2008 Pontiac G8 Long Term Road Test

2008 Pontiac G8 GT: V6 Family Sedans, Eat Your Hearts Out

August 25, 2008

G8 016 blog.jpg

Most family sedans these days are of the four-cylinder variety, and for good reason: modern four-bangers generally have decent pickup, they're more affordable, and their fuel economy is superior. So people who buy V6-powered family sedans are a special breed. They want something quicker, something sportier perhaps -- and they're not afraid to pay for it, whether at the dealership or the gas pump.

After a tire-smoke-obscured weekend in our long-term G8 GT, I have this to say to would-be V6 family sedan buyers: Buy the G8 GT instead.

G8 007 blog.jpg Don't get me wrong, the G8 isn't perfect. Check out the misaligned panel here -- it's one of several on the G8's dash. Road noise is prominent (though probably not any worse than in our long-term Accord), and seat comfort on long trips is just okay. But as I said in an earlier post about this car, the G8 GT is so good that I don't really care.

Actually, "good" doesn't do this car justice. If you remember what was printed inside Jules' wallet in Pulp Fiction, well, that's the G8 GT in a nutshell. Want to go through an intersection (on our legendary closed course) sideways? Creep forward, turn wheel, plant right foot. Want to lay a patch the length of a city block? Stand on brake, depress throttle, release brake, watch for cops. Want to make rapid progress on a serpentine road? The G8 GT's got you covered -- despite its prodigious length (which, laudably, you usually don't feel in tight corners), this sharp-steering beast has more "Zoom-Zoom" than the entire family sedan segment put together. Oh, and that big 'ol V8 will catapult you from 60 to 100 mph faster than you can say, "But officer, it sounded so mean!"

Beyond the performance realm, the G8's back seat puts any mainstream family sedan's to shame with its near limo-like legroom. The rear wheelwells intrude on trunk width, but there's plenty of room lengthwise. I personally think the console-mounted window and mirror switchgear is preferable to the door-mounted variety, and generally I have no problem with the vaguely Audi-inspired interior (well, okay, I'll jump on the bandwagon and say the Atari gauges must go). My only real complaint concerns the Blaupunkt stereo, which frankly stinks relative to competing systems.

The elephant in this room works for the EPA. At 15 mpg city and 24 highway, the G8 GT...well, surprisingly, it only trails the Mazda 6 s by two city and one highway mpg (17/25). Granted, the Mazda's about as inefficient as it gets in that segment, but you know, we've been having a pretty hard time getting close to the EPA's 29 mpg highway estimate for our Accord. Of course, our G8's lifetime mileage is a paltry 16.9 (versus the Accord's 21.1 mpg at last check), but that has a lot to do with our affinity for the abovementioned antisocial behaviors. I filled up after returning from Big Bear Lake yesterday, and I had consumed 5.3 gallons over 126 miles, which is right on the EPA's 24 mpg highway estimate.

The G8 GT starts at $30,675 for 2009, which is roughly what an optioned-out V6 Mazda 6, Altima or Accord will run you. I'd take the G8 in a heartbeat. Wouldn't you?

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 8,309 miles

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2008 Pontiac G8 in NJ is:

$224 per month*
* Explanation