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2009 Pontiac G8

Sleek 2009 Pontiac G8

The G8, a North American version of the Holden Commodore built in Australia, came ashore midway through the ’08 model year as a 256-hp V6-powered base model and in the GT format that features a 6.0-liter 361-hp generation IV V8.

The 6.2-liter LS3 engine allows the GXP to assume top-dog status over the GT by putting out 415 hp and an equal amount of torque. In fact, the GXP is the most powerful Pontiac ever. The company claims 0-to-60 mph times of 4.7 seconds (about a half-second quicker than the GT) and a 13-flat quarter-mile time at around 108 mph.

The G8 GT’s 6.0-liter V8 and the GXP’s 6.2-liter engine both have aluminum blocks with cast-in-place iron cylinder liners. But the larger LS3 features a 4.06-in. versus 3.99-in. bore with an identical 3.62-in stroke. High-flow cylinder heads with larger valves and a revised valvetrain with offset intake rocker arms combine with the larger diameter, higher rpm pistons to allow the LS3 to rev to a 6600 rpm redline versus the 6000 rpm limit of the 6.0-liter GT engine. Besides better breathing, the LS3 also benefits from a high-flow intake manifold and high-flow fuel injectors. Compression ratio also gets bumped to 10.7:1 versus 10.4:1, enough to require premium fuel. Conspiracy theorists, along with the merely curious, should know that the 15 additional horses listed for this same engine in the Corvette are the result of less restrictive exhaust tuning.

A Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic with 3.27:1 final drive ratio (versus the GT’s 2.92:1) comes standard on the GXP. The GXP is the only G8 model to offer a six-speed manual transmission as an option in the form of a Tremec TR6060 with 3.70:1 rear gearing. A limited-slip differential is standard on all GXPs.

Only minor tinkering and a few badges were added to the G8’s already aggressive exterior to distinguish the GXP from its siblings. The lower front fascia has an enhanced splitter while at the rear a black air diffuser sits below the bumper between the twin dual-exhaust outlets. Interior tweaks include alloy-trimmed racing pedals and GXP-logo-embroidered seats with optional two-tone leather.

Rating: ★★★★

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