Image credits: © Pontiac. GM Corp
2000 Pontiac Piranha
Piranha Combines Pontiac Performance with Innovative Functionality and Customization
It's a name that stands for excitement and performance. With bold, athletic styling that provides an expression of individuality, Pontiac reflects the active lifestyles of its customers while providing high levels of comfort and convenience.
The word 'piranha' evokes the image of a creature that's nimble, aggressive, and extremely efficient. Like its namesake, the Pontiac Piranha is 'a small package with a big bite.' Piranha reiterates the bold, purposeful Pontiac personality for the 21st century, offering simplicity of operation and low-cost performance coupled with unprecedented innovation. 'The Piranha concept combines new levels of functionality and versatility with the traditional Pontiac elements of performance, styling, ride and handling,' says Pontiac General Manager Lynn Myers.
Influenced by the active lifestyles of young drivers, Piranha provides the versatility required by people in pursuit of extreme fun. From its athletic exterior to the highly customizable interior, it's a vehicle that's full of surprises. What comes as no surprise is the excitement produced by Piranha's performance, ride and handling - after all, it's a Pontiac.
The surprises start with Piranha's exterior. Although it's a coupe, it comes with back doors that open rearward to provide easy access to the entire interior. An innovative roof rack system pops up when needed, and disassembles easily when not in use. Features such as these, plus Piranha's distinctive athletic stance and dual-colored exterior, immediately telegraph Pontiac styling excitement.
Piranha's interior sets a new standard in flexible interior design. Athletic forms, colors and textures emphasize the vehicle's durable, functional character. The interior is highly customizable. Fabric panels on the doors and instrument panel can be changed by zipping them on and off, allowing the driver to change color schemes easily. All four seats are designed to be foldable, lightweight and removable - once outside the vehicle, they do double duty as beach chairs. A lightweight tub in the cargo area serves as a trunk or a cooler, and can be removed to provide storage or seating outside the vehicle. Removing the tub creates a flat bed, effectively converting the Piranha into a 'mini-pickup' complete with fold-up tailgate.
Even though the emphasis is on flexibility and utility, there's no shortage of traditional Pontiac performance. A supercharged version of the 2.2 liter 16-valve 4-cylinder Ecotec engine provides plenty of fuel-efficient power. There's plenty of stability, too, with the Grand Prix-derived wide track design, 19-inch rear wheels, and 18-inch front wheels. Front wheel drive and an AISIN 5-speed automatic transmission with paddle shift controls mounted on the steering wheel keep the driver in command and enhance Piranha's fun-to-drive character.
The Piranha concept was developed with young people and young attitudes in mind. So Pontiac went to the source, visiting a college campus and an indoor rock climbing facility and talking at length to consumers in the 18 to 26 age range. These young drivers talked about what they want in a vehicle, what they use it for, what hobbies and other activities they engage in. They gave feedback on Piranha's overall philosophy and specific design elements.
The result is a highly customizable vehicle that allows drivers to express themselves and their individuality. Athletic forms and materials reflect the active lifestyles of these consumers. The design team drew inspiration from items such as sports tents, athletic shoes and biking head gear and mountain bike components. Because young drivers are looking for affordable driving excitement, Piranha's designers explored low-cost manufacturing strategies. The resulting lightweight construction and visible structure make Piranha inexpensive both to buy and maintain.
The Piranha concept introduces a new generation of drivers to unsurpassed driving excitement. Says Pontiac Design Manager John Mack, 'The Piranha concept can offer young consumers the opportunity to buy new, not used; expressive, not traditional; in a quality performance that meets their very active lifestyle needs.'Source - Pontiac
Pontiac Piranha: Inside and Out, It's Full of Surprises
With a design influenced by the active lifestyles of young drivers, the Pontiac Piranha concept vehicle provides the versatility required by people in pursuit of extreme fun. From its athletic, muscular exterior to the highly customizable interior, Piranha is full of surprises.
For Piranha's exterior, the design team drew inspiration for shapes, colors and materials from sports items such as athletic shoes and biking gear. A collapsible tent served as a significant source of styling cues. 'A tent is a small package that expands to do a lot. So is Piranha,' said John Mack, Pontiac design manager. 'The support rods, the tension of the tent materials - these cues all found their way into the design.'
Piranha's distinctive wide-track stance and dual-colored exterior immediately telegraph Pontiac styling excitement. From the dual port grille to the dominant, powerful exhaust, strong muscular forms rule. The wheels - 18' in front, 19' at the rear - push out of the bodyside. Ribs along the length of the body convey motion, even when Piranha is standing still. The use of colors such as black, silver and blue conveys sophistication, sending the message that even though Piranha is affordable, it's not cheap.
Piranha's exterior is about more than looks. Innovative, surprising features make the vehicle adaptable to the lifestyle of the driver. Although Piranha is a coupe, it comes with back doors that open rearward to make loading people or gear easy. A look at the roof reveals brackets that lie flat on the surface. When users need extra cargo carrying space, they simply pop up these brackets, then attach rods that are stored in the rocker panel. The result is an instant roof rack system that easily disassembles when it's not needed.
Piranha's four-passenger interior is a showcase of customization and flexibility. The designer focused on the idea of creating a 'blank canvas' for the user, with colors, materials and textures that are highly personalizable. The fabric on the doors and instrument panel zips on and off easily. This allows the Piranha driver to quickly give the passenger compartment a whole new look, selecting colors and materials that reflect their mood. If they're in the mood for an open-air driving experience, Piranha can provide that, too. A uniquely designed single-throw fabric sunroof panel opens side-to-side between fixed roof rails. The user opens the roof down the middle from front to back by cranking it open to the desired width. Because music is extremely important to youthful Piranha drivers, the stereo speakers are easily upgradable with quick screw release mounts.
The user will find more flexibility in Piranha's seating. The seats are made of cast magnesium frames, a move that helps minimize both the manufacturing cost and the weight of the vehicle. The frames are covered with a lightweight and strong mesh fabric. Formfitting soft gel armrests, made of materials found in bicycling gear and bicycle seats, enhance comfort and contribute to the Piranha's fun, athletic feel. The seatbelt design is reminiscent of the harnesses and buckles used by rock climbers. All four seats are foldable and removable. Once they're outside the vehicle, their lightweight construction allows them to be used as beach chairs. When it's time to put them back inside Piranha, they slide into their tracks easily and fasten with two front locator pins.
The flexibility of the seats leads to cargo-carrying versatility. Piranha has 58.2 cubic feet of cargo space when the front passenger seat and the rear seats are removed. Simply folding the passenger rear seats down provides 47.3 cubic feet of cargo room, which includes 9.5 cubic feet offered by the removable tub. A pass-through below the rear privacy glass opens up space from the rear to the front when the passenger seat is folded down. This allows long items such as skis to be carried inside the vehicle.
The pinnacle of Piranha's cargo-carrying flexibility is a lightweight tub in the cargo area that serves as a trunk, a cooler, or removable storage or seating. It's lockable, ruggedly constructed and washable. The tub has a ribbed floor and is equipped with a drain plug, so it can be filled with ice and used to keep food and beverages chilled on long trips. The tub is light enough to remove easily. It's collapsible, so it carries easily. When it's out, it serves as a portable cooler, storage or seating. Without the tub, Piranha becomes a 'mini-pickup' complete with a floor panel that extends to provide more load space, then flips up to create a tailgate. This creates a flat load floor for even greater cargo-carrying capability.
Like the exterior, Piranha's interior styling and materials were inspired by sports items. Steering wheel styling is mountain bike-inspired. The extruded aluminum instrument panel is covered with the same spandex material that's used in exercise wear. The spandex panels on the doors contain zippered storage pockets. Flip-up cupholders are also made of spandex. The fabric is pulled taut and contains a center slit that holds any size beverage while absorbing condensation. These cupholders will also grip odd-sized containers such as an order of fries or a burger. Piranha's glovebox is constructed of compressed impact foam, like a biking helmet. The insulating capabilities of this material allow the glovebox to be used as a cooler.
Úser-focused interior flexibility doesn't stop with Piranha's materials. Flexible help is available from OnStar® - if the driver needs directions, wants to find the nearest ATM, or needs emergency help, a push of a button activates Global Positioning System satellite technology to connect them to an OnStar Center Advisor. Steering wheel-mounted controls and a center console that swivels toward the driver make it easier for him or her to stay in control and enjoy the drive. When the trip's over, the instrument panel-mounted CD holder detaches, becoming a portable carrying case that allows the user to easily take their tunes wherever they go.Source - Pontiac
Pontiac Designers Combine Forces With Youth Market to Develop The Piranha Concept Vehicle
Young people and young attitudes - that's what Pontiac is all about. So, in developing the Piranha concept vehicle, designers turned to the undisputed experts in youthful trends: the 18 - 26 year old trendsetters themselves.
'We went out to a college campus and an indoor rock climbing facility,' said John Mack, Pontiac design manager. 'We talked to people we thought were Pontiac type of people - urban trend starters, 18 to 26-years old. A diverse group of people with very active lifestyles, who were into extreme athletic events.'
Designers talked to these young consumers about what they want in a vehicle, what they use it for, what hobbies and other activities they engage in. They talked about what colors and materials they liked. They gave feedback on Piranha's overall philosophy and specific design elements. 'In effect, they became stakeholders in Piranha,' said Lynn Myers, Pontiac general manager. 'We showed them initial sketches, and got very good feedback that we incorporated into Piranha's development.'
These young drivers talked about affordable driving excitement - high energy, low-cost performance. They liked the look of sport cars, but felt they weren't functional enough for their active lifestyles. Instead, they wanted versatility - something they could tailor to their own needs. Room for friends, athletic gear and other cargo was a high priority. The vehicle should be simple to operate and inexpensive to maintain. And although affordability was a concern, they stressed that they didn't want a vehicle that looks cheap. Instead they want to drive something that will let them be noticed for being different, and express who they are by what they drive.
The Piranha concept reflects this feedback in unique and exciting ways. First and foremost: Piranha is thoroughly Pontiac. Its distinctive wide-track stance and dual-colored exterior immediately telegraph Pontiac driving excitement while announcing the arrival of something completely different. From the dual port grille to the dominant, powerful exhaust, strong muscular forms rule. Piranha performs like a Pontiac, too, thanks to a supercharged version of GM's Ecotec 2.2-liter 16-valve 4-cylinder engine coupled with a 5-speed automatic transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com)
Piranha also reflects the importance these young consumers place on recreation. Piranha's looks were inspired by the equipment this youth market uses for fun. The athletic forms of athletic shoes, mountain bikes and backpacking gear were translated into automotive applications. Because young drivers are looking for affordable transportation, Piranha's designers explored low-cost manufacturing strategies. Materials such as extruded aluminum, spandex and molded foam were used. The resulting lightweight construction and visible structure make Piranha inexpensive both to buy and maintain. These forms and textures combine to convey an athletic, functional and fun image.
Young drivers want functionality, and Piranha delivers. Through the use of innovative systems and materials, Piranha provides the adaptability active drivers need. It's a four-passenger coupe with a lightweight tub in the cargo area that serves as a trunk or a cooler. Removing the tub creates a flat bed, effectively converting the Piranha into a 'mini-pickup' complete with fold-up tailgate. Rear access doors make accessing the cargo area easy. All four seats are designed to be foldable, lightweight and removable - once outside the vehicle, they do double duty as beach chairs. A unique roof rack system assembles quickly, using pop-up roof brackets and rods that are stored securely inside the door sill when not in use.
Piranha also offers unique opportunities for customization. Young adults used to a consumer market that offers seemingly unlimited choices will appreciate Piranha's fabric panels on the doors and instrument panel. These panels can be changed easily by zipping on and off, allowing the driver to change color schemes or fabrics whenever they want a change of interior scenery.
The Piranha concept vehicle is a fresh new reflection of Pontiac's brand character for the 21st century. It's energetic, athletic and light on its feet. It embodies the Pontiac traditional values of performance, styling, ride and handling, plus new dimensions of innovative practicality. 'With Piranha, we're about delivering unsurpassed Pontiac driving excitement, while adding extreme innovation in the form of functionality and customization,' said Mack. 'And we're bringing it all within the reach of first-time new vehicle buyers.'Source - Pontiac
It may look unlike anything you've ever seen, but at its heart, Piranha is pure Pontiac. Even though the design emphasizes flexibility and utility, there's no shortage of traditional Pontiac driving excitement. Piranha's power, performance, ride and handling make it 'a small package with a big bite.'
A supercharged version of GM's Ecotec 2.2-liter 16-valve 4-cylinder engine provides plenty of fuel-efficient power. Horsepower is rated at 212@5900 rpm with torque of 203 ft-lb@4600rpm. A lightweight composite intake manifold provides tuned intake passages for excellent power and torque in a compact design. The engine runs smoothly and quietly, thanks to features such as an isolated cam cover that reduces valve noise. Twin balance shafts, located in the cylinder block, cancel out the shaking forces that are normal in an inline four-cylinder engine.
All accessories bolt directly into the engine, contributing more rigidity and reducing vibration. The die-cast lower crankcase, structural oil pan and the full circle transmission attachment make an extremely rigid engine assembly. The engine design gives Piranha world-class noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) control, and smooth, quiet full-throttle operation from idle to maximum engine speed. One of the goals of Piranha's designers and engineers was to create a performance vehicle that is inexpensive to buy and to own. The engine helps Piranha meet that goal by setting new standards among four-cylinder engines for reduced maintenance and enhanced serviceability.
An oil life monitoring system calculates oil life based on engine operation, eliminating unnecessary oil changes while extending engine life. Long-life components such as coolant, belts and coil-on-plugs reduce maintenance costs.
The engine is produced using the lost-foam casting process, which uses a highly accurate foam pattern to create the casting molds. This allows intricate designs to be cast into the engine block, cylinder head, and other major parts, reducing cost and increasing reliability. Durability is enhanced by the basic integrity of the design and the extensive use of roller-chain drives. Piranha's engine features aluminum block and cylinder head construction.
The use of aluminum means less mass and substantial weight reduction. That results in greater operating efficiency and better mileage for economy-minded customers. The aluminum cylinder head provides operational and production efficiencies similar to those in the block. Piranha was designed to appeal to the youth market - a group that is extremely aware of environmental concerns. These consumers will appreciate the many ways this engine is environmentally friendly.
For instance, a unique, compact oil filter cartridge made of paper and plastic can be removed virtually drip free, and it eliminates a canister mating surface that is a common source of leaks. The dual-overhead cams are driven by a single, durable roller chain from the crank, a design that leads to an extremely efficient combustion process and lowered emissions. Also improving combustion and reducing emissions is the design of the pistons, which prevents fuel from flowing down the cylinder wall. The high velocity, thermally efficient nodular cast iron exhaust manifold also improves emissions. With its rear exhaust take down, 3mm land above the top piston ring, thin multi-layer head gasket, superior cylinder-to-cylinder distribution balance and optimized combustion chamber process,
Piranha's engine is able to meet increasingly stringent emission standards. ( posted on conceptcarz.com)
Adding to Piranha's driving dynamics and efficiency is the AISIN 5-speed automatic transmission. (posted on conceptcarz.com)
This transmission is an excellent match for the powerful supercharged 2.2-liter. The first four gears provide optimum performance, while the fifth gear reduces engine rpm at highway speeds, contributing improved fuel economy and reduced engine wear. In keeping with the nonconforming attitude of Piranha, the transmission features steering wheel-mounted paddle controls to increase driver interaction and fun.
There's plenty of stability, too, with the Grand Prix-derived wide track design. Wide-track physics mean that Piranha's 64-inch wheel-to-wheel width enhances driving control. The vehicle is extremely well balanced, a fact that creates more predictable handling. Stability is also enhanced with Piranha's 18-inch front and 19-inch rear wheels. These large tires put substantially more rubber on the road than the smaller variety, increasing stability and giving Piranha smooth handling and superb road performance.Source - Pontiac
Piranha offers innovative, affordable driving excitement with unique customizing capabilities for Pontiac's youngest buyers. Studies indicate that they love Piranha's concept and utility. Especially popular is the fact that it is designed to be inexpensive not only to buy, but also to maintain. Pontiac's Piranha is sure to grab attention wherever it goes.
This unique four-seat, front-wheel drive coupe has an athletic stance with its 19' rear wheels, 18' front wheels and dual-colored exterior. Trendsetters will sit up and notice. Young adults used to getting custom products will be able to express who they are by what they drive. Piranha's interior can be customized to reflect the owner's personality of the moment. For starters, the interior trim panels are designed so that the fabric can be changed to the owner's choice of material or theme with relative ease. The instrument cluster is reconfigurable. The seats are flexible, lightweight and removable. The front passenger and rear seats can be folded down to expand the cargo space from 11 cubic feet to 38 cubic feet. A rubber floor allows for easy hose-out cleaning. Piranha also features a fun open-air driving choice with a uniquely designed fabric roof panel that opens side-to-side between fixed roof rails.
The car accommodates recreational interests with an integrated pop-up roof rack and an interior design that was influenced by sports equipment. A flat load floor and removable cargo carrier in the back can be accessed through a rear door with a tailgate that folds down flat. Special side rear doors enhance access to the back of the coupe. Piranha's L850 supercharged engine is both powerful and fuel-efficient, coupled with a high-tech, 5-speed paddle shift for fun and control. 'Piranha offers young consumers the opportunity to buy new, not used; expressive, not traditional; in a quality performance package that meets their very active lifestyle needs,' said Pontiac Design Manager John Mack.Source - Pontiac