Pontiac Trans Am WS6 Specificationsby Michael G. Sanchez
The sporty Firebird was Pontiac's answer to the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. The car combined an available big V-8 with aggressive, attention-grabbing styling and delivered it in a relatively practical four-passenger package. Like its pony-car competitors, the rear-wheel-drive Firebird offered tire-smoking power and impressive acceleration. The F-body platform on which it and the Camaro were based, however, was arguably well past its prime by the early 2000s. 2002 was the final year of production for Pontiac's iconic but dated speed machine. The Trans Am was the pumped-up, V-8-powered model. It was available as a hatchback coupe or a convertible. The WS6 package added additional enhancements to the engine and chassis.
The coupe measured 193.8 inches in length, 74.5 inches in width and 52.0 inches in height, with a 101.1-inch wheelbase. Except for being about half an inch taller with its top up, the convertible had matching exterior dimensions. The coupe's base curb weight was 3,499 pounds, while the convertible weighted-in at a slightly beefier 3,623 pounds. The coupe and the convertible were equal in terms of interior space. The front seats offered 37.2 inches of headroom, 57.4 inches of shoulder room, 52.8 inches of hip room and 42.9 inches of legroom. Backseat passengers got a somewhat-cramped 35.3 inches of headroom, 55.8 inches of shoulder room, 44.4 inches of hip room and 28.9 inches of legroom. The coupe had space for 12.9 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seats up and a maximum of 33.7 cubic feet with them folded down. The convertible's trunk provided 7.6 cubic feet of storage space.
Drivetrain & Chassis
The Firebird Trans Am was powered by GM's 5.7-liter LS1 V-8. The WS6 package added a functional "Ram Air" hood-scoop that helped direct cool air into the engine, along with a freer-flowing exhaust system. These enhancements helped boost output to 320 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 345 foot-pounds of torque at 4,400 rpm, which was an improvement of 15 horsepower and 25 foot-pounds of torque over the standard Trans Am. Buyers could choose between a four-speed automatic transmission or a Borg-Warner six-speed manual with Hurst shifter. The WS6 package also added a power steering cooler and special 17-inch aluminum wheels with sticky Goodyear F1 GS tires. The Firebird employed a double-wishbone front suspension with a traditional live-axle setup in the rear. Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS came standard. Traction control was available as an option.
The Firebird Trans Am WS6's performance capabilities were quite strong for its time. It could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in five seconds flat. A quarter-mile run took just 13.5 seconds at 107.4 mph. While straight-line speed was the main attraction, the Pontiac also put out very decent braking and handling numbers. It could decelerate from 60 to 0 mph in 121 feet, which was about 10 feet better than the Camaro Z28, its platform-mate equivalent from Chevrolet. On a 200-foot skid pad, it could achieve a solid 0.84G of lateral acceleration. Finally, the Trans Am WS6 could race its way through a 600-foot slalom course at 64.6 mph.
While some people liked the interior's sweeping, curvaceous dashboard and red instrument lighting, others found it a bit cheap-looking. Either way, though, the premium WS6 model came with a strong selection of standard equipment. This included fog lamps, leather seating surfaces, a six-way power driver seat, a tilt-adjustable steering column, full power accessories, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, air conditioning and a six-speaker CD stereo. Options included a premium 10-speaker Monsoon audio system, and T-tops for coupes.
With the automatic transmission, the car was EPA-rated for fuel economy at 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. It received a 17-25 rating with the six-speed manual. The 2002 Firebird Trans Am WS6 coupe had a $32,090 base price, while the convertible started at $35,245. The WS6 package bumped the price up by $3,150 relative to a standard Trans Am. Kelley Blue Book reports that, as of 2014, a used 2002 WS6 coupe in well-maintained condition is worth approximately $7,242. An equivalent drop-top model is valued at about $8,708.
Michael G. Sanchez has been a professional writer for over 10 years. A lifelong car enthusiast and former senior mechanic, he has written on a wide range of automotive topics. He holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Castleton State College. Sanchez started writing about cars as a part-time copywriter for a local dealership while still in high school.