When we first drove an engineering prototype of the Pontiac G8 GT, we were thrilled with it, and for good reason. It is certainly the best four-door five-seater you can buy for less than $30,000, and we're sticking to that overall assessment after our drive in a production G8 GT. It is both fun and practical in a muscle-car way, and nothing else out there can claim the same. ( AW )
On what amounts to our second date, we admit we're noticing a few pimples. For instance, why can't this otherwise very-well-engineered sedan have a more linear throttle feel? Why does it have to jump like a scared kitten whenever a foot gets near the gas pedal? Why can't the brake pedal be similarly linear? And that exterior isn't getting any more exciting to look at with our second gander. Yes, those are nits, and we're picking them.
Maybe it's just so surprisingly good that we're comparing it with cars that cost twice as much and offer twice the refinement. That's not fair. It reminds us a little of the Lexus GS 430/460, where throttle, steering and brake response is just a little overboosted, as if to distract from some perceived flaw. However, the G8 does have a more refined feel than the Dodge Charger and the ancient Ford Crown Victoria, its domestic counterparts. The G8 GT we drove weighed 3995 pounds and offered 51/49 front/rear weight balance, which goes to 50/50 with two people in the front seats.
What this car needs is not more performance, just a moderate adjustment to the prodigious performance it already has. That said, we can't wait to try out the high-performance G8 GXP, packing a 6.2-liter LS3 small-block V8 rated at 402 hp and 402 lb-ft of torque. Pontiac confirmed at the recent New York auto show that the GXP will join the lineup in late 2008 as a 2009 model.