Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
pow

Edmunds Full-Test: G8 GT

42 posts in this topic

Vehicle Tested:

2008 Pontiac G8 GT 4dr Sedan (6.0L 8cyl 6A)

MSRP of Test Vehicle: $32,745 Price It!!

What Works:

Fast, nimble and comfortable, and an awesome value besides; Pontiac builds the poor man's 5 Series.

What Needs Work:

Soft brake pedal; no redline on the tach; exhaust is too quiet.

Bottom Line:

This is the Pontiac we've all been waiting for.

Pontiac Reinvents Itself

By Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief

Date posted: 02-21-2008

The conversation went something like this: "Hey, Steve, come by with the Bee. Let's see how it stacks up against this 2008 Pontiac G8 GT."

Motorhead Steve lives up the street. His dad was a Dodge dealer back in the 1960s. The guy knows option codes from the muscle car era like they're his kids' names and has a tattoo on his left forearm that reads "Mopar is Mom." More important, he just bought himself a screaming yellow 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee. We knew he wouldn't hesitate.

"Now?" he asked.

"Now."

"Be there in five."

Ten minutes later we were lined up.

Declining Numbers at an Even Rate

Honestly, we didn't think we had a chance. The 2008 Pontiac G8 GT is powered by a 6.0-liter V8 rated at 361 horsepower at 5,300 rpm and 385 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm. Steve's Mopar, a virtual twin to the one we tested a few months ago, is packing a 6.1-liter V8 pumping 425 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque.

We clicked off the Pontiac's traction control with the clearly marked button ahead of its shifter and brake-torqued the big V8 to 2,000 rpm. To our right we could hear Steve do the same. On the count of three we went for it.

Both cars left clean, with just a turn or two of tire slip. Then Steve pulled a fender on us. No surprise considering his Bee's torque advantage. But that's all he had. Past 60 mph the Mopar was still just a fender ahead. The Pontiac's six-speed automatic clicked off clean, crisp gearchanges just before its 6,000-rpm rev limiter, and kept pace with that Charger well past 100 mph.

We raced again. And again. And again. It was like a scene out of Woodward Avenue circa 1969, only we were in sedans, with sunroofs and heated seats, on a deserted, burned-out industrial section of downtown Los Angeles. Every race was a carbon copy of the first.

We lost. But not by much.

Steve wasn't happy. His Mopar had more power, louder paint and many more stickers than the G8 GT. It also costs more than the Pontiac, which carries a base price of $29,995 and tops out at $32,745 with our red car's sunroof, leather and big wheel and tire option. No, Steve wasn't happy at all.

Let's Do the Math

Doug Houlihan, GM's global vehicle chief engineer based in Melbourne, Australia, told us his car should run from zero to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and cover the quarter-mile in 13.8 seconds at 101 mph.

Seemed about right. The Super Bee we tested ran to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and the quarter-mile in 13.6 seconds at 106 mph. We hadn't tested this red 2008 Pontiac G8 GT yet, but Steve's Bee had us by a fender at 60 mph and 105 mph.

The next morning at our test track, the G8 GT ran as expected, perfectly splitting Houlihan's numbers and the Bee's previous performance. The Pontiac launches to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds and covers the quarter-mile in 13.7 seconds at 104 mph.

"How's that?" you ask. "The Mopar packs so much more muscle under its hood. Why doesn't it smoke the Pontiac?"

Honestly, we're not really sure. At first we figured the Pontiac was just lighter. It sure feels that way from behind the wheel. But it isn't. At 4,106 pounds, the 2008 Pontiac G8 GT weighs only 56 pounds fewer than that Bee we tested. Transmission? Maybe. The Pontiac's six-speed automatic is an absolute performance advantage over the Bee's sluggish five-speed. We also have to consider the Mopar's heavy 20-inch rims and rubber, which don't do it any favors on the dragstrip. The Pontiac's optional 19-inch wheels and summer tires are certainly lighter, which makes it easier for the car to accelerate. These things matter, but don't fully explain how the G8 keeps up. Or why the Bee isn't quicker.

Plus the Pontiac has more gear in it. The rear-wheel-drive G8 GT manages this miracle with a 2.92:1 rear axle ratio. At 80 mph in top gear, its tach reads a lazy 2,000 rpm. Put some shorter gears in this sedan and Steve would've been looking up the G8's four exhaust pipes.

Think down the road, and the G8 GT should run with the Challenger SRT8, which shares its drivetrain and platform with the Super Bee SRT8. And the Camaro SS, which is based on the G8's underpinnings, should have no problem keeping up with the Challenger.

More Than Just Thrust

And when the road turns, things get even better. All G8s, V6- or V8-powered, get the same suspension tuning. GM calls the setup FE2, and it delivers a ride and handling compromise that falls just short of perfect.

With our test car's optional 245/40R19 Bridgestone RE050A tires providing the grip, this big, heavy sedan is fast on a mountain road. Very fast. But it also rides right, with proper compliance, buttoned-down body motions and a tight overall feel. The one misstep is a rear suspension that can feel a tick underdamped over some surfaces, especially when the G8's huge 19.2-gallon fuel tank is full.

With that tank topped off with premium (GM recommends regular but says premium maximizes performance), our scales say 51.4 percent of the G8's weight is carried by its front tires. Pontiac says that evens out to a 50/50 split when there's a driver and a passenger aboard. We flogged it with an empty right seat and found the G8's balance to be ideal. There's good turn-in, slight understeer at the limit and power oversteer when you want it.

Even with its standard stability control off, the G8 GT is fast, stable and just plain fun to toss around. So there may be a bit more body roll than there should be, and the steering wheel feels a bit large at first, but neither gets in the way of the fun or the pace. We also have to thank Pontiac for the G8's soft rev limiter and the rev-matching downshifts of the six-speed automatic. Together they add to the G8's lick on a mountain road but not necessarily in our handling tests.

At the test track, the G8 GT circles our skid pad at 0.85g and zips though our slalom course at over 65 mph. These numbers are behind smaller cars like the BMW 335i and the Infiniti G35 S, but all but match the performance of the Dodge Charger SRT8 and the last BMW 535i we tested.

The G8 GT's four-wheel disc brakes are also worthy. They help produce a stopping distance from 60 mph of just 109 feet with excellent fade resistance, and they can hang with the best from Germany. But they're also activated by a soft pedal that provides little feel. It's the one real dynamic flaw in an otherwise impressive package.

No Sunfire Required

Unlike the most recent GTO, the Solstice or the laughable Grand Prix GXP, the G8 GT feels like a fully finished automobile. This is a car that's actually ready for public consumption. The entire public. No double-wide trailer or Sunfire ownership required.

This time Pontiac's engineers cared how their car felt, not just how it performed. For the first time in a long time, they decided to sweat the details. And the result is a Pontiac without any goofy missteps, colossal blunders or overtones of trailer-park style. They even resisted the temptation to put a big silly wing on it, leaving the G8's two hood scoops and four real exhaust pipes to state its case.

Restraint also found its way to the G8's interior. When you consider its well-shaped seats, simple white-on-black gauges and three-knob climate controls, it's clear that Pontiac's designers didn't take any unnecessary risks. Instead they built an honest, interesting interior that doesn't try too hard. Even our test car's optional red-on-black interior fails to feel overdone.

Pontiac obviously looked to Audi for the overall look and layout of the interior, and the results are a real argument for such acceptable plagiarism. Tactile feel is high and the interior's simple layout works. The driving position is also spot-on thanks to a tilt and telescoping steering wheel and a height-adjustable driver seat.

No, it's not perfect. There's no redline on the tach, in manual mode the shifter is still pushed to upshift and pulled to downshift (only BMW and Mazda get this right), and those digital gauges on the center stack must have been borrowed from a 1982 Datsun Z. The exhaust is also just too damn quiet. Yet forgivable all. These are just misdemeanors from a car company with a long list of felony offenses.

Rear seat room is also worth mentioning. You can play volleyball back there. And the trunk? Huge: 19.4 cubic feet.

Better Than the 6000 STE

And so we're smitten. Won over. The Australian-built 2008 Pontiac G8 GT is the best Pontiac since John Z. invented the GTO. No, not that GTO. The first GTO in 1964. You know, the one Ronny and the Daytonas immortalized in song. The one that started the whole muscle car thing. The Tiger.

No, we're not kidding.

The G8 GT is better than the 6000 STE, the Bonneville SSEi, the Grand Prix GTP, the G6 GXP and the Aztek UGLY. It even makes the Solstice feel like a half-ass effort. When it hits dealers in early March, the 40,000 examples of the G8 being shipped in from Down Under will reinvent Pontiac along the way.

Pontiac needs a win and the G8 is it. Just ask Motorhead Steve.

08.pontiac.g8.f34.500.jpg

08.pontiac.g8.r34.500.jpg

08.pontiac.g8.int.500.jpg

08.pontiac.g8.rint.500.jpg

08.pontiac.g8.act.f34.2.500.jpg

Link, with video: http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drive...topanel..1.*#26

[/img]

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
These are just misdemeanors from a car company with a long list of felony offenses.

:rolleyes:

Not like I am surprised...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Go, Pontiac, Go! :thumbsup:
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brought to you buy the most dedicated performance arm of GM...and it's not GME. :P

Love it....and apparently they do too.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
and with a 2:98! think of what a stick with maybe some 3:73s out back would do!

That and an LS3 is all you need to absolutely kill. Hell, you can even slack and put in some 3.42s and light it up!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That and an LS3 is all you need to absolutely kill. Hell, you can even slack and put in some 3.42s and light it up!

GREAT article...! And considering they didn't bitch about the interior, that puts my worries to rest (almost) that the shoddy cars I saw at the auto show were not production-ready.....

Any new news on the manual? I heard a rumor they were NOT going to offer it after all....even as a late entry......

That would totally suck in my mind......

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:rolleyes:

Not like I am surprised...

Because its true? The only good thing to come out of Pontiac in recent years was the GTO, and Pontiac needed Holden for that. You can count the Solstice GXP too but after sitting in one, my enthusiasm for that car has waned considerably. I also think the Sky has a better design inside and out. If you really want to go back to the last fun thing Pontiac built, look no further than the 2002 Trans Am. That car can't be mistaken for anything else and although the interior was functional at best, the car was a blast to drive. Now the last fun four-door sedan from Pontiac that was competitive? That's a damn good question.

It isn't the GP GXP of today or yester year.

The Grand Am - Maybe the first year it was introduced it was competitive but we all know its story.

The Sunfire - Hah.

The Bonneville - It might have handled well for was it was, but not competitive...

As for the issue of naming this car the Bonneville, as storied as the nameplate is, I don't think it would fit this car or Pontiac's current image. They are trying to bring in new youthful buyers and Bonneville would not sit well with many of them. Granted I would love it if they brought back the Trans Am but even I admit they may be better off resurrecting the Firebird name alone and doing Firebird trim levels ala Firebird GT, Firebird GXP. Now that I type that out it looks a little strange but Trans Am sounds more dated than Firebird, even if I love it. I hope the G8 does really well, for Pontiac and GM's sake as I don't want to see Zeta's potential squandered before it has a chance. RWD + performance = fun, and that's what I'm hoping GM will continue to produce in the future, even if we have smaller engines/cars.

Edited by big blue
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the writer did a fantastic job with this piece. even going as far to call the Solstice half-assed compared to this, bold claim and indeed with complete truth. I can see every single line written as truth, and you gotta love the trailer references.

In other words, you had to be a fan of trailer parks to find most Pontiacs of the past acceptable rides to be seen in.

Quality of the interior was not mentioned, unsurprisingly, guess I won't be eating my own shoe then. the car looks great in red. the interior looks as it always has, superb. the drive is flawless.

performance heads and refinement detailists with a knack for unique rides will eat this car up. A totally different audience will be purchasing this G8, while traditional Pontiac fans will find great appeal in the performance and extroverted style. They will find a new dawn at Pontiac, high quality interior trimmings, real space management/efficiency, actual performance, and a restrained sense of good style The Pontiac is not all it could be in crafting a new direction and bold new design at Pontiac, and that will certainly hurt it a little. But I don't forsee incentives anytime soon.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GREAT article...! And considering they didn't bitch about the interior, that puts my worries to rest (almost) that the shoddy cars I saw at the auto show were not production-ready.....

Any new news on the manual? I heard a rumor they were NOT going to offer it after all....even as a late entry......

That would totally suck in my mind......

The cars at the auto show did have some poor quality, mainly the center console. At the auto show they said the manual would be available "later in the model year."

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I genuinely hope this revitalizes Poon-Thai-Yak.

Didn't some one whose name starts with B say that it will be gone in two years? Now replace the damn G6 with alpha and turbo charged four bangers.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GREAT article...! And considering they didn't bitch about the interior, that puts my worries to rest (almost) that the shoddy cars I saw at the auto show were not production-ready.....

Any new news on the manual? I heard a rumor they were NOT going to offer it after all....even as a late entry......

That would totally suck in my mind......

Pontiac is going to intro the Manuel in the GXP. From what I was told it would not work with the present cylinder delete engine they are using right now. Besides 90% of them would be sold in GXP's anyway.

As for the return of an old name and a long over used Excitment theme. It is better to start living in the present. This car is heads and shoulders over the cars of the 70's-2007.

We should call this car Norris as if Chuck Norris was a sedan he would be a G8. This car in GXP form will round house kick the Charger into yeaterday with it's bad wing and stickers.

I think Pontiac's new theme would be better today if it was "Pontiac We Kick Ass".

I am even more excited in seeing what the Camaro will be now with less weight and more power in a smaller package.

Job well done again Bob keep em coming!

Edited by hyperv6
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pontiac is going to intro the Manuel in the GXP. From what I was told it would not work with the present cylinder delete engine they are using right now. Besides 90% of them would be sold in GXP's anyway.

As for the return of an old name and a long over used Excitment theme. It is better to start living in the present. This car is heads and shoulders over the cars of the 70's-2007.

We should call this car Norris as if Chuck Norris was a sedan he would be a G8. This car in GXP form will round house kick the Charger into yeaterday with it's bad wing and stickers.

I think Pontiac's new theme would be better today if it was "Pontiac We Kick Ass".

I am even more excited in seeing what the Camaro will be now with less weight and more power in a smaller package.

Job well done again Bob keep em coming!

Who is Manuel and why will he be introducing the G8 GXP?

The Excitement theme is still perfect for Pontiac. Even more exciting would be a G8 GXP Sportwagon with a 6-speed manual transmission.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Even more exciting would be a G8 GXP Sportwagon with a 6-speed manual transmission.

Or instead of the base 3.6 V6 and five-speed, a direct-injection 3.2 (like in the Alfas) with comparable power, better refinement, and increased FE. Mated to a six-speed, auto or manual.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Because its true? The only good thing to come out of Pontiac in recent years was the GTO, and Pontiac needed Holden for that. You can count the Solstice GXP too but after sitting in one, my enthusiasm for that car has waned considerably. I also think the Sky has a better design inside and out. If you really want to go back to the last fun thing Pontiac built, look no further than the 2002 Trans Am. That car can't be mistaken for anything else and although the interior was functional at best, the car was a blast to drive. Now the last fun four-door sedan from Pontiac that was competitive? That's a damn good question.

It isn't the GP GXP of today or yester year.

The Grand Am - Maybe the first year it was introduced it was competitive but we all know its story.

The Sunfire - Hah.

The Bonneville - It might have handled well for was it was, but not competitive...

As for the issue of naming this car the Bonneville, as storied as the nameplate is, I don't think it would fit this car or Pontiac's current image. They are trying to bring in new youthful buyers and Bonneville would not sit well with many of them. Granted I would love it if they brought back the Trans Am but even I admit they may be better off resurrecting the Firebird name alone and doing Firebird trim levels ala Firebird GT, Firebird GXP. Now that I type that out it looks a little strange but Trans Am sounds more dated than Firebird, even if I love it. I hope the G8 does really well, for Pontiac and GM's sake as I don't want to see Zeta's potential squandered before it has a chance. RWD + performance = fun, and that's what I'm hoping GM will continue to produce in the future, even if we have smaller engines/cars.

Hey, I'm not questioning the credibility of his statement. In fact, I usually care little about those backhanded comments often placed in GM related reviews, but this one just stuck out to me like a blemish in an otherwise great review of the car...just didn't seem needed regardless of how well I understand how the writer intended it.

It doesn't matter too much though. I'm jsut interested to see more reviews and tests of these cars, and just to see them driving on the road. Hell, I'd like to test drive one...It is like a modern day version of my car (albeit significantly heavier....but more powerful too.)

Edited by Nick
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds great, but why wouldn't it? It is great, much more so than any "true" Pontiac sedan. :P

2008_pontiac_g8_gt_18_gallery_image_larg

2008_pontiac_g8_gt_26_gallery_image_larg

Edited by blackviper8891
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0



  • Who's Online (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

  • Who's Chatting

    There are no users currently in the chat room