After a week of commuting in a 2009 Pontiac G8
GT, I'm pleased to report that the performance division of General Motors has scored a bull's-eye.
Prospective buyers considering a rear-wheel drive, mid-size sedan in the $27,000-$39,000 range, should include the G8
on their short list.
For '09, the lineup comprises three models: G8
GT and the new G8
GXP. The Pontiac G8
is also the first North American application of GM's new global rear-wheel-drive architecture.
With four-wheel independent suspension system, nearly 50/50 front-to-rear weight balance ratio, and "big bang" excitement of V-8 power, the G8
GT delivers a superb driving experience.
The base G8
powertrain consist of a 256 horsepower V-6 engine, while the GT packs a 361 h.p., 6-liter V-8. That engine develops a healthy 385 lb.-ft. of torque.
For even more exhilaration, there is the GXP model with a 6.2-liter V-8 that generates 400 horses.
When asked to perform, the GT's small-block V-8 is quick off the line, and on the open road, "flashing power sweeps you swiftly by the loitering car ahead." The engine also resonates a pleasant growl.
A limited-slip rear differential is standard with the GT, as is a Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic transmission with driver shift control. The gearbox provides smooth and precise shifts, as well as decent fuel economy and reduced noise due to the "tall" overdrive ratios. In city and suburbs, I averaged 14 miles per gallon. The number improved to 22 mpg while cruising the expressways.
Bringing the higher-performance GT to a halt are the four-wheel disc brakes that measure approximately one-inch larger than the base model, with vented front and rear disc rotors, and ABS.
Visually, the G8
has an aggressive stance, heighten by dual sport hood scoops, side body vents, and fenders that flare over the 18-inch aluminum wheels and all-season tires.
Clear taillight lenses, chrome accented door handles, and polished stainless steel quad exhaust tips distinguish the GT from the base G8
A sport package is available for G8
GT models that add 19-inch aluminum wheels and performance tires; a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel and alloy pedals.
For '09, eight exterior colors fill the G8
's palette, including four new shades: Maverick Silver Metallic, Sport Red Metallic, Stryker Blue Metallic and Pacific Slate Metallic. No longer available: Stealth Blue Metallic and Ignition Orange Metallic.