Pontiac G8 offers a sporty, enjoyable ride - with an attitude
THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2008 Pontiac G8 GT midsize sedan. DOWN THE ROAD: Essentially a replacement for the Grand Prix, the all-new G8 is a performance-oriented, rear-wheel-drive sedan that packs a punch. It can sprint from 0-60 mph in just 5.3 seconds, pulling up to highway speed effortlessly and brakes as quickly, too. TECH & PERFORMANCE: The 6.0-liter V-8 engine cranks out 361 horsepower at 5300 rpm and 385 pounds-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. Power is put to the road via a standard 6-speed automatic transmission, which comes with normal, sport and manual-shift modes. The four-wheel independent suspension is equipped with a multilink MacPherson strut in the front and a four-link independent suspension with coil springs over shocks in the rear. The variable-ratio, rack-and-pinion steering is precise and linear. Pontiac's flagship sedan gets substantial 12.6-inch ventilated front and 12.76 inch rear disc rotors. LOOK & FEEL: Sitting on a unitized body frame, the G8 offers sharp looks and a bold stance, thanks to an inset dual port mesh grille, twin hood scoops, projector headlights and crystal-clear tail lamps, side fender vents, polished stainless-steel quad exhausts and chrome/body-colored door handles. The cabin conveys an elegant, refined and clutter-free appearance. The driver information center is sandwiched between the tachometer and speedometer with fuel and engine coolant temperature gauges at each end. The four-spoke tilt and telescopic steering wheel and shifter knob, decked in leather, are easy to grip. Music lovers instantly will take a liking to the 230-watt 11-speaker Blaupunkt sound system. The two-tier glove box, center storage bin and overhead sunglass holder come in handy.SAFETY FIRST: Standard features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, stability and traction control, four-wheel antilock brakes, three-point safety belts for all seats, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system. OUT THE DOOR: $29,310, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. Opt for the $1,250 premium package if you like leather seats and a leather shifter knob, heated front seats and a six-way power driver and front passenger seat. BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P245/45R18; wheelbase, 114.8 inches; length, 196.1 inches; weight, 3,995 pounds; fuel capacity, 19.2 gallons; highway, 24 mpg; city, 15 mpg. WHY DIG IT: Based on the Australian Holden car, the G8 isn't solely about performance. Yes, the sedan portrays attitude, plenty of it, but the ride is sporty, practical and enjoyable. Its arrival into the Pontiac fold will enhance the already-impressive lineup of G5, G6 and Solstice.
Nitish S. Rele is an advertising staff writer for The Tampa Tribune.