This Pontiac G8 GT is a smoking deal. For under $30,000 you get a rear-wheel-drive sport sedan with a limited-slip differential that can blast to 60 mph in less than six seconds. The steering is quite good, and the G8 lays down smokey burnouts better than anything I’ve driven in ages. Our test car came with heated power front seats and leather, and it still cost just over $31,000.
On the road, the transmission is a bit slow to downshift and the suspension can be noisy, but the G8 is still a very nice car. There is a ton of room in the rear seats, and the trunk volume is sufficient for a rear-wheel-drive sedan.
I wish the exterior design was more aggressive; the interior could also be more special. There are some weird ergonomics inside, and I wonder about the need for a large permanent digital display of voltage and oil pressure in the center stack.
If fuel still cost only $2.50 a gallon, this G8 GT would be a huge success for General Motors, but I’m afraid the 15 mpg EPA rating in the city is going to keep this car in the niche market as long as gas prices stay high.
–Marc Noordeloos, Road Test Editor
The G8 GT is screaming deal, for sure. I like the fact that the car doesn’t feel huge from behind the wheel, yet interior space is pretty good. The engine is plenty powerful, and the chassis doesn’t beat you up.
I really do wish for some more expressive styling, inside and out. NOT the ugly, cladding-mad shlock from the recent Pontiac era, but rather something that is both handsome and also captures the uniquely American swagger of the big Pontiacs of the 1960s. The Aussie design is too blandly Euro-wannabe. And while we’re at it, how about dropping the forgettable G8 moniker in favor of, say, Bonneville?
–Joe Lorio, Senior Editor
Joe Lorio and Marc Noordeloos may not be fans of the styling (see previous pages), but I actually got a big thumb’s-up from my neighbor when I drove the G8 home the other night. He actually ran over to tell me how much he liked the car. Here in GM country, I think people are big fans of this car.
I like the way the G8 handles, but if this is supposed to be a sport sedan, where are the paddle shifters? Sure, you can manually shift the car with the gear lever, but it seems to me that paddle shifters would really drive home the message that you’re driving a sport sedan when you’re behind the wheel of the G8.
–Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
To my mind, this thing ties with the Lancer Evo for Best Bargain Under Thirty-Five Grand status. Burnouts galore, sideways hoonage, a nice (if built to a price) interior, and it feels both quintessentially American and quintessentially European. You shouldn’t be allowed to have this much grunty, V-8-powered fun at the price. A few people around the office were decidedly unimpressed–I know I heard at least one “Why is everyone so excited about this thing again?” when the G8 first showed up–and admittedly, up against a BMW 5-Series or anything similar, the big Pontiac falls short. Interior quality, handling precision, steering feel, powertrain refinement, sure, they all leave a little to be desired. But it says a lot about how far the General has come that we’re even comparing a Pontiac sport sedan to cars costing almost twice as much. It says even more that, in such company, the G8 doesn’t fall flat on its face. (It actually comes across as a deal-filled version of the stars from Europe, believe it or not).
Good car, and at a hell of a price. Here’s hoping that rising fuel prices don’t kill it off.
–Sam Smith, Associate Editor