Pontiac's new G8 is a rebranded version of the Australian Holden VE Commodore, a GM company. The G8 GT features a big V-8 under the hood, but a V-6 version is also available.
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The styling of the G8 echoes the muscle under the hood. The front end is neatly squared off, and hood vents give it a brutish look.
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The 6-liter V-8 isn't the best on fuel economy, but it does get the car to 60 mph in just over 5 seconds. It produces 361 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque.
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The G8 incorporates modern lines in its body styling, with a short front overhang and a nicely curved roofline, allowing for a roomy cabin.
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The G8 takes a few styling cues from BMW. The wide front fender flares and vents are reminiscent of the BMW 5-series, not a bad car from which to take inspiration.
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The G8 incorporates a limited slip differential and an independent suspension in front and back. We found it fairly solid on winding roads, although it leans in the corners.
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The G8 would fit four, with luggage, comfortably. The trunk affords a good amount of cargo space, and there is a pass-through in the center of the rear seats.
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The rear tail lights get these covers, not a common feature on American cars, courtesy of its Australian heritage.
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The Premium package in our test car added leather seats and surfaces in the cabin, and the Sport package wrapped the steering wheel in leather. Overall, the cabin had a good feel, not luxurious, but solid.
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The thick steering wheel gets controls for audio and center display information. Phone buttons on the right make it look like the car has Bluetooth, but these merely activate OnStar and mute the audio system.
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The sport mode for the six-speed automatic helps the car's acceleration, but lack of a redline marking on the tachometer limits the usefulness of the manual mode.
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You can change the speedometer units to kilometers per hour with a setting in the instrument cluster. The gauges have a clean, sporty design.
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The center instrument cluster display shows a variety of information, such as tire pressure and fuel economy, and lets you set some unique functions, such as a rest reminder and a speed warning.
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This LED at the top of the stack shows these virtual gauges for battery charge and oil pressure. It seems like a waste of space, and we assume that there are other display options on the original Holden model.
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We initially assumed that this LCD meant a navigation system, but navigation is only available through OnStar in the G8. In-dash navigation may be available in the Holden, but in the G8, the LCD merely shows audio information.
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The interface for browsing MP3 CDs lets you see a lot of information, including folder lists, but it is not well-organized. We found ourselves having to drill down a few menus to get to music selection.
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We liked the sound from the Blaupunkt audio system. There are a number of equalizer settings stored in the system for a variety of different music styles.
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When using the steering wheel button to activate OnStar, the screen shows this voice message.
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Along with the button on the steering wheel, GM adds OnStar buttons to the mirror bezel, a feature you won't see on the Holden.
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