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Chicago Auto Show: GM RWD fans can rejoice, for the Pontiac G8 has arrived (w/ VIDEO!)

click on the above image for a bunch of high-res shots showing the new Pontiac G8

The last decade has been difficult for General Motors enthusiasts who desired an affordable V8 RWD sedan (we love the V-series Cadillacs, but alas, they're not exactly budget rides). With the introduction of the Pontiac G8, however, all is forgiven, for this muscular four-door appears poised to offer a blend of attitude and sophistication appropriate for the brand that claims to build excitement.

This Poncho is based upon GM's new Zeta platform, and the base model offers up a 261-hp, DOHC 3.6L V6. GT models get the 362-hp, L98 OHV 6.0L V8 with Displacement on Demand. No bonus points will be awarded for correctly guessing which we'd pick. The V6 will come with a five-speed slushbox, while the V8 will initially be backed with GM's new 6L80 six-speed auto, and a row-your-own manual with a half-dozen ratios will follow at a yet-undetermined later date. Naturally, the GT gets a bigger wheel/tire package and larger brakes, and a sport package will be offered for either engine type. Under the skin lies a McPherson strut suspension arrangement in the front and multi-link in the rear, with the full array of adjustments available at each corner.

Elements of the show car that won't make it to production include the big brakes, lowered ride height, 20" wheels, and custom interior trim. Note the new badge design; what we're seeing here is a concept version of a new Pontiac logo that eschews the traditional red coloration for a metallic sheen.

Click on the photo above for a gallery of Pontiac G8 live photos and studio shots! Also, check out the exclusive VIDEO of the G8 and Bob Lutz introducing the new rear-wheel drive sedan after the jump.
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– Confirming its commitment to style and performance, Pontiac introduced a show car version of an all-new, rear-wheel-drive performance sedan at the Chicago Auto Show. The 2008 Pontiac G8 will be available in dealerships early next year.

"With the balance of rear-wheel drive and the availability of V-8 power, the G8 represents another step in Pontiac 's commitment to its performance DNA," said John Larson, Pontiac general manager. "Added to the Solstice and the recently announced additions of the G6 and Torrent to the GXP series, the G8 demonstrates that Pontiac has never been more serious about the business of performance – and we expect this vehicle to be very competitive in the segment, even against cars that cost far more."

The G8 is the first North American application of GM's new global rear-wheel-drive architecture developed by Holden, GM's Australian subsidiary.

G8 GT show car details

The G8 show car unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show is representative of the production GT model, including use of the 362-horsepower (270 kW) 6.0L V-8 engine and optional six-speed manual transmission. The show car also features some unique items not found on the production model, including:

* Twenty-inch "shadow chrome" wheels and performance tires
* Ride height lowered approximately half-inch
* High-performance brake rotors with painted brake calipers
* Custom interior trim color, including a leather-wrapped dash
* Exclusive exterior paint color: Phantom Grey
* Concept of "modernized" Pontiac badge, to gauge public opinion.

Production model details

The 2008 Pontiac G8 lineup will offer two models: G8 and G8 GT. Each will come with a host of standard performance, convenience and safety features, including:
  • Four-wheel independent suspension
  • Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and traction control
  • Electronic stability control
  • 18-inch aluminum wheels (19-inch wheels available with sport package)
  • Seat-mounted thorax air bags and dual-stage frontal air bags for front passengers, with automatic passenger sensing system
  • Roof rail side-impact air bags for both seating rows
  • OnStar
  • XM Satellite Radio
  • Power-adjustable front seats
  • Fog lamps
  • Chrome exhaust tips
  • Rear lip spoiler
A sport package will be available for both models and adds features such as specific wheels – including 19-inch aluminum wheels and performance tires on GT – a rear wing spoiler, leather shift knob, leather-wrapped steering wheel and alloy pedals.


The G8 has a progressive styling package highlighted by strong Pontiac design cues, such as a dual-port grille, fog lamps, bold wheels and a confident, wheels-at-the-corners stance. The design accents the car's performance lineage, with fenders that flare over the wheels, seemingly hugging the wide tires and enhancing the sporting stance.

Distinctive elements include hood scoops and front fender vents, as well as projector-beam headlamps housed in crystal-clear lenses. At the rear, jewel-like taillamps also are mounted in housings and feature bright detail work surrounding the red lighting elements. G8 models have red taillamp lenses and twin chrome exhaust outlets, while G8 GT models feature clear taillamp lenses and quad chrome exhaust tips. All models have an antenna mounted at the rear of the roof.


The base G8 model receives a 3.6L DOHC V-6 with variable valve timing, rated at 261 horsepower (194 kW). It is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode.

The G8 GT is powered by a uniquely configured 6.0L small-block V-8, rated at 362 horsepower (270 kW) and 391 lb.-ft. of torque (530 Nm). A six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode is standard and features the fuel-saving Active Fuel Management system, which enhances fuel economy by alternating between eight- and four-cylinder power. An optional six-speed manual transmission will be available soon after launch.

A limited-slip rear differential is standard with GT models.

Suspension system

A 114.8-inch (2915 mm) wheelbase, wide front ( 62.7 inches / 1592 mm) and rear ( 63.3 inches / 1608 mm) tracks, and a fully adjustable, four-wheel independent suspension system combine to give the G8 a confident, sharp driving experience.

The four-wheel independent suspension system employs a MacPherson strut design in the front and a four-link coil-over-shock design in the rear. Tuning is specific between the base and GT models, but both models use a direct-acting front stabilizer bar, decoupled rear stabilizer bar and lateral ball joints on the rear suspension. This system delivers increased lateral stiffness for enhanced handling.

The front suspension features fully adjustable caster, camber and toe; the rear suspension has fully adjustable camber and toe, which enables more precise, tailored suspension tuning.

Brake system

A four-wheel disc brake system includes standard anti-lock and traction control features and is partnered with a standard electronic stability control system. Both the base and GT models feature vented front and rear disc rotors, with twin-piston alloy calipers in front; the rear brakes feature alloy calipers with single-piston actuation. The brakes are approximately one-inch larger on the higher-performance GT model.


Designed to meld form and function with world-class fit and finish, the G8's interior delivers both comfort and convenience, packaged in a level of sophistication not often found in its price range. A driver-oriented instrument cluster positions the gauges for easy, direct line of sight; an electronic driver information center is located between the large, round tachometer and speedometer.

Attention to detail includes jewel-like instruments, selective use of satin and chrome trim and rich-feeling, grained textures throughout. The instrument cluster glows with crisp, white light on the primary instruments and Pontiac 's signature red lighting illuminates the rest of the instrument panel cluster.

The seats offer firm support to hold occupants in place during aggressive cornering; all seats were designed to deliver excellent comfort during long drives. Cloth seating surfaces are standard, with heated leather seating available. G8 GT models will also offer an optional two-tone cloth or leather combination that pairs black with either red or blue inserts and color-matched instrument faces on certain exterior color combinations.



CHICAGO – The 2008 Pontiac G8 performance sedan is built on GM's new, global rear-wheel-drive architecture. With the input of Pontiac and GM North America, the G8 was developed in Australia, under the direction of Holden's engineering department.

Taking advantage of GM's global centers of engineering expertise, a series of vehicle architectures are being developed that can be easily adapted to the unique vehicle requirements of various regions. For example, global truck architectures are being developed in North America while midsize vehicle architectures are created in Europe .

"The rear-wheel drive engineering team has put together a simply spectacular car that captures the essence of Pontiac," said John Larson, Pontiac general manager. "We believe that the Pontiac G8 will rival competitors costing far more."

The Holden-engineered global rear-wheel drive architecture was designed to deliver world-class levels of strength and refinement, along with crisp driving dynamics, while serving as the foundation for vehicles sold in a wide variety of climates and road conditions around the world – from the desert-like desolation of Australia 's Outback to the frost-heaved highways of North America 's cold regions.

"We set out to lift the bar on what could be achieved with quality and refinement," said Tony Hyde, Holden executive director of engineering. "We have gone over this car time and time again to reduce gaps and margins, ensuring that every fit is crisp and tight."

For North American customers, the result is a tautly-designed rear-wheel-drive performance sedan that is ideally suited for Pontiac customers.

"We spent many hours refining the chassis to create that unique blend of steering precision, vehicle balance and handling that we believe driving enthusiasts will love," said Doug Houlihan, G8 chief engineer.

Global, balanced architecture

The new global rear-wheel-drive architecture used for the G8 was designed to accommodate production for both left-hand drive and right-hand drive markets around the world. To ensure durability for the vast array of driving conditions and climates, the new architecture was designed with a robust, protected electrical system, superior climate control system and noise/vibration-isolating suspension systems.

Among the new architecture's design attributes is a layout that promotes a nearly 50/50 front-to-rear weight balance ratio, thanks to design features that include a steering rack mounted ahead of the front axle, engines mounted low and rearward in the front chassis cradle and a rear-mounted battery.

Stiff structure

GM's new rear-drive architecture has an exceptionally strong unitized chassis/body structure, including advanced-strength steel used in more than 80 percent of its construction. This strong foundation enables several factors than benefit the G8's driving experience, including smoother, more solid ride characteristics and more precise suspension tuning, as the stiffer structure allows engineers to tune the suspension without having to account for chassis flex.

The stiff structure also enhances safety, as it helps absorb crash energy through a multiple load path strategy that includes optimized front-end and rear-end deformation zones. (See safety section below.)

Chassis and suspension

A unique, four-wheel independent suspension system is integrated with the G8's structure, and is the result of eight years of development. It uses the strength of the body structure to enhance the driving experience through optimized steering, handling and driving control.

The G8 rides on a long, 114.8-inch (2,915 mm) wheelbase, with the wheels set wide on 62.7-inch (1,592 mm) front and 63.3-inch (1,608 mm) rear tracks. The front suspension features a multi-link, strut-type design that incorporates a direct-acting stabilizer bar, while the rear suspension uses a four-link independent design, with coil springs over shocks and a decoupled stabilizer bar.

The front suspension uses a hydraulically damped bushing on the forward end of the tension link for improved ride isolation. The lateral link feature a rubber spherical joint that enhances lateral stiffness. Camber, caster and toe are fully adjustable.

With the rear suspension, a high degree of lateral stiffness is achieved with the use of two lateral ball joints per side. A rubber-damped suspension frame further isolates the body structure from noise, vibration and road harshness.

Steering and braking

The steering rack is mounted forward of the front axle centerline – with dual lower links and individual ball joints at the outer ends – which enhances the balanced feel of the car while also contributing to a more direct steering feel. Steering rates are tuned specifically for the V-6-powered base and V-8-powered GT models.

Matching the vehicle's handling and steering agility is a carefully tailored brake system that uses four-wheel discs sized to match each model's performance. The higher-performance capability of the V-8-powered GT, for example, has larger brakes than the V-6 base model. The brakes are integrated with a standard electronic stability control system.

The basic brake design for all models includes twin-piston front alloy calipers and vented disc rotors, and single-piston, alloy rear calipers with vented disc rotors. ABS is standard.


Safety was one of the foremost goals in the design of the G8's architecture. It combines a sturdy, crash-absorbing body structure and state-of-the-art passenger protection technology. Examples of these elements include:

  • Efficient, energy-absorbing front structure and a strong occupant safety cage
  • Six standard air bags, including dual-stage frontal air bags, thorax air bags for front-seat passengers and roof rail-mounted head curtain air bags for both seating rows
  • Multiple air bag sensors: two electronic front sensors and two side-impact sensors, all connected to a sensing diagnostic module
  • Front safety belts with load limiters and dual pretensioners
  • Ride-down steering column and breakaway pedal system
  • Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS.
An electronic stability control system is standard on all models, as is full-function traction control. These features bolster driver control during certain driving conditions, which can help avoid a crash.

Safety development included tests that represented occupants ranging in size from a six-month-old baby to a 95 th percentile adult male. Sixty-one physical vehicle safety tests were performed with the variety of test dummies, which helped optimize the structure's front and rear crush zones.


GM's global rear-wheel-drive architecture underwent some of the longest and most stringent testing and validation procedures undertaken by General Motors, which helped ensure its strength, safety and reliability in markets around the world. These procedures included:
  • More than 2.1 million miles (3.4 million km) of equivalent road evaluation
  • Approximately 5,000 hours of virtual safety tests
  • Seventy-nine physical safety tests
  • Approximately 41,000 hours of electrical system tests
  • Approximately 11,000 subsystem validation tests and activities
Additional details

The G8's new rear-drive architecture also incorporates a host of design and technology details that bolster comfort, convenience and quality. They include:
  • A new electrical system that supports OnStar and XM Satellite Radio
  • A rear-mounted battery that offers increased protection from the elements and improves vehicle weight distribution
  • A contemporary "down and forward" instrument panel design that enhances outward visibility and provides a roomier, airy cabin environment
  • An all-new climate control system with multiple heating/cooling ducts, up to 20 fan speeds in the base configuration, and infinite speed settings in the optional dual zone climate system
  • A new family of premium radio systems with available color screen display
  • A unique four-bar deck lid hinge design reduces trunk space intrusion for increased cargo capacity.




Pontiac G8 and G8 GT

Body style / driveline:

5-passenger, front-engine, rear-drive sedan


unitized body frame, 1- and 2-sided galvanized steel

EPA vehicle class:

midsize sedan

Manufacturing location:

Adelaide, Australia

Key competitors:

Nissan Maxima, Dodge Charger


3.6L V-6 (LY7)

6.0L V-8 (L76)





3.6L V-6

6.0L V-8

Displacement (cu in / cc):

217 / 3564

364 / 5967

Bore & stroke (in / mm):

3.70 x 3.37 / 94 x 85.6

3.99 x 3.62 / 101.3 x 92

Block material:

cast aluminum w/ cast-in-place iron bore liners

cast aluminum w/ cast-in-place iron bore liners

Cylinder head material:




dual overhead camshafts, 4 valves per cylinder, continuously variable valve timing

valve-in-head; 2 valves per cylinder; roller lifters

Ignition system:

electronic individual coil-on-plug; individual cylinder knock control and extended-life platinum-tipped spark plugs

high-energy distributorless ignition; solid state direct-fire ignition w/ coil near plug and integrated ignition

Fuel delivery:

returnless, multi-port fuel injection

returnless, multi-port fuel injection

Compression ratio:



Horsepower (hp / kW @ rpm):

261 / 194 @ 6300 rpm*

362 / 270 @ 5700*

Torque (lb-ft / Nm @ rpm):

250 / 340 @ 3200 rpm*

391 / 530 @ 4400*

Recommended fuel:

regular unleaded

regular unleaded

Maximum engine speed (rpm):



Emissions controls:

evaporative system, single close-coupled catalytic converter, equal-length exhaust, single underfloor catalytic converter, positive crankcase ventilation, intake and exhaust cam phasers, electronic throttle control

evaporative system, close-coupled catalytic converters, positive crankcase ventilation, electronic throttle control

Estimated fuel economy:





Hydra-Matic 5L40 5-spd automatic

Hydra-Matic 6L80 6-speed automatic

TR6060- six-speed manual

Gear ratios (:1):





























Final drive ratio:






multi-link MacPherson strut; direct-acting stabilizer bar; progressive-rate coil springs; fully adjustable camber, caster and toe


four-link independent; progressive-rate coil springs over shocks; stabilizer bar; fully adjustable camber and toe

Steering type:

variable-ratio rack-and-pinion

Steering ratio:

46-53 mm per revolution

Steering wheel turns, lock-to-lock:


Turning circle, curb-to-curb (ft / m):

37.4 / 11.4



four-wheel disc w/ ABS; ventilated front and rear rotors; twin-piston front calipers; single piston alloy rear calipers

Rotor diameter (in / mm):

G8 front: 11.73 / 298
G8 rear: 11.89 / 302
G8 GT front: 12.64 / 321
G8 GT rear: 12.76 / 324




Wheel size and type:

18 x 8-inch painted aluminum

18 x 8-inch painted aluminum (std); 19 x 8-inch painted aluminum (opt)



P245/45R18 (std); P245/40R19 (opt)


Wheelbase (in / mm):

114.8 / 2915

Overall length (in / mm):

196.1 / 4982

Overall width (in / mm):

74.8 / 1899

Overall height (in / mm):

57.7 / 1465

Track (in / mm):

front: 62.7 / 1592
rear: 63.3 / 1608

Curb weight (lb / kg):

Base: 3885 / 1762
GT: 3995 / 1812


Seating capacity (front / rear):

2 / 3

Headroom (in / mm):

front: 38.7 / 989
rear: 38 / 965

Legroom (in / mm):

front: 42.2 / 1071
rear: 39.4 / 1001

Shoulder room (in / mm):

front: 59.1 / 1501
rear: 59.1 / 1500

Hip room (in / mm):

front: 56.7 / 1439
rear: 58 / 1472


EPA interior volume (cu ft / L):

124.5 / 3528

Cargo volume (cu ft / L):

17.5 / 496

Trailer towing maximum (lb / kg):

1000 / 454

Fuel tank (gal / L):

19.2 / 72.6

Engine oil (qt / L):

3.6L: 7.6 / 7.2
6.0L: 8.9 / 8.5

Cooling system (qt / L):

3.6L: 10.8 / 10.2
6.0L: 11.4 / 10.8

*Pending SAE certification.

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