For the first time in more than 20 years, a rear-wheel-drive Pontiac performance sedan will be seen on the streets of North America, as the all-new 2008 G8 arrives in dealerships. With bold styling and an available V-8 engine, the G8 is the most powerful sedan available for less than $30,000.
“With Pontiac’s commitment to producing vehicles with both style and performance, the G8 is the ideal flagship for the brand,” said Craig Bierley, Pontiac marketing director. “But, more importantly, the G8 provides a level of sophisticated power and handling normally reserved for those paying far more.”
The V-6-equipped G8 performance sedan will start at $27,595, including a $695 destination and freight charge (DFC). The V-8-powered G8 GT starts at $29,995.
One hot design…
Regardless of which model customers choose, they’ll get a vehicle designed with modern performance styling cues, both inside and out, blended with a unique Pontiac attitude. A strong wheels-to-the-corners stance is highlighted with bold wheel flares and a rising beltline, giving the impression of barely contained power.
Pontiac design cues on both models include an inset dual port grille, twin hood scoops, projector head lamps, vented front fenders, 18-inch wheels, and chrome-tipped dual exhaust. The G8 GT sports crystal-clear rear lamp elements and chromed quad exhaust tips.
…Two hot powertrains
The G8 sedan comes equipped with a 3.6L DOHC V-6, generating 256 horsepower (190 kW) and 248 lb.-ft. of torque in a wide power band beginning at a very low 2,100 rpm. Linked to a five-speed Hydra-Matic 5L40E automatic transmission, the V-6-powered G8 is capable of zero-to-60 times of approximately seven seconds.
The GT model ups the ante with the introduction of the 6.0L small-block V-8, producing 361 horsepower (268 kW) and 385 lb.-ft. of torque. Zero-to-60 times of 5.3 seconds are possible with the six-speed Hydra-Matic 6L80E automatic transmission linked to a standard limited-slip differential.
The final drive ratio on both G8 models is 2.92:1.
Driver Shift Control
Both transmissions feature a uniquely tuned Driver Shift Control, allowing the driver to select three distinct shifting styles. In normal automatic mode, the transmission is geared to provide an optimal blend of performance and fuel economy. Sliding the shifter right into the manual shift gate selects a “Sport Mode,” altering the automatic shift points to maintain higher torque and greater engine control.
For driving enthusiasts who want ultimate control, moving the shifter up or down in the manual shift gate provides complete control over each shift point. In this mode, the transmission will not automatically up-shift at any time, although a rev limiter will prevent the engine from exceeding the red line. For safety reasons, the transmission will down-shift if engine rpm drops to a point where a stall is possible.
Designed for rear-wheel drive
The power and handling capabilities of the G8 were developed by a team of General Motors engineers in Australia with input from other GM engineering centers around the world.
“When we were designing the underpinnings of the G8, we wanted to create a vehicle that could compete with some of the best European performance sedans in every way,” said Doug Houlihan, vehicle chief engineer. “From chassis stiffness to suspension response to overall vehicle balance, we believe the G8 can perform as well as vehicles typically costing thousands of dollars more.”
The G8 can handle a wide variety of driving conditions. It features a robust, protected electrical system, a climate control system designed for weather extremes and noise/vibration-isolating suspension systems. A near 50/50 vehicle balance is achieved through design features that include a steering rack mounted ahead of the front axle, engines that are mounted low and rearward in the front chassis cradle and a rear-mounted battery.
Stiff chassis structure
The G8 has an exceptionally strong unitized chassis/body structure, including the use of advanced-strength steel in more than 80 percent of its construction. This strong foundation enables several factors that benefit the G8’s driving experience, including smoother, more solid ride characteristics and more precise suspension tuning, as the stiffer structure allows engineers to tune the suspension without having to account for chassis flex. Torsion and bending modes on the chassis are 55 hertz.
The stiff structure also enhances safety, as it helps absorb crash energy through a multiple load path strategy that includes optimized front-end and rear-end deformation zones.
Optimized performance suspension
A unique, four-wheel independent suspension system uses the strength of the G8’s body structure to enhance the driving experience through optimized steering, handling and driving control. Both the G8 sedan and G8 GT use the same performance-tuned suspension.
The G8 rides on a long, 114.8-inch (2,915 mm) wheelbase, with the wheels set wide on 62.7-inch (1,592 mm) front and 63.3-inch (1,608 mm) rear tracks. The front suspension features a multi-link, MacPherson strut-type design that incorporates a direct-acting stabilizer bar and a hydraulically damped bushing on the forward end of the tension link for improved ride isolation. The lateral link features a rubber spherical joint that enhances lateral stiffness. Camber, caster and toe are fully adjustable.
The rear suspension uses a four-link independent design, with coil springs over shocks and a decoupled stabilizer bar. With the rear suspension, a high degree of lateral stiffness is achieved with the use of two lateral ball joints per side. A rubber-damped suspension frame further isolates the body structure from noise, vibration and road harshness.
Turning and stopping
The G8’s steering rack is mounted forward of the front axle centerline – with dual lower links and individual ball joints at the outer ends – which enhances the balanced feel of the car while also contributing to a more direct steering feel. Steering rates for the variable-ratio rack-and-pinion system are tuned specifically for the V-6-powered base and V-8-powered GT models. The G8’s turning circle diameter is 37.4 feet (11.4 meters).
Matching the vehicle’s handling and steering agility is a carefully tailored brake system that uses four-wheel discs sized to match each model’s performance. The G8 sedan features 11.73-inch front rotors and 11.89-inch rear rotors. The higher-powered GT upgrades to 12.64-inch front rotors and 12.76-inch rear rotors. Front rotor thickness on both models is 1-inch while the rear rotors are 0.87-inch-thick.
Both models feature twin-piston front alloy calipers and vented rotors, and single-piston, alloy rear calipers with vented rotors. ABS is standard and the brake system is fully integrated into the vehicle’s electronic stability control system.
Rubber meets the road
The G8 sedan comes standard with 18-inch silver-painted aluminum wheels sporting P245/45R18 all-season tires. High-performance summer-only tires are optional.
The G8 GT is equipped with 18-inch machine-faced aluminum wheels with a P245/45R18 summer performance tire standard. All-season tires are available.
GT owners can also option up to the Sports Package, which includes 19-inch machine-faced aluminum wheels with P245/40R19 summer performance tires, as well as sport metallic pedals and a unique leather-wrapped sport steering wheel.
An electronic tire pressure monitoring system is standard and displays the exact tire pressure for each tire in the driver information center.
Comfort and convenience
Even though designed for performance, the G8 doesn’t forget it’s a five-passenger sedan and features a long list of standard equipment, including:
Air conditioning, with optional electronic dual zone climate control system (standard on GT model)
Driver Information Center
Tilt/telescoping steering wheel with DIC and radio controls
Power windows/locks/mirrors with remote keyless entry and remote start
Theft-deterrent alarm system
Fully-bolstered four-way adjustable cloth seats are standard. Heated, six-way leather seats are available on both models. GT owners also have the opportunity to personalize their vehicle with two-tone (black and red) leather seats and a coordinating gauge cluster.
Making full use of the G8’s 114.8-inch (2,915 mm) wheelbase and exterior design, interior room has been maximized. In particular, passenger room in the rear seat attains near best-in-class status with nearly 40 inches of legroom.
A two-tier glove compartment and center storage bin highlight some of the vehicle’s functionality. The G8 also boasts 17.5 cubic feet of trunk space and one of the largest trunk pass-throughs in the industry.
Bring on the sun and sounds
No true performance car is complete without a sound system and the G8 offers a seven-speaker Blaupunkt AM/FM/CD radio with iPod/MP3 input jack. Owners can step up to a 230-watt Blaupunkt AM/FM/6-disc CD Changer with 11-speakers, standard on the G8 GT and optional on V6-powered sedan.
The up-level radio also includes a 6.5-inch display that integrates sound system features with an electronic dual-zone climate control system.
A power sunroof is available on both G8 models.
Safety and security
Backed by a sturdy, crash-absorbing body structure and state-of-the-art passenger protection technology, the G8 is designed to offer superior passenger safety before, during and after an incident with an extensive list of safety features:
StabiliTrak electronic vehicle stability system
Tire pressure monitoring system
Dual-stage frontal air bags with a passenger sensing system
Head curtain side air bags for front and rear occupants
Side thorax air bags for the front passengers
Three-point safety belts in all seating positions
Front safety belt pre-tensioners
Rear-seat LATCH child safety seat provisions in all three seating positions
OnStar navigation and calling convenience
The G8’s also benefits from OnStar’s Turn-by-Turn Navigation function. With the touch of a button, an OnStar advisor will route the driver to a destination and download the directions directly to the vehicle, where a combination of voice-guided and DIC-displayed instructions provide guidance. If the driver misses a turn, the system automatically updates itself to revise the directions.
OnStar’s digital equipment includes enhanced hands-free voice recognition capabilities, including more intuitive continuous digit dialing and improved voice recognition accuracy, making hand-free, voice-activated calling safer and more convenient.