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June 08, 2009

Last of a Legend: 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP New Car Review

09_Pontiac_G8_LV045 Driving this week’s 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP test car was bittersweet. It’s the last of a great legend… a line of performance vehicles that set the standard for hotness, coolness and downright sex appeal. No matter what happens to Pontiac it will always be known for giving birth to the Firebird and GTO, both children of the 60s, and cars on which my teeth were cut.

The 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP is right up there with the best of the best when it comes to style, performance and head-turning ability. The liquid red exterior is an awesome eye-popper, craning necks from looky-loos who drooled with envy and smiled with memories of their own. “Nice car,” was the compliment of the week.

The sporty onyx and red leather bucket seats and interior took my breath away every time I opened the door. Driving this bodacious beauty for a week was more than a test. It was a drive down memory lane. My first driving experience was in a 1964 GTO, at a mere 14 years old. I bugged (called stalking today) a grease monkey at our local gas station to teach me how to drive his new ride. The sound of the engine, the smell of the exhaust, the appearance of its style, turned me into an instant muscle car fan. After a year of harassing him daily he finally acquiesced and taught me to drive his pride and joy, which I’m sure was simply a ploy to get rid him of me. One of the most memorable moments was seeing his knuckles turn white as he gripped the door in shear terror as I quickly learned how to jam through the gears and leave rubber all over our neighborhood streets. Driving the Pontiac G8 GXP this week opened the flood gates to all of those memories. In fact, when Pontiac picked it up at the end of the week a wave of separation anxiety overcame me.  

While the fully loaded G8 GXP is impractical on so many levels ecologically and economically, like its low gas mileage due to its hefty 6.2L V8 engine and its $41K price tag, it’s well worth the buy for anyone who loves performance and style. Add to that the impending extinction of Pontiac, the G8 GXP will quickly appreciate in value. Today, finding a pristine GTO, once a mere $3000 fully loaded, goes for upwards of $90K. It’s a keeper, especially for a collector, and in all honesty if I had the bucks I would buy one myself. The GXP version is fully loaded with a gaggle of gadgets and numerous safety features including OnStar. When it comes to a car like this it’s not about being practical, it’s about being in love. Who says there’s no emotional connection to cars?    – Courtney Caldwell, Editor

For more 2009 Pontiac models, check out RTM's 2009 Vehicle Model Guide.

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