This is what makes the Pontiac G8 GXP so particular
Pontiac is considered one of GM’s best-known manufacturers, and its existence ended prematurely, some would say, with the monetary disaster and subsequent bailouts of 2008-2009. Nonetheless, earlier than GM’s “sporty” model pulls out, that would go away us with a pleasant farewell present from its Australian division: the muscular four-door masterpiece that was the Pontiac G8 GXP.
The 2008-09 G8 sedan was primarily based on the Holden Commodore VE, which was considered one of Australia’s proudest and most revered automobiles. Holden not produces automobiles in Australia, however they designed and constructed the G8 for North Individuals, and we rewarded their efforts by not likely shopping for a lot. Just like the Chevy SS that adopted it, GM did not make investments a lot in advertising and marketing its Australian imports, so many individuals missed out on a automobile that would have been the reply to all their calls for.
The G8 got here in a couple of totally different variations, every with its personal engine. The bottom automobile got here with a 256-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, the mid-level GT had a 6.0-liter, 361-horsepower V8, and the top-end GXP efficiency mannequin was fitted with the LS3 6-inch V8. , 2 liters and 415 horsepower from a Corvette. It was scorching, the equal of an HSV Commodore, and the closest factor we have ever seen to a four-door Camaro (which additionally sat on the Holden platform).
The Pontiac G8 GXP, just like the Volkswagen Corrado we reviewed just lately, is a type of good automobiles that for some motive by no means offered within the numbers you’d count on given the target high quality of the car. . Let’s get into the main points of the delivery of the G8 GXP, the way it carried out towards its rivals, and finally what makes it a particular automobile.
Australia to the rescue
Earlier than the monetary disaster, Pontiac was eager to position a sports activities sedan on the prime of its mannequin lineup that would compete with the heavy Cadillac CTS-V in GM’s personal ranks, whereas undercutting the value. Chevrolet had beforehand turned to Holden to design the platform underpinning the fifth-generation Camaro, so Pontiac approached them with a considerably easier request:
“Are you able to construct us a Commodore VE, however put the wheel on the opposite facet and provides it a badge that North Individuals will acknowledge?” That is how the Pontiac G8 was born. The VE platform was an ideal place to start out, being credited by some automotive journalists as an evolution of BMW’s glorious 5-series E39 chassis, albeit missing a few of the inside refinements of the Germans.
Critics say the G8 felt nimble regardless of its measurement and 4,000 lb curb weight. The steering was tuned to be fast and responsive and in inventory form, the automobile maintained trip high quality with out sacrificing an excessive amount of cornering stability. Even earlier than the times of GM’s “Magna-ride” suspension, its chassis tuning was nonetheless among the many finest within the trade.
The GXP model was the highest of the G8 lineup and, unusually sufficient, it was the one automobile outfitted with a V8 to have a guide transmission choice in North America. You’ll be able to pair your 415 horsepower Corvette-derived LS3 with an ordinary 6-speed 6L80 automobile, like most patrons did, or a 6-speed Tremec T56 guide transmission. And that was it, the GXP was already the high quality automobile. Aside from the gearbox, the one choice was a sunroof.
An indication of muscle sedans to come back?
In a approach, the G8 GXP predicted what was to come back from the makers of America’s N0rth within the home market, merely exposing us to what Australians have been as much as over the previous many years. We misplaced the El Camino within the mid-Nineteen Eighties, and since then there was no connection between our two-car markets. That was till 2005, when GM determined to take the Holden Monaro coupe on a sightseeing journey throughout America, on the situation that he put “Pontiac GTO” in his passport.
This automobile was not very fashionable, though the fault was not solely his. A typical theme with these captured Australian imports is a dismal lack of selling and recognition. The identical destiny befell the G8 GXP, which was doubly affected by the 2008 inventory market crash as demand for $ 40,000 + V8 sport sedans dried up significantly.
As soon as the mud settles in the marketplace crash (and the rescue checks cashed), GM will make a 3rd and ultimate try and promote a Holden in America, launching the Chevrolet SS in 2014.
This automobile took all of it for the G8 GXP, modernized the inside, spiced up the outside look and most significantly had the choice for the aforementioned “Magna-ride” magnetorheological shocks, which use tiny metallic filings contained in the damper fluid which, when activated by a magnet, might change the firmness of the mid-wedge damping greater than 1000 instances per second. It is fantastic know-how, and it was accessible on a lot of GM efficiency merchandise, together with the SS sedan. It additionally took over the elective Tremec guide transmission from the G8 GXP, in case you want extra motive to start out shopping the classifieds for deal (extra on that later).
Nonetheless, the SS once more suffered from crucial under-marketing. Though its likeness was used because the official Chevy NASCAR physique for some time within the second half of the 2010s, the automobile simply could not break via and attain prospects who weren’t tuned into automotive tradition. .
However whereas Chevy struggled to promote its V8 sedans, Fiat-Chrysler got here up with the straightforward resolution: Take an everyday RWD sedan you’d count on to see on a rental fleet, then give it large horsepower and a foolish title. . So the Dodge Charger Hellcat was born, and we needn’t inform you how profitable this automobile has been.
Did the Holden chassis die so the Hellcat might dwell? Was there room for a single “inexpensive” high-performance V8 sedan? Laborious to say, however the success of the Dodge product proves that there’s a marketplace for this sort of car, and if GM had spent half the time and vitality making an attempt to promote the G8 and SS, it might have keep a bit longer.
What they’re price now and why you should purchase one
The Pontiac G8 platform is mostly inexpensive now, 13 years later. The bottom 3.6s have some points with the cam sprockets, and GTs with the 6.0l V8 would possibly develop issues ensuing from cylinder deactivation, however the GXP managed to resist Father Time the most effective and likewise retained essentially the most priceless of the vary. .
The G8 GXP is an elusive beast as of late. After promoting for lower than two full calendar years, the whole manufacturing depend has remained low. The G8 platform on the whole offered lower than 40,000 models between 2008 and 2009, and it’s seemingly that only a few of them had been GXPs. Carfax, for instance, solely had 4 GXPs listed in North America on the time of writing., between $ 29,000 and $ 44,000 (USD) for the bottom instance.
If you will discover a G8 GXP, and it is fairly priced, at the least go and drive it and discover out what this car can do. It not exists. Holden has gone out of enterprise in Australia, and the loss means there’s little probability a automobile like it will ever be made once more. The brand new Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is one step nearer, however this automobile continues to be too new to breathe the GXP’s late 2000s sleeper appeal, and that does not provide you with any motive to refine your false Aussie accent, both, boyfriend.
The G8 GXP is the most effective American automobile the Australians have ever constructed. This nation appears to grasp make quick automobiles in such an accurate approach, balancing muscle and chassis in a approach that American automobiles have all the time struggled with. It is a disgrace that the Commodore platform is gone. He gave us among the best autos to put on a Pontiac badge, and whereas the drop in gross sales is not solely his fault, it is a disgrace sufficient folks have not given him an opportunity.
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