History of the Pontiac G8
Pontiac G8 History (2008 - 2009)
The Pontiac G8 was a four-door, RWD sedan originally made by Holden in Australia before eventually being sold in the United States under the Pontiac brand. The G8 was the exact same vehicle as the Holden Commodore but rebadged as a Pontiac. It was only produced for the 2008 and 2009 model years and took the place of the Bonneville and Grand Prix in Pontiac's lineup. The G8 was also the first RWD sedan to be sold under the Pontiac brand since 1986.
The G8 was built on the GM Zeta platform along with several other GM models from that time period, such as the Buick Park Avenue and Chevrolet Camaro. Three engines were available with the G8, including the 3.6-liter LYZ V6, the 6.0-liter L76 V8, and the 6.2-liter LS3 V8. A five and six-speed automatic transmission were offered pairings for the G8 engines, as well as a six-speed manual.
When the G8 came out, Pontiac had recently discontinued both the GTO and Firebird, which made the G8 the main RWD car in Pontiac's lineup. The G8 might have continued beyond 2009, but Pontiac came to an abrupt end in the 2009 model year when GM declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It was ultimately replaced by the Chevrolet SS.
Pontiac G8 Evolution and Changes
The 2008 model year offered the G8 base trim and the G8 GT. Six colors were initially offered, including Stealth Blue, Ignition Orange, Magnetic Gray, Liquid Red, White Hot, and Panther Black. Stealth Blue was discontinued after the first shipment. For 2009, the GXP version was added along with its 6.2-liter V8 engine paired with a six-speed automatic or optional manual. Four new exterior color choices were added and Ignition Orange was eliminated. The last Pontiac G8 left the factory in June of 2009.
There were two canceled body variants of the Pontiac G8. The first was the G8 ST, which was a sport truck and based on the Holden Ute. It was meant to be released for the 2010 model year, but due to the end of the Pontiac brand and other GM budget cuts, it was canceled. The other variant was the G8 Sportwagon. It was never announced by GM as a possible release but was briefly considered for import as a Pontiac version of the VE Commodore Sportwagon.
The G8 Sedan was the base model for the Pontiac G8. It came with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that made 256 horsepower. The only transmission available was a five-speed automatic. Every G8 Sedan came with dual tailpipes, 18-inch alloy wheels, traction control, and six airbags, among other features. A few packages were also available, including the Comfort and Sound Package and the Premium Package.
The G8 GT came with a 6.0-liter LS2 V8 that made 361 horsepower. It was capable of quarter-mile times around 13.4 seconds and a zero to 60 time of 5.2 seconds. The GT ended up coming standard with an automatic transmission. Pontiac considered offering a six-speed manual but decided against it. In 2009, the center stack gauges were removed from the G8 GT. Two catalytic converters were also added to the GT, which reduced horsepower to 355. The G8 GT offered everything on the base sedan as well as extras like quad tailpipes, dual-zone air conditioning, and a Blaupunkt premium audio system. A sports package was offered on the GT as well, and this added sport metallic pedals, 19-inch aluminum wheels, and summer performance tires.
The G8 GXP was the top of the line for the G8 model lineup. It initially debuted with a 6.2-liter LS3 V8 rated at 402 horsepower and was paired with a six-speed manual transmission. However, this was only the auto-show version. The production GXP was ultimately more powerful with an LS3 V8 that made 415 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission was standard, and the manual became optional. The GXP was capable of zero to 60 times of 4.5 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 13 seconds. An upgraded Nurburgring-tuned FE3 suspension package and ventilated Brembo disc brakes also came with the GXP. To differentiate it from the Sedan and GT models, the GXP featured a unique front bumper cover and a non-functional rear diffuser.
Pontiac G8 Fast Facts
- The Pontiac G8 was heavily promoted by GM in its first year.
- The Wheelman driving game featured a G8 as the primary vehicle.
- The G8 was the official sponsor of the 2007 Rose Bowl and the Times Square NYE Ball Drop.
- A Pontiac G8 GT was featured in a Spy Hunter commercial in 2008.
- The Pontiac G8 is a rare but desirable car in the current used market.
- Enthusiasts often compare the Pontiac G8 to the Pontiac GTO, with the latter being faster but the former lending itself better to modifications.
- The G8 was eventually succeeded by the Chevrolet SS some four years later.
- Sales for the 2008 G8 totaled 15,002.
- Sales for the 2009 G8 totaled 23,157.
Legacy of the Pontiac G8
The legacy of the Pontiac G8 is sadly quite short. It was a promising car with promising sales for a short time. Unfortunately, the death of the Pontiac brand also killed the G8. GM was forced to sell off or close out several brands for its restructuring. Along with Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, and Hummer were also sold or closed. Some months after canceling the G8, GM announced the Chevrolet Caprice based on a Holden platform. However, it was only for law enforcement fleets. In 2013, GM released another similar car based on the VF Commodore. This was the Chevrolet SS, and it included the same 6.2-liter V8 that the last G8 GXP had. This car was essentially the real sequel to the G8 and was a very similar car.
More Pontiac History: GTO (2004-2006)