“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 still a reasonably impressive try.
For 1983, the 6000 STE’s power was provided by GM’s Chevrolet-built corporate “High Output” LH7 2-barrel carbureted 2.8 liter/173 ci V6, rated at a respectable for 1983 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 the rather small 13-gallon fuel tank, range was an unimpressive 250 miles or so.
Improvements over the standard Pontiac 6000 (and the other A-platform cars—the Buick Century, Chevrolet Celebrity, and Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera) included a special steering rack and suspension tuning with a self-leveling rear air suspension. Four halogen headlamps paired with two inboard driving lamps gave the 6000 STE a distinctive and relatively unique face. Power steering and 195/70R14 Goodyear Eagle GT tires (a size still readily available) on aluminum wheels were also standard on the 6000 STE.
The 6000 STE came comfortably equipped by 1983 standards. Standard features included air conditioning, rear window defroster, power door locks, power windows, power mirrors, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, rally gauges, and an AM/FM stereo cassette. One of the few options available was a $295 sunroof.
6,719 buyers paid at least $13,572 (about $31,900 in 2014 dollars) for a 6000 STE in 1983 and it managed to make Car and Driver‘s 10 Best Cars that year and the two following.