How Does the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Compare to Other Sports Cars?


Quick Answer

The Trans Am variant of the Pontiac Firebird is generally considered to be a better-handling sports car than the base-model Firebird and similar "pony cars" such as the Camaro or Mustang, but it does not have overall performance in the same league as dedicated sports cars such as the Porsche 911 or Corvette. The specific performance characteristics of a given Trans Am can vary widely from other models depending on the production year, however.

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Full Answer

The Trans Am designation for the Pontiac Firebird was used from 1969 until 1992 to signify the top-performing version of this vehicle. Ironically, the original Trans Am could not be used in its namesake racing series since its engine was too large. Upgrades to the handling, suspension and engine are typical elements of the Trans Am package, with V-8 engines standard in every version of the Trans Am. These large engines make the Trans Am suitable for drag racing and other motorsports where straight-line performance is key. However, the General Motors F-body platform that underpins the Trans Am ultimately limits the car's cornering performance as compared to dedicated sports car designs, as the F-body design shares much of its basic design with the X-body platform originally designed for the Chevrolet Nova and other compact economy vehicles.

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