Pontiac sent its Firebird muscle car out with a bang. The 2002 model year marked the final year of production for the American icon, but the vehicle did fade away in sad fashion, as many have done in the past. During its production life, the Firebird WS6 was slotted above the Trans Am and Formula performance models.
The Firebird WS6 was powered by the 5.7-liter LS1 V-8 engine. This pushrod engine had a 16-valve design, with a 3.90-inch bore, a 3.62-inch stroke and a compression ratio of 10.1-to-1. Output for the WS6's engine was rated at 325 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 350 foot-pounds of torque at 4,000 rpm. This represented an increase of 15 horsepower and 10 foot-pounds of torque over the Firebird Trans Am of the same vintage.
The Firebird WS6 package was visually distinctive from the Trans Am, due to its aggressive front-end styling, with air intakes at the base of the hood. These Ram Air intakes allowed more air to enter the engine, resulting in the WS6's increased power over the standard Trans Am model. Pontiac also added standard P275/40ZR17 Goodyear Eagle F1 tires to the WS6, ensuring that the tires were able to handle the vehicle's unbridled speed. A sturdier rear differential and stiffer suspension were also included on the WS6.
The Firebird WS6 could go from from zero-to-60 mph in 5.2 seconds when equipped with the manual transmission, while the automatic launched to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds. The manual gearbox model ran through the quarter-mile in 13.4 seconds at 106.2 mph, while the car had an estimated top speed of 165 mph. Fuel economy was 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway with the automatic transmission, while the manual-equipped version achieved 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.
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