2017 Trans Am Bandit Edition Review – Top Gear Test Drive

2017 Trans Am Bandit Edition

The 2017 Trans Am Bandit Edition is officially here. Even though the Pontiac brand has been defunct since 2010, TAW aka. Trans Am Worldwide has taken over the Trans Am nameplate and actually managed to deliver some commendable results. Using the Chevrolet Camaro SS frame, they created the Bandit Edition, an authentic tribute to the seminal 1977 Trans Am model.

2017 Trans Am Bandit Edition

image credit: topgear

This year will mark the 40-th anniversary of the old Hollywood classic, Smokey and the Bandit. The movie was a big hit back in 1977, but perhaps more importantly it managed to popularize the Trans Am Bandit, which after appearing in the highest grossing movie of the year became a best-seller itself. For years to come, the Trans Am became a very valuable asset in any muscle car connoisseur’s collection. But now, for the 40th anniversary, only 77 lucky individuals who manage to get their hands on one of these limited editions, will be able to call the 2017 Trans Am Bandit Edition a part of their collection.

2017 Trans Am Bandit Edition

image credit: topgear

Top Gear Test Drive

Recently, Top Gear had the honors of driving the test model of this very exclusive 2017 Trans Am Bandit Edition. They took the vehicle from Atlanta, Georgia to Texarkana, Texas and back in 28 hours, just like Burt Reynolds does in the original movie. Amid explaining what they are driving to every curious passer-by, being asked if they Snapchat by teenage girls, being challenged to a race by a Porsche 911 and pulled over by cops, they managed to get a pretty good feel of the car.

What they found is that you can easily forgo the six-speed automatic transmission on which “you could smoke a brisket between gear changes”, for the manual. Or you could settle for the paddle shifters that allow you to pick the shift points and plan ahead your gear changes. Furthermore, when going around corners, they found that the Bandit is somewhat reluctant. However, when it catches and the traction control moves in the vehicle reacts maniacally. “Nothing happens smoothly: it’s schizophrenic this car, only happy when it’s ticking over or biting your face off. And I love it already.”

If you were interested in how the T-Panel roof works, apparently rain won’t put a damper on your drive that much since rain drops fly right over the top. But if you do choose to close the roof though, it will take you about 20 minutes and some serious muscles. Extreme boredom on the uniform highway led them off road to see how the 2017 Trans Am Bandit Edition does in the dirt. There they discovered that “717bhp and dirt equals limited traction”.

But perhaps the best part of their journey is their stop at the Montgomery Motorsports Park drag strip. In such circumstances, TAW alleges they can hit the sub-11 quarters, but the Top Gear guys didn’t quite manage such a feat. They did find that “less revs and starting in second, taking it easy on the gas and getting it hooked up earlier before unleashing the screaming mass of energy under the hood” is the key, however.

2017 Trans Am Bandit Edition

image credit: topgear

Exterior and Interior Details

The 2017 Trans Am Bandit Edition stays fairly true to the original, while seamlessly incorporating the fifth-generation Camaro’s features. It is a thoroughly modern version of the ’77 Trans Am, complete with removable T-top panels and quad-headlamp configuration with some new, more rounded shapes. Moreover, the new model includes the V-shaped nose with the iconic Pontiac badge, the twin grille, as well as the horizontal bumper vents.

Being based off of the “Smokey and the Bandit” movie model, the Bandit Edition certainly looks the part. TAW paid attention to every last detail. From all the black and gold accents to the “screaming chicken” emblem, to the period-correct raised white letter Goodyear Eagle F1 tires, the 2017 Pontiac Trans Am Bandit Edition pays homage perfectly. Oh, and Burt Reynolds, the Bandit himself signed every one of these.

Inside, the Camaro interior is fashioned to resemble the 1977 model’s retro styling beautifully. All the features have a certain vintage quality including the instrument cluster, center console and a Hurst shifter. The seats are personalized with “Bandit” graphics, which can be found most prominently on the headrests, while door panels feature the “screaming chicken” graphics all over their center inserts. As for the electronic and safety features, not much is known yet. However, expect the new Trans Am to take full advantage of the Camaro SS in that department.

2017 Trans Am Bandit Edition

image credit: topgear

Engine and Performance

The 2017 Trans Am Bandit Edition certainly takes full advantage of all the technological advancements of the past four decades. For example, the new model uses the 840 Extreme Performance Package, which consists of a 7.4-liter V-8 engine and a 2.9-liter twin-screw supercharger. Also included is the bespoke cold air intake, performance spark plugs, a 79mm pulley and belt, 80cc injectors, as well as performance 8mm plug wires and boots.
This set up can deliver up to 840 horsepower and 835lb ft. of torque, with a rear wheel drive and either a manual or automatic transmission. Just to give you some perspective, the 1977 model used a 6.6-liter V-8 engine that offered just 185-horsepower.


gallery credit: topgear.com

2017 Trans Am Bandit Edition Release Date and Price

The 2017 Trans Am Bandit Edition will be released for an extremely limited run. There will be just 77 actual vehicles produced, and they will be sold at a price of $115,000, which includes the price of the Camaro SS donor vehicle.

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