All of the reviews TheCarConnection.com’s editors read appreciated the G8’s fine blend of European-influenced road manners and big, American-style V-8 power.
Even the less expensive, less powerful 3.6-liter V-6 version had its admirers. Kelley Blue Book called it “an energetic performer,” and cited Pontiac’s claim of a 0-60 mph run in 7.8 seconds. With a five-speed automatic, it rates 17/25 mpg.
But it was the G8 GT’s 6.0-liter V-8 that inspired reviewers to talk in sportscar terms. Jalopnik called out its “muscular” sound and said its hefty torque is a plaything for your passing pleasure. Edmunds.com said the V-8 version “can nail that acceleration benchmark in a scant 5.3 seconds--handily besting the more powerful and pricier HEMI-powered Dodge Charger SRT8,” while still getting 15/24 mpg with the help of a standard six-speed automatic.
Cars.com highly approved of the V-8 version, noting that it cost only $2,400 to move up to the more powerful engine. But they didn’t care as much for the lack of a manual transmission option. “The G8 isn't as smooth off the line as those cars,” they wrote. “You really have to use the manual-shift feature to get the most out of the engine in those important early moments.”
To go with its superb acceleration, the 2008 Pontiac G8 rides on a performance-tuned suspension with MacPherson front struts and multilink rear end. The resulting ride and handling earned some lofty comparisons. “We don't throw BMW analogies around lightly,” Edmunds.com wrote, “but the G8's ability to make haste on twisting tarmac while coddling its passengers in commendable comfort is genuinely Bimmer-like, faltering only in the brake pedal's undue softness.” Cars.com felt it’s the “best-performing sedan in the segment.” And Car and Driver said the G8 takes a lead foot in stride: “the G8 is happy being fast-pitched into corners....[it] stays cool and in control.”
In TheCarConnection.com’s highway test drive, the G8’s burbling V-8 had just the right amount of noise to remind you of its great passing power. But tooling east on San Diego’s Interstate 8, a Dodge Charger R/T roared by--and its sharp V-8 bark made the G8 seem more comfortable and maybe a little less edgy. TheCarConnection.com also sampled a V-6 version, which was completely quick enough in daily-commute driving to step smartly into traffic. The V-6 version, at around $25,000, will be a bargain gem. For power freaks, the new 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP edition with a 402-hp engine will be the ticket, available starting next year.