Pontiac’s G8 is G
The 2009 Pontiac G8 is made by GM’s Australian subsidiary, Holden, and sold there as the Commodore. Down under, they have vast distances to travel so getting there as soon as possible is a big deal and that’s why Australian cars are weighed on the side of power and superior handling.
There are three models that go from mild to wild differentiated primarily by engine choice.
The base G8 model gets a 3.6 litre DOHC V6 with variable valve timing, rated at 256 hp and 248 lb/ft of torque. Variable valve timing optimizes the power and efficiency across the rpm range, giving the car the best performance at all speeds.
The base G8’s 3.6 litre V6 engine is paired with a five speed automatic transmission with Driver Shift Control.
As tested here the fuel consumption is listed at 12.2L/100 km (23 mpg) city and 8.0L/100 km (35 mpg) highway. Pontiac bills the G8 GT as the most powerful sedan you can buy for under $40,000. It goes from 0 100 km/h in a hair over 5.3 seconds, faster Pontiac says, than a BMW 535i.
For those who don’t want that kind of power all the time, the 6.0 litre has GM’s Active Fuel Management system that cuts the engine back to four cylinders on cruise or when operated under light load.
Coming in the spring, the GXP’s 6.2 litre LS3 engine is the newest member of GM’s small block V8 family producing 415 hp and 415 lb/ft of torque.
The GT and GXP’s standard Hydra Matic six speed automatic uses a clut jordan shoes ch to clutch operation and an integrated 32 bit jordan shoes transmission controller to deliver smooth and precise shifts. A six speed Tremec TR6060 manual transmission will be optional on the GXP.
Built on GM’s global rear wheel drive architecture, GM claims it has a nearly 50/50 front/rear weight balance ratio, thanks to design features that include a steering rack mounted ahead of the front axle, engines mounted low and rearward in the front chassis cradle and a trunk mounted battery.
The chassis is also very stiff thanks to a unitized chassis/body structure, including advanced strength steel used in more than 80 per cent of its construction.
The chassis also boasts a four wheel independent, performance tuned suspension system that is the result of eight years of development.
The front suspension features a multi link, MacPherson strut design that incorporates a direct acting stabilizer bar, while the rear suspension uses a four link independent design, with progressive rate coil springs over shocks and a decoupled stabilizer bar.
Adding to the handling, the rear suspension features two lateral ball joints per side. A rubber damped suspension frame further isolates the body structure from noise, vibration and road harshness.
The G8 sedan and GT models use the same FE2 suspension setup, balancing crisp responsiveness with a compliant ride that is suitable for everyday driving. The GXP moves up to a track tuned FE3 suspension designed to further enhance the car’s cornering potential.
All G8 models have an 11.4 metre (37.4 foot) turning circle.
Cloth seating surfaces are standard, with heated leather seating available. G8 GT models also offer an optional two tone leather combination that pairs black with red inserts and colour matched instrument faces on certain exterior colour combinations.
GXP models will also offer two tone leather upholstery in black and red, with GXP logo embroidery. The GXP interior also boasts alloy sport pedals as standard equipment.
Standard features on the G8 include: four wheel vented disc brakes with ABS and traction control; StabiliTrak electronic stability control system; seat mounted thorax air bags and dual stage frontal air bags for front passengers, with automatic passenger sensing system; roof rail side impact air bags for both seating rows; OnStar; XM Satellite Radio; power adjustable front seats; fog lamps; polished stainless steel exhaust tips and low profile rear lip spoiler.
The base 2009 G8 has a list price of $31,995. With options like heated leather seating and trim, 6.5 inch multi information display on the centre stack and dual zone climate control, the price as tested was $38, 665 including $1,300 shipping fee which is pretty cheap considering this car came all the way from Australia.
Front drive is great for packaging, but it when it comes to pure driveability, rear drive is best. You don’t see any front driver sport sedans from BMW or Mercedes Benz.
The shape of the G8 is reminiscent of BMWs, especially looking forward from the rear three quarters. The same thing goes for the interior that makes extensive use of black trim. Another sign of Germanic influence is the positioning of the power mirror/windows/locks controls on the centre console.
The seats are big and wide and positioning of the main instruments is about as good as it gets, at least from where I was seated.
Sadly, the first snow of the season started the very hour I picked up the keys for the G8. However, it also provided a test. One of the alleged drawbacks of rear drive is supposed to be winter traction, and it’s true if you don’t drive according to the conditions, which is also true for front drive.
The advantage is that when you do, rear drive is actually a better set up with which to regain control. With front drive, over correction, which is a natural human tendency, often leads to spins. When that happens in a front drive, you’re out of control.
Front drive cars have the mass of the engine over the front tires, which also have to deal with hun jordan shoes dreds of pound/feet of torque while, at the same time, trying to cut an arc through a corner. With rear drive, the front tires have one job to do and that’s why they handle better.
Luckily for me, the snow melted in a day leaving wet roads, which allowed me to press the G8 into corners a little deeper than usual to see if the rear end would break away. With StabiliTrak and all speed traction control, it’s nearly impossible to do. A limited slip rear differential is not offered on the G8 but is on the GT.
The G8 was engin jordan shoes eered to have a 50:50 weight ratio. When you get up to highway speeds, you can actually tell if a car is nose heavy because it always wants to go in a straight line and resists being steered into turns, which is called understeer.