HCOTY Nominee: Pontiac G8 GXP

Orange you glad they made a few of these?

HCOTY Nominee: Pontiac G8 GXP
Nominated by: Tomsk
As seen being fawned over by the buff books, car blogs and a funny looking test pattern “Motorweek,” as well as (briefly) sitting on dealer lots.
As a famous electric Lincoln driver and occasional balladeer once sang, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.” Sadly, not all automotive nameplates which have passed or will soon pass into the Great Auto Show in the Sky have adhered to this axiom. Packard ended its run with badge-engineered Studebakers. AMC breathed its last while building Americanized Renault 9s and 11s on assembly lines that once spit out Marlins, Javelins and Oleg Cassini Matadors. Plymouth skidded off this Mortal Coil when its hottest number was a neo-Highboy saddled with a take-it-or-leave-it V6/slushbox combo. And spare a thought for poor Oldsmobile, whose last new model of its 107-year existence was a version of what would arguably turn out to be the sluttiest vehicle platform of this decade.

Thankfully, Pontiac won’t turn out quite the same way. Sure, the G8 GXP (and its more mundane, autotragic-only siblings) have technically been out of production for months, but you can still find a few of these rear-drive sedans (though probably not GXPs) new on remaining dealer lots. And while the base and GT models are okay, the one that’s up for HCOTY honors (Hoonors?) is the double-throwdown GXP. Featuring a 415hp version of the Corvette’s 6.2L LS3 V8 and an available 6-speed manual, the G8 GXP is probably as close as America will come to building an E39 M5. But wait, it wasn’t built here; it was built in Australia, based on the same Holden Commodore that battles the Ford Falcon for racetrack supremacy. That reminds me: Can anyone think of an Aussie-built car that has sold well over here? Me neither.
Anyway, the G8 GXP isn’t my pick so much for how it performs (though it does quite well…at least, it does in Forza 3) but for what it represents. The G8 GXP symbolizes the end of Pontiac, the end of GM’s time as the master of the automotive universe and, I fear, the end of the hoonmobile as we know it. With political forces chasing after big displacement and big body vehicles with carbon-neutral torches and free-range pitchforks in hand, new car buyers will soon have no choice but to get their horsepower jollies from more petit cars with smaller engines packing hardware like turbos and/or direct injection. Hell, we already saw that in another PAH!-infused Poncho that never got to grow up, the Solstice GXP Coupe, though if you want a two-seat sports coupe with a turbo-four, removable roof panels and room for one box of Chinese takeout and nothing else, there are better options. But the G8 GXP packs a roomy interior, a trunk that can handle the deceased prostitute transporting needs of 80% (give or take) of American motorists, a ride that won’t make a PBR rider feel at home, and will probably deliver fuel economy in the mid-20s MPG zone if you’re deft with the loud pedal. But the thing about this car is that it can drop the whole funny-sounding Camry Clark Kent shtick whenever the spirit moves you. Bottom line: If your brain works like ours do and you absolutely have to be a one car household, you can do much, much worse than a G8 GXP. If that isn’t HCOTY-worthy, then what, pray tell, is?

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  1. SBCtorana Avatar

    We are actually getting a lot of the Pontiac style front ends being sent back to Oz since they folded. Also, Holdens in particular have always sold about 50/50 ratio from V8's to sixes so hopefully thats means they'll never die! Seen the older coupe version that gets sold in Britain? Rebadged as Vauxhaull and plus a supercharger. They make about 500hp and are relativlely cheap compared to Mercs and Beemers. Shitty interiors tho…