1970 was the pinnacle of performance from Oldsmobile. In order to keep up in the horsepower arms-race, General Motors dropped the cap on engine size in 1970, and Oldsmobile responded by making the Olds 455 V8 the standard 4-4-2 engine. Magazine ads using an offbeat mad scientist trumpeted "Dr. Olds introduces as large a V-8 as ever bolted into a special-performance production automobile!" Output was 365 hp (272 kW) and 500 lb·ft (680 N·m), with a 370 hp (276 kW) variant available with the W30 option.
The revised body style and increased performance resulted in the 4-4-2 being awarded pace car duties at the Indianapolis 500 race in 1970. Motor Trend praised the 4-4-2, stating that "it's probably the most identifiable super car in the GM house". Those seeking to experience the ultimate in performance from Lansing could order a "W-Machine" version of the 4-4-2, dubbed the W-30 package. The 4-4-2 W-30 added a fiberglass hood (option W25) with functional air scoops and low-restriction air cleaner, aluminum intake manifold, special camshaft, cylinder heads, distributor, and carburetor. Two W-30 equipped 4-4-2 Vista Cruisers were produced by special order. Rear shoulder seat belts were optional at $23.
Motor Trend tested a 4-4-2 W-30 with a 4-speed manual transmission and 3.91:1 rear gears, clocking a quarter mile time of 14.2 seconds @ 102 mph (164 km/h). However, Motor Trend noted that Oldsmobile engineers had earlier posted a best of 13.7 seconds on the same test car with a fresh tune.
New options for the 1970 4-4-2 included GM's Variable-ratio power steering (option N47), a console-mounted Hurst Dual/Gate shifter for use with the Turbo Hydra-matic transmission, and aluminum differential housing and cover (option W27). All Oldsmobile V8s received new Positive Valve Rotators for 1970s to increase engine valve life.
1970 Model Year Spotting Tips: Vertical bars in silver grille, rectangular parking lights in front bumper, vertical tail lights.
A 1970 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 was featured in the chase scene of the movie Demolition Man starring Sylvester Stallone.