The Bottom Line
Pontiac introduced the rear-wheel-drive G8 GT in 2008, a modern-day muscle car complete with a 6-liter 361 horsepower V8. For 2009, there's an even bigger fish: The G8 GXP, with a 6.2 liter V8, 402 hp, 6-speed transmission and stiffer suspension. With Pontiac's impending demise, the explosively-fast G8 GXP truly is the last in a long line of Pontiac muscle cars -- but is it worth buying? Read on.
- Explosive acceleration
- Great sound
- Comfortable ride
- All this, plus it's a spacious sedan
- Handling isn't quite world-class
- Odd ergonomics
- New-for-2009 GXP is the hottest version of Pontiac's rear-drive G8
- Price range: $40,060 - $41,665 (including $1,700 gas guzzler tax)
- Model tested/price: G8 manual, $40,755
- EPA fuel economy estimates: 13 MPG city, 20 MPG highway
- Observed fuel economy: 16.2 MPG (not bad for a muscle car!)
- Best rivals: Dodge Charger SRT8, Chevrolet Camaro SS, Dodge Challenger SRT8
Guide Review - 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP
I could write this review in three words: More is better. Compared to the G8 GT, the G8 GXP has more engine (6.2 liters vs. 6.0), more power (402 hp/400 lb-ft vs. 361 hp/385 lb-ft), and a more capable suspension and brakes. And it costs more money -- about $8,000 more with the gas-guzzler tax.
The G8 GXP feels like a four-door Corvette: Same great sound, same organ-shuffling acceleration, same almost-great handling. Some have compared the G8 GXP to a BMW 5-series, but the BMW is a scalpel while the G8 GXP is an X-Acto knife. Both will cut nearly anything, but if you're doing open-heart surgery, you'll want the scalpel. The G8 keeps body roll in check, but it doesn't do so well with squat and dive from acceleration and braking, and its steering isn't as precise as the BMWs. A BMW can be finessed; the G8 has to be man-handled. That said, I think the G8 is more fun. The Bimmer is a super-serious German; the G8 is an Aussie with a buzz on. The G8 GXP's best rival is the Dodge Charger SRT8. No contest: I'd take the G8 GXP with its optional ($695) 6-speed manual transmission.
The stick is the one thing that really separates the GXP from the GT -- and yes, I think that makes it worth the extra cash. If you prefer an automatic, there's little light between the two; the highs and lows are pretty much the same as discussed in my G8 GT test drive, and at $32k the G8 GT is the better bargain -- though at that price I'd also look at the Chevy Camaro SS and the Dodge Challenger R/T.
That said, with Pontiac due to get the axe in 2010, you might as well get the GXP. The G8 is based on GM's Australian-market Holden Commodore, and its future in the US is uncertain. Some think it'll return as a Chevy; GM has hinted that it could come back as a Buick. Regardless, the G8 GXP is here now, a great car whose days are numbered. Get it while you can. -- Aaron Gold