The news at Pontiac for 1991 is mostly about starting and stopping, engines and brakes.
On the surface, Pontiac's lineup looks little changed except for the new face on the Firebird -- a sharper, lower beak -- and a highly photogenic new British racing green paint option.
Under the hood, though, Pontiac has made several changes. Dropping turbos, it is instead using GM's new 24-valve V-6 engine -- the 3.4-liter, 210-horsepower Twin Dual Cam -- on the Grand Prix GTP.
The GTP, Pontiac's Grand Prix image model, should be priced as much as $3,000 less than the Grand Prix Turbo it replaces. The reason is availability, along with good business sense. While Pontiac built only 1,000 Grand Prix Turbos for 1990, it was allotted 150,000 to 160,000 of the 3.4-liter multivalve V-6 engines for 1991 in a split with sister divisions Chevrolet and Oldsmobile.
GM's other multivalve engine, the 16-valve, 2.3-liter Quad Four four-cylinder, is also available on the Grand Prix, along with a traditional 3.1-liter V-6.
On the Sunbird, GM's older 3.1-liter V-6 replaces the optional 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.
Pontiac also has an updated, stainless-steel exhaust system on the Sunbird and made changes to quiet the car's standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder.
On the Grand Am, its best-selling car, Pontiac has added GM's newest-generation anti-lock braking system, ABS VI, on the SE model as standard equipment.
On the plastic-bodied TransSport minivan, sibling of the Oldsmobile Silhouette and the Chevrolet Lumina APV, Pontiac has added a seven-seat option in addition to the five-seat setup available in 1990.
Although little changed for 1991, Pontiac's LeMans deserves attention because it's a fuel-sipper. Powered by a 74-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder fuel-injected engine, the LeMans' fuel economy is rated at 27 mpg city and 33 mpg with the three-speed automatic transmission, at 29 mpg city and 38 mpg highway with the four-speed manual, and at 31 mpg city and 40 mpg highway with the five-speed manual.
Pontiac's 1991 lineup:
Bonneville LE: Sedan, $17,369, SE sedan, $20,989, SSE sedan, $25,799; front-drive; 3.8-liter, 165-hp V-6; ABS standard on SSE, optional on LE and SE; 18 mpg city, 27 mpg highway.
Firebird: Sports coupe, $13,159, rear-drive, 3.1-liter, 140-hp V-6; 18 mpg city, 27 mpg highway. Formula, $15,999, 5.0-liter, throttle-body injection, 170-hp V-8; 17 mpg city, 26 mpg highway. Trans Am, $17,999, 5.0-liter, tuned-port injection, 205-hp V-8; 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway. Trans Am GTA, $24,999, 5.7-liter, 240-hp V-8; 16 mpg city, 24 mpg highway.
Grand Am: Coupe, $10,629; sedan, $10,829; front-drive; 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine; 23 mpg city, 31 mpg highway. LE coupe, $11,569; sedan, $11,779; optional 2.3-liter, 160-hp 16-valve Quad Four engine; 23 mpg city, 31 mpg highway. SE coupe, $16,799; sedan, $16,999; 2.3-liter, 180-hp, 16-valve high-output Quad Four engine; optional 160-hp Quad Four engine; ABS standard, 22 mpg city, 31 mpg highway.
Grand Prix: LE sedan, $14,779, front-drive, Quad Four engine standard, 3.1-liter, 140-hp V-6 optional; 22 mpg city, 29 highway with Quad Four; 19 mpg city, 30 highway. SE coupe, $15,379, sedan, $15,769, Quad Four standard, 3.1-liter V-6 engine optional; optional ABS, optional heads-up display, GT coupe, $19,639, 3.1-liter V-6 engine standard., ABS optional, optional heads-up display. GTP coupe, base price not available, 3.4-liter, 210-hp, 24-valve V-6 engine standard, ABS optional, optional heads-up display, fuel-economy not available. STE sedan, $20,479, 3.1-liter V-6 engine standard, ABS optional, optional heads-up display.
Lemans: Aerocoupe, $7,899; LE coupe $8,629; LE sedan, $9,079; front-drive, subcompact, 1.6-liter, 74-hp, four-cylinder engine; 27 mpg city, 33 mpg highway.
Pontiac 6000: LE sedan, $13,479, front-drive, 2.5-liter, 110-hp four-cylinder engine, 24 mpg city, 31 mpg highway. LE wagon, $17,179; S/E sedan, $18,879, 3.1-liter, 140-hp V-6 engine, 20 mpg city, 29 mpg highway.
Sunbird: Coupe, $9,139, sedan, $9,239, front-drive, 2.0-liter, 96-hp four-cylinder engine, 25 mpg city, 32 mpg highway. LE coupe, $9,899, sedan, $9,999, 3.1-liter, 140-hp V-6 engine optional; 20 mpg city, 27 highway. SE coupe, $11,149, 3.1-liter V-6 optional. LE convertible, $14,869, 3.1-liter V-6 optional. GT coupe, $12,899, 3.1-liter, 140-hp V-6 engine standard.
Transsport: $16,129, SE $19,309, front-drive, plastic-bodied minivan; 3.1-liter, 120-hp V-6 engine; 18 mpg city, 22 mpg highway.