Holden currently sells the Commodore sedan in the U.S. as the Pontiac G8. Now two more models are on their way: the high performance GXP and the very Australian ute.

No, no, not the El Camino
When Holden first announced that they were sending Commodore sedans to the U.S. as Pontiacs, many speculated whether the Ute was going to be sent as a Chevy El Camino. Well, we now know, it's not; it's going as the Pontiac G8 sport truck.

Before you start cringing, the "sport truck" moniker is only a placeholder. Pontiac have opened a suggestion box for names on their Web site. Submitters will be entered into a sweepstakes to win one of a Pontiac ute, sorry sport truck.

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Pontiac G8 sport truck
Due Stateside in late 2009, the G8 ute will come fitted with a 6.0-litre V8, which in current U.S. trim boasts 269kW of power and 522Nm of torque. So far, G8s only come with a six-speed automatic transmission, despite the fact that Aussie Commodores are also offered with a six-speed manual. On the upside, the G8 comes with cylinder deactivation, which isn't yet available on the Commodore, for (slightly) improved fuel economy.

Pricing has yet to be announced but the V8 G8 GT sedan has a recommended retail price of US$29,995 (AU$32,345) -- much less than the asking price of AU$52,790 for the similar Commodore SS-V.

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Pontiac G8 GXP
Currently there are two models in Pontiac's G8 lineup: the G8, fitted with a 3.6-litre V6; and the G8 GT, which comes with the aforementioned 6.0-litre V8.

To be unveiled at the New York Motor Show at the end of this month, the new GXP model will sit atop the G8 tree when it goes on sale in America at the end of 2008.

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What's 200cc between friends?
Compared with other Commodores/G8s, the GXP gets a (for now) unique engine -- a 6.2-litre V8 pushing out 300kW of power and 546Nm of torque. The GXP will also be the first G8 offered with a six-speed manual transmission, although the current six-speed auto is also on the menu.

Styling differentiation between regular G8s and the GXP runs to a remodelled front air intake, rear diffuser and new alloy wheels, which look suspiciously like those fitted to the HSV GTS.

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Same, same but different
On the outside, the G8 looks much like the Commodore on which it's based, except for the inclusion of Pontiac's "signature" twin-port grille, side markers and a new bonnet with (non-functioning) nostrils.

Take a step inside, however, and you'll be hard pressed to tell the difference between the two. Obviously there's the odd piece of Pontiac badging, left-hand drive and, well, that's about it.

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