The Pontiac G8 GXP, along with the Sport Truck and Solstice Coupe signaled a brighter future for the company when the production models roar off the forecourts from the Fall.
GM car tzar Bob Lutz did a good job of apologising for recent dull-as-dishwater Pontiacs. ‘Pontiac lost its tradition of style and performance. From now on we will only offer vehicles that fulfill the promise.’
The flagship G8 GXP certainly lives up to the boast. It’s a real muscle car thanks to a 6.2-litre V8 delivering more than 400bhp and we’re promised it will sprint to 60mph in well under 5sec. Think of it as the American version of the Vauxhall VXR8 we get over here, only with a newer engine.
The LS3 engine is the newest member of GM’s small-block V8 family, currently rated at 402 horsepower and 402lb ft (pending final SAE certification). It’s a slightly lower-powered version of the V8 used in the base Corvette and promises to hold its own with Chrysler’s SRT gang.
At New York, a burst of applause rippled round the crowd at mention of its optional manual transmission, the new six-speed Tremec TR606. A V6 model will also be offered later.
The GXP’s ride and handling was developed on racetracks and highways around the world, including the Nürburgring. Pontiac claims it ‘rewards the driver with sharp, immediate responses, as well as a well-balanced road feel during spirited driving.’ An America muscle car can do that? Let’s wait and see.