New & Used Pontiac G8: In Depth
2009 Pontiac G8 GXPEnlarge Photo
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General Motors' long-running but ill-fated Pontiac brand was struggling by the first years of the 21st Century. It counted poor sales of cars that were often little more than lightly re-branded Chevrolets. GM's own business issues saw the Pontiac brand's demise in 2009, at the time of the parent company's bankruptcy.
But in those final years, Pontiac released a sedan that enthusiasts not only remember fondly, but often still pursue in the used market. Based on yet another re-branding project, the Pontiac G8 was nonetheless special--and, in its way, unique.
The G8 was based on a car from GM's Australian brand, Holden, known in its home market as the Commodore. The Commodore-based G8 was first launched in the U.S. in 2008 and sold through the brand's departure in 2009. Several versions of the car were built, including a base 256-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 model, a potent G8 GT with a 361-horsepower 6.0-liter V-8, and a high-performance G8 GXP with a 415-horsepower 6.2-liter V-8.
Large and roomy inside, particularly in the back seat, the base Pontiac G8 was offered with a single five-speed automatic transmission, and came well-equipped with standard equipment that included cruise control, a seven-speaker audio system, CD player, sports body kit, 18-inch wheels, and more. An available Comfort and Sound upgrade package added an 11-speaker audio system and automatic climate control; the Premium package added leather seating and power-adjustable seats among other conveniences.
The G8 GT's V-8 engine offered brisk performance, scuttling the large sedan to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds. A six-speed automatic transmission was the only unit offered on G8 GT models. Along with the increased power, G8 GTs also received upgraded equipment, including a Blaupunkt audio system, dual-zone automatic climate control, six-disc CD changer, and more.
True G8 enthusiasts find their favorite in the G8 GXP, a limited-edition version that increased horsepower to 415, and reduced 0-60 mph times to 4.5 seconds. A six-speed Tremec manual transmission was also added to the options list, increasing driver engagement to suit the GXP's more high-performance nature. Other enhancements for the GXP include an upgraded FE3 suspension package, a rear diffuser, and up-sized Brembo disc brakes.
For a brief time in 2008, another model was planned for the G8 fold: the G8 ST, or Sport Truck. Based on the Australian "ute" version of the Commodore, the G8 ST had a pickup-style bed behind a two-door cab, but otherwise shared much of the G8's styling, and all of its powertrain. Unfortunatley for fans of the El Camino, the G8 ST was canceled before reaching production, but not before GM vice chairman Bob Lutz posed with 50 Cent at the Chicago Auto Show with one.
For more details on the Pontiac G8, read our full review.
Bob Lutz and 50 CentEnlarge Photo