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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Complaint: This is not a car for people seeking fuel economy. General Motors has 20 cars that get at least 30 miles per gallon. More such models are available from other manufacturers. The G8 GXP and rivals in its category are for people who value automotive power and handling above all else.

Also, with its six-speed manual transmission, this one isn't fun to drive in congested city traffic.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Ride is excellent, including over New York City's rutted and potholed streets. Acceleration and handling are among best in class.

Head-turning quotient: The G8 GXP's exterior and interior styling drew rave reviews everywhere.

Body style/layout: The Pontiac G8 GXP is a full-size, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, high-performance car with four side doors and a traditional notch-back trunk equipped with pass-through access to the rear cabin for extra storage.

Engine/transmission: The G8 GXP comes with a 6.2-liter, overhead-valve V-8 engine that develops 415 horsepower at 5,900 revolutions per minute and 415 foot-pounds of torque at 4,600 revolutions per minute. In the test car, the engine was mated to an optional six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic transmission that also can be shifted manually is standard.

Capacities: There are seats for five people. Trunk capacity is 18 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 19 gallons of premium unleaded gasoline.

Mileage: The G8 GXP gets 13 miles per gallon in the city and 20 miles per gallon on the highway. Like most performance cars, it is not designed to sip fuel.

Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes with antilock protection, side and head air bags, and electronic stability and traction control.

Price: The base price on the 2009 Pontiac G8 GXP is $37,610. Dealer's invoice price on that model is $35,918. Price as tested is $40,755, including $695 for the manual-transmission option, a $1,700 federal gas-guzzler tax and a $750 transportation charge. Dealer's price as tested is $38,988. Prices are sourced from GM/Pontiac, Edmunds.com, and Cars.Com, an affiliate of The Washington Post.

Purse-strings note: The Pontiac G8 GXP is one of the best high-performance cars available for the money. If you are in the market for that kind of excitement, it's a buy.


© 2009 The Washington Post Company

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