In its American homeland, the Sunfire was a subcompact sports coupe that had quite a wide variety of positive attributes: a very reasonable price, just the right size and distinct styling.
The production model of the vehicle was a city commuter equipped with a 138 BHP 2.2L DOHC straight-4 engine. When it was blessed with the GXP concept, all of that turned around and it became a high-performance compact with superb handling and a fiercely aggressive style.
The mechanical components were basically the same as standard, but the extras were completely different. The engine was the same Ecotec 4-cylinder series as the standard model, but its displacement was dropped to 2.0L, and combined with a supercharger, increasing its peak power to 180 BHP.
This 2.0L supercharged spec engine was also given to the Saturn Ion Redline after the Sunfire GXP, and maximum output was increased to 202 BHP.
The suspension was dropped, and set up with the express goal of increasing its limits and improving its controllability. Braking was improved with large diameter rotors tucked into 17" wheels and callipers with a ceramic coating that improved durability. As part of its premium equipment, the GXP was treated to Potenza RE730 tyres.
Characteristic of the GXP's accoutrements were the use of suede cloth and pearlescent leather seats inside, and unique shadow-black body colouring outside.