G8:

New York Auto Show 2008 – 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe

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It’s All About the Look
Pontiac introduced a hardtop version of the extroverted Solstice at this year’s New York auto show, along with the G8 GXP and G8 ST. As cool as it looks, don’t rush to the dealer. Your Solstice coupe won’t be there until early 2009.

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The Solstice coupe looks great. With the same engines and suspension setup as the roadster, you can bet it’ll be just as fun on the road. But Pontiac built in compromises with a lift-off roof panel, liftglass (versus tailgate), and useless but nicely styled rear quarter windows. Yes, small coupes always offer less interior and cargo space and poor visibility compared with sedans and SUVs. Small, sporty coupes (or convertibles) are always compromised. But the compromises don’t need to be this obvious.
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2008 Pontiac G8: Style and Substance

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As you’ve no doubt heard, the Pontiac G8 is but one example of GM’s growing global strategy, built in Australia by GM’s Holden division. Only fully approved in November 2006, production began in November 2007 and the first cars landed on U.S. shores and were being shipped to dealers this week. After seeing the car’s introduction at the 2007 Chicago auto show, we were thrilled to get a chance behind the wheel.

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One of Pontiac’s successes with this project we heard before we even got behind the wheel: The base price is only $27,595; moving to the G8 GT and its V8 engine means you have to shell out $29,995. Fully optioned, the car is less than $33,000. These prices make the G8 an exceptional deal, coming in with a lower MSRP its closest competitor, the Dodge Charger SXT and R/T.
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Don’t let this lineup fool you, Pontiac does offer the G8 in colors other than black or red.

We started the driving day with base G8 and its 256HP 3.6L V6 and five-speed automatic transmission. The V6 gives you usable power, whether merging onto the highway or passing an aged pickup truck on some California two-lane. It is responsive and strong, though a heavy right foot was sometimes necessary to keep the pressure on. The five-speed holds gears to high rpm under heavy throttle, enabling access to all 256HP when you want it, even in Drive. But both versions offer a sport shift. Manumatics aren’t my cup of tea, but GM calibrated these to allow driver-controlled upshifts all the way to redline. Whether five gears of the G8 or six of the G8 GT, the transmissions allow you to pull all you can out of both very willing engines. Along with enough power for entertaining driving, the V6 delivers satisfying exhaust and engine notes.
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