Chicago Auto Show: Pontiac G8 GT Show CarS

Yeah, it's not like you haven't seen the Pontiac G8 before, but GM released the details on its new rear-driveness this morning. As it turns out, the pictured model is a show car, which has a few features the production model won't. It will get a limited-slip diff and the same 6.0-liter V8, producing 362 hp and 391 lb.-ft. of torque. (Under 400 hp? Don't these guys know there's a war on?) It won't have the 20" wheels, lowered ride height, hi-po brakes with painted calipers, custom interior trim color with leather-wrapped dash, that Phantom Grey color, and new, "modernized" Pontiac badge, which the company tacked on as a kind of market research exercise. The base model will get a 261-hp 3.6-liter DOHC V6, which will likely take the sting out of buying from the top of the book. More to come.

Press Release:

ALL-NEW G8 ACCELERATES NEW ERA OF REAR-WHEEL-DRIVE PERFORMANCE AT PONTIAC

CHICAGO - Confirming its commitment to style and performance, Pontiac introduced a show car version of an all-new, rear-wheel-drive performance sedan at the Chicago Auto Show. The 2008 Pontiac G8 will be available in dealerships early next year.

"With the balance of rear-wheel drive and the availability of V-8 power, the G8 represents another step in Pontiac 's commitment to its performance DNA," said John Larson, Pontiac general manager. "Added to the Solstice and the recently announced additions of the G6 and Torrent to the GXP series, the G8 demonstrates that Pontiac has never been more serious about the business of performance - and we expect this vehicle to be very competitive in the segment, even against cars that cost far more."

The G8 is the first North American application of GM's new global rear-wheel-drive architecture developed by Holden, GM's Australian subsidiary.

G8 GT show car details

The G8 show car unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show is representative of the production GT model, including use of the 362-horsepower (270 kW) 6.0L V-8 engine and optional six-speed manual transmission. The show car also features some unique items not found on the production model, including:

* Twenty-inch "shadow chrome" wheels and performance tires
* Ride height lowered approximately half-inch
* High-performance brake rotors with painted brake calipers
* Custom interior trim color, including a leather-wrapped dash
* Exclusive exterior paint color: Phantom Grey
* Concept of "modernized" Pontiac badge, to gauge public opinion.

Production model details

The 2008 Pontiac G8 lineup will offer two models: G8 and G8 GT. Each will come with a host of standard performance, convenience and safety features, including:

* Four-wheel independent suspension
* Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and traction control
* Electronic stability control
* 18-inch aluminum wheels (19-inch wheels available with sport package)
* Seat-mounted thorax air bags and dual-stage frontal air bags for front passengers, with automatic passenger sensing system
* Roof rail side-impact air bags for both seating rows
* OnStar
* XM Satellite Radio
* Power-adjustable front seats
* Fog lamps
* Chrome exhaust tips
* Rear lip spoiler

A sport package will be available for both models and adds features such as specific wheels - including 19-inch aluminum wheels and performance tires on GT - a rear wing spoiler, leather shift knob, leather-wrapped steering wheel and alloy pedals.

Design

The G8 has a progressive styling package highlighted by strong Pontiac design cues, such as a dual-port grille, fog lamps, bold wheels and a confident, wheels-at-the-corners stance. The design accents the car's performance lineage, with fenders that flare over the wheels, seemingly hugging the wide tires and enhancing the sporting stance.

Distinctive elements include hood scoops and front fender vents, as well as projector-beam headlamps housed in crystal-clear lenses. At the rear, jewel-like taillamps also are mounted in housings and feature bright detail work surrounding the red lighting elements. G8 models have red taillamp lenses and twin chrome exhaust outlets, while G8 GT models feature clear taillamp lenses and quad chrome exhaust tips. All models have an antenna mounted at the rear of the roof.

Powertrain

The base G8 model receives a 3.6L DOHC V-6 with variable valve timing, rated at 261 horsepower (194 kW). It is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode.

The G8 GT is powered by a uniquely configured 6.0L small-block V-8, rated at 362 horsepower (270 kW) and 391 lb.-ft. of torque (530 Nm). A six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode is standard and features the fuel-saving Active Fuel Management system, which enhances fuel economy by alternating between eight- and four-cylinder power. An optional six-speed manual transmission will be available soon after launch.

A limited-slip rear differential is standard with GT models.

Suspension system

A 114.8-inch (2915 mm) wheelbase, wide front ( 62.7 inches / 1592 mm) and rear ( 63.3 inches / 1608 mm) tracks, and a fully adjustable, four-wheel independent suspension system combine to give the G8 a confident, sharp driving experience.

The four-wheel independent suspension system employs a MacPherson strut design in the front and a four-link coil-over-shock design in the rear. Tuning is specific between the base and GT models, but both models use a direct-acting front stabilizer bar, decoupled rear stabilizer bar and lateral ball joints on the rear suspension. This system delivers increased lateral stiffness for enhanced handling.

The front suspension features fully adjustable caster, camber and toe; the rear suspension has fully adjustable camber and toe, which enables more precise, tailored suspension tuning.

Brake system

A four-wheel disc brake system includes standard anti-lock and traction control features and is partnered with a standard electronic stability control system. Both the base and GT models feature vented front and rear disc rotors, with twin-piston alloy calipers in front; the rear brakes feature alloy calipers with single-piston actuation. The brakes are approximately one-inch larger on the higher-performance GT model.

Interior

Designed to meld form and function with world-class fit and finish, the G8's interior delivers both comfort and convenience, packaged in a level of sophistication not often found in its price range. A driver-oriented instrument cluster positions the gauges for easy, direct line of sight; an electronic driver information center is located between the large, round tachometer and speedometer.

Attention to detail includes jewel-like instruments, selective use of satin and chrome trim and rich-feeling, grained textures throughout. The instrument cluster glows with crisp, white light on the primary instruments and Pontiac 's signature red lighting illuminates the rest of the instrument panel cluster.

The seats offer firm support to hold occupants in place during aggressive cornering; all seats were designed to deliver excellent comfort during long drives. Cloth seating surfaces are standard, with heated leather seating available. G8 GT models will also offer an optional two-tone cloth or leather combination that pairs black with either red or blue inserts and color-matched instrument faces on certain exterior color combinations.

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More on the Pontiac G8 [internal]