2008 Pontiac G8 GT: If the G8 Goes, I'm Moving to Australia
December 08, 2008
When I returned from my Napa Valley adventure in our 2008 Pontiac G8 GT, I'd logged over 1,000 miles. It's only 400 miles from LA to Napa, so chalk the extra 200 up to the fact that I have no sense of scale when I read a map. If a road looks cool and I'm driving a car that's fit for it, I'll go there even it takes me way off course.
The G8 is certainly fit. I really like the crisp turn-in and the way it feels balanced even through tight turns -- I mean, this is a two-ton car. I like the way the back end will come around if you dip into the power when the stability control is off. I like the weighting of the steering on-center, off-center and at any speed.
Even the brake pedal feel is pretty good, though under moderate inputs on twisty descents, I noticed some light shuddering that suggests the brakes aren't new anymore. The only other thing I'll complain about is that while shifts are quicker and more positive in the transmission's sport and manual modes, there's still some delay. It's not an issue on the highway, but on back roads, you notice it. Wish we had a manual gearbox option as on the Holden and Vauxhall/Opel versions, or the GXP (edit after the fact).
But the only thing that really bothered me during Friday's drive was the traffic on Highway 29 near Calistoga. I just wanted some alone time with the G8, OK? So I drove through San Francisco so I could get some more time on lovely Skyline Blvd. That landed me on Highway 85 just in time for evening gridlock. I didn't get back to LA until 11 p.m.
Fortunately, the driving position in the G8 is excellent and helped ward off fatigue. The cowl is low, the funky steering wheel is actually comfortable to hold, and though the back cushion could stand some more firm support, the driver seat is pretty good, too. The only addition I'd like in here is a nav system, which would have remedied my cartographical challenges.
Best tank on trip was 20.9 mpg; worst was 17.6 mpg. And the quart of oil I added in St. Helena was exactly what the car needed -- oil level is now exactly where it should be.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 14,706 miles