By on April 27, 2009

This site is not generally known as a fan of GM’s cars. And yet TTAC has lavished much love upon Pontiac’s thunder from down under: the G8 GT. The general line: if the 361-horsepower V8 version is magic, the 415-horsepower GXP should be an automotive miracle. Especially as the GXP offers the option of a manual gearbox. So, did Pontiac save its best car ever for last?

The Pontiac G8 GXP includes model-specific 19-inch wheels and a more aggressive front fascia. If you were expecting something more distinctive, you’re SOL. Just like the G8 GT most people will mistake it for, the GXP is a tasteful (aside from the hood scoops) homage to BMW’s E46 M3—that lacks the visual punch of Chrysler’s large SRT sedans. For all the talk that tastefully reserved pre-Bangle BMWs were da bomb, the Pontiac G8 proves that subtle styling doesn’t attract buyers to a new model.

The G8 GXP’s roomy (this is a LARGE sedan) cabin is virtually identical to that of other G8s. It’s dark and functional (i.e., dreadfully austere). Another homage to the way BMWs used to be? Like those traditional Bimmer interiors, the G8’s cabin says “only serious drivers need apply.” Well, there’s one exception: the seats. They’re comfortable, but as in other G8s the side bolsters could be more aggressive.

The 361-horsepower G8 GT doesn’t feel as quick as the specs suggest. Blame an overly muffled exhaust and an insufficiently responsive automatic transmission. The GXP provides solutions: another 54 horsepower, a louder (thankfully only when you push it) exhaust system and the option of a six-speed manual transmission. Of the three, the extra horses are probably least necessary, and probably aren’t worth the toll they take on fuel economy.

[Quick aside: the G8 GXP's EPA ratings fall from 15/24 to 13/20, incurring a $1,700 gas guzzler tax. The problem isn’t so much the extra displacement as the elimination of cylinder deactivation. Not a good call with the automatic, but probably unavoidable with the manual. To further maximize the EPA ratings (how bad would they have been otherwise?), the manual shifter skips from first to fourth in relaxed driving. Diehard pistonheads may complain; in practice, it's not an issue. If you’re not pushing the car, the engine has more than enough low-end torque to motivate the G9 GXP even in fourth gear. If you are pushing the car, the shifter won’t skip second and third.]

The Pontiac G8 GXP’s medium-throw shifter and low-effort clutch don’t annoy in traffic or frustrate in hard driving. You won’t mistake them for those in a Miata or S2000, but they’re far better than those in the Pontiac GTO and first-gen CTS-V. Again, pair a manual cog-swapper with the G8 GXP’s appropriately throaty 415-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 and you’ve got a large sedan that not only is quick, but feels quick. Need to scrub some speed? Big GXP-only Brembos make the task easy.

Get on the gas in a turn, and oversteer happens. No surprise, given the pounds-feet in play. And yet the G8 GXP won’t be coming soon to a ditch near you. Especially with the direct linkage provided by the manual transmission, the G8 GXP oversteers in such a predictable linear fashion that right-foot steering is the default option.

Push too hard despite clear feedback through the seat of your pants? A touch of countersteer restores your intended line. (The standard stability control doesn’t kill the fun until it stops being fun.) Though the steering isn’t quite as communicative as the chassis, the G8 GXP’s handling could hardly be more intuitive. Step up the tempo, and the G8 shrinks around you. It feels much more tossable than a 196-inch-long, two-ton sedan has any right to. Even some of the world’s thickest A-pillars barely dent driver confidence. Simply put: you won’t find a large sedan that’s more fun to drive.

The GXP’s suspension tuning is just a scosh firmer than the GT’s. Those seeking a hardcore feel might be disappointed. Those seeking a livable ride won’t.

And so, while the G8 GXP could make a stronger styling statement, it’s the best all-around driver’s car the brand has ever offered. Still, there are two big problems. First, the G8 GT is nearly as much fun to drive, while getting substantially better gas mileage and costing over $6K less. Clutch-avoiders should buy the GT, then spend a fraction of the savings on a sweet-sounding aftermarket exhaust.

But if you want a large sedan with a manual transmission, then the G8 GXP is not only the best game in town, it’s the only game in town. Which brings us to the second big problem: this game is leaving town. With the Pontiac brand headed for the dustbin, all G8s will soon be gone. Get one while you can.

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93 Comments on “Review: 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP...”


  • avatar
    86er

    Any word from the grapevine whether there’s a chance the Zeta will move briefly to Chevrolet, even if only to clear out the dead-brand-walking G8′s?

  • avatar

    How much better are the Brembo binders than the stock GT stoppers?

    I put about 20 miles on a friends G8 GT and my sole complaint about the car was that the brakes offered so little feedback that it was hard to believe that they were up to the task.

  • avatar
    ca36gtp

    Thank you, Mr. President, for putting a team of hack politicians in charge of what cars GM is going to be allowed to build from now on!

  • avatar
    kurtamaxxguy

    The GM press conference this morning suggested GM has no plans to reintroduce the G8 within another GM brand.
    That leaves the Camaro.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    For GM to not move this car into Chevy showrooms is a tragedy, and a mistake IMO. This car would make a great Impala.

  • avatar

    The problem with the G8 is two-fold:

    1. The U.S. dollar strengthened considerably against the Australian dollar between the time the G8 was approved and when it went on sale, so importing the cars from Australia probably has not been profitable.

    2. Even at money-losing prices, they haven’t been able to sell nearly as many as they planned to. Sales volumes aren’t nearly high enough to justify tooling up a North American plant for the car.

    Bottom line: there’s no way for GM to make money on this car in North America, so it’s going away.

  • avatar
    AndrewDederer

    BTW, “skosh” is usually spelled with a “K”, easier to see the hard consonant. Plus it derives from “sukoshi”, and Japanese doesn’t really have “c”s (the “chi” is a Romanization of “ti”

    Why is it that every time a company re-invents the American sedan I get “Robocop” flashbacks?

  • avatar
    cardeveloper

    G8 sales have been horrible. GM dealers tried the bonus profit routine and it blew up in their faces. In the same category, Charger is a much better car, except for the crappy interior :(

  • avatar
    ca36gtp

    In the same category, Charger is a much better car, except for the crappy interior :(

    Don’t forget the god-awful transmission.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    If you were expecting something more distinctive, you’re SOL

    I’d actually like something less distinctive. A hood scoop delete option would be helpful.

    kurtamaxxguy: The GM press conference this morning suggested GM has no plans to reintroduce the G8 within another GM brand.

    That’s a pity, but true. The basics exist to assemble a Zeta-platform car at Oshawa, and the plant would definitely benefit from the volume, and it was the original intent, but a rear-drive Impala replacement is too costly an enterprise for GM at this time.

    ca36gtp:Thank you, Mr. President, for putting a team of hack politicians in charge of what cars GM is going to be allowed to build from now on!

    GM made this decision all by itself. By making cars people didn’t want to pay for for decades, failing to come up with a decent strategy and/or diluting that good offering they had through their multitude of divisions, they killed this car, as well as many others.

    Right now, the PTFOA has the unenviable task of directing GM to make vehicles that will ensure it’s (meaning GM’s) viability. GM was unwilling or unable to make the kind of cars that would have bankrolled the G8 through hard times, so now they’re being forced to, ostensibly to ensure some kind of domestic automotive sector exists in the US post-recession.

  • avatar
    thalter

    If I’m going to drop this kind of coin on a GM car, I’d spend a little extra to get the truly superb CTS-V, with 556HP.

  • avatar
    hitman1970

    I bought a Sport Red Metallic 2009 G8 GT last month outside of my normal purchase cycle because I was afraid that they would not be around in 2012 to get one. Guess I made the right decision.

    Will this be one of the last non-Government Motors influenced cars for the next decade or so?

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    @AndrewDederer

    Are you suggesting that the last Pontiac should be the 6000SUX? “8.2 MPG. An American Tradition!” ;-)

    They should have enough plastic cladding lying around to make it a reality!

    One crappy economy + tight bank lending + job losses + GM’s reality and perception + legion of buyers that will never by another GM = a decent car that never had a chance.

  • avatar

    thalter: the CTS-V is about $20k more–hardly just a “little extra.”

  • avatar
    Frayed Knot

    Michael Karesh:

    Wouldn’t the increase in the strength of the $USD relative to the $AUD actually make the importing of the G8 more profitable? After all, in terms of $USD, the price of production dropped by almost 50%.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Frayed I think is right. shouldn’t it be that the AUS dollar increased in value, not the USD?

    I have been really hoping they can simply change the nameplate, grab some Chevy bowties, and start sending these to Chevy dealerships. Its too big a shame that a car this good, for this price, rots on lots and is now going to completely disappear. I wouldn’t expect a Chevy Impala version to start flying, but Chevy is a lot stronger brand than pontiac, and hasn’t been talked about being executed for years the way Pontiac has.

    I wasn’t so sure about how long this car would last anyway, with the eco-nannies trying everything possible to make cars the evil of the earth, or simply just higher CAFE standards or higher fuel prices, etc. But this is too soon. I do hope GM can at least break even by the end of this platform’s run. I take it they will still be selling them in Australia as Holdens?

    there has to be a way to make this car profitable, but at this point, they probably figure other programs can have higher margins than this one. Otherwise, why not move the car to Canada and send the Holdens from there to Australia?

    Its a shame. It isn’t my kind of car at this point in my life, but it really hurts to see a superb automobile get no sales and die. Has there been a car this good in the last 25 years that failed to sell enough units to justify its existence? Mazda RX-7? the list is very short…

  • avatar

    The Brembos are on the front only on the GXP and the stopping distance in all the magazine tests is the same but apparently they are much less prone to fade.

    I have a 08 GT myself and kind of wish I would have waited now. Still the GXP is a little disappointing for having Brembos up front only and it doesn’t have the HSV front seats from the show car with much better bolstering.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    This car suffers from three major problems:
    1) GM makes no profit on them
    2) They don’t sell
    3) They suffer from bland unoriginal styling

    Such a shame because under that derivative exterior hides a capable chassis, powertrain and interior packaging.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    What killed the G8 was simple – it came out right in time for gas prices to hit the roof. Otherwise, this is a home run vehicle – fast, capable, and roomy.

    Styling is a bit derivative, but frankly, have you seen a BMW 5-series lately?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    cardeveloper :
    April 27th, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    G8 sales have been horrible. GM dealers tried the bonus profit routine and it blew up in their faces. In the same category, Charger is a much better car, except for the crappy interior :(

    No offense, but are you kidding? In a straight line, these cars are competitive, but the G8 will kill the Charger in the corners, and the G8′s steering has actual feel.

    Plus, to my eyes, the Charger is Godawful ugly…the G8 might be kind of bland, but it’s inoffensive. It’d make a great sleeper. Try THAT in a Charger R/T.

  • avatar
    ajla

    At least the G8 GXP insures that Pontiac didn’t go out like a bitch.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Make it in China and sell it here as a Buick.

  • avatar
    Potemkin

    Boring design and high price point have been the hall marks of Pontiac cars for decades. The old Grand Prixs didn’t sell as new but the used ones go out as fast as they come into the dealers lots. I have 2 GTPs and it brings a tear to my eye that The Genereal is killing Pontiac but if the best the division can come up with is the G8 it’s time to go.

  • avatar
    MBella

    FreedMike is right. The Charger is such a awful car, I don’t see how you can even compare the two.

  • avatar
    FloorIt

    G8 is much better looking to me than the fraking retro camaro. (Yeah, I know, I watched to much BSG.)
    The G8 is dead, long live the G8.

  • avatar
    ajla

    As far as Charger versus G8 goes, I think armchair analysis is useless.

    I can’t imagine someone interested in the Charger not driving the G8 or vice-versa.

    Road and Track tested the G8 GXP versus the Charger SRT8 and they turned basically the exact same numbers in acceleration, braking and handling. SRT8 versus G8 GXP

    With the GT versus the R/T, I have a feeling that those early G8 test cars were ringers because later test cars have given considerably worse performance. Since its introduction, the G8 got a price increase while the Charger’s MSRP dropped. Plus, a Charger with the revised 5.7 has never been tested by anyone IIRC.

    Personally, I’ve driven a Magnum SRT8, Charger R/T, G8 V6, and G8 GT. For my money, I’d go with the G8, but the Mopars are not without their charms.

  • avatar
    vvk

    > But if you want a large sedan with a manual
    > transmission, then the G8 GXP is not only the
    > best game in town, it’s the only game in town.

    I had to double-check just in case hell did freeze over but it turns out that automatic transmission is still optional on BMW 550i. Which is another large sedan with a manual transmission.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    Bit off topic but in all the GM C11 talk, I don’t recall reading anything re: Holden. I keep reading about Opel, but not them.

    Hope they do ok, I’d hate to see the wild world of the aussie domestic market get a little less wild.

  • avatar

    The Charger vs G8 rivalry got a little hot online but with Pontiac’s death the Dodge boys win out, until their company dies too.

    The people who buy Chargers are in it not only for the performance but they also like the retro-inspired muscle car styling. That’s something the G8 didn’t have on it’s side, just as the GTO didn’t have style on it’s side versus the Mustang either.

    People who want head turners are going to get the Charger.

  • avatar
    amadorgmowner

    I just heard the bad news about Pontiac going away. Thanks alot GM, you just further devalued my wife’s 2001 Montana minivan and my son’s 2004 Vibe. In addition, GMAC killed my local dealer last December. It must be Murphy’s law. What’s next, killing GMC and making my 2007 GMC Yukon XL Denali lose some more value? I had a 1993 Bonneville and a 1997 Grand Prix and they were great, trouble free cars. I am very saddened at the demise of Pontiac. But, GM can blame itself for the mess they are in. If they had made better cars and not just SUV’s and trucks, perhaps they would be in a better position today. Between GM management and GMAC killing dealers that have loyal followings and good sales, they must not want my business anymore. Fine. They won’t get it. My next purchase will be a Toyota. BTW, the Pontiac G8 won’t become a Chevrolet. That is just too simple to change it over. The GM bean counters would most likely study it to death anyway.

  • avatar
    Viceroy_Fizzlebottom

    “Are you suggesting that the last Pontiac should be the 6000SUX? “8.2 MPG. An American Tradition!” ”

    Don’t forget MagnaVolt! You don’t want someone to steal that sweet 6000SUX

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyuKEK7wmsw

  • avatar
    Slare

    The idea of cross shopping G8′s and Chargers sounds like the lead in to a bad joke. May as well say people will cross shop Camaros and Mustangs while you are at it. It happens in magazines and websites, but not by real buyers.

    @ajla – great line.

    @Pontiac – I understand why, but I am still so sorry to see you go. You will now act as just another reminder of how I am aging. My thanks go out to the folks that built my “management sample” 1993 LT1 Formula from which I obtained well over ~150k miles of great memories and statistic defying trouble free performance despite thrashing on it with a wide grin through all four Indiana seasons.

  • avatar
    86er

    Alright, I’ll answer my own question.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    [QUOTE=theflyersfan]One crappy economy + tight bank lending + job losses + GM’s reality and perception + legion of buyers that will never by another GM = a decent car that never had a chance.
    [/QUOTE]

    I’ve heard the siren call of “I will never buy another GM car” from Pontiac enthusiasts across the Interweb. If their legions were truely legion, wouldn’t Pontiac not be on the chopping block?

  • avatar
    NickR

    Three words ‘New Chevelle SS’

  • avatar
    bdab4

    Nice car to drive,too bad pontiac is gone.This car will be worth some money in the future.Don’t worry about getting parts,.Look at all the 50′s thru 80′s still around.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    I smell some badly concealed patriotism here.
    5 stars to an ugly Holden
    5 stars to a dinosaur(Mustang)
    Both of them are gas guzzlers.
    Not what you want to buy nowadays.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Slare :

    The idea that people don’t cross shop cars as similar as the G8 and Charger is absolutely ridiculous.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    Actually the Australian Dollar has recently plunged in relation to the US Dollar, so this would be a good time for GM to change its mind about US Holden Commodore sales and start bringing the Commodore over with the Chevrolet badges that it is already sold in the Middle East and South Africa with. And maybe the Buick badges that the LWB Commodore (the Holden Statesman) is already sold in China with.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=AUDUSD=X#symbol=AUDUSD=X;range=2y

    http://www.chevroletarabia.com/content_data/LAAM/ME/en/GBPME/001/G1/1L/1L_imagegallery.html?cntryCd=AE

    http://www.buick.com.cn/parkavenue/index.aspx

  • avatar
    jkross22

    @Buckshot:

    Thank you for telling me what I want. Are you a member of the new administration?

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    Not trying to be TOO picky, but I’m fairly sure Bangle was involved with the E46 and E39s, unless you mean earlier again, like the magnificant E24 6 series.

  • avatar
    akear

    The G8 will be remember as the car that killed Pontiac. This is another black mark on Lutz’s checkered GM career.

  • avatar
    cardeveloper

    I’ve driven both, the G8 is close but not as good as an SRT Charger. SRT chargers with aftermarket suspension are skid padding at .99. And the engine is so unbelievably easy to modify into some serious HP. The styling, is somewhat polarizing that I happen to enjoy.

    I drove my R/T RT pkg Charger 2500 miles at Christmas with two adults, two teenage kids, two dogs, and two weeks of luggage. It was by far the most comfortable drive we have taken. Best part, as sea level, and my new programmer installed, just smoked the tires from a 20 roll. Best gas mileage 27mpg, average 25.

  • avatar
    Captain Tungsten

    Back in the day, the G8 import was a bridge to development of a NA-produced G8, and a new rear drive Impala to go along with Camaro at Oshawa. This would have made retooling the plant for RWD a little more sensible. Sucks to run out of money….

  • avatar

    Captain Tungsten

    That was never going to happen, as TTAC pointed out that the time.

  • avatar
    Aloysius Vampa

    I wonder how bad the gas mileage really is. All I need is one person to get a really good number and all will be right in my mind.

    Then I can get one.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    akear:

    “The G8 will be remember as the car that killed Pontiac. This is another black mark on Lutz’s checkered GM career.”

    There is no one car that killed Pontiac.

    Pontiac was killed by generation after generation of horribly badge engineered cartoonish cars that completely failed to live up to the brand’s performance heritage.

    So, if one car from the current Pontiac lineup is to be choosen to represent what killed Pontiac there is no clearer choice than the G3 (Chevrolet Aveo).

    The G3 is a badge engineered, awful, cartoonish car that in no way represents anything about what the Pontiac brand should be.

    The G8 is not badge engineered from another US market GM car, it has conservative, not cartoonish styling, and it completely lives up to the Pontiac performance heritage.

    The G8 is not the car that killed Pontiac, it is simply the kind of car that came too late to save it.

  • avatar

    Okay, I really muffed it on the exchange rates.

    The real story: the Australian dollar strengthened against the U.S. dollar from the time the G8 was approved until its intro–which is what I was remembering–but then plunged against the dollar last fall.

    At this point, the currencies are about where they were at the time the G8 was approved. So, if it was selling, it would probably be profitable as an Aussie import.

    So, the problem isn’t the exchange rates at all, it’s the slow sales.

  • avatar

    vvk: The 550i is a midsize car. The G8 is closer in size to a regular wheelbase 7-Series. You can’t get a 7 or any other 196-plus-inch-long sedan with a manual transmission.

    But, yes, the 550i is the only other V8 sedan nearly as large as the G8 that is available with a manual.

  • avatar
    charleywhiskey

    Essentially the same car, very attractively styled and badged as a Chevrolet Caprice, is sold in Dubai.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    @jkross22 :

    Thank you for telling me what I want. Are you a member of the new administration?

    Yes i´m a member of the communist threat.
    Grab your gun.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/82/Bgoogle.jpg

  • avatar
    shaker

    This car could convince Mad Max to switch from Ford.

    However, the quest for ‘juice’ could become an issue.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @Jerome10 :
    Has there been a car this good in the last 25 years that failed to sell enough units to justify its existence?

    Smart Roadster? Perfect handling, perfect styling, good fuel economy, reasonably priced… OK, crappy gearbox.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @PeteMoran :
    Not trying to be TOO picky, but I’m fairly sure Bangle was involved with the E46 and E39s, unless you mean earlier again, like the magnificant E24 6 series.

    Exactly.
    Chris Bangle became chief of design at BMW in 1992. Of course he was responsible for the (1997) E39 and (1999) E46. Why people call these “Pre-Bangle” I can’t fathom.

  • avatar
    akear

    Well, so much for the Zeta cars in North America. Only one will survive. Lutz’s delusion is over.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    ajla : With the GT versus the R/T, I have a feeling that those early G8 test cars were ringers because later test cars have given considerably worse performance. Since its introduction, the G8 got a price increase while the Charger’s MSRP dropped. Plus, a Charger with the revised 5.7 has never been tested by anyone IIRC.

    Personally, I’ve driven a Magnum SRT8, Charger R/T, G8 V6, and G8 GT. For my money, I’d go with the G8, but the Mopars are not without their charms.

    I have driven the G8 GT and the Charger R/T (and the Chrysler 300C Hemi as well). In terms of objective performance, they’re all very close. It’s the subjective feel of the cars that really differs. The G8 has direct, intuitive steering and very little body roll, and feels a lot like a BMW; the Chrysler products all feel ponderous in corners, with vague steering and too much body roll. The Chryslers are capable, but not willing; the G8 is willing and able.

    I also drove the SRT models and while I loved the acceleration, the stiff ride and booming engine noise would get old quickly in a everyday performance sedan. The steering in these models is quicker, but still dull.

    I haven’t driven the G8 GXP, but I understand the suspension is basically unchanged from the GT model, which has a firm but supple ride. I suspect the GXP would ride a LOT better than any Chrysler SRT model. Probably a better everyday driver.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    vvk :
    April 27th, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    > But if you want a large sedan with a manual
    > transmission, then the G8 GXP is not only the
    > best game in town, it’s the only game in town.

    I had to double-check just in case hell did freeze over but it turns out that automatic transmission is still optional on BMW 550i. Which is another large sedan with a manual transmission.

    The 5-series is a great car, but the G8 will run iwith it in every way except cachet, for roughly half the price. Says something for the G8, doesn’t it?

    By the way, you can also get a 5-speed in the 535…but frankly, I don’t care for BMW’s six-speed. It’s rubbery and the clutch travel is way too long. The difference between the manual and the “steptronic” performance wise is negligible 8nless you’re into autocross.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Mirko Reinhardt :
    April 28th, 2009 at 8:52 am

    @Jerome10 :
    Has there been a car this good in the last 25 years that failed to sell enough units to justify its existence?

    Smart Roadster? Perfect handling, perfect styling, good fuel economy, reasonably priced… OK, crappy gearbox.

    You hit the reason why Smarts don’t sell…a car with that many compromises shouldn’t offer just “good” economy – it should offer “stellar” economy. it should get 40-50 mpg at LEAST…otherwise, there is a whole fleet of compact cars that offer slightly worse economy than a Smart – with the benefit of a rear seat, a real trunk, and reasonable highway performance. They’re all selling. Smarts aren’t.

    No way I’d put myself out in one of those things to save 5-6 mpg over, say, a Corolla or Civic.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @FreedMike
    You hit the reason why Smarts don’t sell…a car with that many compromises shouldn’t offer just “good” economy – it should offer “stellar” economy.

    A Smart Roadster-Coupe gets mid-40s MPG when driven like the sports car it is, while offering more room for passengers and cargo than a Miata in a 2 ft shorter package. The only compromise is the gearbox.

    The Mk2 Fortwo you get in America has a Mitsubishi cheapo 1.0 engine, not the 0.7 turbo “Suprex” engine earlier fortwos and roadsters had. The 0.7 had much better real life fuel economy.

    I wouldn’t consider a Fortwo, but when I can afford a second car, a Smart Roadster would be a nice addition to my 1-series.

    No way I’d put myself out in one of those things to save 5-6 mpg over, say, a Corolla or Civic.

    You would prefer a Corolla to a lightweight, low center of gravity, RWD, turbo sportscar that sounds like a baby Porsche?
    Have you driven a Smart Roadster? Those things are addictive.

  • avatar

    @CharleyWhiskey:

    Your’e not kidding about that Mideast Chevy Caprice version of this chasis being a good looking car.

    http://gmeurope.info/MOPIDB/viewcataloguedetails.htm?obj=ME_Caprice_3&cat=124112

    Nice!

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    You would prefer a Corolla to a lightweight, low center of gravity, RWD, turbo sportscar that sounds like a baby Porsche?

    You make it sound like a sports car. 11 seconds 0-60 is not Porsche-like even if it may sound Porsche-like.

  • avatar
    ctice

    I think this platform should have been given to SAAB to make into a new 9-5 or 9-3. GM could have sold it at a higher price point and had a legitimate competitor to the Germans on both driving dynamics and status. The subtleties that make this car good are lost on the average Pontiac customer but more fitting to a SAAB

  • avatar
    jkross22

    @Buckshot:

    I knew it! All I have is one of those high powered water guns that looks like a purple, green and yellow toy shotgun.

  • avatar
    Alcibiades

    Good review Michael. Sounds like a fun car to own and drive. A another sad end to a once-great division.

  • avatar

    @buckshot:

    I think Michael and I both reviewed the cars on their own merits, and those merits don’t, and should not, include “social relevance” or “acceptability”.

    The GT500 and G8 are best-in-class products, albeit in small classes, so they both rate five stars. I’d rather cut off a finger than drive a Prius for the rest of my life, but if I tested the new Prius and it was the best car of its type possible, it would get five stars.

    By the same token, the Mercedes CL55 is one of my favorite cars in the world but it’s not better than some of the comp, so it’s not a five-star.

    No patriotism involved. Check my record and resume, I’m not a red/white/blue kind of guy.

    I’m very loath to tell people what they have the right to drive, because if somebody told me that, I’d feel entitled to respond with violence.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    I’m very loath to tell people what they have the right to drive, because if somebody told me that, I’d feel entitled to respond with violence.

    American’s; always with the “my rights extinguish your rights” garbage. It’s odious.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    I’m not quite seeing the shame of letting patriotism affect an opinion. Perhaps if more of our elected officials did so, the country might be better off.

  • avatar
    leftreasonlies

    American’s; always with the “my rights extinguish your rights” garbage. It’s odious.

    Yes, PeteMo, I’m with you; how can Jack not realize it is correct-thinking people like us who have the right to determine not only what we drive but what Jack drives as well? His lack of enlightenment is simply astonishing.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ leftreasonlies

    The minute you (or I) step outside our front door, we’re actors in our world community. We’d all do well to think harder on that topic.

    Person A’s rights are not greater than Person B’s rights so as a majority we might decide that in the interests of community, certain selfish individual choices are less desirable than others.

    What’s the word for it again …. help me out?

    Civilisation.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    BTW, as an Australian and seeing as I helped get this thread so off topic, I should say something about the car.

    I had one of our company board member’s HSV Commodore Clubsport R8s for 1 month while he was away and I was car-less in Australia between assignments.

    Rocketship on rails, seriously sorted piece of near-race equipment, but ultimately I preferred something else, less …. scary.

    I would dearly like to see these great cars survive in Australia. I know many people who’s jobs depend on it, and I know the work that went into this skunkworks non-GMNA project here in Australia.

  • avatar
    leftreasonlies

    We’d all do well to think harder on that topic.

    Yes, agreed Pete. If they all thought as deeply about it as us, undoubtedly they would come to the same conclusion as we have. And as a majority, (or even if not), our determination of what is in the best interest of the community must necessarily be the correct determination. I mean, the greatest examples of civilization are obviously those great nations that have brought this type of thinking to its greatest extent in guiding their subjects, I mean citizens, to correct thought and behavior. But you’ve been a bit gracious in extending privilege inside of one’s front door; our dear leader in the states is looking to remedy that sloppy thinking by deciding what temperature one’s abode should be/the portions of food we should be eating/the thoughts we should be thinking in & out of our homes..no doubt we are heading in the right direction. Hope you approve.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    “…you’ve been a bit gracious in extending privilege inside of one’s front door…”

    Gracious and very generous.

    “…no doubt we are heading in the right direction.”

    Yes, of course you are, now, finally.

    Quoting from the above: 48% think the country is headed in the right direction, compared to 44% who believe it is not. In October, the final days before the election, only 17% believed the country was going in the right direction, with 78% taking the opposite view.

    Those Conservative Right Liars are just too much on the nose aren’t they?

    A grateful world community thanks the USA. I expect you’re all very excited about retrieving some respect.

  • avatar
    leftreasonlies

    A grateful world community thanks the USA. I expect you’re all very excited about retrieving some respect.

    The renegade crab has been dragged back into the bucket, and now the crabs satisfied with the bucket “respect” the renegade crab.

    Not everyone is consumed with what others think about them-contrary to current popular opinion, imagery isn’t everything, though our American political Idol president is mesmerizing, for many.

    Right or Left, the lesser of two evils.

    Glad you’re happy with your evil.

    A classic case of better watch what you hope for.
    The world has turned its back on the greatest civilizing force it has ever known, and calls it progress. Take your stand Pete, and good luck with that. I can see you’ve thought about all of this very deeply.

    Only a childish people need a nanny state; The kids have the house for the long weekend; we’ll all see how that works out.

    Time will tell.

  • avatar
    roadracer

    It’s cool that a Pontiac can run with a BMW, but it looks like an Altima with hood scoops. I’d rather drive a used E60.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Another great product lost because American consumer think this car is worthless but only for those who doesn’t know how to drive and shop for good cars with a great horsepower.

    I love the Pontiac better than Honda Civic,the ugly Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sentra.

    Gees who killed Pontiac? the American consumers because they buy Japanese cars like Honda,Toyota and Nissan even they look so ugly for them they still buy them because of the common misconception.

  • avatar
    garllo

    As I see it, this is one of GM’s biggest problems that they need to overcome. Instead of slapping together a car in 2004 and calling it GTO, they should have waited and introduced this car. A two door version of the G8 GXP could have been offered as GTO!

  • avatar
    OldWingGuy

    The G8 was the only GM I have considered in ages.
    I stumbled into it in a Pontiac dealer dropping a friend off last November.
    I actually though of trading in my Accord on one.
    The only one in the showroom was sold. The salesguy had no idea when more would be available. He actually said “not sure, maybe February”.
    I just turned around and walked away.
    And the last time I checked the GXP wasn’t made available in Canada at all.
    No wonder GM is down the drain…

  • avatar
    FLYERSGHS

    This is the last American Car that I would buy. If I can’t buy it by the time its no longer for sale, I guess its foreign I go and I really don’t want to do that

  • avatar
    armadamaster

    Pontiac died in 2002 with the Trans AM.

    Buick died in 1996 with the Roadmaster.

    Saturn was finished with release of the Relay.

    A decade of Bob Putz RWD overpriced niche crap, fifteen years of FWD rental cars, their trucks/SUVs first-and-last product planning (or lack thereof), and the now legendary GM FWD rebadge rename game are what’s killed GM.

    As with the GTO, the G8 never had a chance thanks to ten year old styling, and whatever retard at a Bingo tournament thought up Pontiac’s current naming scheme.

    And whomever thinks the gubment is going to fix GM’s product lineup better wake up, get ready for all the environazi-mobiles you can stand and then some.

    As far as the G8 vs. Charger lineup, the LX platform is the winner, I’m going to pass about ten of them on my 3 mile commute home that say so.

  • avatar
    commando1

    The last GM car I bought new was a ’96 Roadmaster.Figured at the time to better get the last decent car GM made (I was right).

    So, I wanted to check out this G8. Really interested in it. Guess what. In the entire state of Florida, there was not ONE in stock, and obviously not from exuberant demand. Just another way GM continually screws up and is the cause of there own Titanic-like sinking. You can’t buy them if you don’t make/stock them.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    It is too bad Pontiac goes out with the G8, because no one will know Pontiac went out “on top” in so much as their supposed focus of performance at a good price was achieved by this ride.

    No, Pontiac will be remembered for the last truly famous vehicle they built, and its famous for all the wrong reasons…the Aztek. I’m actually kind of surprised that in all the posts here no one’s mentioned the Champion of Champions when it comes to modern follies by the domestics.

    As a sad prediction of future, the impression I get from Uncle Obama and Co. is their ideal GM product of the future will be another Aztek-type ride; but smashed into the volume of a Mini Cooper with a lawn-mower engine and a couple Die-Hards for the hybrid-part. Oh, and don’t forget the carbo-meter running up the tax bill that they’ve installed on the lawn-mower engine’s tailpipe. Brave new world my friends, brave new world.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Too Bad Americans are just Stereo Type.
    I mean look at this car looks better than a Subaru, Lancer or a Civic. My god with almost 450 hp whatelse can you ask. The interior looks better than any other Japanese cars.

    If Ford can only design a car like this but it’s too late.

    Goodbye my dear Pontiac the Father of the Big Block engines.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ CarnotCycle

    Where ‘ya ‘bin at?

  • avatar
    PowerPro01

    True story:

    At the 2000 Woodward Dream Cruise I was introduced to some members of the “original” GTO Club of Australia who came to see the spectacle. They had in their possession a Holden Commadore brochure (MY 2000) featuring a 4-dr (can you say “future G8″?), 5-dr (nice there, maybe not-so here…), Ute (can you say the stillborn “G8 ST”?), Wagon (which would swamp Volvo’s boat), and Coupe (Monaro…or “GTO”), with Base 3.8 V6, optional 3.8 Supercharged V6, top-line optional LS1 5.7L V8, and RWD.

    To a nearby GM mid-manager I asked, “WOW! Why don’t WE have these?!”

    “Because they weren’t conceived in the U.S.”, came the reply from the equally perplexed Pontiac person.

    Enter Lutz, a year or two later, who at least had a “worldly” perspective. But, even then, the die was cast… Too little, far too late…

    Spending BILLION$ “recreating the wheel” when other subsidiaries had world-class platforms available, HAD to take a toll eventually…and Holden and Opel (and others) HAVE had world-class architecture to work from…as good as and/or better than the “competition”… Add N/A amenities and certified drivetrains, and “away we go…”

    Far too parochial for far too long…

  • avatar
    PowerPro01

    BTW, what was Pontiac’s “centerpiece” at Woodward 2000?

    Yup…the AZTEK…

    Go figure…

  • avatar
    BEAT

    The only Nationality who doesn’t appreciate Pontiac are Americans. So, sad to see that the an America car are more respected overseas than the country where it came from.

    I guess the rumours are right that Americans are _______.

    Nay you feel in the blank not me?

    WHASSUP with the Aztek comparison? That car is totally a counterpart of Honda Element did you know that

  • avatar
    wsn

    BEAT :
    May 6th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    The only Nationality who doesn’t appreciate Pontiac are Americans. So, sad to see that the an America car are more respected overseas than the country where it came from.

    ———————————————-

    It’s more respected overseas because people there don’t know enough about it.

    You know, it’s like that sweet girl next door. You don’t what kind of b*tch she really is until she moves in.

  • avatar
    wsn

    BEAT :
    May 5th, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Too Bad Americans are just Stereo Type.
    I mean look at this car looks better than a Subaru, Lancer or a Civic.

    ——————————————–

    I would prefer any Subaru (except the flying vagina) and Honda over any Pontiac, in terms of style.

    My local dealer is selling Imprezas at full sticker.

  • avatar
    PowerPro01

    BEAT:

    WHASSUP with the Aztek comparison? That car is totally a counterpart of Honda Element did you know that

    The comparison was for “What might have been” vs. “What was”…

    In fact, the “concept” used to create the Aztek, the “Pontiac Thunder”, was also on display at Woodward 2000…with a lower cowl, lower roofline, and MUCH better proportions, but GM mandated the Aztek MUST be derived from the U-Van chassis.

    Why would I have the nerve to say this?

    I’ve been associated with a very successful Pontiac-Buick-GMC dealership for 31 years…in CANADA…where these 3 lines were “tripled” since Christ was in shortpants, and often outsold Chev-Olds stores through the ’80′s-’90′s-’00′s in the very same markets, at the retail level. Nationally, on occasion…

    Been there, done that…NOW we’re losing the t-shirts…

  • avatar
    JEM

    PowerPro01 – Pontiac has served in Canada the role that Chevrolet served in the US. GM needs only one cheap-car brand, or at least only one per market. A brand like Buick needs to pull higher per-unit margins, not two-million-unit-a-year sales.

    But back in the ’60s (maybe late ’50s) GM started emphasizing sales volume over per-unit margin; in the end all the upmarket brands moved down until by the late ’70s there was barely a whiff of differentiation between them and Chevy, Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile, even Cadillac were all competing against each other more than they were competing with anyone else.

    Then came the big FWD catastrophe, and GM’s big cars became jokes. Maybe they felt they were forced into it by CAFE, whatever. It didn’t work. And the Germans, Swedes, and Japanese ate the profitable end of the market and left all the GM brands to chase the rentacar business.

    The Holdens (and the Australian Fords) are an alternative-universe American car, what American cars would have evolved into had the US auto industry not been hobbled by CAFE and headquartered in the snow belt. The G8 and the rest of the Commodore line are the ultimate refinement of everything that was good about ’60s American iron (big unfussy powertrains, roomy, more car per dollar) merged with modern design and chassis engineering (at least as much as one can do on GM Holden’s capital budget.)

    The G8 is a better car than anything built in the US save maybe the CTS (and maybe the late Lincoln LS, but then Ford’s got the same problem with the Lincoln brand and Lincoln dealer image as GM’s had with many of its nameplates.)

    But you can’t claim “we’re the Performance Brand” and then stick utter trash like the G3, G5, and G6 in the showrooms, and you most certainly can’t expect to sell something like the G8 next to that fleet-quality garbage.

    I’ve gotten BMW and Acura owners to drive the G8. They all come away impressed with the car but they won’t buy a Pontiac.

  • avatar
    PowerPro01

    JEM:

    I’ve gotten BMW and Acura owners to drive the G8. They all come away impressed with the car but they won’t buy a Pontiac.

    In response: The begged question is, WHY NOT? Is it Dealer, or Brand, or Manufacturer-related? Buying a G8 GT for close to half the price of a 540 shouldn’t be difficult to rationalize, unless these folks are terribly concerned with their golfing partners’ opinions… I suspect if less TARP-bucks went to bonuses, the G8′s “place” would broaden…

    This harkens back to the Catera, an Opel with another badge, and the fact it was NOT considered a “Cadillac” initially. Could have been marketed as anything, at a slightly reduced price, and sold more units. Instead, it was the precurser to the CTS, sold as a Caddy to establish an entry-level, “near-Luxury” market presence. The CTS took over, thankfully, and the rest is history.

    As to earning higher margins, price DOES play a part in the marketplace. Lower price (and lower margin) equates to higher volume, higher penetration and therefore higher market share, with all its attendant service/parts opportunities. We currently see what the reverse shows with BMW, who are now showing lo$$e$ in this dreadful marketplace with their “smarter” lower volume/higher margin lines. And the vaunted world-slaying Toyota, now with 4 “Divisions” (Toyota/Scion/Lexus/Trucks) like the “GM-Revised”, is racking up lo$$e$ that make GM look downright fiscally responsible and/or more market-correct… Of course Buick CAN attain higher margins…just build ‘em all someplace other than the U.S….that’s the route “all successful multinationals” are using… The trouble with THAT scenario is, there’ll be many thousands of fewer potential Buick buyers, here…but there’s ALWAYS China to broaden Buick’s horizon…

    Back to topic:

    My original point, and it’s not-so-obvious irony (to some) was Y2K…”G8″ et al in its many guises and THEN-market potential…and Aztek…(roughly equal development dollars, at that time), and what might have been, had someone “zagged”… The Commodore, then, was a no-brainer (gee, I even saw that…), fully ‘WAY overdue, come MY 2009… Instead of “party time at Pontiac”, it was more like an “Irish wake”…

    Sad…

  • avatar
    JEM

    PowerPro01 – there’s a lot of factors. Depreciation. Uncertainty – over GM, over dealer service, over the durability of the car, etc. And the material quality and content, while adequate at about a US-made-Camry level and maybe a tick better than its most direct competitor (the 300C and Charger), isn’t a big selling point for those used to German or upscale Japanese (just about everyone who looks at a G8 comes away and says “Nice car. Really nice car. Can’t they do better on the parking brake handle?” And then there’s the “Where’s the nav?” folks…)

    I’ve been screaming to the high heavens about Aussie hardware for about a decade, I’ve had occasion to drive some nice examples in their natural habitat. They just do great, useful vehicles. Tons of interior room, more than any American car (even FWD ones) of similar size. Outstanding real-world chassis. The 5.4L Falcon GT I rented a couple years back had the best eight-hour seats of any car I’ve ever driven – super-comfy but still aggressively bolstered.


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