Pontiac's final V8 model came from Australia.
The G8 sedan was easily the last great Pontiac. By the time it launched for the 2008 model year, the Firebird had already been dead for nearly five years and the reborn GTO was dropped two model years prior. All that remained of GM's "excitement" division were the Grand Prix and Montana minivan, hence the G8 was a much-needed addition. Like the GTO coupe, the G8 sedan was imported from Australia and was really just a rebadged Holden Commodore (the GTO was also known as the Holden Monaro).
Unlike the lame front-wheel-drive Bonneville it replaced, the G8 was rear-wheel-drive only, came with standard V8 power and a six-speed manual gearbox, though an automatic was available.
Also like the GTO, the G8 project was the brainchild of Bob Lutz, then GM's vice president of product and resident gearhead. He knew exactly what Pontiac needed but, unfortunately, it was too late to save the brand.
Not long after GM pulled the plug on Pontiac in 2009. The automaker once considered too big to fail filed for bankruptcy. It's a shame both Pontiac and the G8 went out the way they did because there was still potential. The G8's Zeta platform, which also underpinned the fifth-generation Chevy Camaro, was and still is an excellent piece of engineering. But the G8 was a heavy car and the base 3.6-liter V6 with 256 horsepower was bland.
The G8 GT's 6.0-liter V8 with 361 hp was a significant improvement but the G8 GXP, introduced for 2009, was the one to get. Why? For two key reasons: the bigger and more powerful 6.2-liter LS3 V8 and that manual gearbox option; the regular GT was slushbox-only. This was the same 402-hp V8 and Tremec manual used in the C6 Corvette.
Performance was impressive with a 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds and a quarter-mile sprint of 13 seconds flat at 109.6 mph. Aside from the better engine, the GXP was equipped with an upgraded suspension, larger ventilated Brembo disc brakes, and a fake rear diffuser (hey, it looked cool).
Despite all this, just over 1,800 units were sold and the G8 lineup was dead after just two model years. It was later reborn as the Chevrolet SS from 2014 to 2017 but, again, it failed to catch on.
Those who desire a piece of GM history can place a bid for this 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP currently up for auction on Cars and Bids. Unfortunately, it's an automatic model and mileage is pretty high (142,700). But it does have the gorgeous Stryker Blue Metallic paint with an Onyx interior. The auction will come to a close on July 12 and this could turn out to be a pretty decent 402 hp bargain.