The Pontiac G8 is a sporty, powerful four-door that didn't stick around long in the US market.
Though its tenure was short-lived and it was only available in the US for a single model year, the Pontiac G8 is still largely considered one of the best American sedans produced in recent history.
The G8 was first developed and produced in Australia, where it was known as the Holden Commodore. It was rebadged for the North American market in 2008, where it replaced the Pontiac Bonneville.
Then, an automotive “perfect storm” of sorts happened. General Motors, Pontiac’s parent company, filed for bankruptcy during the economic collapse of the late 2000s and GM decided to do away with the Pontiac brand during company restructuring. Sales of the G8 would pick up in 2009 thanks to lower market prices, but the pending suspension of the Pontiac brand and GM’s unwillingness to move the G8 to one of its other brands meant the G8’s tenure would be short-lived.
All told, the G8 was offered in North America for just two model years—2008 and 2009. What’s more is that while it was sold in Canada during both of those years, it was only available in the US for the 2008 model year. During this time, it competed with comparable sedans like the Hyundai Sonata, Honda Civic, Ford Fusion, Kia Optima, and fellow GM-owned Chevrolet Malibu—but to many, the G8 was in a class of its own. The good news is that it’s still available to be purchased used – if you can find it, that is.
Here are 10 great reasons to purchase a used Pontiac G8:
- The powertrain options. Prior to its discontinuation, Pontiac’s heritage was steeped in performance model sedans. This reputation lives on in the G8, which packed three powerful engine choices. There’s the 3.6L V6 that’s good for 256 horsepower, a 6L V8 capable of generating up to 361 horsepower, and a 6.2L V8 that puts out up to 415 horsepower. That’s some solid power for a sedan, part of which helped the G8 become a favorite among those who drove it.
- Good handling and balance. Most passenger sedans these days come with front-wheel drive as a standard feature. Not the G8. In fact, for all G8s, rear-wheel drive is standard. The big benefit of RWD in the G8’s case is it gave performance-minded drivers a more spirited drive. That’s because the weight of the vehicle is spread out more evenly across the drivetrain compared to AWD models, and results in better balance while driving on twistier roads.
- Four doors. While the G8 is a sedan, it was available in a variety of different models outside the US market to cater to consumer preference and lifestyle. The most common is the full-size four-door offering, and that’s what was available in the US market. As one CarMax customer reports, driving a G8 is like driving a four-door Corvette.
- It’s affordable. The base model of the 2009 Pontiac G8 carried an MSRP of $28,250, an affordable price point when you consider its V6 engine and other notable features, such as rear wheel drive, ABS brakes, a five-speed automatic transmission, and still-reasonable fuel economy of up to 25 mpg on the highway. Some used Pontiac G8s can be found for less than $25,000.
- People love(d) it. You could say the G8 was a bit of a cult classic
thatwhose time was cut short by tough economic times beyond the control of its designers. Specifically, the vehicle was praised on automotive blogs, in chat rooms, on message boards, and also got an endorsement from then-GM vice chairman Bob Lutz when rumors of its demise began to circulate. You don’t get this kind of following for a car that’s average or just good. To many, the G8 was beloved. It wasn’t discontinued because it was deemed to be a poor model; it was discontinued because of poor sales numbers and GM’s restructuring in bankruptcy, both of which were due to the economic recession at the time.
- It’s the last of a storied American brand. Alas, the Pontiac brand is no more—G8s were among the last Pontiacs ever sold. If you’re a fan of the General Motors performance nameplate carried on famous vehicles like the GTO, the Firebird, and the Trans Am, you could seek out a G8 and own the last of a breed.
- Maintenance is still available. The three-year, 36,000-mile basic warranty and five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty have both lapsed when it comes to buying a used G8, but the good news is that any of GM’s four remaining brands (Buick, Cadillac, GMC, and Chevy) still offer maintenance and repair services on Pontiac models. So if you purchase a used G8, you won’t have to worry about struggling to find a mechanic to perform maintenance on it—just take it to one of GM's other dealerships.
- Active fuel management. Available only on the G8’s GT model, this proprietary GM technology allows a V6 or V8 engine to essentially shut down half of its engine cylinders in an effort to improve fuel economy when full engine power isn't needed. Specifically, this technology is said to report up to a 7.5 percent improvement in fuel efficiency. This can help drivers get the power they want without having to stop as often at the fuel pump.
- It’s a collector’s item. There were only two model years of the G8 available in North America, so you can technically call the G8 a collector’s item these days. This isn’t a frivolous point—many drivers feel quite nostalgic and loyal when it comes to Pontiac vehicles, and for many the G8 is no exception.
- It’s fun. Four-door sedans typically don’t peel the pavement, but the hotter of the G8 models were made to do just that. For instance, the G8 GT goes from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds and clocks quarter-mile times in as little as 13.8 seconds. The GXP is even faster, with a 0 to 60 mph time of 4.5 seconds and a quarter mile time of 13 seconds. That’s quick! Bottom line: the G8 is a practical, yet extremely fun—and fast—ride. Think of it as a sports car in sedan’s clothing.
Yes, the Pontiac G8 may be gone, but it's certainly not forgotten. And while current comparable vehicles like the aforementioned Malibu, Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion, Kia Optima, and Honda Civic are still in production to this day, the G8 is still highly desired by many drivers. Looking back at the reasons listed above, it's easy to see why.