Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
2QuickZ's

G8: Good To Go Fast

41 posts in this topic

G8: Good to go fast

Rear-drive sedan redeems Pontiac

BY MARK PHELAN • FREE PRESS COLUMNIST • April 3, 2008

The 2008 Pontiac G8 sport sedan has lightened my karmic burden immeasurably. For that alone, I would love the car.

The fact that it's a stunning value and a gorgeous mission statement on wheels for GM's excitement division is gravy.

For years, Pontiac sedans have brought out the worst in me, the mean side that says unkind things that are true but don't need to be spoken. Yes, that dress makes you look fat. Wow, that's quite a bald spot. Your kid is a brat. Wow, your house really is a mess.

In the case of past Pontiacs, my mean-spirited reaction was a nasty sneer whenever one drove by going fast, as if it actually were the sport sedan the brand claimed to produce.

The cars deserved scorn, but the customers were blameless. They believed Pontiac's advertising and bought the string of inferior cars it produced in good faith. They expected aggressively styled cars like the Bonneville and Grand Prix to drive like they looked. Pontiac had fooled them.

Pontiac's sales dwindled as buyers saw through its act. The brand had to atone for its sins or face extinction.

The powerful and superbly balanced rear-wheel drive G8 gives Pontiac a new lease on life. The brand has done good deeds -- starting with the Solstice roadster, continuing with the G6 hardtop convertible and now the G8 -- and been reincarnated as the thrill merchant it longed to be. If Pontiac delivers a line of exciting and affordable cars, it may ascend to the heavenly fast lane alongside St. BMW.

Blow this chance, and Pontiac deserves to die and come back as a cockroach. Or a Yugo.

Prices for the 2008 Pontiac G8 start at $26,910 for a base model with a 256-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 and five-speed automatic transmission. The G8 GT features a 361-horsepower 6.0-liter V8 and six-speed automatic transmission and has a starting price of $29,310.

I tested a very well-equipped G8 GT with a sticker price of $30,560. All prices exclude destination charges.

Pontiac doesn't offer a manual transmission, a disappointment in a car that's otherwise ready to duel with superb sport sedans like the BMW 3- and 5-series and Cadillac CTS, but costs thousands of dollars less.

Pontiac will provide an optional six-speed manual transmission in the 400-horsepower 6.2-liter G8 GXP due to go on sale late this year.

That's fine, but the ability to downshift hard and slice through the gears on a curving country road is one of the few pieces missing from this wonderful sport sedan.

In addition to the more expensive CTS, 3- and 5-series, the G8 competes with cars like the Acura TL and RL, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Ford Taurus, Lexus IS and GS and Lincoln MKZ.

Despite a few minor flaws, the G8's looks, performance and value should put it on the shopping list for anybody who wants a roomy, comfortable sedan that looks great and runs like a scalded cat.

The G8's styling is a dramatic and welcome departure, but it's immediately identifiable as a Pontiac thanks to its dual-port grille and dart badges. The twin hood scoops are a bit 1970s-Trans Am-like for my taste, but the G8's pure sport sedan lines and stance provide contemporary class.

So contemporary that you might walk away with a fistful of deposit checks if you removed the scoops and Pontiac badges and showed the G8 to a roomful of BMW owners.

Aside from the lack of a manual transmission, there's nothing about driving the G8 that would send them to the refund window.

The G8 uses General Motors' new global rear-wheel drive architecture -- codenamed Zeta. The global engineering team that produced the car in GM's Australian tech center studied the finest sport sedans and graced the G8 with a near 50-50 front-rear weight distribution for perfect balance in sharp maneuvers. The independent suspension absorbs bumps and keeps the car flat, stable and securely planted through fast curves.

In a car like this, it's easy to fall into the racer's "what's behind me doesn't matter" mindset, but the sideview mirrors are too small. I was never entirely comfortable with the field of view they provided.

The torquey V8 gives the G8 effortless acceleration in everything from slicing through surface traffic to long, fast highway runs. The car is very quiet at high speeds. The little wind noise generated by the A-pillars dies without a whimper in the G8's soft interior materials, and interior fits are generally good. The gaps around the heater vents in the front doors are rather wide, however, and the cupholders could use a rubber flange to keep their contents from rattling about.

The latch for the center console lid is blocked when the cupholders are full, but ergonomics are otherwise excellent, and all the gauges and controls are easy to read and reach.

The G8 lacked a couple of features I expect in cars priced around $30,000, however. A memory function for the driver's seat and mirrors and an auto-dimming rearview mirror would be welcome.

Front and rear passenger comfort are excellent, thanks to an exceptionally large 107 cubic-foot interior -- bigger than any of its competitors save the Taurus. At 17.5 cubic feet, the trunk also easily outclasses everything but the Ford.

The V6 G8's EPA fuel economy ratings of 17 m.p.g. city/25 m.p.g. highway stack up well against its six-cylinder competition.

The G8 GT matches or beats the fuel economy of V8 models such as the BMW 550i, Chrysler 300C, Dodge Charger and Lexus GS460, however.

The fact that you can even mention a Pontiac sedan in the same context as great cars like the 550i, CTS and 300C says everything you really need to know about the G8's virtues. Factor in a price tag that's thousands less than the BMW and Cadillac, and you've got a car that will make its owners feel like they've ascended to Nirvana.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

B-but, it doesn't have 20-way power seats or Dolby 7.1 surround sound, not to mention the V8 isn't DOHC and needs 6 liters to come close to the performance of the BMW 5.5 liter. And when BMW comes out with its quad turbo 5.5L V8 that runs on cat urine and folds your laundry in between gear shifts, the 550 will totally embarrass the G8. Face it, the G8 is a piece of garbage. Death to Pontiac. Death to GM. Long live BMW!!!! Bwaaahahahahahaha

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The G8 GT matches or beats the fuel economy of V8 models such as the BMW 550i

ZOMG NO WAIZ! LAIZ! POOSHRUDS R TEH SUXORS!!!!11111!1ELEVENTEEN!11!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

but is the dashboard soft enough to wipe my ass with like in a Passat.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Face it world, the G8 is just a great car. :AH-HA_wink:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They're really trying to position this car as a BMW. It might have the performance, but is the interior quality there and are the luxury features up to the task? It seems to me like it's more of a 4-door Camaro, or 4-door GTO, not anything like a BMW 5-series.

G8 is car.

Car have wheel. Caveman invent wheel. Ooo ooo. Me hungry.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
B-but, it doesn't have 20-way power seats or Dolby 7.1 surround sound, not to mention the V8 isn't DOHC and needs 6 liters to come close to the performance of the BMW 5.5 liter. And when BMW comes out with its quad turbo 5.5L V8 that runs on cat urine and folds your laundry in between gear shifts, the 550 will totally embarrass the G8. Face it, the G8 is a piece of garbage. Death to Pontiac. Death to GM. Long live BMW!!!! Bwaaahahahahahaha

You forgot: ...it's 0.683987 in. longer, it weights 10.983465 lbs more, it is priced too low, and it doesn't have the looks so therefore it can't compete with the BMW... Cadillac is going down the toilet, CTS is too big to compete with 3 series and too small to compete with the 5 series, Cadillac needs something bigger than the CTS, STS not big enough to compete, STS can't compete with 5 series its .04543 larger... etc... etc... etc...

I like to read all the good information on this web site. I have been coming almost every day to read good and reliable information for the last couple of years. I find my self coming less frequent because of nonsense and miss informed statements.

Edited by EMan
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just speak your mind ,E-man.

The counter to the nonsense is not silence. :AH-HA_wink:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
They're really trying to position this car as a BMW. It might have the performance, but is the interior quality there and are the luxury features up to the task? It seems to me like it's more of a 4-door Camaro, or 4-door GTO, not anything like a BMW 5-series.

If they position it as a BMW competitor strictly performance-wise/dynamically, then it's not a dumb move. If the comparison is made in terms of luxury/tech goodies, then it's plain stupid.

G8 is car.

Car have wheel. Caveman invent wheel. Ooo ooo. Me hungry.

:rotflmao:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this is the kind of great press I'm talking about!

he is a believer! what's GM's issue? what don't they believe in? the right drivetrain leads to great suspension engineering lead to great driving cars lead to great sales lead to improved customer satisfaction.

hey GM, lay off the crack pipe long enough to recognize a good thing when you have it! if Ford says they can do RWD what's GM up to?

The manual tranny needs to come as part of a package for the standard V8 car, make it like the Bullit Mustang currently is, just a couple of different real race-inspired, stealth, beautiful colors, beautiful wheel combo, two tone interior trim along with color-coded leather-stiched interior panels, maybe decontent a little, add racing seats, and bam! reinvigorate Pontiac and GM profits through good product!

It's a remarkable formula, good product leads to cars people end up buying, and then the corporation gets money for what it's supposed to be doing, making good cars.

Come to think of it, the British racing green color would look phenomonal on the G8, especially with better wheels, delete the hood scoops, bring in more chrome treatments, don't do a hood vent, and make a slightly aggressive lip spoiler like the outgoing C230.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
B-but, it doesn't have 20-way power seats or Dolby 7.1 surround sound, not to mention the V8 isn't DOHC and needs 6 liters to come close to the performance of the BMW 5.5 liter. And when BMW comes out with its quad turbo 5.5L V8 that runs on cat urine and folds your laundry in between gear shifts, the 550 will totally embarrass the G8. Face it, the G8 is a piece of garbage. Death to Pontiac. Death to GM. Long live BMW!!!! Bwaaahahahahahaha

what's truly fascinating to think about are the days when Pontiac can become this. They can all start as well equipped base models with great powertrains and killer styling, but the move on up could include the eventual inclusion of such great tech that people like myself don't want live without. If I can have Dolby 7.1 and the latest killer Nav setup along with an interior that looks like its made of money, then that's what I want. And maybe someday I can have that in my Pontiac. [on the interior design/quality front, it would only require minimal upgrades in philosophy at Pontiac, and would justify a price increase over Chevy, as well as require Cadillac to move further upscale than it currently is.]

EDIT: for anybody who is reading this the wrong way, I am not saying Pontiac has to offer everything a BMW does, DOHC included. I am saying they can offer their own version of perfomance coupes, sedans, wagons, verts for less expensive prices [though we hope Pontiac can move up the line from where it is today], but be able to offer optional high tech options that attract many import buyers.

Edited by turbo200
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this contempo class and style are exactly what I've been raving about for weeks. this contemporary style has not been evident at Pontiac in the last few years except in the G6 coupe [horribly proportioned as it may be] and the Solstice.

gotta love that he mentions stripping the badges and the scoops and call this a BMW and that crowd would eat it up. he's right on, the styling is what convicts that crowd. they recognize a modern looking sedan and it's called a Euro car usually.

so the G8 is a very large car, almost as big as a Taurus, wiht 107 cu ft, and gas mileage equals six cylinder competition, while V8 gas mileage trumps the competition!

Edited by turbo200
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
this is the kind of great press I'm talking about!

he is a believer! what's GM's issue? what don't they believe in? the right drivetrain leads to great suspension engineering lead to great driving cars lead to great sales lead to improved customer satisfaction.

hey GM, lay off the crack pipe long enough to recognize a good thing when you have it! if Ford says they can do RWD what's GM up to?

The manual tranny needs to come as part of a package for the standard V8 car, make it like the Bullit Mustang currently is, just a couple of different real race-inspired, stealth, beautiful colors, beautiful wheel combo, two tone interior trim along with color-coded leather-stiched interior panels, maybe decontent a little, add racing seats, and bam! reinvigorate Pontiac and GM profits through good product!

It's a remarkable formula, good product leads to cars people end up buying, and then the corporation gets money for what it's supposed to be doing, making good cars.

Come to think of it, the British racing green color would look phenomonal on the G8, especially with better wheels, delete the hood scoops, bring in more chrome treatments, don't do a hood vent, and make a slightly aggressive lip spoiler like the outgoing C230.

Agreed generally with both of your last two posts, but emphatically with the part I've bolded!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Agreed generally with both of your last two posts, but emphatically with the part I've bolded!

I know, doesn't it sound hot just envisioning it. This is the right way to spend marketing dollars, creating packages people will pay money to be seen in, not on crappy commercials that don't do the deeds or spot advertising on shows like Jimmy Kimmel or the The Price is Right. GM [and Ford] need to get creative in thier advertising spending and start hiring better marketing departments. Both Ford and GM could use an infusion of youthful talent that know the design/imaging changes that need to take place to get people to buy thier cars. Across the line at GM, all the cars and trucks could be helped majorly with just the right colors and wheel designs! For evidence look at a Malibu LTZ in silver and the two tone red interior. this car screams look at me, to the diehardest of MB/BMW fans and is styled in such a way to attract thier attention. Is anybody listening?

Edited by turbo200
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I know, doesn't it sound hot just envisioning it. This is the right way to spend marketing dollars, creating packages people will pay money to be seen in, not on crappy commercials that don't do the deeds or spot advertising on shows like Jimmy Kimmel or the The Price is Right. GM [and Ford] need to get creative in thier advertising spending and start hiring better marketing departments. Both Ford and GM could use an infusion of youthful talent that know the design/imaging changes that need to take place to get people to buy thier cars. Across the line at GM, all the cars and trucks could be helped majorly with just the right colors and wheel designs! For evidence look at a Malibu LTZ in silver and the two tone red interior. this car screams look at me, to the diehardest of MB/BMW fans and is styled in such a way to attract thier attention. Is anybody listening?

I have no formal training in such things, and I have to admit that I'm not young anymore, but I think I'd be good at that sort of thing.

Oh well.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Isn't that why they hired 'Fiddy' ? :P

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

to be youthful one does not have to be young by design. just able to recognize really great trends and have a good sense of design/fashion. you have to be able to know what appeals to youth, as well as across the board. knowing when something looks fresh, looks well sculpted, looks right is key. being able to see things in the lines, whether one appeals to a more feminine stroke, more aggressive, more laidback, more cool and easygoing, more bigtime luxury, or on the other extreme more taut, strong, to the point, dangerous. being able to apply these characteristics to something as simple and as important as lines is key in understanding marketing. being able to understand what those lines mean to today's people, how they interpret them and what drives today's people. what lines appeal to today's people, the kind of sculpting, the different expressions. it's not all that different from what drew people together in the '60's, which is why you see a resurgance of interest in those cars all the time. I know in terms of sculpting, reach for characterizations, and the use of the right lines, as well as understanding fashion, culture led that decade to be the best we've seen for design here, and it was all very much so led by GM. though this decade and the next are shaping up pretty quickly

Edited by turbo200
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was going to wait for these to come out before I bought a new vehicle but I let my wife talk me into an SUV. :censored:

Actually, I like the Saturn Vue we bought but obviously this thing is in a different world. The positive press the G8 is getting is making it all the tougher on me realizing I'm stuck in an SUV for a few more years. Fortunately, the wife volunteered to switch vehicles with me which will allow me to pick the next car, too! In all likelihood, in another 1.5 years I'll be replacing the Aura with either a CTS or a G8. :thumbsup: Of course, that line of thinking could change if gas prices keep going up.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
to be youthful one does not have to be young by design. just able to recognize really great trends and have a good sense of design/fashion. you have to be able to know what appeals to youth, as well as across the board. knowing when something looks fresh, looks well sculpted, looks right is key. being able to see things in the lines, whether one appeals to a more feminine stroke, more aggressive, more laidback, more cool and easygoing, more bigtime luxury, or on the other extreme more taut, strong, to the point, dangerous. being able to apply these characteristics to something as simple and as important as lines is key in understanding marketing. being able to understand what those lines mean to today's people, how they interpret them and what drives today's people. what lines appeal to today's people, the kind of sculpting, the different expressions. it's not all that different from what drew people together in the '60's, which is why you see a resurgance of interest in those cars all the time. I know in terms of sculpting, reach for characterizations, and the use of the right lines, as well as understanding fashion, culture led that decade to be the best we've seen for design here, and it was all very much so led by GM. though this decade and the next are shaping up pretty quickly

I seem to remember arguing with you in the past, right now I can't see for the life of me how that happened. :lol:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great review... Now I really want one, maybe even a V6 base model with comfort package and NO moonroof. Or a GT with leather and 19's!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love how the review makes it sound like BMW's are readily available with manual transmissions...please! I wish that was the case. Sure, the manual tranny is available as an option through the website, but unless you are custom ordering your car through BMW, I guarantee you will be hard pressed to find any BMW on the lot with a manual tranny. Hell, I think the only ///M that even offers it right now is the ///M coupe. So sad.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I love how the review makes it sound like BMW's are readily available with manual transmissions...please! I wish that was the case. Sure, the manual tranny is available as an option through the website, but unless you are custom ordering your car through BMW, I guarantee you will be hard pressed to find any BMW on the lot with a manual tranny. Hell, I think the only ///M that even offers it right now is the ///M coupe. So sad.

It's been a few years now, but the last time I was in the local BMW place there were manuals everywhere.

Regional thing maybe?

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

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0