Regarding the G8’s performance, consensus says the vehicle combines American V-8 power with European road-holding mannerisms.
The 3.6-liter V-6, with its five-speed, automatic transmission and 7.8-second 0-60 acceleration is, according to Kelley Blue Book, “an energetic performer,” but it's the G8 GT’s 6.0-liter V-8 inspiring reviewers to talk in sportscar terms.
Edmunds.com says 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 mpg city, 24 highway with the help of a standard six-speed automatic. Jalopnik notes its “muscular” sound and remarks its hefty torque is a plaything for your passing pleasure.
Cars.com highly approves of the V-8 version, saying it costs only $2,400 to move up to the more powerful engine. The Web site, however, wasn’t pleased about the lack of a manual transmission with the V-8. “You really have to use the manual-shift feature to get the most out of the engine in those important early moments,” says Cars.com editors.
Although none of the review resources TheCarConnection.com consults with had tested the new GXP model at the time this review was compiled, Pontiac promises a typically conservative 0-60 mph time of just 4.7 seconds from the model, which borrows the Chevy Corvette’s LS3 V-8 engine.
Complementing the engine’s performance is the vehicle’s suspension package. The 2009 Pontiac G8 rides on performance-tuned suspension with MacPherson front struts and a multilink rear end. The resulting ride and handling earn some lofty comparisons. “We don't throw BMW analogies around lightly,” Edmunds.com states, “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 says it’s the “best-performing sedan in the segment,” though Car and Driver comments the G8 takes a lead foot in stride: “the G8 is happy being fast-pitched into corners....[it] stays cool and in control.”
During TheCarConnection.com’s highway test drive, the G8’s burbling V-8 emitted the right amount of noise, reminding you of its great passing power. Tooling east on San Diego’s Interstate 8, however, a Dodge Charger R/T roared by and its sharp V-8 bark made the G8 seem docile. TheCarConnection.com also sampled a V-6 version, which was quick enough to step smartly in to commuter traffic. The V-6 version, at around $25,000, will be a bargain gem. For power freaks, the new 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP with a 402-hp engine is the ticket.