Pontiac G8 Gets Corvette Power in GXP

March 16, 2008
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This week’s New York auto show wouldn’t be the same without big announcements from General Motors. GM’s been dominating U.S. shows with fleets of new vehicles and new concepts--and the upcoming New York auto show will be no exception with the display of a trio of Pontiacs.

We can’t confirm the third, but the two made public this weekend are the interesting “sport truck” version of the G8 sedan, and this, the ultimate G8 perhaps--one powered by a Corvette engine.

The GXP edition of the new rear-drive G8 arrives late this year as the fourth GXP edition in the Pontiac lineup (sharing that status with versions of the Solstice, G6 and Torrent). But unlike those tamer models, this one has big, thumping V-8 power.

Corvette Power

The G8 GXP’s engine is essentially a version of the Corvette’s 6.2-liter V-8. In this application, it blasts out 402 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. (The Corvette makes 430 hp in stock trim.) Pontiac still hasn’t verified those as the exact, final ratings for the engine, but expects the end results to be close.

The engine is related to the Corvette’s, but sports different cylinder bores, new heads, its own camshaft and cam timing, a high-flow manifold and fuel injectors. Its aluminum block has cylinders lined in iron.

The net for all that power means the GXP edition of the G8 can shoot to 60 mph in about 4.7 seconds, and run the quarter-mile in 13 seconds and 108 mph, if you’re stopwatching the whole process.

Six gears for G8 GXP

Any way you order it, the G8 GXP comes with a six-speed transmission. Pontiac purists will want the new six-speed Tremec that’s available as an option. Pontiac says special reinforcements--stronger gears, housing and premium synchros--have made it a special design for the G8.

Opt for the six-speed automatic and drivers will get a wide range of ratios for quick acceleration, Pontiac says. There’s no mention of paddle shifters, but we’ll take a look at the examples on the New York show floor to confirm how shifting happens. A limited-slip differential is standard either way.

Tweaking the G8

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Other new features in the G8 GXP that we’ll see in New York is an adjustable suspension for “more precise tuning,” they say--whether that means NASCAR versions or not, we’re not sure as of yet.

Steering’s been tightened up, and Brembo disc brakes are uprated to 14-inchers up front, and 12.8-inch discs in the rear. They’re actuated by four-piston calipers in the front, single-caliper brakes in back. Anti-lock braking is standard. Also standard are big 19-inch polished aluminum wheels, and 40-series summer tires.

Stability control, six airbags and OnStar are also standard.

On its exterior, the G8 GXP wears a new front end with an air splitter, and a new rear bumper with its own diffuser. Inside it wears optional red-and-black trim on its sport seats, GXP badging, power front seats, and gets a 230-watt Blaupunkt stereo with XM.

Stay with us at The Car Connection as we cover the new G8 GXP from the New York auto show, and bring you more on the rest of the world debuts from the Javits center.

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