TTAC - LS3 Pontiac G8 GXP

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    If you want a large sedan with a manual transmission, then the G8 GXP is not only the best game in town, it’s the only game in town.

    [​IMG]

    By Michael Karesh
    April 27, 2009

    This site is not generally known as a fan of GM’s cars. And yet TTAC has lavished much love upon Pontiac’s thunder from down under: the G8 GT. The general line: if the 361-horsepower V8 version is magic, the 415-horsepower GXP should be an automotive miracle. Especially as the GXP offers the option of a manual gearbox. So, did Pontiac save its best car ever for last?

    The Pontiac G8 GXP includes model-specific 19-inch wheels and a more aggressive front fascia. If you were expecting something more distinctive, you’re SOL. Just like the G8 GT most people will mistake it for, the GXP is a tasteful (aside from the hood scoops) homage to BMW’s E46 M3—that lacks the visual punch of Chrysler’s large SRT sedans. For all the talk that tastefully reserved pre-Bangle BMWs were da bomb, the Pontiac G8 proves that subtle styling doesn’t attract buyers to a new model.

    The G8 GXP’s roomy (this is a LARGE sedan) cabin is virtually identical to that of other G8s. It’s dark and functional (i.e. dreadfully austere). Another homage to the way BMWs used to be? Like those traditional Bimmer interiors, the G8’s cabin says “only serious drivers need apply.” Well, there’s one exception: the seats. They’re comfortable, but as in other G8s the side bolsters could be more aggressive.

    The 361-horsepower G8 GT doesn’t feel as quick as the specs suggest. Blame an overly muffled exhaust and an insufficiently responsive automatic transmission. The GXP provides solutions: another 54 horsepower, a louder (thankfully only when you push it) exhaust system and the option of a six-speed manual transmission. Of the three, the extra horses are probably least necessary, and probably aren’t worth the toll they take on fuel economy.

    [Quick aside: the G8 GXP's EPA ratings fall from 15/24 to 13/20, incurring a $1,700 gas guzzler tax. The problem isn’t so much the extra displacement as the elimination of cylinder deactivation. Not a good call with the automatic, but probably unavoidable with the manual. To further maximize the EPA ratings (how bad would they have been otherwise?), the manual shifter skips from first to fourth in relaxed driving. Diehard pistonheads may complain; in practice, it's not an issue. If you’re not pushing the car, the engine has more than enough low-end torque to motivate the G9 GXP even in fourth gear. If you are pushing the car, the shifter won’t skip second and third.]

    The Pontiac G8 GXP’s medium-throw shifter and low-effort clutch don’t annoy in traffic or frustrate in hard driving. You won’t mistake them for those in a Miata or S2000, but they’re far better than those in the Pontiac GTO and first-gen CTS-V. Again, pair a manual cog-swapper with the G8 GXP’s appropriately throaty 415-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 and you’ve got a large sedan that not only is quick, but feels quick. Need to scrub some speed? Big GXP-only Brembos are easily up to the task.

    Get on the gas in a turn, and oversteer happens. No surprise, given the pounds-feet in play. And yet the G8 GXP won’t be coming soon to a ditch near you. Especially with the direct linkage provided by the manual transmission, the G8 GXP oversteers in such a predictable linear fashion that right-foot steering is the default option.

    Push too hard despite clear feedback through the seat of your pants? A touch of countersteer restores your intended line. (The standard stability control doesn’t kill the fun until it stops being fun.) Though the steering isn’t quite as communicative as the chassis, the G8 GXP’s handling could hardly be more intuitive. Step up the tempo, and the G8 shrinks around you. It feels much more tossable than a 196-inch-long, two-ton sedan has any right to. Even some of the world’s thickest A-pillars barely dent driver confidence. Simply put: you won’t find a large sedan that’s more fun to drive.

    The GXP’s suspension tuning is just a scosh firmer than the GT’s. Those seeking a hardcore feel might be disappointed. Those seeking a livable ride won’t.

    And so, while the G8 GXP could make a stronger styling statement, it’s the best all-around driver’s car the brand has ever offered. Still, there are two big problems. First, the G8 GT is nearly as much fun to drive, while getting substantially better gas mileage and costing over $6k less. Clutch-avoiders should buy the GT, then spend a fraction of the savings on a sweet-sounding aftermarket exhaust.

    But if you want a large sedan with a manual transmission, then the G8 GXP is not only the best game in town, it’s the only game in town. Which brings us to the second big problem: this game is leaving town. With the Pontiac brand headed for the dustbin, all G8s will soon be gone. Get one while you can.

    Review Summary

    [​IMG]

    PERFORMANCE:
    Add 54 more horsepower and a manual transmission to an already fast car...
    RIDE:
    Surprisingly compliant for a high-performance sedan.
    HANDLING:
    Just a bit better than the G8 GT, but then the G8 GT was already about as agile as a large sedan gets.
    EXTERIOR:
    Tastefully attractive, but overly derivative.
    INTERIOR:
    $40,000 sedans don't get more basic.
    FIT AND FINISH:
    No apparent flaws, but doesn't scream $40,000, either.
    TOYS:
    No nav, no power seat reclinders.
    DESIRABILITY:
    For those who place the driving experience above all else, this is it. Much less desireable for those seeking features or luxury.
    MILEAGE:
    13/20
    PRICE AS TESTED:
    $41,590
    OVERALL:
    With the manual transmission, driving enjoyment trumps all weaknesses.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. RyRy

    RyRy Active Member

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    GM finally gets it right and then ends it... :ugh:
     
  3. JM Popaleetus

    JM Popaleetus OT Supporter

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    :roflw:

    Too bad only ~1000 G8 GXPs are in the US, these are going to be a real rare collectors car.
     
  4. z284pwr

    z284pwr OT Supporter

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    They really needed to sell this thing as a Chebby. It would have done so much better. Consider they sell what 2x the Chevys as they do the rest of GM product lines combined, it would have had a much better chance of being successful. Could have actually brought some dignity back to that of the Impala SS. :wtc:
    Would have left other manufactures wonder WTF they can do to compete with it.
     
  5. BlazinBlazer Guy

    BlazinBlazer Guy Witness to The De-Evolution of Mankind.

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    Makes me want one BAD...

    Wonder how good of a deal I can convince a dealer to give me? I think it will be a wise purchase if I can swing it for the right kind of numbers.
     
  6. Bernout

    Bernout OT Supporter

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    This is a truly worthy Impala replacement or dare I say -- return of the Chevelle SS. But with GM's woes right now we won't see anything like this again for many years. 2015, maybe.
     
  7. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    There are some pretty damn good deals out there on these if you look. I am looking around right now.

    There's a 3,000 rebate off any G8 right now including these. One dealer I'm corresponding with took another 2,000 off on top of that.
     
  8. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Apparently 1,864 GXPs were made before production stopped.
     
  9. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    So are you going to buy that one that you got the good quote on, or what?
     
  10. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    There's three I got good prices on. Just going through the numbers on what I would have to get on my GT to make it work out.
     
  11. BlazinBlazer Guy

    BlazinBlazer Guy Witness to The De-Evolution of Mankind.

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    Awesome deal! So basically either 5K off or 2K off plus 0% financing for 60 months.... that might actually not be too bad....
     
  12. nindia

    nindia OT Supporter

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    fuckin sex

    i've never wanted a pontiac so bad before
     
  13. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    I really wish I could justify buying a new car, because I really do like the G8. I hope they keep it and call it the Chevelle or something, because I've seen people and reviewers who never considered liking anything GM drooling over this car.

    Sucks they got it right too late.
     
  14. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    expect full update before or after Star Trek tomorrow :squint:
     
  15. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    I dunno how I feel about the new Star Trek movie. It seems to have all of the zaniness and cheesiness of the original series, minus whatever little sophistication the original series had.

    I'm interested to see if it's fantastically popular among people who don't normally like Star Trek, though.
     
  16. CJPA

    CJPA New Member

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    Supposedly the initial feedback says it is...I grew up on ST so I've been locked into seeing it since the first teaser trailer came out. :o

    Anyways, how about that GXP? :hsughno:
     
  17. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Original ST characters > the rest

    And GXP FTW
     
  18. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Yeah, I'd pretty much have to see it too, even if I knew it were going to suck.

    I like the GXP. Anyone want to donate $30,000 to the Passat Relief Fund?
     
  19. BlazinBlazer Guy

    BlazinBlazer Guy Witness to The De-Evolution of Mankind.

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    Sign papers yet? :noes:

    I'm going on Monday to scope out some GTs and GXPs... hopefully I can swing it with a GXP IF I can find one in liquid red with the black/red interior and manual w/o sunroof....:bowdown:
     
  20. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Shouldn't be too hard. Red/red seems to be a very common on GXPs.
     
  21. BlazinBlazer Guy

    BlazinBlazer Guy Witness to The De-Evolution of Mankind.

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    Oh? Most of the red ones I've seen so far have the all-black interior... :hs:

    I'd also go for black with the black/red if I can't find red/red within a reasonable distance. That, or try to figure out what the most rare combination of colors/options is on the GXP and try getting one purely to help with resale 10+ years from now.
     
  22. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    You'll have to look regionally. You can look at what dealers have in stock and what's coming on pontiac.com. I'm looking around AZ, NV, CA, UT and NM.
     

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