The Pontiac 6000 was a mid-size car introduced by the Pontiac division of General Motors in 1981 for the 1982 model year, positioned between the smaller Phoenix and the slightly upscale Bonneville (previously the LeMans). It shared its platform with the Buick Century, Chevrolet Celebrity, Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, and the Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser station wagon.
The 6000 was built at the Oshawa Car Assembly plant in Ontario, Canada from 1981 to 1988 and in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma until production ceased in 1991. They were also made in Tarrytown, New York for a few years. By 1984 the 6000 was Pontiac's best seller, with over 122,000 units sold. Since the demise of the T1000 after the 1987 model year, the 6000 was the last remaining Pontiac to bear the "000" in its name (the 2000 Sunbird was the first Pontiac to drop it in 1985).
In 1982, two trim levels were offered: 6000 and 6000 LE. Both came standard with the new-for-1982 2.5 L (151 cu in) Tech IV four-cylinder with throttle body injection. It made 90 horsepower (67 kW). Optional engines were GM's 2.8 L (173 cu in) V6 with a 2-barrel carburetor which made 112 horsepower (84 kW), or a 4.3 L (263 cu in) Oldsmobile diesel V6 which made 85 horsepower (63 kW). The diesel engine was unpopular and only offered until 1985. The 2.8 was updated for 1985 with multi-port fuel injection, raising output to 135 horsepower (101 kW) exclusively for the STE. The fuel-injected 2.8 made its way into the Base and LE models for 1986, however in these trims it only made 125 hp. The Tech IV was given various updates over the years but was mostly unchanged. For 1984, a station wagon known as the 6000 Safari was introduced to replace the rear-wheel drive Grand LeMans Safari wagon. In 1987, an S/E model arrived with the STE powertrain but fewer features, and the quad-rectangular headlamps were replaced with the composite headlamps. In 1989, the coupe model was dropped, and the 6000 received a more-rounded roofline with the Buick Century and Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, and was facelifted for the final time with slightly wider headlamps and a new grille. In 1990, passive front seatbelts were introduced and a 3.1 L (191 cu in) V6 replaced the 2.8. After the STE model was dropped from the 6000 line for 1990, the S/E model gained its all wheel drive option. This was later dropped for the 1991 model year. The 6000 was dropped after 1991, replaced by the Grand Prix sedan. In addition, the Pontiac 6000 wagon was the final GM designed station wagon offering from Pontiac.
The last Pontiac 6000 rolled off the assembly line on July 22, 1991.
The 6000STE (Special Touring Edition) was introduced for the 1983 model year. 5-passenger seating with front captain seats and power windows were standard on this trim level (optional on some other trim levels). It featured a High-Output version of the 6000's optional 2.8 L V6. Like that engine, it sported a 2-barrel carburetor, though it delivered 135 horsepower, rather than the usual 112 horsepower. Although intended to compete with similar entries from BMW and Audi, the 6000 used older technologies by comparison. The fuel system was carbureted (competitors had fuel injection) and gauge cluster lacked a tachometer. The 1984 6000STE featured a digital gauge cluster featuring a bar-graph tachometer. The STE featured a driver information center with a system which monitored functions such as lights, doors, tune-ups and tire rotations. For 1984, Road and Track called the 6000 STE one of the top twelve enthusiast cars.
Special steering rack, and suspension tuning with a self-leveling rear air suspension yielded European handling. 4 wheel disc brakes improved stopping as did standard Goodyear Eagle GT tires, size 195/70R14 (large for the time).
In 1985, the carbureted engine was replaced by a multi-port fuel injected version of the 2.8 L V6, still delivering 135 horsepower. Although the 3-speed automatic remained standard (a Getrag 5 Speed Manual was a no charge option), the new engine accelerated faster than the previous engine, and enhanced the STEs emphasis on performance and technology.
For 1986, a revised front facsia with composite headlamps, anti-lock brakes, a revised tachometer, steering wheel mounted audio controls (the first of their kind) and a new 4-speed automatic transmission became available . Following this was a two-position memory seat for the 8-way power drivers seat for 1987. New for 1988 was an optional All Wheel Drive system. It was mated to a new 3.1 L LH0 V6 (the first use of GMs then-new 3.1 L in a production car) but only a 3-speed automatic transmission, which didn't help acceleration or fuel economy. The all-wheel-drive system became standard for 1989, but was moved to the SE model for 1990, since the STE was discontinued from the 6000 line and moved to the new four-door Grand Prix lineup that year. It was later discontinued from the Grand Prix after 1993.
According to Car and Driver, the Pontiac G6 GT, introduced in 2005, is said to be the spiritual successor to the 6000 STE.
- 1984–1986 Muncie 4-speed manual w/overdrive (only available on 2.5 L 4-cyl & 4.3 L diesel)
- 1987–1988 Muncie/Getrag 5T40/HM282 5-speed manual w/overdrive (only on 2.8 L V6)
- 1982–1991 Turbo Hydramatic 125C/3T40 3-speed automatic (Standard on all engines)
- 1985–1991 Turbo Hydramatic 440-T4/4T60 4-speed automatic with overdrive (optional only on V6 engines)
The 6000 STE was on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list three times, from 1983 to 1985.