2009 Pontiac G8 V6; photo by Grant Yoxon. Click image to enlarge
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By Chris Chase
2009 Pontiac G8
The Pontiac G8 is a full-size sedan introduced in Canada in 2008 as a 2009 model. As the replacement for both the Pontiac Bonneville and Grand Prix, the G8 was arguably a step in the right direction as far as large sport sedans were considered, being rear-wheel drive and available with V8 power.
The G8 reached U.S. Pontiac showrooms a little earlier than in Canada, so a number were sold as 2008 models in the States; this review covers both model years, for the benefit of anyone considering importing a G8 from south of the border.
This car is a great example of a “captive import:” a car built for an overseas market and sold there under one name, and then imported to North America to be sold by a different brand, and by a different name. In this case, the G8 was built in Australia by GM’s Holden subsidiary and sold there as the Commodore VE.
2009 Pontiac G8 GT; photo by Grant Yoxon. Click image to enlarge
That said, the G8 was based on General Motors’ global rear-wheel drive platform that also underpins the Chevrolet Camaro. Like the Camaro, the G8 could be had with either a 3.6-litre V6 engine making 256 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque, or a 6.0-litre V8 with 361 hp and 385 lb-ft. A later addition to the line was a 6.2-litre V8 with 402 hp and 402 lb-ft.
Unfortunately for many enthusiasts, the only choices, at least initially, were automatics: a five-speed with the six-cylinder engine, and a six-speed with the 6.0-litre V8. A top-line GXP model used the 6.2-litre engine and got a six-speed manual transmission to go with it, though the six-speed automatic was an option.
Natural Resources Canada fuel consumption estimates for six-cylinder cars were 12.2/8.0 L/100 km (city/highway), while the 6.0-litre V8 was rated at 14.4/8.4. The figures for the 6.2-litre engine were 16.4/10.1 L/100 km with the six-speed automatic, and 16.4/9.9 with the manual.
2009 Pontiac G8; photos by Grant Yoxon. Click image to enlarge
To this point, serious problems are few, but here are a few items to watch out for in a G8.
A clunk or rattle in the front end of the car indicates the suspension’s lower control arms are on their way out. This is a common fault, and a technical service bulletin (TSB) was issued in the U.S. to address it. Apparently, the problem came back in some early cars which were repaired using the same part design; later repairs were done with redesigned components that have proved more robust.
Another TSB was issued to deal with an out-of-balance driveshaft. Symptoms are a vibration and/or a low-frequency moan or “boom” noise felt/heard around 100 km/h. The fix is pretty simple; details can be seen here and read the entire thread here.
Vibrations/distortion from the rear door stereo speakers are a common complaint at G8Board.com. Some owners say that replacing the speakers with better aftermarket units help, but not always.
The stereo display has an anti-glare coating on it that comes off if rubbed, such as when cleaning fingerprint smudges. Some owners have been successful in getting the display replaced under warranty, while others say they’ve simple dismantled the stereo and finished what they accidentally started, and simply taken all of it off.