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2009 Pontiac G8 GT Review

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2009 Pontiac G8 GT

MORE: Pontiac Specs Comparisions and Prices-Pontiac Buyers Guide

By John Heilig
The Auto Channel


Model: Pontiac G8 GT
Engine: 6.0-liter V8
Horsepower/Torque: 361 hp @ 5300 rpm/385 lb.-ft. @ 4400 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with driver shift control and sport mode
Wheelbase: 114.8 in.
Length/Width/Height: 196.1 x 74.8 x 57.7 in.
Tires: P245/40R19
Cargo volume: 17.5 cu. ft.
Fuel economy: 15/24/13.8 mpg/city/highway/test
Fuel capacity: 19.2 gal.
Sticker: $34,110 (includes $685 destination charge and $2,750 in total options)

The Bottom Line: As a performance sedan this is one of the best. It has excellent power and handling that does well on Interstates, urban and rural roads. Could this be the real four-door sports car? However, the ergonomics need improvements, as the radio was almost impossible to tune and the orange backlighting to the instruments I found to be less than perfect.

GM, being an international corporation, can draw on the resources of its various arms and use these resources in different vehicles in different countries. As such, GM has taken the rear-wheel drive Holden architecture from Australia and transformed it into the Pontiac G8, marking the first application of this global architecture in North America.

The G8 is a great car. It has some quirks, but in general it's an excellent performance sedan that lives up to its GT model designation. We had a wonderful time in the week we had the G8, driving it (to its limits in some instances) all over and enjoying almost every minute of it.

Let me get to the "didn't likes" first. I absolutely hated the radio. Previous Pontiacs have addled my little brain with an overabundance of pushbuttons, but it was still possible to find the station you wanted. Not so with this one. While it was equipped with XM, I couldn't tune the radio to anything but sports news and New York City traffic, which is where it was when I received it.

The steering wheel had audio controls that I found difficult to deal with. Every time I turned the wheel, it seemed, I'd either change the station or the media. Cruise control switches were on the turn signal stalk, which is standard for GM.

However, the sound from the stations I could find (and the CDs I turned to in desperation) was excellent.

With that out of the way, I found the performance of the G8 to be excellent. The GT is equipped with a small-block 6.0-liter V8 that delivers an abundant 361 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque. In fact, a decent V6 might have served this car well, and a V6 is the standard equipment in the "standard" G8. there's also a 6.2-liter V8 coming in the GTX.

Fuel economy is listed at 15 mpg city and 24 mpg highway, but we weren't able to get those numbers over 13.8 mpg under all driving conditions. I'm sure economy would be better with the base V6, but would it be as much fun?

The front seats were comfortable with excellent side support to hold you in when you're testing the suspension. I was surprised, though, that the front seats weren't full powered, especially at the price of this car.

Instrumentation consisted of two primary gauges for speedometer and tachometer with two smaller gauges outboard for fuel and water temp. In the center of the instrument panel there's a small information center that gives the odometer reading to the 1/100th of a mile. When I was rallying that would have been an instrument we would have paid dearly for, but we question the value for normal drivers.

The steering wheel was fat and comfortable to use, even with the occasional hitting of the audio switches.

There is a "dead pedal" to the left of where the clutch would be. this is useful even in a car with an automatic transmission.

Power window switches are located on the center console, which also contained two cup holders, a 12-volt outlet inside the deep storage area, and a small cubby ahead of the shifter.

Rear seats offered good knee room. The high drive train tunnel running down the center of the car precluded a third passenger riding in the center. The rear seat passengers had bottle holders in the doors, because the pull-down armrest had no cup holders. When the arm rest is deployed, there is a small pass through from the trunk to the rear seats for longer objects like skis.

The trunk itself is large, at 17.5 cubic feet.

In general, I found the Pontiac G8 GT to be a fun car to drive with all the attributes of a four-door sports car. It has power and decent handling for most normal driving situations.

2008 The Auto Page Syndicate

MORE: Pontiac Specs Comparisions and Prices-Pontiac Buyers Guide