Welcome to the Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage, a regular feature which aims to expand the notion of what a muscle car is, and have some fun in the process. This has been an interesting series so far, with vehicles covered dating from the 50s through the 70s. What about something more recent, like a car that only went out of production a few years ago, and is still available on used car lots today? Yes, there are newer cars available for sale that fit into the muscle car category, like the Dodge Charger R/T, or the Chrysler 300 SRT-8. There is the Mustang GT and the Shelby, as well as the Pontiac G8 GT. But, did you know there was a powerful V8 Sedan, that wore the Pontiac arrowhead symbol, and was produced just before the awesome G8? Introducing the Pontiac Grand Prix GXP. Pontiac used to perform this type of miracle all the time, and it’s your typical muscle car formula. Pull one of your more pedestrian, run-of-the-mill, everyday vehicles, add in a monster V-8, distinguish it by giving it a new designation, and voila, sales heaven. That was the recipe a couple of decades ago, but this time, it was applied to a FWD sedan. On top of adding an all aluminum V8, Pontiac engineers upgraded the suspension, added larger brakes, installed 18-inch wheels, and made subtle changes to the front and rear styling. This was the first eight-cylinder Grand Prix in many years, and it was also the most expensive GP ever, hovering around $32,000 for a fully optioned version. The GXP replaced the equally pricey GTP Supercharged Version of the Grand Prix. Come to think of it, what the hell did GTP stand for? And what does GXP stand for? They should have just called it the GFP, for Grand F***in’ Prix! The GXP’s 5.3-liter (324 Cubic Inch) pushrod small-block V8 is not unlike the engine used in Chevy’s Silverado pickup. GM replaced the iron block with a lighter aluminum unit for this and other front-wheel-drive applications. The engine found it’s way under the hood of the Chevrolet Impala SS, and the Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS a year later. It packs 303 horsepower and 323 pound-feet of torque, and it is all funneled into a four-speed automatic transmission controlled with paddle shifters. This Grand Prix sports stiffer springs, reduce ride height, and comes equipped with Bilstein struts to tighten up the suspension. A larger rear sway bar was added to reduce body roll, and forged aluminum five-spoke wheels with Bridgestone Potenza tires are also part of the package. A rather curious feature, the GXP’s wheels measure 18-by-8 inches in front and 18-by-7 inches in back and the 255/45R18 front tires are fatter than the 225/50R18 rears. Usually it’s the other way around, and the combo simply looks strange. By way of comparison, the Impala SS has the same sized tires all around. Stuffing a V8 into a front-wheel-drive platform results in a lot of torque steer. Mashing on the accelerator pedal at any speed causes the car to dart around. However, even with the gobs of torque steer, the Grand Prix GXP ran a tire-smoking 0 – 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, according to a report published on Edmunds. They ran a 5.7L Dodge Magnum R/T at the same time, and the 0-60 mph run was done in 6.8 seconds, so kudos to Pontiac for having a Front Driver run with a super performing Rear Driver. The GXP leaves the larger Magnum in the dust on the drag strip, running the quarter-mile in 14.6 seconds at 95.4 mph. Its braking performance has been reported as good with cross-drilled rotors (12.7 inches front, 12 inches rear), but the calipers are only two-piston in front and single-piston out back. The GXP doesn’t look much different than the standard Grand Prix except for the big shiny wheels and drilled brakes, different front end with lower air inlets, restyled rear end with dual exhaust, a questionable rear deck spoiler and the fashion equivalent of the 70′s 1/2 vinyl roof, air ducts in the front fenders. Features you would have never thought of to ask for in a vintage Muscle Car are included in this Grand Prix. Impressive front seats that look and feel expensive, Stability control, OnStar, steering wheel radio controls, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, a head-up display, keyless entry and a CD player are standard. Other options include leather seating with suede inserts, a power sunroof, XM Satellite Radio, special paint, automatic dual-zone climate control and a remote vehicle starter. So, is this somewhat modern, front wheel drive, V8 sedan a muscle car? And does it belong in the Hooniverse Obscure Muscle Car Garage? Or, because it’s front wheel drive, will it never be considered a muscle car? I’m predicting a lot of debate with this one, so let me know what you think. [poll id=”207″] Please Note: All Images are screen grabs from around the web. If you want credit for any image, please let me know in the comments section. Thank You!