Since 1926, when the brand was introduced as mate to General Motors’ Oakland line, Pontiac had carved out a niche for itself as GM’s performance line. Following on classics such as the Bonneville, GTO, and Firebird, Pontiac unveiled the G8 in 2008. Who would have thought it would be the brand’s last performance car?
Thunder from Down Under
|Pontiac G8 GT exterior and interior|
Following recent trends in the automotive industry. Pontiac built its newest model on an existing international platform first utilized by the Australian Holden Commodore. The large-size sedan platform perfectly accommodated Pontiac’s plans for a mid-sized performance car intended to follow-up on the successes of the old GTO, while redeeming the relative failure of the most recent GTO. In 2008, Pontiac introduced to the world its finished product, a rear wheel drive four-door sedan which it called the G8.
The base G8 came with a 3.6 liter V6 engine, which was dubbed by GM as a “High Feature V6”. Producing 256 horsepower, it provided modest but effective power for a sedan of its size. More exciting were the two high-performance models. The GT came with GM’s newest 361 horsepower V8 mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, allowing the car to sprint from 0 to 60 in just a click over 5 seconds.
The top-of-the-line G8 was dubbed the GXP, which borrowed the Corvette’s powerful LS3 engine. With 415 horsepower and 415 pound-foot of torque, the G8 GXP was the most powerful car Pontiac had ever produced, offering more horses than the GTO had in its prime. Mated with either the six speed automatic or a TREMEC six speed manual, the monster accelerated from 0 to 60 in just 4.5 seconds and completed the quarter mile in 13 seconds. Introduced for the 2009 model year, the GXP had came just in time to bid Pontiac a farewell.
The End of the Line
Overall, Pontiac sold almost 40,000 G8s during 2008 and 2009, making it one of its more successful recent launches. Eschewing the louvers and rippled body panels which had marked many of Pontiac’s designs during the past two decades, the G8 was sleek, with smooth lines sloping gently forward from rear to front, the trademark Pontiac split grill and a front spoiler. Although minor details like a roof scoop made the GT and GXP look a little more aggressive than the base model, the G8 projected a solid, almost husky image across all three of its trim levels. It was a real sleeper, demonstrating great performance potential in a demur package at a reasonable price (prices for the base G8 were in the low-$20,000 range with the GT coming in at $30,000).
Unfortunately, Destiny had a plan for Pontiac and did not involve any possibility of the G8 being developed to its fullest potential. The year 2010 marked the end of Pontiac as a GM brand, having been terminated by dollar-conscious GM executives. It should have been GMC, but I digress.
A Strong Finale
Writing about the G8 is heart-breaking. A stellar vehicle, it was produced for just two model years without ever getting the chance to experience the revision cycle other successful models have had. The G8 promised — and succeeded — to fix the mistakes Pontiac had made with similar cars in the recent past. It would successfully straddle the line of performance and comfort, with the base model providing a little more performance than most large-size sedans and the performance models providing a little more comfort than most high-powered cars. Alas, it just wasn’t meant to be.
The GXP, an especially promising model, was nothing more than a last hurrah. Even without reading any of Pontiac’s internal memos, it’s a safe bet that GM’s executives saw the end coming and decided to go out strong with the best performance car the line had produced in almost forty years. They say the G8 was the poor man’s BMW — it certainly was, as it provided BMW-level performance at half the price of a BMW. Now that’s something to be proud about.
2020 Buick Enclave Brings New Sport Touring Package
Buick’s big SUV also gets a new infotainment system and optional surround-view camera system.
The Buick Enclave has received a few updates for its 2020 model year, most notable of which is a new Sport Touring package that gives it a sportier appearance.
Available on the Essence trim level, the ST package adds a unique body-color grille and 20-inch bright machined aluminum wheels with contrasting Satin Graphite pockets.
The 2020 Enclave also benefits from Buick’s next-gen infotainment system that’s standard on all models, complete with an 8-inch touchscreen. It can also be equipped with a new HD Rear Vision Camera, an HD Surround Vision systems, and a new, four-way power lumbar seat adjuster with a driver and front passenger massage feature that comes standard on Premium and Avenir editions.
The 2020 model year introduces three new exterior colors: Champagne Gold Metallic, Rich Garnet Metallic (Avenir only) and Dark Moon Blue Metallic.
Sales of the 2020 Buick Enclave begin in late summer 2019, with prices starting at $41,195 (including freight).
Forget Cadillac! Does GM Needs A $100K Corvette SUV?
If Lamborghini, Porsche and, soon, Ferrari can have an SUV, why should Corvette?
Bob Lutz, the iconic automotive curmudgeon who helped shape BMW, Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors, believes General Motors has a great opportunity to take the Corvette nameplate upmarket with a Porsche Cayenne-like Corvette SUV that starts at $100,000.
Speaking to Automotive News, the former GM executive argued that Corvette is facing the same problem as Harley Davidson in that its baby boomer client base is dying out, meaning the brand is going to need a lot more than a traditional sports car like the new C8 Corvette to remain viable.
“The owner body is getting older and older and older, and there are no young people coming in,” Lutz said, adding that while he doesn’t believe Cadillac has any space to go upmarket, the Corvette brand does.
As for specifics about the Corvette SUV, he suggested that General Motors develop a dedicated architecture that’s super lightweight and powerful, envision something “Porsche Cayenne-like, only much better and a little bigger.” It will be a medium volume model with a starting price of $100,000, and it should never be offered with a V6 or as a low-cost offering.
The thought of a Corvette SUV might be offensive to some hardcore fans, but the times have changed and SUVs and crossovers are what make or break virtually every aspiring automaker.
The marketplace has also proven that there’s space for powerful, performance-oriented SUVs. From the Lamborghini Urus to the under-development Ferrari SUV and Lotus SUV, everyone’s getting in on the high-margin, sporty SUV game.
Lutz is not the first to make such an argument, and he likely won’t be the last. It will be interesting to see what will follow the C8 Corvette.
How do you envision a Corvette SUV? Share your ideas in the comments below.
Is The Chevrolet Camaro Going To Die Again?
Was Chevy’s muscle car revived only to die again?
The sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro may be the last Camaro, at least for the foreseeable future.
According to Muscle Cars and Trucks, General Motors has stopped work on the seventh generation Camaro and has no plan to take the Camaro nameplate beyond the 2023 model year.
The sixth-gen Camaro is based on the same Alpha platform that underpins the Cadillac ATS sedan and coupe. However, while the ATS’ successor (the new CT4) uses the next generation Alpha platform, there are no plans for the Camaro to make the same transition.
Sales of the Camaro have declined significantly over the past few years, which is unfortunate considering how good of a sports car it is. The fifth generation Camaro took off after debuting in 2009, selling over 80,000 Camaros every year. But despite getting rave reviews from critics, the sixth-gen saw its sales drop to 51,000 units in 2018, which was a whopping 25 percent decline from the prior year.
Supposing the report is true, this won’t be the first time the Camaro has gone on hiatus. There was a seven-year gap between the fourth- and fifth-generation models.