Ask Bark Brief: What's as Great as a G8?

Mark "Bark M." Baruth
by Mark "Bark M." Baruth
ask bark brief what s as great as a g8

Cory writes:

My 2009 Pontiac G8 GT is finally getting to the mileage where a replacement may soon be needed. It has 103,000 miles on the odometer but still runs fine and has not been abused. Just the random aging that comes with a high mileage car that I’d prefer not to deal with (headliner coming down, seats lacking support, ride getting softer, leather on steering wheel coming off, side mirror motors not working, dents and dings). I’d love to go the SS route, but can’t support the price tag. I need four doors and like larger vehicles — new Chevy Malibu Hybrid, new Mazda 6, Acura TLX, used Volvo S60 (doesn’t hold resale), used Maxima (ditto)?

I know, none will be as fun as the G8 (I love it), but it’s time to update.

Ugh, this letter depresses me. Why? Read on.

For those of you who don’t know, I used to own a 2009 Pontiac G8. It should have been a great car — 6.0 liter V8 engine, 361 horsepower and 385 lb-ft of torque, and a huge cabin and trunk. Aggressively styled, and gorgeous in White Hot paint with 19-inch rims, the G8 always got a second or even third look from passersby.

And it was a performer, too. I got FTD at a rainy autocross with it once in completely stock trim against prepped Corvettes and S2000s — I’m still convinced that a national F Stock trophy was possible with it.

So why didn’t I keep it? Because the fucking thing broke all the time. I had a cylinder go down. The camshaft broke. Lower control arms bent like they were made from Twizzlers. Parts were nearly impossible to get, often taking a month or more to make their way across the ocean from Australia.

And yet I’m glad that I got rid of it before even more the typical GM quality control reared its ugly head. Headliner coming down? Leather wearing off the wheel? Mirrors not working? FFS, GM! This is a seven-year-old car. At seven years of age, an Accord or Camry is just entering its prime — just ask any TTAC commenter! And yet this poor man is still dreaming of buying a Chevrolet SS. The LS meth is strong, apparently.

After reading what you want from your car, none of the cars on your list make much sense. All of them are going to be considerably slower than your G8, not just in a straight line but around any amount of turns. And you don’t seem to have been particularly bothered by the interior quality of the G8 or the low level of tech. There’s only one right answer.

What you want, sir, is a Dodge Charger R/T. Similar power numbers to your G8, and adjusting for inflation, an R/T Hemi is less money than any G8 GT ever was. And, if you can find one, Dodge stores are offering 20 percent off of 2016 models and up to $3,000 bonus cash. That could make your actual transaction price around $25,000 for a V8-powered, rear-wheel drive, American sedan — and this one is brand new.

To me, it’s a no-brainer. Let’s see if the B&B agrees.

Bark M. would love to recommend that everybody own a V8-powered car at one point in his/her life. Preferably twice. Send him your emails at or follow him on the Twitters and InstaFaceChat.

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  • Cpurser Cpurser on Jan 23, 2017

    I just traded a 2009.5 G8 GXP last month.I bought it new, sold at 120k miles. It was one of the best cars I'd ever owned. The only things I had to fix were rear main seal, oil pan seal, clutch, all covered under extended warranty @99k. I never even had to replace a light bulb.

  • Nicola Nicola on Jan 23, 2017

    I am the original owner of a 2009 G8GT. I love the car for what it is. The G8 was a simple, old-fashioned, brutish sedan. The interior was basic, but its mission was not to be a Lexus. It was an inexpensive performance sedan and an amazing value. The Chargers of that era did not compare in terms of handling or refinement. I tried them both, and the only thing the Charger did better was go in a straight line. Not a bad car, but the G8 was more livable and fun. I have since added a 2016 Chevy SS to the fleet, and it is a blast, too. My complaint is that it is over-contented. Just give me the lovely 6.2L engine, the brakes, and the excellent magnetic suspension. The rest is fluff. Neither car is really cross-shoppable with a Toyota or Lexus. Different missions, different products. The feel of a RWD V8 is not the same as a FWD 6. If the G8 got Cory's heart pumping, a Camry will harsh his buzz. The Charger is the most affordable and best option. A BMW may impress the neighbors and his smiling mechanic, but my guess is that Cory does not give a hoot about that being that he purchased the G8 back in 2009. Old farts like me who are not fans of hot hatch cars and will soon miss cars like the G8, SS, and Charger.

  • FreedMike I don't know why this dash shocks anyone - the whole "touchscreen uber alles" thing is pure Tesla.
  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.