Large car; Built in Australia
  • 4-door sedan
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $16,500 – $27,000*


2009 Pontiac G8 Front


2009 Pontiac G8 Rear


2008 Pontiac G8 Interior


2008 Pontiac G8 Profile

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Handling/roadholding
  • Front-seat comfort
  • Ride (Base model)
Cons:
  • Rear seatback does not fold down

Any G8 is on the sporty end of the full-size-car class, with potent engines, balanced handling, and a roomy interior. The V8 is the better value, with appreciably stronger performance offsetting only slight penalties in price (when new) and fuel economy.

Overview

Introduced for 2008, the Pontiac G8 sedan marked the return of a large, rear-wheel-drive car to GM’s performance-oriented division. Available as either a base model or sporty GT, the G8 shared its basic design with large cars from GM’s Australian Holden subsidiary. The base sedan came with a 256-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, while the GT held a 361-horsepower 6.0-liter V8. A five-speed automatic transmission was standard on the base model, while the GT got a six-speed automatic. A manual gearbox for the GT was expected, but failed to materialize.

Exterior appearance was similar for base and GT models, with the most obvious differences being chrome-trimmed door handles, clear taillamp lenses, and four exhaust tips on the GT. Standard safety features included antilock brakes, traction control, an antiskid system, curtain side airbags, and front side airbags. GM’s OnStar assistance also was standard. A Sport package for the GT included metal-faced pedals, a sport steering wheel, and 19-inch tires on alloy wheels (replacing the usual 18-inch rubber). Both models could have a Premium Package that added leather upholstery and heated front seats. Rivals included the Dodge Charger, Hyundai Genesis, Nissan Maxima, and Chrysler 300.

Yearly Updates

2009 G8
A new high-performance GXP model debuted for 2009 with a 402-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8 engine and six-speed automatic transmission. A six-speed manual gearbox was optional. The GXP sedan had a performance suspension with 19-inch wheels and unique exterior styling. In addition to the GXP, the G8 remained available in base and GT trims. Satellite radio and a wireless cell-phone link were newly standard on all 2009 G8 models.

In spring 2009, as General Motors faced financial crisis, the company announced that its Pontiac division would be phased out by the end of 2010, leaving only four “core” GM brands.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

Base G8 sedans use a 3.6-liter V6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission. GT models hold a 361-horsepower 6.0-liter V8 with a six-speed automatic transmission. All G8 models have rear-wheel drive. In the GXP sedan introduced for 2009, a 6.2-liter V8 rated at 402 horsepower mates with a six-speed automatic or optional six-speed manual transmission.

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.6/217
Engine HP 256
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 248
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic

17/25

21.4

ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.0/364
Engine HP 361
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 385
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic

18.1

ohv V81
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.2/376
Engine HP 402
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 402
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automatic
13/20
13/20

1. GXP: 400 lb-ft torque w/6-speed manual

Road Test

Acceleration, as expected, varies according to engine. The base car’s V6 offers enough power for nearly any situation, whereas the GT’s V8 is notably more powerful at all times. Pontiac said the V6 accelerated to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds, while the V8 did so in 5.3 seconds. Both claims feel accurate. With either engine, the transmissions are responsive and smooth shifting, and include a sport mode and a manual-shift mode. The high-performance GXP has not yet been tested.

Fuel economy also is in accord with engine size. A V6 G8 averaged 21.4 mpg with slightly more highway driving than city use. GT models averaged 17.0 to 18.7 mpg in an even mix of city/highway driving. Base and GT models use regular-grade gasoline. Pontiac recommends premium for the GXP.

Base and GT models deliver a firm, well-controlled ride. Test drives demonstrated good bump absorption and no harshness, but no GT sedans with 19-inch tires were tested.

Steering is nicely weighted and precise. Body lean is minimal while cornering, and the G8 cleanly transitions from right- to left-hand corners. Despite the GT’s added weight, its handling differs little from that of the base model. Brakes offer fine stopping control with excellent pedal modulation.

Although the V6 engine is notably louder than the V8 under acceleration, it’s not intrusive. The V8 is nearly mute except for a subdued growl under heavy acceleration. Both cars offer good control of wind and road noise, with some wind noise around the mirrors becoming more noticeable at higher speeds. Tire noise is fairly well controlled, even on coarse concrete.

Major gauges are large and easy to read. Most controls are well marked and conveniently located, though power window, lock, and mirror controls are grouped together on the center console rather than the traditional on-door location. Audio controls deviate from the General Motors norm in North America, taking considerable time to master. A tilt/telescopic steering column has been standard on all G8s. Understated cabin decor is assembled to a high standard. Surfaces are finished with price-appropriate materials.

Front seats are well bolstered and all-day comfortable, even for larger adults. Base-model power seats are upholstered in grippy cloth. Pontiac’s optional premium package added heated, leather seats and power height adjustment. Note that the seat recline mechanism is a tedious-to-operate hand control instead of the usual lever.

The back seat has plenty of knee and shoulder space, but only adequate headroom for six-footers. Some passengers may find the bottom cushion a little low, but the seat itself is comfortable.

The trunklid opens on space-saving strut-type hinges, and the trunk itself is large and well shaped. Although the rear seatback does not fold down, it does offer a wide center pass-through for long items such as skis. Good interior storage includes the glovebox, console bin, door pockets, and a useful cubby in front of the shifter.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2009 G8 (Base)

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 7
70%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 7
70%
Steering/Handling - 7
70%
Quietness - 7
70%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 8
80%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 9
90%

Total: 67

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
114.8 196.1 74.8 57.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
17.5 19.2 5.0
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.7 38.0 42.2 39.4
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A Not tested. 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Airbags
Description: A knocking noise when making a hard right or hard left turn is due to excessive clearance in the airbag module under the steering wheel. (2008-09)
Oil leak
Description: An oil leak at the rear of the 6.0L V8 engine may be due to porosity of the aluminum engine casting. (2008-09)
Water leak
Description: Water may leak into the car through the outside mirrors which have a hole that must be sealed. (2008-09)
Hood/trunk
Description: The hood may not open requiring a revised hood latch cable. (2008-09)
None
Description: The serpentine drive belt may squeal when the engine is first started and may be due to A/C compressor misalignment or problems with the power steering pulley. (2008-09)
Brake lights
Description: The brake lights may stay on plus the cruise control and stability control will not work because of the brake pedal calibration going out of adjustment. (2008-09)

Recall History

2008-09 G8
Description: The brake pedal switch may have been incorrectly programmed, causing brake lamps to illuminate continually; also, incorrect values may be programmed into tire-pressure monitoring system.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.