Long, low, and sleek by anyone's standards, our test car looked and felt like a big luxury hardtop. Each year, Pontiac manages to come up with a design that looks even more exciting than last year's model 1965 is no exception. Quiet elegance is what we saw when we first looked at the Bonneville inside and out.
From the driver's seat, the car didn't seem overly ponderous. We could see all four fender tips. To the man behind the wheel, the arrow-like front end makes the car look even smaller than it is. Our only blind spot was the rear quarter view, partly blocked by the fastback styling. It bothered us when we backed out of driveways.
The Bonneville's bench seats were among the most comfortable we've used. They gave good support to back and legs. With their adequate fore and aft movement, plus the optional seven-position steering wheel, people of all sizes should be able to find a comfortable driving position.
When Pontiac designers put the Bonneville together, they didn't forget performance. Although the car behaved in a very smooth, quiet manner, our Bonneville (with the standard, 389-inch, 325-hp V-8) was capable of screaming, smoking, wheel-spinning acceleration that launched us from rest to 60 mph in a shade over nine seconds (two aboard). Highway passing speeds were equally impressive, as our figures on page [ 5 ] show, especially for a luxury family car.
One new item, among many, deserves special note. This year's Pontiac offers GM's new three-speed torque converter as an option. It proved noticeably smoother, faster-shifting, and more positive than the Hydra-Matic Pontiacs we've tested in the past. It was also more controllable, with instant downshifts available with a slight movement of the column lever. This was handy for cornering, mountain driving, and hazardous weather conditions. Called Turbo Hydra-Matic, this new transmission was introduced on Cadillac and Buick last year. It's a most welcome Pontiac addition.
All Pontiacs have their spring rates governed by the size and weight of the body series. Our Bonneville had a smoother ride than the other full-sized Pontiacs we drove. It showed less body lean and greater control on winding roads than the standard-suspension Catalina tested. Dips and bumps gave fewer up-and-down oscillations than last year's cars, which means ride and handling improvements are definitely noticeable.
Even with power steering, 4.2 turns between locks made quick maneuvers a blur of arms and elbows. But this is a luxury car, never intended for top speeds on winding roads; this sort of work is better left to the GTO and the 2 + 2, with their better suspension systems. The Bonneville was perfectly adequate for normal driving under normal conditions an extremely pleasant long-distance cruiser equally at home on the freeway or on short hauls to the country club.