2008 Pontiac G6 Performance
The 2008 Pontiac G6's handling gets generally positive reviews. However, with the exception of the top-of-the-line V6 engines, its power is lacking, contributing to a low performance score.
"While the G6 offers decent handling," says Kelley Blue Book, "the base and GT models are not terribly quick and feature slow-shifting automatic transmissions as standard equipment." Depending on trim level, the G6 comes with one of three engines: a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder, a 3.5-liter V6 or a 3.6-liter V6. A four-speed automatic is standard with all engines but the 3.6, which gets a six-speed automatic.
The Pontiac G6 does its best work on and around the turns. Edmunds asserts, "Handling is respectable, with composed cornering and a supple ride over the bumps." Even in this respect, however, reviewers find the G6 more adequate than excellent. Autobytel writes, "Though not quite fun to drive, the G6 is well balanced, successfully masking its inherent forward weight bias but never quite feeling playful." Cars.com decides, "Handling is on the ordinary side."
Acceleration and Power
Reviewer impressions of the G6's power and acceleration vary from one engine to another. The Value Leader and G6 base models come standard with a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder that creates 169 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. It is matched to a four-speed automatic transmission. Kelley Blue Book says the "four-cylinder engine is all about economy, not performance. Why GM didn't offer a five-speed manual on this model is a mystery, but without it the G6 has little chance of living up to its sporty image." Other reviewers don't as mind the transmission. The Auto Channel finds, "There was no lack of range in the gearbox, even with 'only' four gears." According to the EPA, the 2.4 gets an estimated 22 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.
A 3.5-liter V6 is optional on the base model and standard on the GT. It makes 219 horsepower and 219 pound-feet of torque. It too is paired with a four-speed automatic. "Chances are, most used Pontiac G6 models you see for sale will have the midlevel 3.5-liter V6," reports Edmunds. "Our road tests of the G6 with this engine are mostly positive. Although not as refined as the V6s you'll find in Japanese (and even Korean) rivals, this power plant offers more than enough low and midrange torque to be quick on its feet around town." The 3.5 gets an EPA estimated 18 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway.
Even more powerful is the new GXP's standard 3.6-liter V6, which makes 252 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. Consumer Guide says the "GXP's refined 3.6 V6 pulls smartly from any speed and has ample passing and merging punch" while its standard "smooth six-speed" automatic transmission downshifts "readily for impressive passing response." This engine gets an EPA estimated 17 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway.
Handling and Braking
Handling is a bright spot. Autobytel reports, "The G6 sedan features a firm, controlled ride with little squat, dive, and roll when accelerating, braking, and turning." Consumer Guide finds that the "compliant base suspension readily absorbs most bumps with minimal bobbing." Suspension gets stiffer from base to GT to GXP. Despite the solid handling, however, the G6 isn't a sports car -- not even at the top-end trim level. "Venture toward the edge of the envelope, and you'll find that the suspension allows the front tires to flop over on their sidewalls," writes Road and Track.
The steering is not as well received, especially the electric power steering on the base model. Edmunds says it's "too light and offers virtually no feedback from the road." Kelley Blue Book argues that it "delivers minimal feedback," and points out, "The hydraulic system available on the GT definitely improves matters." Braking is found to be responsive. MSN reports, "Large, heavy duty all-disc brakes provide strong stopping power and have a linear pedal action for smooth stops." Autobytel calls the brake pedal "responsive and easy to modulate," while Consumer Guide complains of "slightly dull brake pedal feel."