait to get her to the track someday. I had to find a set of OE headers and midpipes so I could pass smog. After a little searching I found a set back east on a forum and $175 shipped compared to the $4000 from work with the employee discount was a steal. Then a few more dollars to have a guy throw her up on a dyno and tune her for the cam, we ended up with 385 rwhp. So that is about 450 hp at the crank compared to 400 stock. Not too much more, but still. I NEED MORE
Big disks plus big rotors, mean big stopping. The pedal feel is very positive and responsive. Plus the calipers are red from the factory and say GTO, thats like 8 Jaloppoints at the very least. I’m sure braking would be even better with some nice sticky tires, but again, that’s why a half point off.
Ride and Handling: 8/10
Even though she is a bit on the hefty side, 3,725 lbs (1689 kg), you are never in fear when throwing her around the twisties. While mine has been lowered, a bit further than I’d like, but I’ll fix that, she handles great and is a blast on my favorite back roads. I think a better coil over kit and some bigger sway bars may help the handling out just the bit that I am missing.
There really isn’t any. The radio is a 6 disc changer unit. That is really nice when I am bored of the radio or lose signal. Though most of the time I use a FM modulator to listen to Pandora. As much as I’d like to have bluetooth, I don’t want to replace my good look unit with a crappy aftermarket one just for that. I think I will get a nice hardwired in FM modulator. The clusters have some fun displays on the little screens built into them. The ‘06 got a lock button on the console which is nice. The speakers get the job done, but the sub buzz out too much when things get loud. Some reason the US spec GTOs have a vacuum actuated A/C system where the Aussies got a nice electronic displayed one that I find looks better. I also want the dial pod for the dash.
A perfect score? Yes I think so any how. I looked for a new car for 6 months to replace my Fiero before finding my GTO. I even tried to buy a lovely 996 C2 with an Aero package. The GTO is so much better. She had 9,700 miles on the clock and I paid $20,000 for her. Which was bluebook. Making payments and using her, I am still ahead of the curve (ie own less than she is worth). Though I doubt I will ever willingly get rid of this beautiful machine. I have undoubtedly fallen in love.
Total score: 60.5/70