Pontiac is GM's performance brand, delivering vehicles with more power and performance than their siblings. In recent years this mission has become muddled as Pontiac's offerings dissolved into a sea of ubiquitous rental cars. Now, with the Solstice convertible and GXP line, Pontiac is re-inserting some of the sport back into its lineup.
Pontiac hopes that the all-new G8 sedan will continue that trend. It is the first North American use of GMs new global rear-wheel drive architecture. Just like the GTO of a few years ago, the G8 is imported from the land down under, where it is known as the Holden HSV. The base G8 will be powered with a DOHC 24-valve 3.6-liter V-6 making 261 horsepower mated to a five-speed automatic. The high-power GT version gets a crazy 6.0-liter V-8 rated at 362 horsepower and 391 lb-ft and an extra gear in its automatic. (Contrary to GM's announcement last year, the G8 will not - initially, at least - be offered with a manual transmission.) The GT version features GM's Active Fuel Management system, which improves fuel economy by operating only four cylinders under some circumstances. The G8 will go on sale in January of next year, with the GT model costing around $35,000.
In the meantime, Pontiac is expanding its GXP line to include the Torrent and G6. The Torrent GXP gets a 3.6-liter engine that is good for 263 horsepower and 251 lb-ft. This is a big jump over the base model's 185 hp and 210 lb-ft. That extra power, along with a six-speed automatic transmission, gets the Torrent GXP from zero to sixty mph in under seven seconds. Other changes include a lowered suspension and eighteen-inch wheels.
The G6 receives a similar treatment, where the same engine produces 252 hp. Rounding out the package is a performance-tuned suspension, eighteen-inch wheels, and updated trim pieces.