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2009 Pontiac G8

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2009 Pontiac G8 Review

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Attempting to bolster its image – and drive a whole new generation of performance-oriented buyers back into its dealerships – GM's self-proclaimed excitement division last year added the G8 sport sedan to its U.S. lineup. Built in Australia and based on the popular Holden Commodore model, Pontiac's new flagship is its first rear-wheel-drive sedan in several years and is available in three trim levels, a V6-powered standard model, the sporty V8-powered GT and, for 2009, an all new high-performance GXP trim with a proper six-speed manual transmission. The G8's aggressive appearance, impressive array of features, superb handling dynamics and attractive pricing should also help it appeal to those who might want something with the performance and feel of a European sport sedan but at a lower price.

You'll Like This Car If...

Anyone looking for a car that matches the classic charms of a rear-drive full-size four-door with a 21st-century approach to perf

You May Not Like This Car If...

Sticklers for ergonomic detailing may quibble with the positioning of some of the minor control switchgear in the G8's interior. While its standard OnStar system provides for proprietary hands-free calling and Turn-by-Turn navigation, there's no stand-alone navigation system.

What's New for 2009

A high-performance GXP trim joins the lineup and XM Satellite Radio is made standard on all models. OnStar 8.0 now features Bluetooth hands-free connectivity (late availability).

Driving the G8

Driving Impressions Based on GM's newest global rear-drive platform (which will also underpin the upcoming 2010 Chevrolet Camaro), the G8 has a dynamic character that's more in line with a premium European...

sport sedan than a domestic four-door model. Whether you opt for the electrifying acceleration of the GT or prefer the more economical but still impressively quick base version, the G8's fully independent sport suspension is tuned to deliver a great combination of control and comfort that works as well on the freeway as it does on your favorite twisty two-lane highway. The G8's variable-ratio power steering feels positive and linear, and its anti-lock disc brakes slow it with confidence – particularly the larger units used on the GT. Toss in near-ideal weight distribution, driver-selectable stability and traction controls and multi-mode automatic transmissions, and either of these Pontiac sedans has the tools to deliver performance that will impress even the most demanding enthusiast.

Active Fuel Management System
Complementing its outstanding power and torque characteristics, the GT's 6.0-liter V8 also is fitted with Active Fuel Management, a computer-controlled mileage-optimizing system that allows seamless transitions from eight-cylinder to four-cylinder operation under lighter load conditions.

Driver Shift Control
Both of the G8's automatic transmissions incorporate tri-mode Driver Shift Control circuitry. In addition to "normal" and more-aggressive "sport" programming, each has a manual-style gate that lets the driver select a gear that is then held until the driver shifts, even if that's at the engine's redline.

2009 Pontiac G8 Details
Interior

Purposeful and understated, the G8's spacious cabin reflects its athletic personality in charcoal and grey tones (or optional charcoal and red leather) set off by brushed-aluminum-look accents. Main control layouts are good, the white-on-black gauges and red LCD readouts are legible and the supplemental switchgear is generally arrayed in a user-friendly manner. Highlighting the G8's features are well-bolstered, power-adjustable front bucket seats that provide excellent comfort and support, whether covered in standard cloth or available leather. The expansive rear bench can easily and comfortably accommodate a pair of six-footers or take three average-sized adults on shorter treks, while its cavernous 17.5-cubic-feet trunk handles suitcases and golf bags with equal ease.

Exterior

The 2009 Pontiac G8 makes a powerful but tasteful visual statement, complementing neatly tailored bodywork with prominently flared fenders, a modest decklid spoiler, integrated side sills and functional cooling vents on its hood and front flanks. The face is pure Pontiac, highlighted by projector-beam headlamps, a signature dual-port grille treatment and an equally bold lower air intake. Both G8's wear 18-inch alloy wheels and 245/45 tires, although all-season rubber is replaced by a stickier, summer-spec alternative on the GT. Rear details also differ slightly. The V6 has conventional red taillamps and dual chrome exhaust tips while the appropriately-badged GT gets clear lens covers and a quartet of chrome tailpipes.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Apart from their respective drivetrain differences, both G8 models share a common and comprehensive array of power assists, a steering wheel with audio and cruise control buttons on a tilt and telescoping column, trip computer, anti-lock disc brakes, StabiliTrak stability control and front, front-side and side-curtain airbags. All G8's also come with a one-year subscription to OnStar's Safe and Sound service. The base car has single-zone air conditioning and a seven-speaker Blaupunkt AM/FM/CD/audio package with iPod/MP3 input and XM Satellite Radio, while the GT has dual-zone climate control and a more powerful 11-speaker sound system with a six-disc CD changer.

Optional Equipment

The well-equipped G8 offers relatively few extras. Base-model buyers can opt for the Comfort and Sound Package, which includes dual-zone automatic climate control and the upgraded Blaupunkt audio with six-disc CD changer of the GT model. Either G8 can be ordered with a power sunroof or the Premium Package, which includes heated and six-way power front seats, leather upholstery and trim and a fold-down rear armrest with trunk pass-through. GT buyers can also choose the Sport Package, consisting of metallic pedals, split-spoke machine-faced aluminum wheels, sport steering wheel and 19-inch wheels with 245/40WR19 performance tires.

Under the Hood

Each G8 model gets a unique engine and transmission combination. The entry-level matchup is a 256-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 and five-speed automatic transmission, while the GT comes with a 361-horsepower, 6.0-liter V8 backed by a six-speed automatic. Both transmissions feature multi-mode Driver Shift Control programming, but only the V8 also has GM's Active Fuel Management system to help bolster its operating efficiency in cruise mode. Even the base G8 V6 is an energetic performer, capable of accelerating from zero to 60 miles per hour in a brisk 7.8 seconds, yet EPA-rated at 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway. But the GT is the real star here. It can nail that acceleration benchmark in a scant 5.3 seconds while earning relatively respectable 15 mpg city, 24 mpg highway ratings from the EPA.

3.6-liter V6
256 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
248 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25

6.0-liter V8
361 horsepower @ 5300 rpm
385 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/24

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2009 Pontiac G8 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.4
Out of 10

Based on 269 Ratings for the 2008 - 2009 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.6/10
    Quality
    9.3/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.7/10
  • Comfort
    9.4/10
    Styling
    9.5/10

Comfort, handling, space, performance - all in one

By on Thursday, July 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "power, size, comfort"

Cons: "no nav, no bluetooth."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"A fairly large 4 door sedan with great power and handling. Wonderful combination and very reliable to boot! True sleeper. Highway flier."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

My favorite car. I have had MB, Porsche and BMW

By on Wednesday, July 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 116,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Car is ridiculously underpriced. Very high quality"

Cons: "Rear seatbelts jam you in"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is a hidden gem. I have never had a significant problem with it. I have driven from California to Newfoundland in it six times [13,000 miles total round trip]. The odometer shows just under 116,000 miles. Just replaced the front pads and turned rotors FOR THE FIRST TIME. Always synthetic oil [Mobil 1]. It is a powerful brute [V8 6 liters]. 22.5 mpg average. I have gotten 28 highway, but 25-26 would be typical. Roomy & comfortable. I am a big, tall man. Good looking. The car, I mean. It's a man's car. Mine is a slate blue, which gets us lots of compliments. The quality of the paint and paint job is excellent, and it is really standing up very well, after six years living outside. A few complaints: :: The rear seatbelts just jam you in. The dealer replaced them under warranty, but the new ones are the same. The are like boa constrictors. When you put one on, it just keeps tightening, and won't let you move. :: The cruise control is in an awkward spot [in front of the wheel, so you have to reach around the wheel] :: The plastic piece on the left of the driver's seat, which holds the power seat switch, broke; the dealer replaced it under warranty. Shortly after the warranty expired, it broke again. It is just a poor design. My solution: I fastened it to the far side of the seat mechanism with a small bungee cord. It has been like this for three years. :: There was a shiny piece of trim under the gauges, which made the gauges impossible to read in bright sunlight. I fixed this myself, and it was super easy. I bought an aerosol can of paint at Pep Boys in New Jersey. The label said 'for plastics'. When I got home to California, I took off the two trim pieces, which just snap out with a screwdriver, and thoroughly cleaned, rinsed and dried them, then spray-painted them. I got a very nice surprise. The paint was a matte dark grey, which matches the rest of the dash perfectly. The car has never been garaged, yet it looks like new - almost. :: The car didn't come with a spare wheel and tire. It came with a compressor, which wouldn't be helpful in case of a major tire failure. I bought a wheel and tire resembling the other four. :: The front seatback recliner knob is in an awkward spot. I am astonished that an American car company has produced such an excellent car. The car was built in Australia . Last, but not least; it's great to drive. On my cross-country trips I drive it pretty hard. The car handles very well. My last car was an M3, with which I had several serious problems. The handling of the G8 compares very favorably, and the G8 has nearly 400 hp, compared with 240 hp of the '95 M3. It's a great modern muscle car."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Great car, really fun to drive!

By on Monday, June 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Beside all the features, and the fact that this car s in next to excellent condition, it has never seen snow, ice, or salt! It has been garaged every winter."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Fun car to drive

By on Thursday, June 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Power, comfort, head turner"

Cons: "Could use navigation system."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

The Red Baron

"This car comes with a 6.0 liter Corvette engine. Has the Fuel Management System which means 4 cylinders shut down when not needed. Mileage on the highway has been 23.1 MPG. This car has close to 400 HP. with a 6-speed auto transmission. All I can say is it is fun to drive and more power than you will ever need. The seats a quite comfortable and the suspension is sport tuned which means you can corner on a dime and the ride is quite comfortable."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

The Red Baron

I love my G8!

By on Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 67,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Car is really fun to drive"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Pontiac G8 is the best car I've ever owned. It feels like a luxury car but sporty too. My only complaint is the manual dial to lay the seat back when its power seats (why did they do that?) but rarely anyone else drives it so not that big of a deal. Get a warranty since they don't make Pontiacs anymore."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Pontiac G8 GT - Good bang for the buck!

By on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 87,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Good V8 power. Decent gas mileage."

Cons: "Problematic stock suspension parts."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I own this car and love it. It has good V8 power, a great shifting transmission when in SPORT mode and dual climate controls! It also has leather interior, heated seats, and the optional 19" wheel package. These cars original sold for around $30K. In recent years the prices have slowly started to go back up on the used car market. Probably because these are a great family car with the hot-rod friendly rear wheel drive and V8 powerplant. My car averages 17mpg in city and 23mpg in highway driving. The only known issues with these cars is the front lower controls arms, stuts, and strut bushings. I've had to change mine after they started giving problems at 80K miles. Other than that, the car is rock solid."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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