2008 Pontiac G8 Review

Note: This review was created when the 2008 Pontiac G8 was new.

The 2008 Pontiac G8 is a high-performance, rear-wheel drive machine first and a family hauler second. With its available V8 power and an interior some reviews call the best Pontiac has produced in years, it fills both roles well. But it disappoints some with its fit and finish, and has not yet been crash tested. Overall, it ranks in the middle of its small class.




Critics' Rating: 8.8
Performance: 8.6
Interior: 7.4
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
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Pros & Cons

  • Sporty, rear-wheel drive performance in a large sedan
  • Inexpensive for such a powerful car
  • Spacious interior many reviewers praise
  • Safety is unknown -- the G8 has not yet been crash tested
  • Some interior controls oddly positioned

2008 Pontiac G8 Overview

As Pontiac likes to point out, the G8 is by many measures the most powerful car available in the United States for under $30,000. Just $29,995 will buy you up to 361 horsepower and a 0-to-60 time that Car and Driver measured at just 5.3 seconds. A GXP model beats even that with an ultra-high-performance V8 borrowed from the 2008 Corvette. But the G8 pairs that performance with a spacious interior that Motor Trend calls "nicely tailored" with "comfortable and enveloping seats, and simple controls. What's more, though it might not look it, the car is huge inside-particularly in back, which also features what at first sight appears to be the world's largest pass-through. Four adults could happily travel all day in the G8."

Pontiac's timing in introducing the big car, however, could not have been worse.  The G8 is sold based on its power and performance. With gas prices spiking in 2008, fewer Americans can afford to think about those considerations than in recent years.  The G8 was one of the ten fastest-selling sedans in the U.S. through the first half of 2008.  But how long can that trend last?  Pontiac may quickly find it has tapped out the list of buyers interested in a big, V8-powered sedan. Those who are might be inclined toward muscle cars with more heritage, like the upcoming Chevy Camaro.

All-new to the U.S for 2008, the G8 is available in three trims -- a V6-powered base model, a high-performance V8-powered GT, and a top-of-the-line GXP. With fuel economy on the minds of most buyers, we should point out that the V6 is rated for only 2 mpg more, for a penalty of more than 100 horsepower. If you're looking for a combination of performance and cabin space, the Dodge Charger is the only other four-door muscle car on the current market.

  • +"Judging by our first drives, the G8 GT is good indeed. Good enough, in fact, to merit BMW, Infiniti, and Lexus intenders dropping by the Pontiac store for a serious look." -- Motor Trend
  • +"This Pontiac is spacious, fast, and agile. It's a looker, and it's surprisingly affordable." -- Car and Driver
  • +"The G8 sedan has a sporty feel, great handling and a powerful engine, plus it has the extra room to carry kids in the back."  -- AutoWeek+ "It becomes the Pontiac flagship, being bigger than the mid-size front-wheel-drive G6, and it takes that spot at the top of the line with pride, being a very good car, with no weaknesses." -- New Car Test Drive
  • +"It's a modern, attractive, intriguing pile of haul-ass machine, topped off with a threateningly large V-8 and a storied American badge. In other words, it's exactly what Detroit should be building." -- Automobile Magazine
  • While not clearly a Pontiac, the G8 is clearly a bargain for anyone who's been seeking a super-sized, pushrod-powered, two-ton 3-Series." -- The Truth About Cars
  • There is a V-6 version available, but it only gets 2 mpg more than the V-8 and has 105 fewer horsepower. Since the GT only costs an extra $2,400, the temptation to go whole hog will probably be too much for many buyers." -- Fox News

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