By on September 12, 2008

When it comes to cars from General Motors, I’m always prepared for disappointment. No matter how promising the new vehicle is (Corvette!), GM finds a way to let me down (Corvette seats!) Take the Pontiac Solstice GXP. Flat gorgeous. More important, that sweet turbocharged engine with its (relatively) massive power and torque. Hell yeah, right? But the shift linkage is made from hamster bedding. The interior was designed for Gitmo inmates. And the brakes — when pushed — stink. I mention this because I was wholly ready to be let down by the new Pontiac G8 GT.

The French have seven types of love. Eskimos have 40 words for snow. Jews have 78 ways to call you the village idiot. As such, pistonheads need a few ways to explain “ugly.” There’s Deformed Mutant Awful Ugly (Aztek, BMW 1-Series, anything made in Malaysia), Dull Ugly (Toyota, BMW 3-Series), Bizarre, Avant-Gross Ugly (BMW 6-series, modern French cars) and Exciting Ugly (BMW X6, Nissan GT-R). The Pontiac G8’s face is without question Exciting Ugly. Whereas the side and rear views are just kinda an homage to Acura.

Inside, I love every inch. I love the font they chose for the gauges. I love the bolt-action clack-clack-clack-clack when the doors lock. I love the rubber bellows coverings on the column stalks. Hell, I love the column stalks. And after 100-years the General finally gives us world-class seats. Sure, the glove box isn’t made from the same top shelf petrochemicals as the rest of the G8′s dash, but do you really care? Really?

As nice as the G8’s innards are, that’s all just bunting. I’m here to crow about how damn well this Pontiac drives. Every review of the G8 has mentioned that the wunda from down unda is nearly identical to the BMW 5-series. Why be different? But here’s the thing — the Pontiac’s better. BMW has scientifically bested themselves out of the ultimate driving machine game with drowsy steering and rock hard run flats that necessitate softer springs. Meanwhile, the G8 is old-school and coarse enough to provide actual feedback. Which makes it not only a hoot and a holler, but easy to hoon.

The secret sauce is the G8’s completely neutral and compliant chassis. There’s no predilection towards under or oversteer. Thrown hard into a corner, the big boy’s content to just gently break grip before calmly (and quickly) regaining purchase. Kick the fun-pedal and the Pontiac simply heads off in whatever direction you’re pointing. While losing traction (for a moment) sounds frightening, in reality, it’s confidence inspiring. Meaning the G8′s predictable; the most you can ask for in a performance car.

Two little qualifications, if I may. First, my test car showed up with 18″ all-season tires. As Southern California doesn’t have seasons, slathering some larger wheels with USDA Choice meats would’ve provided more stick ‘em. The other caveat is when I say the G8 breaks grip, it only does so with the traction control disabled and the driver punching the snot out of it. Which I certainly did. In fact, let me paint you a picture.

My buddy’s been babysitting a replica 1973 Porsche RS 2.7. The Porsche’s owner finally demanded the RS back. So we set out over Mulholland Drive to return it. In case you’ve never been, it’s a fall-off-a-cliff curvy road. I was behind him in the G8 and the Porsche never got more than two car lengths ahead of me. How is a four-door, two-ton American sedan able to keep up with a race-ready, 2,000-pounds lighter German sports car? Because the G8 GT’s handling is totally awesome, dude.

Then there’s that hunk of an engine.

Under the Pontiac’s blistered hood resides a 6.0-liter V8 that’s good for 361 horses and 385 sweet lb-ft of torque. That works out to a 0 – 60 time of 5.3 seconds, even with the less-than-stellar six-speed slush-a-roo. But drag racing’s not this car’s prime directive. The G8 with the V8 is all about confidence. That weaving van? Of course you can get in front of it. Just dip your foot, prepare your ears for a snarling sonic treat and go! Easy like Sunday morning. And thanks to the torqued-out simplicity of pushrods, with the cruise control set at 80 mph, I was getting 27 mpg.

I suppose there are a few G8-related bugaboos you could fret over. That muscular motor makes triple-digit speeds far too easy. I constantly found myself over 95 mph when I wasn’t even in the mood. Conversely, without explaining that you’re actually driving a thuggish, high performance antipodean sports sedan, everyone will assume you spent $32k on a rental car. And you can’t have three pedals. But even with only two, the G8 GT is the best American car I’ve ever driven. Color me smitten.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

129 Comments on “2008 Pontiac G8 GT Take Two...”


  • avatar

    Comments were accidentally turned off. They’re on now. Have fun!

    • 0 avatar
      brighterdougG8

      Not sure why nobody has posted on this review for 2 years! But this review convinced me to go BUY a G8! A used one but in GREAT shape. AND IT”S AMAZING to DRIVE! If you can find one, drive it! Buy it!

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Doesn’t the star rating get an automatic 1-star deduction for an automatic?

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Wow, I haven’t seen Jonny this excited about a car since he reviewed the Audi RS4. Impressed, I am.

  • avatar
    incitatus

    Great review, great writing.
    To the point, just the right amount of methaphor, and more than anything enthusiastic. I can feel that you really loved driving that car, I can feel it from here.

    Why can’t I see the star rating in detail?

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    The G8…is very close to perfection on wheels. Great engine, great price, great interior, great looks, great sound…just great.

    I wish sales were better…but I have yet to see a G8 ad on TV. Is GM even advertising the car?

  • avatar
    beken

    A couple of months ago, I went to my local Pontiac/Buick dealer to get a part for my Buick (a part that should not have broken…but I digress). Their first shipment of G8′s had just come in. The parts person told me to go have a look. Better yet, take one for a testdrive. So I went over and asked. There were no other customers in the dealership. Seems the G8′s they had, except for the one in the showroom, had been sold already. In fact, they told me a lady came in and bought one while it was still on the truck. So I looked at the one G8 in the showroom. It was loaded to the hilt with every possible option available. Probably up to BMW 5 series level of equipment. Priced at a whopping $50K (!!!!). No way could I, or the salesperson, configure a $50K G8 on the GM website so both him and I wondered how it got to $50K. I sat in it, and Jonny’s right. It’s not a bad car. Much better than expected, coming from Pontiac.

    I did not get to test drive it. However, I did close the door and the clank of the door closing was not the same as the thud I got on a BMW. Sorry, Jonny. I’ll differ from your opinion (and GM’s marketers’) that the G8 is better than a BMW. I recon I wouldn’t be as satisfied with it after 90 days (the length of time it takes to pass the JD Powers quality survey).

    I do hope this car does well in the market though. It is a fine looking car (coming from a guy who’s owned a number of Pontiacs in his lifetime), but I just can’t get myself to go through the ownership experience of another GM car.

    • 0 avatar
      markOO

      So sad you let the best GM car go by you. The Aussie influx of engineering and performance parts set it aside from any GM USA built.It lends itself to LS Eng modifications and with HP-dyno tune It eats Mustangs and BMWs for snacks. The best are gone now and you will kick your own butttt for not buying one.

  • avatar
    NickR

    I hope for GM’s sake it doesn’t come to this but…bring on the incentives! I can’t afford this right now, but a little inducement might do the job. My second car is economical so wtf!

  • avatar
    Stingray

    I want one =) don’t mind if it’s called Holden Commodore or Pontiac G8

  • avatar

    As the writer of Take One, I agree with much of what’s written here. But a “homage to Acura?” The side view is nearly all BMW E46.

    The interior isn’t that great. But Jonny correctly implies that the engine and chassis can make the car’s flaws seem insignificant.

    I can’t recall if Jonny has driven the current Corvette and CTS. Those are the only potential challengers to the “best American car I’ve driven” title.

    On the reliability front, I’m having a hard time digging up a large enough sample of G8s even with the help of forum G8GT.com. Know someone who owns one? Please send them here:

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    seoultrain

    If this car had a manual, I’d probably have one. The auto is really horrible. I couldn’t stand it. And I’m no manual snob, I drive a 4-speed auto Mazda3 that is a joy to drive.

    The transmission has 2 modes: grandma (D) and teenager (Sport). You’re either saving gas and having no fun or having fun and wasting gas. If you want anything in between, you’re gonna have to shift yourself, which defeats the purpose of an auto.

    Yes, the GXP will have a manual, but the price premium will probably be too much for a couple dozen extra horsepower. Maybe I’ll find a used G8 GXP in a couple years. Or a GTO right now…

  • avatar

    beken:

    Were those dollars Canadian? Can’t get the price anywhere near 50k on a U.S. G8. No can you load one with anywhere near a BMW level of equipment. Many, many features are simply not available on this car.

    In Jonny’s and GM’s defense, they’re not saying that the entire car is better than a 5. They’re saying it’s more fun to drive than a 5. The interior, features, door closing, refinement, etc. not so much.

  • avatar
    VFR800A

    A Pontiac that gets 5 stars??? I laughed so hard, you’ll have to excuse me a few minutes while I pick myself up from the floor…

  • avatar
    wolfman3k5

    Thank you for turning on the comments.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Something funny, or are you still in denial over GM’s ability to make a good car?

  • avatar
    Areitu

    I finally saw one in person in my office parking lot. Gorgeous car, and one of the few GM products I was actually excited about. The lack of a manual was what killed it for me as far as the car to get…

  • avatar
    NN

    If only it really were American.

    There’s no marketing behind it because the US dollar is so low that they probably make no profit on them…same reason there’s no marketing on the Astra.

    But God Bless the pushrods….360hp V8 and 27 highway mpg…that’s incredible

  • avatar
    JJ

    I believe it’s definitely great value. However, only the V8 version really works. With the V6 it still is just a subpar Camcord, even if now the Pontiac isn’t a bad joke anymore in comparison unlike other US GM products from the last 2 decades in particular.

    Whether or not the V8 will have a large customer base? I’m guessing no.

    In Europe it’s only offered in the UK as Vauxhall VXR (and 400 HP) and the guys at TopGear certainly love it. However, once again, pricing puts it against base model 5 series and A6s over here and it just loses out against those when used as daily driver/1st car.

  • avatar

    A manual will be offered in the 2008 GXP.

    The problem with the V6 isn’t a lack of power, it’s a lack of refinement. With a bit more tuning and better transmission ratios the V6 would be a viable car. It’s certainly no Camcord.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Even if they were the same price, I’d rather have this than a 5-Series. The 5-Series is too ugly for me to ever want to own. I’m glad Jonny agrees with me that the 3-Series is ugly too

    This car does desperately need a stick though

  • avatar
    Casual Observer

    I have no doubt that GM could engineer and build a car as good as the Germans or Japanese, but if they did, could they compete price-wise?

    Like has been said, this car is a few tweeks and materials away from a BMW. Could GM ramp it up one more notch and sell at or below the ultimate driving machine?

    If I were calling the shots at GM, I would leave quantity and economy to Chevy solely to compete with the Toyondassan. Use Saturn to compete with and best VW. Use Pontiac to compete with and best the entry BMW/MB. Use Buick to compete with and best Lexus. And make Cadillac simply the most coveted performance car out there, regardless of price. GMC should be commercial vehicles only, and Hummer and Saab could go away.

    If you can’t beat them to the price, then just make better cars.

  • avatar
    crc

    Damn it GM. Tease me with a Commodore sedan but then deny me the wagon.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Casual Observer:

    fo’ rizzle — this car is exactly as good as “the Germans” — if not better.

    and it’s half the money

    and disregard everything my pal Karesh is saying about the interior — the G8′s is splendid.

  • avatar
    Samir

    Side profile caption: “Competetion”. Plz fix.

    Great review Jonny. I am a big Pontiac fan (due to Smokey) and can’t wait to get my hands on one of these!

  • avatar
    davey49

    How’s the sound?

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    davey49: Bitchin’

  • avatar

    Which interior did you have, Jonny? Black cloth, black leather, or red leather? The first car I drove had the red leather, and I felt the interior was pretty good. Then I drove a V6 with the black cloth, and it rubbed me the wrong way.

  • avatar
    Mark Morrison

    Perhaps it is because I am originally from down under that I can’t get that excited about a commodore. In the supercheap US market, 32K still sounds like too much for a 45K AUD SS commodore when a 45K 335 costs over 100K cool ones back home.

  • avatar
    changsta

    I don’t understand why GM is selling cars like this G8 or the Astra when they make no profit from them! GM is losing money like crazy, so their solution is to bring in “new” products from overseas that sell poorly due to a lack of advertisement/awareness? Why bother bringing the car over if you’re not going to support it with an advertising campaign? Pontiac and Saturn are no longer in the average consumer’s mind, and they need to do something to bring it back into the consumer’s awareness (aside from flooding the rental car market). As a side note, why is VW able to make a (small) profit from the Rabbit aka Golf, while Saturn is unable to make one on the Astra? It has been widely reported that the Golf is very expensive to produce, and yet VW is still able to make it work. What is Saturn doing that makes the Astra so expensive to bring over?

    I think if GM actually marketed this vehicle as a niche market vehicle, upped the quality on the interior, and ditched the V6, the car could actually turn a profit. Make the car fully loaded, and just allow the consumer to pick the color. By reducing the options, I bet they’d save money on production. The V6 just blurs the performance image anyway.

  • avatar
    Diewaldo

    The design is truely dull. I can’t tell how it drives … not available in Europe.

    :-(

  • avatar
    N85523

    I know there are few 1-series fans in the ranks of TTAC, but placing it in the same grouping as the Aztec… that’s harsh, Jonny.

  • avatar

    I’ve had my G8 GT since Independence Day weekend and I can’t praise it enough. Like Johnny, I’m smitten, it’s an effing fantastic car for a effing fantastic price.

    It’s a perfect modern muscle car. It’s interior is nice but all business and doesn’t overdo it with unnecessary toys or features. Great seats, great wheel, great ergonomics, great workmanship, all black in color and real leather instead of the glossy, slippery banana peel stuff every automaker that builds here is fond of using.

    The G8 is a car that’s all about the actual drive and it has enough room to take your family and friends with you. With just you or fully loaded with people and things it is a riot.

    The icing on the cake? Mine returns 19mpg overall in bumper to bumper daily commuting. Not far off of what my friend was getting here in his four cylinder TSX. The G8 will also be getting GM’s DI V6 when Holden starts using it Down Under soon.

    Keep in mind that the new Camaro is also engineered by Holden and based on this car. That bodes extremely well for the experience it will provide.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    It’s ironic the Aussies build a better U.S. muscle car that the Americans.

    I’m happy GM finally knocked one out of the park. Too bad the domestic oil cartel’s shenanigans will dampen sales.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    I thought sporty RWD sedans were supposed to be the savior of the domestic automakers, so why are these G8s not selling well at all?

    I thought we in America were all clamoring to replace our boring FWD import appliances with “exciting” burn-out and fishtail producing V8 powered hot-rods that speak to our true American automobile culture?

    When you actually explore the reason that the G8 is not selling so well you will than understand why this is NOT a 5 star vehicle. If you are going out to buy a car to have “fun” than I guess the G8 might fill your bill. But for that matter why not just buy the less expensive but more fun a Mustang GT? The reason why you would buy a $30,000 4 door sedan equiped only with an automatic is because you actually need a car for utility. You know like commuting, driving the rug rats to school, and a nice road trip here and there. Put another why, all of those times were “fun” is just not appropiate.

    So how useful is the G8? Does it have superior comfort, trunck space, back seat space? What type of mileage did you get with this thing? Other than the fact that it has a big honking v8 that that only has about the same motivative force as a good modern (more efficient) v6 and a “fun” RWD platform what is so good about the G8 that would make a 5 star family sedan? Considering that every review I have read of the v6 model basically has read like; “nothing to see here” does a V8 alone equate to five stars?

    There is a goods reason why most enthusiast will check out a G8 and than go out a buy a $30,000 Accord or Altima without a second thought. While not RWD they are just as powerful and quick. They handle very well. They are full of features and equipment that you can’t get on a G8. They drive well in any type of weather. They return decent mileage. They do not force the 5 passanger to endure the dreaded hump. They do not have a rear diff eating up valuble trunk space. They also offer more interior room in a smaller, lighter, easier to park and manage size.

    Pontiac already tried to do “fun” with this platform and even with all the right moves the GTO was a big flop. So now we hear that the G8 is as “fun” as the GTO but with two more doors and no manual and it is a 5 star car???????

  • avatar

    Jonny noted the seat comfort. In my Take One review I noted the roomy interior. This car has utility covered.

    No front-drive sedan can deliver handling like a good rear-drive chassis can. And as both reviews have noted, this car delivers on the handling front.

    The V8 is worth extra stars over the V6 because the execution of the V6 is poor, and the execution of the V8 is considerably better (though could be better still–both reviews have criticized the transmission).

  • avatar
    boredlawstudent

    The G8 GT is priced at $28K (employee pricing). Can anyone honestly say there is a better car than this for the same price? I can’t find one.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    changsta:

    VW sources their more mundane Rabbits and Jettas from Mexico. No Euro-trading issues, just the good ol Peso. The hi-po (R32s, GTI’s,etc.) VWs come from Germany.

    All US bound Astras are built in Belgium and are priced (costed?) in Euros. (Not like we get the real hot ones over here, like they do in Europe and Great Britain…)

    Obviously with the exchange rate, this is not a good thing for GM right now.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I haven’t driven one of these yet because I know I would buy it, and I want to wait for the GXP and ST before I write the check.

    However, one area that I’m hoping to see GM improve with the G8 GT is the exhaust note: it seems too quiet and a little high-strung. The always-audible, low, rumbling note of the ’04-’06 GTO or Charger R/T Daytona is more what I’m hoping for.

    As far as I know, no aftermarket G8 exhaust sounds very good either.

  • avatar
    Jeff in Canada

    Love….This…Car.

    I would hope to see a manual in it someday, I think it could theoretically be possible because is the 3.6L V6 not the same one as in the CTS?

    If it had a manual, it would defeat the Charger in every way. Looks, power, drivetrain, interior…etc.

    Glad to see an American car get the attention and credit it so deserves. Well done GM. (wait, did I just type that?)

  • avatar
    lprocter1982

    If I recall correctly, the most recent 5-star vehicles have been the G8 and the Hyundai Genesis. Has the world gone wacky, or is there beginning to be a changing of the guard?

    Actually, I think the world’s gone wacky – no way GM would purposefully build a great car – even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    It’s certainly no Camcord.

    thank the lord for that, even in V6 form.

    Pity Ford doesn’t see the light – they could replace the mustang chassis, the panther chassis and have a rwd Lincoln and just reskin them all.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    The failure of the GTO was in Pontiac’s attempts to market it as the second coming of the Goat. The plain jane jellybean styling of the GTO betrayed the aggressive designs of both the first and second generation GTO’s. It would’ve fared much better if Pontiac had given it a clean sheet instead of setting it up against lofty expectations.

    There is a goods reason why most enthusiast will check out a G8 and than go out a buy a $30,000 Accord or Altima without a second thought. While not RWD they are just as powerful and quick. They handle very well. They are full of features and equipment that you can’t get on a G8. They drive well in any type of weather. They return decent mileage. They do not force the 5 passanger to endure the dreaded hump. They do not have a rear diff eating up valuble trunk space. They also offer more interior room in a smaller, lighter, easier to park and manage size.

    I think this is absurd. Somebody who checks out this car is more likely to find themselves in Evo X than a CamCord. Why? Because you can’t cross-shop the two. Different driving dynamics, different customers the two are trying to reach. You don’t window-shop a RS4 and drive home in an Elantra, so why should this happen with the G8? As far as the ‘dreaded’ hump goes? I do believe that is vastly overrated. Any car is going to be uncomfortable when you stack the backseat three deep, drive hump or not. Besides, lost trunk space doesn’t seem to be an issue in cars that have AWD. I doubt it’ll cause much trouble here.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    TriShield :

    It’s a perfect modern muscle car. It’s interior is nice but all business and doesn’t overdo it with unnecessary toys or features.

    Comment of the day.

    whatdoiknow1:

    So how useful is the G8? Does it have superior comfort, trunck space, back seat space? What type of mileage did you get with this thing? Other than the fact that it has a big honking v8 that that only has about the same motivative force as a good modern (more efficient) v6 and a “fun” RWD platform what is so good about the G8 that would make a 5 star family sedan?

    If I may…

    The G8 is very useful. Huge back seats, and a mammoth trunk. The car is within a half-inch of the 5-Series in every dimension, so it provides real, actual room.

    Mileage. Driving like an utter maniac (sorry Mom, Pontiac) I saw 17.x mpg overall. I did my usual highway test (set the cruise at 80 mph on the always empty 210 between the 5 and 2 — that’s about 20 miles) and saw 27 mpg. And that’s with some steep hills. At 80 mph the engine spins at 1,900 rpm. This is why I LOVE pushrods. 4-valve, DOHC engines are also awesome, but with so many moving parts they are not as efficient. Or torquey.

    This V8 crushes modern V6s. Let’s take the most potent FWD Japanese sedan I can think of — the new Maxima.

    Maxima V6: 290 hp, 261 lb-ft of torque

    G8 GT V8: 361 hp, 385 lb-ft of torque

    And, of course, as the Nissan is a multi-valve, DOHC affair, that power shows up high in the rev range compared to the early and often torque bursts from the G8′s V8.

    i.e. there is MUCH more motivating force from the 6.0-liter.

  • avatar

    whatdoiknow1, it’s GM’s weak Pontiac brand (and the styling changes made to the car to fit it) and weak image overall dogging this car more than anything else.

    The car isn’t slow selling because it’s an awful, slow, uncomfortable, impractical choice. Just the opposite. It is Australia’s number 1 family car and engineered to do it’s duty brilliantly, but unlike the FWD Japanese cars you listed this one also drives brilliantly. So much moreso in fact.

    To me that’s worth it’s weight in gold and it’s something none of those cars come close to touching.

    For people like you who don’t get cars like this, fear not, the Japanese already got your back. I appreciate GM getting mine.

  • avatar
    KnightRT

    I test-drove a V6 G8 recently. Generally, it feels like a proper driver’s car. Excellent fit and finish, a reclined seating position that reminded me of a friend’s E36 M3, and fairly weighty steering. Like a commenter above, I loved the leather. The wide A-pillar that some have complained about didn’t bother me. I couldn’t explore the handling with GM’s representative sitting next to me, but it seemed confidence-inspiring.

    I did have a short list of negatives: the V6, while smooth through 3000 RPM and plenty authoritative, runs a bit rough in the upper reaches of the RPM range. It doesn’t seem to like being pushed. The 5-speed automatic was sluggish to change gears via paddle (the GT has a GM-sourced 6-speed that may be superior; this one is some sort of off-brand), and the turn signal sounds cheap and out of character with the rest of the car. Finally, the headrest protrudes forward quite a bit and isn’t adjustable, which may bother some people.

    That said, the only factors that would stop me from buying one, especially at current fire-sale prices, are physical size and the lack of a 6MT. I’d still like an American version of the E46 M3 powered by the LS V8, so I’m holding out for a coupe version of this car.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    If I recall correctly, the most recent 5-star vehicles have been the G8 and the Hyundai Genesis. Has the world gone wacky, or is there beginning to be a changing of the guard?

    I’m surprised nobody’s blamed it on the LHC yet. For all we know, the planet was sucked into a black hole and spit out into Bizarro world.

  • avatar
    AutoFan

    geozinger:

    Older Golfs were built in Mexico, but the new Rabbit is built in Germany and I belive the new Jetta is as well. So the Euro exchange rate idea still holds.

  • avatar
    xchicagoan5

    I had this car as a rental for a week of travel. It is the 1st American, well American badged car that I would be proud to own and drive. It was awesome. The vehicle I had wasn’t nice on the inside as what the writer had, but it has potential. I would buy this over a 5 series.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Actually, I think the world’s gone wacky – no way GM would purposefully build a great car – even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

    Not true. If it’s big, flashy and/or fast, GM can–and often does–build a very good car. They’ve been unreliable in the past, but their actual performance hasn’t been too bad. Usually. At least with the Corvette.

    When they don’t do well is when the car is small, slow and/or unexciting, then you can tell their heart isn’t in it. And that’s the problem: GM wants to be (and acts like) a boutique coachbuilder, but their cost structure is geared to that of a company with 40% marketshare.

    If they’re not careful, they’ll be reduced to boutique status shortly.

    As for this car: I like it in concept. It’s not my thing, and I don’t like the hood scoops at all, but it’s a solid design. The Commodores and their derivatives have always been good performers, but GM’s product planners have never figured out how to sell them here. Of course, GM product planners couldn’t sell free gold bullion.

  • avatar
    Lee

    But even with only two, the G8 GT is the best American Australian car I’ve ever driven. Color me smitten.

    If you love this car, jump on a plane and go drive the Falcon.

  • avatar
    Sammy Hagar

    I love the exterior of the car, but the interior…meh, not so much. Pontiac might call it black, but the various plastic bits are actually shades of dark grays and black (not to mention consisting of too many different textures). Though the vehicle is a Holden, I fear that the interior has some G6 cross-breeding. The seat fabric, the carpeting, the map-traps on the seat backs…they all remind me of the G6 sitting in my garage; they’re not necessarily bad things, but they should have been upgraded on a $32K sedan (especially since my V6 G6 was $13K).

    That said, I still want one…maybe all that money I pulled out of WaMu on Monday should go towards a down payment. First things first though: I must get the wifey a little drunk…

  • avatar

    Jettas are built in Mexico. Rabbits and GTIs are mostly built in Germany, though I’ve heard some might come from Brazil.

    While the Accord and G8 aren’t really comparable, they’re probably more likely to be cross-shopped than either is with an Evo X. That’s a totally different sort of car. Much smaller, for one thing.

    Many people still don’t realize that the G8 is a BIG car. Jonny says it’s within half an inch of the 5, but that’s not accurate. Three inches more rear legroom and nearly two inches more shoulder room in the Pontiac, to give two major examples.

    Did you mean to say 7 rather than 5, Jonny?

  • avatar
    ronin

    I test drove one last week. Maybe I expected too much, given all the prior raving.

    It’s a nice car. The front seats are comfortable and the rear are roomy. Comfy enough for long road trips.

    The car can be driven like any regular car, and it’s well mannered. Unlike my current G35, the throttle tip-in is not obnoxious enough to spill my coffee if I forget and press down too hard. Even at highway speeds acceleration was not apparently fierce. It accelerate quickly enough at highway passing speeds, per the speedometer, but the rate of acceleration was not so apparent from inside.

    Obviously since everyone is getting 5.3 0-60s, I am just not stamping down hard enough. I thought I was, but I guess I wasn’t. Maybe I have to stand on the pedal to get it to really accelerate briskly.

    Of course I paid special attention to gradual acceleration around decreasing radius curves. Being RWD, it did fine. I did not push it to the limits, so other than smoothness I saw no special advantage over say an Altima V6 around the curves- but neither did I push the limits. I certainly didn’t feel the sensuous curve-hugging the G35 offers.

    Negatives- the rear seatbacks do not fold down, unlike just about every car I can think of in at least the mid-size segment. More- I found the trunk strangely shallow- long and wide enough, but it lacked height (or depth)- I had definitely expected more. The Impala SS V8 has fantastic storage, with fold flat seats- event the front passenger seat, with great storage cubbies.

    Being on the North Coast of the US (great lakes), winter is a true consideration. Every little advantage is important. As nice a car as this is, I did not see the advantage of getting a four-door family sedan in RWD over FWD. And with the recent crops of mid-sized getting larger (Accord, Sonata, new Maz6), the size advantage of the G8 is diminished.

    A quite nice car in every way. I was just set up to expect so very much more. But if you just must have a V8, and must have a storage-friendly family car with all the latest toys, comfort and space, like a very comfortable leather interior and are content with casual curve-cutting and an American brand, and are concerned with inclement snows, the Impala SS is the real alternative.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    OK, I have to admit I wrote all of that stuff without thinking for a minute about the fact that GM has the front I am concerned about covered by the Malibu, another competitive car I must admit.

    Ok I have had enough of the taste of my foot for one day!

    After I bit of thought I have to admit that the G8, Malibu, and CTS are some fine, competitive products, and they are all family sedans with very different flavors yet coming from the same manufacturer.

  • avatar
    Joe ShpoilShport

    Nice write. Your always a pleasure to read.

    But I got a question for you. In the star ratings area you (I presume you) said:

    “If I ran GM this platform would be ubiquitous.”

    Are you saying you would badge engineer this thing to other divisions?

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    Joe ShpoilShport

    A fair question. I’m not totally sure what I was saying, as it was the very last thing I wrote after both writing and then re-writing the entire review (ask Justin).

    But, I think I was saying that GM likes to badge-engineer stuff. Typically, the platforms they choose rank about mid-pack in terms of the competition. So, in a given segment, GM has half-a-dozen 5th place products on sale.

    This Zeta platform, however, is top-shelf. So, rather than having half-a-dozen also rans, why not have lots of winners.

    Make sense?

    And how about a G8 wagon with a stick — that’s what I really meant.

  • avatar
    ktm

    Are you saying you would badge engineer this thing to other divisions?

    Even after all these years people still do not understand the difference between platform sharing and badge engineering.

    Example of platform sharing: Infiniti FX35 and Nissan 350z. Would you say those two are badge engineered?

    Badge engineering is taking the basic same car and simply “swapping” badges while retaining nearly the same interior, exterior, parts, etc. with very little styling differentiation. Badge engineering infers platform sharing and therein lies the confusion.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    Looking through the comments section here I noticed some people mention they haven’t seen any commercials for it. But I do remember back when they launched the G8 Pontiac ran a really funny commercial that had the G8 being your car in the old video-game SpyHunter, replete with oil slicks, machine-gun cars, and bomb-dropping helicopters. Even had the soundtrack from the game. One of the better ads I’ve seen from GM all year, and easily the best Pontiac ad. Anyone remember SpyHunter? I think most posters here are either too old or too young to remember that arcade gem of the mid-’80′s. But it was a fun game and the ad was great parody of it.

    My boss at work owns one of these things with the V8, and I have to admit I do like the car. Pontiac is supposed to be the “exciting” brand for GM, but not a BMW-competitor on everything, its not a Caddy. In that respect the Oz-mobile is pretty good fit for Pontiac, in the sense it blows off the road everything else in its price range that has four doors, without getting into either Caddy luxury territory or Chevy Malibu appliance utility.

    It is a big car. I could see a lot of these things going out the door as cop cars. Big, tough, pretty heavy and lots of room for shotguns up front and cages for perps in the back. The low-clutter on the dash frees up space for the cop-net terminals the fuzz love so much these days, too. Speaking of cop cars, this thing really reminds me of a sleeker version of the last “real” Impala, which essentially was a Caprice with a phat push-rod V8 and chromed rims – and coincidentally, the basis for many a cop car that I personally have gotten many a ticket from.

  • avatar
    Joe ShpoilShport

    Jonny:

    A fair answer. Though I doubt GM could afford to at this time.

    Everyone (or anyone) else: How is it they can build a car that performs like this that get’s 27 mpg and yet their cars with half the cylinders and less than half the displacement still only get about 35 mpg hwy?

  • avatar
    Lee

    @ Ronin – Your G35 doesn’t have fold down rear seats either.

    I too share your frustration though, these should be on every car.

  • avatar
    factotum

    there is MUCH more motivating force from the 6.0-liter.

    Gee, really? More power from a 6L than a 3.5L?

    Let’s compare apples to apples. An Infiniti G37 with a 3.7 V6 driving the rear wheels generates 88.65 hp/l. The G8 manages only 60.2 hp/l. I’d say the VQ is more efficient.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    factotum:

    So what?

    I’d say the G8 has more power and is faster.

  • avatar
    ppellico

    Jonny
    After readinbg your review, my wife and I stopped by the Farmington, MO dealer to try it.
    They only had the V8 in orange (and used), but was assured that I shouldn’t waste my time with the 6.
    Not that it was a bad car, but once driven, the 8 will leave you spoiled.

    They, and you, were right on.

    This was an awfully fun car.
    The solid black interior was not my style, and the seats sort of deep.

    But the driving experience…I just want everybody to try this car.
    Sounds as it drives…like its to much for me!
    And I took 35mph ramps at 55 without a trace of effort or danger.

    Its a great car.
    Not for me as I am searching for a highway cruiser…luxury and silence.
    But IF I needed a mid’life crisis, this would do it.

  • avatar

    ronin

    The rear seat doesn’t fold, but the passthrough is as large as the opening in some cars where the seat does fold.

    If you read my Take One review of this car, you’ll see that I had a similar impression of the car’s acceleration: it doesn’t feel nearly as quick as it is.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    But I do remember back when they launched the G8 Pontiac ran a really funny commercial that had the G8 being your car in the old video-game SpyHunter,

    That was the best car commercial since Honda’s “Gears” spot in Europe. I couldn’t believe it was GM’s work, it was so well-done.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Jonny Lieberman :

    Don’t even get into a discussion about hp/L. There is no point. If someone hasn’t figured out by now that hp/L means nothing, they never will

    And I know everybody hates the seats in the Vette, but they’ve kept me comfortable during several 10+ hour drives. I love the adjustable side bolsters too. I could be the only person on earth that feels this way though

    Back on topic, I love the G8. You can’t compare this to an Altima or Accord, it has 100hp more than those other cars, and it’s RWD on top of that. What more can you ask for at this price point?

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    If only GM brought a wagon version in, I might even consider trading my GTO for it. I would have liked something like that to replace my ’99 E39 wagon that was totaled by a cell-phone chatting “driver”.

    If the G8 is as reliable as my GTO has been, it is a very good car indeed. GM did a good thing for once by having Holden work on these vehicles.

    Nice review Jonny!

  • avatar
    bumpy

    Two questions:

    What does the G8 GT give you that you don’t get from a fire-sale 300C SRT-8? I believe that all of the people who care about nice interiors and balanced suspensions have already abandoned the General.

    Have y’all seen the peaky torque curves on GM’s recent LS-based V8s? They’re not anywhere close to the low-end gruntboxes of olden tymes. The LS3 destined for the ’09 G8 GXP doesn’t even get to 90% of peak torque until 4000 rpm. If I’m revving the engine that much, I want some heads that can actually breathe up there.

  • avatar
    Theodore

    ppellico :
    September 12th, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Its a great car.
    Not for me as I am searching for a highway cruiser…luxury and silence.

    Did you take it onto the freeway? I did when I tested a V-6 model, and I thought it would make a great highway cruiser – as good as my dad’s Crown Vic, but with the added ability to be driven hard in the twisties. Actually, my main complaint with the car (aside from the lack of a stick) is that it’s too easy to drive fast. But if I needed a sedan, there’s no question that this is the one I’d buy.

  • avatar
    ppellico

    Theodore
    Yes, my wife and I took it up 67 and back.
    I personally thought there was much to much wind noise.
    BUT this is NOT a concern of car people.
    I only have this need for my 7 hours drives twice a month from Chi Town and south MO.
    Believe me, if done as often as we do this, noise and comfort are big deals.
    However, for fun…this a for real.

    Here’s the problem…
    I will bet my ass nobody buys this car.
    It will be yet another reminder to US automakers just building it doesn’t mean they will come and buy.

    But there is hope.
    The CTS and now the new MKS are both selling and well.

  • avatar
    ppellico

    I told my wife I felt I was driving one of my old Strombecker slot cars…it was that controlled.

  • avatar

    I just saw my first one the other day. I was walking and it came up from behind. I thought, whats that? Seems non descript and bland, but I dont recognize it. Then it pulls a U-turn, and heads back towards me. I see the front, completely overworked in the way only Pontiac can do it. Feh…

  • avatar
    Qusus

    I’m glad we’re all in agreement what a TRULY fantastic car this is. In my opinion, quite easily the best all around car on the market when price is considered. I expected the car to be fast and be a good drive, but I never expected it to be as comfortable and refined as it is when just cruising. Quite a feat.

    When I was test driving one of these cars a week ago I thought to myself, “If either Sajeev or Lieberman end up reviewing this car and DON’T give it 5 stars I’m never reading another word on TTAC.” True story… don’t think I would have followed through on the threat, but you get what I’m saying.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    thetopdog:

    It’s just such a weird metric.

    Like… by that type of logic, the Honda S2000 is the best car under $200,000 EVER!

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    boredlawstudent:
    The G8 GT is priced at $28K (employee pricing). Can anyone honestly say there is a better car than this for the same price? I can’t find one.

    +1. This is a good value.

    My future needs may include a highway cruiser with space – and there is something visceral about V8 AmericanAustrailian iron. I like this car, although I’ve only read reviews and sat in ‘em.

  • avatar
    Kevin Kluttz

    Wait till 20000 miles or so. Quality? GM? On the same continent? Not in this lifetime.

  • avatar
    fli317

    Great car. But please GM, besides the typical V8/automatic combo, give us a V6/MT option. This G8 has to have this option. I also would like to see more effort and refinement put into the V6. I agree, gotta love pushrods. Refine a pushrod V6, like GM did with their V8s. Now, they are the best V8′s on the planet. Pushrod V6, rear drive, manual tranny, and great handling. Sign me up!
    I definately will not buy a GM car until they do the V6/MT/rear drive. For less money I can get an accord V6 MT, even though I would take a hit on its looks. I currently drive a 4runner, V6/MT/rear drive. Great combo. But , it would be great if it handled like a sedan.

  • avatar
    Lee

    fli317 – AMG might have something to say about your claim re GM having the best V8′s

    And the GXP will have a manual transmission.

  • avatar
    KnightRT

    It would depend on how you define “best.” GM’s LS series puts enormous power and torque, tractability, reliability, and a great sound in an extremely small and lightweight package. There isn’t another non-FI, mass-production V8 in the world with this combination of attributes.

    To give some idea where GM stands, the 505 HP 7.0L ‘small-block’ LS7 is just under 460 lbs, fully trimmed. BMW’s latest turbine wonder, the 4.0L V8 in the M3, weighs about 14 lbs less. And it’s down over 80 HP and almost 200 ft-lbs of torque. The previous M3′s I6 actually weighed more than the LS7, despite having half the torque and about 170 less HP. By power-to-weight, only the 6.2L AMG and a handful of Ferrari motors come close. Best or not, the LS series are very damn good engines.

  • avatar

    There’s are numerous reasons GM smallblock V8s are the most hot-rodded and swapped-in around the world, but that’s a different discussion.

    I agree with fli317, one thing GM could have absolutely done better was offering a manual transmission in each G8 model. Holden already builds this car with manual transmissions across their range. It would have been an easy way to get even better MPG ratings out of the car’s EPA tests and it would have probably sold quite a few neo-GTO and Pontiac fans on this car if they could have had the option to row their own like they wanted. GM was likely too cheap to pay to EPA certify the G8 for the US with manuals. Oddly, the cluster does have GM’s skip-shift light already built in.

    The only other thing they could have done better was sold it as a Chevrolet. Oh well.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    Not a bad mpg for such a car. Pity there will be no wagon version in the US.

  • avatar
    Jaeger

    Hats off to the General for making one for the enthusiasts. It’s the Anti-Accord, and I think it’s fabulous. Another mind-numbing, soul-destroying automotive appliance we surely don’t need, and this surely isn’t one.

    The absence of a manual tranny keeps it short of realizing its full grin-potential, and regrettably, would keep me from being a buyer. I don’t do slushboxes, no matter how many hp lurk underhood.

    And speaking of hp, I found this comparison rather interesting:

    Maxima V6: 290 hp, 261 lb-ft of torque

    G8 GT V8: 361 hp, 385 lb-ft of torque

    The Pontiac sure does kick out an honest-to-goodness extra 70 hp, but it honestly needs nearly TWICE the displacement to do it. Give Nissan a mere extra 0.2 l of displacement to play with and the Pontiac’s advantage shrinks to just 30 hp. 361 hp in absolute terms is a good thing. 361 hp out of six point zero freakin’ liters is not really all that impressive.

  • avatar
    Nicodemus

    Makes Ford’s decision not to make the Falcon left-hand drive all the more suprising. The new Falcon XR6 Turbo has this car’s measure in every way – more powerful, better handling not to mention the fact that the Falcon nameplate actually has some history stateside.

    Oh and by the way the Commodore’s manual is an agricultural device – the Auto is the pick here.

  • avatar
    bumpy

    “Like… by that type of logic, the Honda S2000 is the best car under $200,000 EVER!”

    Well, it is. Anyway, volumetric efficiency is about as good an indicator as you can get of an automaker’s engineering and manufacturing prowess. Pulling 240 hp out of a soft drink bottle isn’t something most people can do in their backyards.

    “GM’s LS series puts enormous power and torque, tractability, reliability, and a great sound in an extremely small and lightweight package.”

    Let’s not get carried away here. A quarter ton isn’t that light, and the engines aren’t all that small either. Pushrod fanboys like to compare them to the superdeformed Ford Modular engines, but those things have the worst packaging since those experimental OHC Pontiac V8s from the ’60s. How many cars are there with a stout enough drivetrain to handle 400+ hp that can’t fit an OHC V8 anyway? Even the Corvette-clone XLR managed to fit the blubbery Northstar. If people can put turbo VH45DEs into 240SXs, why should they bother with a glorified dump truck engine?

  • avatar
    mxfive4

    Let me get this straight – you are comparing a modern sports sedan to a 35 year old sport car.

    Now add the differences in drivers abilities.

    Then add in the fact that any sane driver would fear pushing an old Porsche on a “fall of the cliff” curvy road”

    Did that comparison actually say anything?

    Johnny – you are better than that. Leave the lame comparisons to Motor Trend.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    Sounds like a great car, and a big plus for GM. Now all they need to do is release a more affordable Altima-ish Chevy version since GM needs a profitable volume leader to survive. Unfortunately, GM also needs to make a good car for the next ten years until people like me will ever consider buying one. Maybe the taxpayer bailout will give them more time.

  • avatar
    TonyTiger

    Sounds GREAT. But no stick shift? Shame on you Pontiac. That alone will keep me out of the showroom.

  • avatar
    John The Accountant

    About the Solstice GXP:

    1.) I agree on the engine. For its HP to Liter ratio it is extremely efficient and powerful.

    2.) The interior… I’ll let you have that one, but I agree to an extent.

    3.) The shift linkage: Maybe you just need more time with the car, because I have no issue ramming gears in my GXP and I’ve only missed a shift once or twice since I bought the car. The clutch is tricky, but after some time my 5’2 fiance and I (6’0) have no trouble driving it.

    4.) The brakes: Biggest error here. The brakes in my GXP are just as good as the “almighty and no fault” MX-5 Miata. MT has 122 ft from 60-0 for the MX-5 and 121 ft from 60-0 for the GXP.

  • avatar
    JJ

    I don’t know for sure if this isn’t mentioned before, but just in case:

    G8 Wagon (called Vauxhall VXR in the UK)

    Seems like it might be closer than you think.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    Jaeger wrote:

    And speaking of hp, I found this comparison rather interesting:

    Maxima V6: 290 hp, 261 lb-ft of torque

    G8 GT V8: 361 hp, 385 lb-ft of torque

    The Pontiac sure does kick out an honest-to-goodness extra 70 hp, but it honestly needs nearly TWICE the displacement to do it. Give Nissan a mere extra 0.2 l of displacement to play with and the Pontiac’s advantage shrinks to just 30 hp. 361 hp in absolute terms is a good thing. 361 hp out of six point zero freakin’ liters is not really all that impressive.

    But it doesn’t matter because fuel efficiency is practically the same for both cars. So, in fact, Nissan uses more fuel per horsepower than GM.

  • avatar
    KnightRT

    > Anyway, volumetric efficiency is about as good an indicator as you can get of an automaker’s engineering and manufacturing prowess.

    By implication, Honda must trump BMW and Ferrari, because it’s been putting out 600cc motorcycle mills with 200 HP/L for years. It’s easy to pull prodigious power from volumetrically tiny engines, especially when a the broad torque curve Americans love isn’t a requirement. The same company can only manage 82 HP/L when confronted with a V6, a number below that of even GM’s V6.

    > A quarter ton isn’t that light,

    Compared to what? There hardly exists a car engine today that weighs less than 300 lbs, regardless of power output. All of the larger V12 engines top 600 lbs, and only a handful of V8s with far less power and torque undercut the LS series in weight.

    > aren’t all that small either.

    It’s small enough to fit in a Fiero; how much smaller would you like? The OHV configuration is significantly narrower and lower than an equivalent in OHC, while retaining a lower center of gravity. FI isn’t a requirement. For many, this holds quite a lot of appeal.

  • avatar
    fli317

    To Lee, I agree with KnightRT. I just drove across the US in a 16 foot Penske box truck with a 6.0 L Chevy motor. It was full of furniture, pulling a tow dolly/car and averaged 10-12 mpg the entire way. A lot of SUV’s and sports cars avg mid-teens in mpg, V8 or not. Now, I have no idea what quote of hp you can give for AMG’s V8, but any of these V8′s are tunable to a wide hp range. But when you realize that GM’s V8 provides incredible power and fuel efficiency for everything from moving trucks, pick-up trucks, SUVs, boats, hot rodders and great sports cars (corvette), that’s impressive. It does depend on what you mean by the “best,” but, AMG is not even in the discussion compared to GM’s small block as the best V8 on the planet.
    That being said, I am not sure that the GXP, even with a MT will be available with a V6. Pontiac needs to offer an entry level V6, MT, rear drive that handles well. I don’t want to pay that kind of money for an automatic, no matter the hp or V8 as a previous writer mentioned. If you want to talk fun, you have to have a MT. GM still does not get this. I would rather have and pay for a V6,MT, FWD accord or mazda 6 than a V8 RWD, slushbox. I much prefer RWD, but not many options are available, especially if you might prefer a V6/MT.
    Do this and I will again be a Pontiac guy. My first car was a pontiac firebird, V8/MT. I have since owned 3 pontiacs, but not one in the last 20 years.

  • avatar
    dgduris

    Someone asked me the other day what I thought about a specific car they were looking at buying for themselves.

    I said: “I dunno. What does Lieberman think about it” – figuring in would draw him into something about McCain’s would-be Secy. of State.

    This guy – a Connecticut Yankee and not a car guy – said: “Oh! I’ll go to the site and see.”

    I was blown away!

    Johnny, you’ve made the big time! But would you take a G8 over a new STI?

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    Noting the volumetric efficiency comments above, I do have to agree volumetric efficiency is pretty cool, but it is not indicative of performance the same way power/weight is. Power/weight is the fundamental of performance for any mobile power-plant.

    When Gordon Murray was designing the F1, the BMW V10 it ended up with was having teething development problems, especially with heat. That problem has continued to bedevil Mclaren F1s in the real world when doing things like idling in a traffic jam, because no air is moving over the radiator. One of the solutions was literally to line the engine compartment with gold because they needed a refractory metal that could be worked at that thin of a gauge to save weight.

    The Bugatti Veyron suffers the same problems, as indicated by radiators stuffed into every nook and cranny of that car.

    Gordon Murray’s other choice for a powerplant if the BMW fell through? GM pushrod motor. They even had a test mule with a 454 running around. Given how obsessed Murray is about power-to-weight ratios, his second choice is telling, especially since it was off-the-shelf for a car like that. A tuned pushrod motor will deliver a very competitive power-to-weight ratio with an OHC engine for a given amount of power if both are naturally-aspirated. What OHC’s gain in breathing, they give a lot back in friction and total moving mass. Put induction on, and its not a contest because that’s all about breathing and pushrods always starve for air.

    I think theoretically you can build an OHC with a higher power-to-weight than any pushrod motor, but real world condtions you have to take into account (not to mention cost) mitigate those advantages for even very exotic road-going cars.

  • avatar

    General Motors again looked to Holden for the new model.
    Also known as Holden VE Commodore (Berlina) and Chevrolet Lumina and Chevrolet Omega C.

    Launched in 2006, the VE is the first Commodore model designed entirely in Australia, with development budget reportedly exceeded AU$1 billion.

  • avatar
    Jaeger

    hwyhobo wrote:

    “But it doesn’t matter because fuel efficiency is practically the same for both cars.”

    Really? 15mpg city for the G8 GT versus 19 for the Max is “practically the same”? By my calculation, that puts the Max about 27% better. I wonder that works out to over the course of a year at today’s gas prices. Or over the life of the car. Even after you factor in the premium versus regular adjustment, the Max driver is sitting on a big enough wad of cash that he’s driving crooked.

  • avatar
    Jonny Lieberman

    dgduris:

    Nice! And yes, I would happily take a G8 over an STI

    Also, Farago — I need a raise!

  • avatar
    polpo

    Quality? GM? On the same continent? Not in this lifetime.

    You are indeed right. The US and Australia are on different continents.

  • avatar
    AlphaWolf

    This review really did not list any negatives from my perspective, other than the grip of the tires. Every car has it’s flaws although I am glad to see GM is finally paying attention.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    Jaeger wrote:
    Really? 15mpg city for the G8 GT versus 19 for the Max is “practically the same”? By my calculation, that puts the Max about 27% better. I wonder that works out to over the course of a year at today’s gas prices. Or over the life of the car. Even after you factor in the premium versus regular adjustment, the Max driver is sitting on a big enough wad of cash that he’s driving crooked.

    Nice job of selectively presenting facts. Let’s see:

    19/25 gives a combined average of @22.0
    15/24 gives a combined average of @19.5

    Even with 15K miles driven per year, for the Max driver at premium gas that would be US $2727 annually at $4 per gallon (price at a gas station nearby). The G8 driver would spend for the same 15K miles US $2915 annually at $3.79 per gallon (same gas station). That “wad of cash” would be US $16 per month. Talk about overstating the issue.

    Now to the point I was making in the original post, which you omitted.

    G8 produces 361 hp, 385 ft-lbs with 19.5 mpg.
    Max produces 255 hp, 252 ft-lbs with 22.0 mpg.

    That means a gain of just over 11% in fuel efficiency (and using premium) reduces horsepower by 29% and torque by 35% vs. its regular-fueled opponent. I fail to be impressed by Nissan’s supposedly superior technology. Even starker is this comparison when we look at the fuel cost difference. In that case, savings of 6.5% reduce horsepower by 29% and torque by 34%.

  • avatar
    Jaeger

    Sorry hwyhobo – you can perform all the mathematical gymnastics you want, but the numbers will never support your contention that the mileage figures for the 6.0 liter V8 Pontiac are “practically the same” as those of the 3.5 liter V6 Nissan. 15/24 is NOT “practically the same” as 19/25. Seems like a silly point for you to be arguing, but that’s your choice.

    By your “reasoning”, a vehicle returning as little as 11/23 would be returning “practically the same” mileage as the Pontiac at 15/24, which is in turn “practically the same” as the Nissan at 19/25. Dude, please.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    You just keep repeating the same thing but with adding things like “Dude, please”. Yes, that refutes all quantifiable arguments to the contrary. With the savings of a whopping $16 a month (which apparently makes you sit crooked), I would go for the G8 GT in a heartbeat, *if I had to choose*.

    I would more likely pick Honda Fit or the upcoming new Honda hybrid, but if forced to choose between the G8 and the Max, yeah, it’s a no brainer for me.

  • avatar

    Jaeger I get 19mpg in mine. My sister owns an 07 G35 and averages 16mpg out of her V6. That’sa bit eye-watering for something that’s smaller and runs on two fewer cylinders producing less power. My friend with the TSX here averaged 21mpg running on four cylinders. I’ll take eight thanks.

  • avatar
    bts

    The power figures really lie in the G8, and output per displacement mean nothing. Edmunds matched up the G8 GT and Charger SRT8 and they constantly ran side by side. Not bad for the GT being short 61 horses, and there is still the GXP with over 400 hp from Corvette on the horizon.

    http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/FullTests/articleId=124876

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Can it be had without the hood scoops?

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Sure can, if you buy a G8 GT, walk over to the parts desk and order up a hood for the V6 version.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Sure can, if you buy a G8 GT, walk over to the parts desk and order up a hood for the V6 version.

    I think the V6 has the scoops too, and as of now, there is no delete option.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Nuts. Pontiac’s had a few nice, clean designs recently. The G6–whatever else it might do badly–is at least a nice, clean sheet. Why they felt the needed to resurrect the Grand Am Ram Air is a mystery to me.

  • avatar
    Nicodemus

    To Carnotcyle:

    “When Gordon Murray was designing the F1, the BMW V10…”

    The F1 had a V12 not a V10. I’m not sure where you got the info regarding the GM back-up, but Murray naturally wanted to use a Honda engine given they were quite good at making race engines for Mclaren, but unfortunately the supply relationship was all but over by then and Honda declined the offer.

  • avatar
    bts

    Can it be had without the hood scoops?

    You could find a Holden Commodore owner to swap.

  • avatar
    Joe O

    I wanted to mention a few things I’m betting Jonny couldn’t fit in 800 words about this car.

    If you are an enthusiast, whether it be American Muscle, Honda high-revvers, or German Thunk, you need to go look over every inch of this car.

    A few interior details worth mentioning:

    -The doors are immaculately done in THICK, nicely stitched padded door pulls and arm-rests. Go scope out a similar 28-32k ride. G35, Legacy GT, Honda Accord, whatever. None have as nice of doors to grab onto or rest your arm on. It’s a detail you’ll touch everyday.

    -Center mounted window switches are great and needed in more cars.

    -The fit and finish of this car, especially around the window switches is somewhat poor. Granted, this car has some cool designs there such as the emergency brake integrated into a grab-handle-look-alike design, but the plastics have some gaps you’ll feel when running your hands over it.

    -As Jonny mentioned, the glovebox is sub-par. I mean feels-like-its-going-to-break when you open it normally subpar. Whatever.

    -The drivers door, with the window down, shuts with all the oiled precision of a Dodge Colt. It doesn’t sound good, and the door vibrates. Again, whatever. My 08 legacy GT does the same thing with the window down, and has a nice “Whump” shut with the window up.

    -The rear seat is positively cavernous and the seats are very deep with plenty of thigh support. Damn nice.

    -The rear seats don’t fold, and that’s usually a game-ender for me. However, as Michael Karesh mentioned above, the pass-through is gi-normous. Here’s my criteria: I need to be able to fit my road bike inside my trunk, without a front wheel. Most cars require fold-down rear seats for that to happen. I’m willing to bet the G8′s trunk is large enough for my bike to fit in. And the pass-through will allow me to probably fit about 6 sets of skis if I wanted (that’s how big it is).

    -People who speak about horsepower per liter and volumetric efficiency really are missing the point (and I say that with my 2 vehicles putting out 100 hp/liter). This car has everyday power. In-gear power. As people have said, it has all kinds of torque at all sorts of engine speeds and yet it returns pretty solid mileage when driven sanely. At damn near 4000 pounds, that’s an impressive feat. It does this with a simple, time-honored engine design that will age well.

    - If you are a Simpsons fan, chances are you’ve seen Milhouse without his glasses on. His eyes are pinpoints set very far apart. Now look at the rear of the G8. Any questions?

    - I pray the GXP fixes the G8′s front end. The “Exciting Ugly” metaphor is perfect for it in it’s current state.

    - This is not a BMW. It’s not meant to be a BMW. But the fact is, it’s the size of a 5-series with better driving dynamics. So it beats BMW in that regard, but it’s not trying to beat BMW in other areas.

    If you love cars, scope this one out. It’s what many enthusiasts have been asking for from the general. A holy-s*&t real RWD 4-door family hauling done-right everyman’s muscle car.

    Joe

  • avatar
    8rings

    I came away from a G8 test drive very impressed. I think this car is a bargain. The only gripe I had with it was the brakes. They absolutely suck! The rest of the car feels very European in it’s driving style, but the brakes feel like they came off of a Lucerne.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    Johnny, out of curiosity, did you have a chance to drive the G8 in very hot conditions? I like to drive through deserts, and Death Valley is high on my list. Last time I went there I rented Pontiac Grand Prix, brand new. It boiled repeatedly. It was incredibly disappointing, as my old Ford Probe didn’t even bat an eyelash in identical conditions. I didn’t know if it was something inherent to GM’s cooling system design, or if it was just a Grand Prix thing.

  • avatar
    BlindOne

    hwyhobo:”Now to the point I was making in the original post, which you omitted.

    G8 produces 361 hp, 385 ft-lbs with 19.5 mpg.
    Max produces 255 hp, 252 ft-lbs with 22.0 mpg.

    That means a gain of just over 11% in fuel efficiency (and using premium) reduces horsepower by 29% and torque by 35% vs. its regular-fueled opponent. I fail to be impressed by Nissan’s supposedly superior technology. Even starker is this comparison when we look at the fuel cost difference. In that case, savings of 6.5% reduce horsepower by 29% and torque by 34%.”

    Where are you getting your figures? Max has a 290 HP 3.5L V6. I’d say that’s damn good power vs a 6.0L V8. I fail to see how it’s debatable, esp if you look at Nissan’s 330 HP 3.7L V6. A 6.0L putting out 360HP is unimpressive. Are you impressed by a V12 that makes 400HP?

    VQ is great, no matter how you look at it.

  • avatar
    Turbo G

    I wish GM didn’t have to graft a Pontiac front end on this car. I wonder if the fit and finish on that front end is as subpar as it was on my GTO. You could just tell it was bolted on as an afterthought to make it fit in with the rest of the brand’s fleet.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    BlindOne wrote:
    Where are you getting your figures?

    2008 Max. You are probably comparing 2009 Max to 2008 G8.

    Max has a 290 HP 3.5L V6. I’d say that’s damn good power vs a 6.0L V8. I fail to see how it’s debatable, esp if you look at Nissan’s 330 HP 3.7L V6. A 6.0L putting out 360HP is unimpressive.

    Fuel efficiency comparison is at the issue here, and as I have shown before, it is not significantly different. Given similar fuel cost, I would rather take larger displacement.

  • avatar
    brush

    What exactly are the roots of the G8/Commodore and the Holden/Pontiac design elements. From much of the comments it seems that the options are
    (1) The ZETA platform was a true blue American design with a derivative sold in Australia,
    (2) A co-operatively design by Holden and Pontiac,
    (3) Or that it was an Holden design (seized,grasped or clutched at)adapted by Pontiac.

    If was the first, why does sell by the bucket here and not in NA,if it was the second, you guys cant complain about the design as it is done by yourselves,or the third option.
    What should have happened is that the car was marketed as a true import and not tried to be an “American car” with all the expectations and connotations of what that means. That would have eliminated the Chevy/Pontiac/Buick badge engineering issues and demographics. They could have been at all of the dealerships. It would have been a drawcard to the showroom and perhaps the dealers could have moved other metal as well.
    That would allow the G8 ST to be sold at Chevy/GMC, G8 v6/v8 to sold at what ever Buick sell, the HSV G8 v8 to Pontiac (the excitment brand?) and possibly the Caprice alongside the Caddillac or what ever the upmarket dealer is at GM these days. That would have made sense, plus only one dealer would have to put up with that abortion of a hood/nose design. You could have had lots of different designs, easy to knock up out of China, and choose the best.

  • avatar

    Wow a lot of good comments on the mighty G8. Isn’t this thing going to be the Chevy Camaro when it grows up? A fellow mechanic was the first one in Manatee County Florida to own one. Purchased from redneck Red Hogland Pontiac GMC. He took me for a death ride. I thought the passenger seat was uncomfortable but the car is impressive to me!

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I sat in a few different G8′s at the last New York auto show. This is a great car. Like others, I wish at least the V6 version was available with a manual transmission. Unlike many others, I have no problem with the styling. I also had no problem with the GTO’s styling. Some may call it bland – but I know the value of being able to fly under the police radar. Ever hear of a Q-Ship?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Ever hear of a Q-Ship?

    The Volvo V70R is a Q-Ship, as are cars like the old Forester XT and (front-drive) Impala SS.

    Anything with hood scoops like those is not a Q-Ship. No way.

  • avatar
    JoeEgo

    As partially posted on a news item:

    Given the mpg difference between the V6 and V8 versions, I’d choose the V8. My (wife’s) driving habits get no benefit from the V6. A few daily 2 to 5 mile errands with a monthly 50 to 100 mile trip. Simply keeping the RPMs low will solve 90% of the consumption issue. Another several thousand dollars on a supercharger kit will even get me that extra 1mpg back if I really (really, really) want it.

    I’m actually surprised people are so bothered by the mileage on this car. It’s not a Civic. It’s not even a Camry. It is a full size car. The Camry, Avalon, and Accord are cars for different purposes (not to mention at least 300 pounds lighter). The Ford Taurus offers slightly better V6 mileage. The G8 gets better mileage than the Magnum/Charger/300. Mileage is comparable to the WRX and Evo. Even the extra money spent on a 5-series gets you Dodge mileage. Either you have a vehicle preference or you choose the Camcord for the appliance factor or trade in protection. People harping on this can’t keep their foot out of it or don’t want anybody else to have the opportunity. Mileage simply isn’t an issue with the G8. Those hood scoops, however…

  • avatar
    blindfaith

    Please do a review on the CHEVY COBALT SS 260 HP.

    I believe for 22k you can show up any car costing less than 60k. Please

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Jonny,

    Did you observe any abrupt shifting in the sample you had? I drove a G8 GT over the weekend and it had a weird, REALLY aggressive 1-2 shift. Other up and downshifts occurred as expected, but it was weird.

    Might’ve been a bad transmission, though.

  • avatar
    Tommydog

    I want to hear about the up and coming Pontiac “El Camino” or whatever they are calling it based on the G8.

  • avatar
    usmc4hire

    I had tested one of these for a week and couldn’t wait to get rid of it. Sure, it was fun to drive but my God what a piss poor fit and finish to the car. Give me a stick of gum, a bunch of paper clips, and a can of spray paint and I could build a tighter car with a cleaner paint job.

    How can you trust a car that doesn’t even have clean door lines or a glove compartment that rattles visibly at idle. Oh, and thanks for the trick little air pump and goo in the trunk but a tire would be nice. But that was done to shave weight….um yea.

    Great track or weekend car but for my daily drive I’m glad I went with the 09 Mazda 6. I can deal with getting to the next stoplight 1 second slower.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Too bad it looks so much like a 5 Series and not enough like a Pontiac.

  • avatar
    Holden fan

    It is a holden not a US car that is why it is so good.We prefer Europe handling and USA engine power.

    http://www.holden.com.au/www-holden/action/vehicleentry?vehicleid=4

  • avatar
    Holden fan

    UnclePete :
    September 12th, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    http://www.holden.com.au/www-holden/action/vehicleentry?vehicleid=100


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India