1997 Pontiac Grand Am GT 2.4 Twin Cam from North America
Pontiac is Driving Excitement would be a good term..
Alternator went out at around 58,000 miles.
Driver's side window motor is starting to go out.
In short, this is a wonderful car. World class sports car it is not, but it's definitely fun to drive and own.
First off, with the GT trim, this deceivingly pricy car is quite economical. The 2.4 Litre TwinCam delivers excellent fuel economy, sipping gas at a moderate 24 mpg in the city and at a meager 33 mpg on the highway.
The Grand Am also has one of the most reliable powertrains available on the market. Its 2.4 litre TwinCam motor is paired with a dependable 4t40e hydramatic transmission. This base motor is perhaps one of the most reliable and muscular in-line fours on the market. It delivers a remarkably flat torque curve, with good low end torque for its engine class. Its 155 ft pounds peaks at 2400 rpm and holds all the way through until 4400. It is a marked improvement over the highly problematic Quad4 motors of this car's past.
The Grand Am, with GT trim, virtually struts with sporty and attractive styling, with angular lines and very cool looking headlights (put some PIAA's and some APC white turnsignal lights in there and you'll see what I mean). Dual exhaust tips and nice 16 inch, low-profile 205 mm tires give the car a beefy, powerful look.
The interior styling is sporty, with a fighter cockpit motif, although lacking for space in some spots (the cupholders could stand a little rearranging). The cockpit instruments and controls are positioned for quick and easy access. The instrument cluster lights up with a soothing red glow at night, topping off the futuristic, fighter-jet feel.
The interior also has descent comfort, with just-right seats that won't put you to sleep, but won't leave you aching. Space for rear-passengers is a little limited, however (of course, I have a coupe, so I never really planned to have more than one or two passengers anyway).
Performance is above average. With the 150 HP 2.4 Litre TwinCam and a rather crisp shifting 4 speed automatic transmission, the car can hit 60 in 8.8 seconds, on average, and has a quarter mile of 16.8 seconds at 83 mph. The 5 speed version can do 60 almost half a second quicker, with a 1/4 mile time of 16.5 seconds. Braking power is mediocre, and this is perhaps one of the only major failings of this car. There is detectable fade with stock pads and rotors (I would recommend switching to some good aftermarket brake pads).
Handling is adequate, for my tastes at least. The GT trim level comes with a sport suspension; the thicker performance tires and stiffer shocks contribute to good, however not outstanding, handling. The car exhibits a moderate oversteer, nice for whipping around the occasional turn, and has far much less roll than the SE version (notorious for its less than medocre handling).
I feel the Grand Am has a lot of unexploited potential. Namely, its performance could be better, and some tuning thus is in order. Prospective buyers of 96-98 model year Grand Am's will be happy to know that many aftermarket parts are steadily becoming available for this popular GM compact, from cold air intakes, to high performance bilsten shocks, to even superchargers.
Over all, this is a nice car. Not as nice and surely not as quick as a Honda Civic VTEC or a Toyota Celica GT, but none-the-less a car that delivers exciting styling and pleasing drive for an economical price.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 2nd March, 2002
17th Oct 2007, 16:40
I have a 97 grand am gt with the 2.4l twin cam. I have 135,500 miles on it and never had a problem with it, not one thing. last year I put a INJEN cold air intake and the increase of power and torque, response was quite noticable. but it cuts out at 104mph. soon to put a new ecu to get rid of the rev limiter.