According to some reviewers, the base 2008 Pontiac G5 may leave you wanting more: a little more power, much better handling, and more sportiness.
The 2008 Pontiac G5 offers a pair of engine choices, one each on the base and GT versions. Edmunds writes that a "2.2-liter inline four-cylinder with 148 horsepower and 152 pound-feet of torque motivates the base G5," while "a more potent 2.4-liter engine with 171 horses and 167 lb-ft of torque powers the GT." The reviewers at Edmunds feel that, "whichever trim level you choose, the G5 has adequate power for most situations." Most reviews read by TheCarConnection.com supported that opinion, with MyRide.com adding that the "G5 GT [performs] admirably without any hesitation or lack of power." Another testament to the engine power on the Pontiac G5 GT comes from Car and Driver, which finds that "a G5 GT with a five-speed stick should dart to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds," a very respectable time "that's second only to a Mustang V-6 for cars that start at less than $20,000." On the base version of the Pontiac G5, Kelley Blue Book reviewers report that "the frisky G5 responds enthusiastically to the gas pedal, while starting off or at speed."
Transferring the power on either version of the 2008 Pontiac G5 to the road is "a standard five-speed manual transmission, with a four-speed automatic available as an option," according to reviewers at Edmunds. For 2008, Pontiac's automatic transmission receives higher praise, as MyRide.com appreciates the "relatively smooth shifts" and Car and Driver describes it as "quick-reacting." ConsumerGuide also chimes in by saying that "the automatic transmission is responsive and quick to downshift for more passing power." The manual transmission is unremarkable except for the fact that Car and Driver tests show that the manual Pontiac G5 GT runs from 0-60 about 0.4 second quicker than the automatic.
Fuel economy is one of the highlights on the 2008 Pontiac G5, especially considering the car's above-average engine performance. The EPA estimates that the Pontiac G5 GT with the manual transmission returns 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, while the automatic boasts virtually identical 22/31 mpg numbers. The lower-output base version achieves an EPA-estimated 24/33 mpg in manual trim and 22/31 mpg with the automatic.
With all the positive reviews that pour in concerning the engine, transmission, and fuel efficiency of the Pontiac G5, you might be wondering what's the justification for the 7-out-of-10 rating in this section. The answer lies in the handling and nonacceleration driving characteristics of this 2008 Pontiac. Edmunds says that commuters "will probably be less impressed with the car's handling and directional responsiveness when the road starts to bend" because the suspension of the Pontiac G5 2008 "allows too much body roll, and the electric steering system on both models is slow, with minimal feedback." That's probably the least critical of the reviews, as MyRide.com writes that "the highway ride is on the stiff side" and says that, while driving the G5 is better than "your annual proctology exam, or the last child you delivered au naturel," it still "isn't all that fun." However, despite the handling problems that plague the G5, stopping isn't a concern; Car and Driver writes that the G5 offers "excellent 164-foot stops from 70 mph," and ConsumerGuide adds that the "GT's standard antilock 4-wheel disc brakes have good stopping control."