Walkaround: 2008 Pontiac G8 GT

At the East Coast edition of the 2008 GM Collection, El General had one of his preproduction Pontiac G8 GT sedans on display for everyone’s inspection. The car on hand was a red GT with an automatic transmission, the revised silver Pontiac badge, black leather seating, and an automatic transmission. Unfortunately, the G8 at the event was eye candy only — no driving allowed. Still, it was unlocked, and I was able to check out the production-spec interior up close. Follow the jump for a quick rundown and first impression of how it all looked

The straightforward interior layout is easy on the eyes and very traditional in that most everything you need to use is where you want it to be. Sure to irk some folks, however, are the center-console-mounted window lifts and rearview mirror controls, which are probably concessions made to let the Commodore be easily adapted for global use in LHD and RHD markets. The center stack is highlighted by a Blaupunkt audio/nav system and dual-zone climate controls that look simple to use. The leather seats looked good and were comfortable. I was only able to sample the front seats, however, as the rear doors were locked and the power-unlock appeared to be disabled.

The instrument cluster is pretty no-nonsense: tach & temp on the left, a multifunction display in the middle (which let me know this G8 had 95 miles on the odo), and the speedometer and fuel gauge on the right. I wasn’t smitten with the white-on-grey color scheme used for the two main instruments, as it seemed like it would be difficult to read. GM’s been using a lot of lighting effects for instrumentation of late, however, so it’s entirely possible that these would be illuminated in some manner, even in the daytime. If they aren’t, it seems like a bit of an odd choice. We’ll see how things look when the actual full-production models arrive. The steering wheel looked and felt good in my hands (it was at this time that I was seriously wishing a key was in the ignition, waiting for a twist). Thumbs-up to nice touches like the metal-trimmed pedals and neatly-integrated parking brake handle. My personal preference would be to go for an interior color other than black, such as tan, but it is not available (you can go for a red/black 2-tone, however, on GTs finished in red, white, grey or black). The all-black look, even with the metallic accents, made the cabin seem a bit stark-looking, even though the display car was well-equipped. That’s just a personal preference thing, however, and I’m sure plenty of people disagree with me on color selection. Overall, the interior looks like it’s going to work well for driver and passengers alike.

On the outside, really, what’s there to say? The G8’s great-looking. The front fascia is unmistakably Pontiac, with a little twist. As I said before, the reworked, silver arrowhead badge first shown on the G8 concept was on this car presented to the assembled media. It was positioned between the brand’s signature split grille, which was finished in a honeycomb pattern. That pattern repeats on the openings below the bumper, which are also home to round driving lamps. Viewed head-on, the flared wheel arches seamlessly merge into the front lip spoiler. The effect is very appealing and muscular in person. I’ll admit to liking how the hood scoops looked, too. Viewed in profile, you see a nicely proportioned sedan with split-spoke 18″ alloys in the wheel wells. The rear is capped off by a spoiler on the trunklid and serious-looking twin-tipped exhaust outlets separated by a blacked-out bumper insert.

The biggest tease of the day came when I returned to the parking lot after a few hours spent at the test-drive location (about a 20 minute drive away). As I parked the Buick Enclave I drove back to the hotel parking lot/staging area, the G8 was sitting right in front of me, having been moved from its display area on the grass from earlier in the day. As I handed the Buick’s keys to one of GM’s media fleet staffers who was wrangling the returning cars, I pointed at the G8 and said, “Tell me you have the keys to it.” He frowned, looking as disappointed as I felt, saying, “I don’t have ’em. I don’t know where they are — it was already there when I got here, too.”

I said I would have been happy just to hear it, if nothing else. “Don’t worry,” he replied. “When these come out, we’ll have them, and you’ll get your shot.”

Boy. Waiting sucks.

All Photos ©2007 Alex Núñez / Weblogs, Inc.