“Enter the realm of the senses”
The 6000 STE was Pontiac’s 1980s attempt to make a car that could effectively compete with the BMWs and Audis of the age. Of course, Pontiac had been trying to do this for at least a decade, including two different generations of the Grand Am (1973-1975 and 1978-1980). Though hampered by the fundamental constraints of the front-wheel-drive A-platform, the 6000 STE was a committed attempt.
For 1983, the 6000 STE‘s power was provided by GM’s Chevrolet-built corporate “High Output” LH7 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 with a Rochester E2SE two-barrel carburetor, rated at a respectable for the era 135 bhp, but the only transmission available was (oog) a three-speed automatic. 0-60 came in about 9 seconds in the 3,000-pound car. Mileage was 19 city/24 highway by the standards of the day (17/22 by today’s standards). With a 15.6-gallon gas tank, range was an unimpressive 275 to 300 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.
Improvements over the standard Pontiac 6000 (and the other A-platform cars—the Buick Century, the Chevrolet Celebrity, and the Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera) included a special steering rack and suspension tuning with a self-leveling rear air suspension. Four tungsten halogen headlamps paired with two inboard driving lamps gave the 6000 STE a distinctive and relatively unique face.
The 6000 STE came comfortably equipped for a sedan in 1983. Soft-Ray tinted glass, power steering, four-wheel disc brakes, and 195/70R14 Goodyear Eagle GT tires (a size still readily available) on 14-inch aluminum wheels were standard. Standard interior features included air conditioning, rear window defroster, power door locks, power windows, power mirrors, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, rally gauges, 45/45 bucket seats with six-way manual adjustment, and an AM/FM stereo radio with a cassette player and four speakers. The only significant option available was a $295 sunroof.
In 1983, 6,719 buyers paid around $13,572 (about $34,800 in 2019 dollars) for a 6000 STE, and it managed to make Car and Driver‘s 10Best Cars that year and the two following. The STE gained multi-port fuel injection in 1985 and various interior upgrades just about every year. Over time, the initial positive opinion there was of the 6000 STE seems to have faded—the most disparaging comment I’ve ever received on this site is about this car.
6000 STE‘s only occasionally show up in either the Hemming’s Motor News classifieds or eBay Motors, and when they do, they are often not in the greatest of shape. Please make mine the same two-tone as there is in the brochure picture above.
Updated December 2019.