2008 Pontiac G8 GT Test Drive Poncho Gets Its V8 MuscleCar Mojo …

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2008 Pontiac G8 GT Test Poncho Gets Its V8 Muscle-Car Back

October 1, 2009 AM

It’s been over 20 since GM’s excitement Pontiac, last offered a sedan with a V8. And it’s even longer since any with more than two was truly exciting to drive. we’ve had two solid decades of sedans and V6 powerand a handful of with one rather uninspired, V8-powered Grand Prix

It’s hardly been the of our muscle car dreams.

Well to the all-new G8, Pontiac appears to its mojo back.

The 196.1-in.-long G8 on a 114.8-in wheelbase and is produced in Australia, at a plant already out Aussie-market Holden Commodore Both Holdens and Pontiacs use new rear-drive Zeta architecturethe one you’ll find underneath the 2009 Camaro. The Commodore has a huge hit Down Under, and spending a week with our Orange G8 GT test car, we can see

The GT model gets a robust L76 V8 with 361 hp and 385 lb.-ft. of torque to a six-speed auto. Base get GM’s 3.6-liter V6 with 256 hp and 248 of torque mated to a five-speed Unfortunately, no manual transmissions be offered.

The V8 is similar to the higher V8s you’ll find under the of some GM trucks, though it have variable valve like those truck do. Regardless, it’s a Gen IV small-block V8 parts from some prestigious sources like manifold from the LS3 Corvette And it has Active Fuel Management so the big motor can shut down the cylinders and save fuel.

The system can operate in third, fifth or sixth gears; in the AFM has only worked in the overdrive And that helps the GT return 15 mpg in the and 24 on the highway. (Six-cylinder models are at 17/25.)

Pontiac says the G8 GT will hit 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and run through the in 13.8 seconds at 101 mph. are solid numbers, rivaling the 425-hp Dodge Charger sedan and blowing the 340-hp R/T into the weeds. On the street, the G8 even quicker than numbers suggest.

The V8 pulls strong from the point on the tach all the way up to the top of the gauge. And the bangs off crisp shifts all the way the gears. Smoky burnouts?

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Yes, it certainly accelerates a muscle sedan. And our test melted-down, 19-in. rear prove that. But the magic of the moves is buried deep the floorboards.

The G8’s suspension and systems are some of the best GM has One afternoon we hit our favorite canyonshigh the crashing waves of Malibu, We were expecting a taut but driving experience, but we were steering is direct, precise and And the G8’s multi-link strut and four-link rear suspension to have been tuned for running through rough, sections of blacktopmust be that influence. In fact, the harder you run the G8 in the the smaller it tends to feel.

Better yet, whether you the V8 car of the V6 model, you get the same basic tune. Unlike some with manual shift the G8’s transmission will onto the gear until hit the engine’s rev limiter at 6000 So there’s never a chance of annoying mid-corner upshift.

Inside, the G8 certainly won’t be for a luxury sedan. And that’s The important stuff like a fat wheel and supportive leather are included in the Sport package. seats are deeply sculpted and for a six-footer.

And there’s a full for skis and other gear in the 17.5-cu-ft. trunk isn’t Like the exterior sheetmetal, of the G8’s interior is shared the Holden sedan. The only oddity is the rather large screen atop the center for the oil pressure and volts.

It’s a to the 1980’s digital dashboards we could live without.

The G8 GT is a performance bargain, starting at $29,995. If you’ve got a few more and yearn for an even more G8, stay tuned: Rumors about a GXP model with a horsepower Corvette LS3 engine and a manual transmission. Pontiac is back, baby. Ben Stewart

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