You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Future Classic : 2008-2009 Pontiac G8

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 12/23/2014 Frank Markus

Editor's Note: This story originally appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of Motor Trend Classic.

Things looked so promising there right toward the end. After decades of little more than lip service, plastic cladding, and snarly exhaust noise to support its "We build excitement" tag line, Pontiac had two rear-drive performance cars on offer: the Solstice two-seater and the Aussie-built G8. Pontiac's first full-size, rear-drive sedan since the 1986 Parisienne launched in early 2008 and was based on the Holden Commodore's new Zeta architecture. Base and GT models were offered initially, powered by a 3.6-liter, 256-hp V-6 and a 6.0-liter, 361-hp small-block V-8, respectively. Priced at $29,995, the latter was billed as America's most powerful sub-$30,000 car.

Motor Trend never got around to testing the V-6, but the GT's 5.3-second 0-60 acceleration helped it win two comparison tests, first against a Hemi-powered Dodge Charger and then facing Nissan's self-proclaimed "four-door sports car," the Maxima. "At last, the high-adrenaline bod we've been waiting for -- plus a romping V-8, Randy Moss moves, and amazing room at a mega-value sticker," we gushed, adding "…one of the great driver's-car values on the road today."

2009 Pontiac G8© Provided by MotorTrend 2009 Pontiac G8 The G8 grew even more appealing when the GXP model arrived boasting a 6.2-liter Corvette engine good for 415 hp and 405 lb-ft, backed by either a six-speed manual or automatic and riding on a Nürburgring-tuned FE3 suspension. Priced at $40,060, it could dispatch the 60-mph dash in 4.5 seconds with either transmission and was dubbed an "American M5." Relative to that BMW benchmark, the GXP's performance came within 0.4 second in 60-mph acceleration, 2 feet in 60-0 braking (111 feet), and 0.02 g in lateral grip (0.88 g) at a price that was $49,265 lower.

Future Classic : 2008-2009 Pontiac G8

And so much more was promised. A G8 ST two-door pickup like Chevy's El Camino appeared at the '08 New York auto show, slated for 2010 production, and a gorgeous sport wagon was proposed to follow it to market. (An expectation of 10,000 annual U.S. wagon sales helped drive GM Holden's decision to downsize the Commodore wagon.) Alas, none of it was to be. Despite glowing press reports, the economic meltdown was in full swing, and by December 2008, only 13,000 G8s had sold, with about 11,000 more aging on dealer lots. GM pulled Pontiac's plug with just under 30,700 G8s sold, 1829 of which were GXPs. As any owner of a '60 Edsel, '61 DeSoto, or '66 Studebaker will attest, the last of any breed is collectible. But extreme Pontiac collectors will want to direct their eBay searches Down Under, where leftover Pontiac noses and trim were affixed to a handful of RHD Holdens, including wagons and 'Utes. Now that would be the ultimate final-year collector's gem. We've located 532 Pontiac G8s advertised for sale nationwide and plotted price versus odometer mileage, along with a trend line. Demand perfection for cars priced well above the line; budget for repairs if paying below it.© Provided by MotorTrend We've located 532 Pontiac G8s advertised for sale nationwide and plotted price versus odometer mileage, along with a trend line. Demand perfection for cars priced well above the line; budget for repairs if paying below it.

2008 Pontiac G8© Provided by MotorTrend 2008 Pontiac G8
AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Motor Trend

Loading...

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon