The development cost savings for GM to transfer an existing platform to a new model are substantial.
Bob Lutz was driving a Holden Monaro while he was in Australia. That came became the Pontiac GTO. GM had brought a Holden product called the GTO back to the U.S. in 2004. Actually, it is a good sports car, unfortunately the GTO did not sell well and production was cancelled in 2006.
He decided next to use the Holden VE Commodore as the GM Zeta platform, which is used for the Pontiac G8. Going back to the 1960's and early 1970's, Pontiac was GM's performance division. The Pontiac Tempest with a 389 CI 6.5 liter motor started the muscle car craze in the United States. Then Pontiac followed with the GTO, which was a hot car during that period.
Between then and now GM seems to have lost the marketing vision for the Pontiac Division. GM basically turned Pontiac from the performance division into another front drive bland rental car manufacturer.
Now the G8 is the first Pontiac in recent memory that evokes those images from the 1960's. The Pontiac G8 was on the shortly list for the North American Car of Year Award in 2009. Check out the Pontiac G8 video
The G8 is a car enthusiasts car, reminiscent of a BMW. The car drives well, it is fast, handles well and stops well. The GT comes with a 361 hp 6.0 liter V8, which propels the car from 0-60 in just over 5 seconds, with the quarter mile time of 13.5 seconds. Note the Pontiac G8 GT exhaust note!
The front exterior is nicely styled with the functional hood scoops. The seats in the G8 are excellent. The bolstering holds you in during cornering meanwhile the seats are supportive at the same time.
The interior is a cut above of GM standards. The interior design and materials although competent are not up to BMW standards.
The GXP version has a LS3 6.0 liter Corvette motor which takes the car 0-60 in 4.5 seconds. The GXP also has a 6-speed manual available as an option. Check out the GXP video.
In my opinion, this is a poor mans BMW. The Pontiac G8 GT starts at $31,755 and the GXP starts at $37,610. It has the interior room and performance of a a 5-series BMW V8 at a stripped 3-series price. My hope is that this model survives the difficult financial times. Shown below is the GXP model.