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No matter what Pontiac's personal utility truck is eventually named, you can call it powerful.
The Gen IV 6.0-liter V8 under the G8's hood is rated at 361-horsepower / 385 lb-ft of torque. It's paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission only. Unlike our Aussie cousins, American ute enthusiasts won't be able to order their V8 with a manual gearbox.
Pontiac says the 6.0L V8 will propel the G8 from 0-to-60 in 5.4-seconds, which should make it the fastest production pickup on the planet when it arrives. Only the discontinued GMC Syclone and Dodge Ram SRT-10 pickups have been clocked faster, at 4.6-seconds and 5.2-seconds, respectively.
If Pontiac fans are upset that GM’s rear-wheel-drive performance division isn’t getting a new Firebird, this new sport truck should halt most of their gripes. With 0-to-60 performance like that the G8 is a modern-day Trans Am with a bed.
The V8 also incorporates GM's Active Fuel Management (AFM) system. AFM shuts off half the cylinders during steady-state driving. That should help a bit with fuel economy, assuming drivers aren’t overly enthusiastic with the throttle. They'll have to fill up with pricey high octane premium fuel though.
The 6.0L V8 will be the only engine available at launch. We expect the eight cylinder version will sticker around $31K, though Pontiac has yet to reveal pricing information for the sport truck. And that number could change depending on how much further the U.S. dollar sinks in value relative to the Australian dollar. Since October 2007, when we published our first drive review of the Holden VE Ute, the dollar has fallen almost 5% against the Aussie buck. That's $1,550 up in smoke on a $30K ute. You may desperately want one, but GM's not bringing back a new El Camino to be charitable.
A V6 option might come later but it won't be part of the first batch of sport trucks, according to Mr. Hopson. This news is almost certain to disappoint potential G8 -amino buyers looking for a more reasonably priced small pickup.
Overall, the sport truck's low-slung shape and proportions are muscular like a sports car instead of pickup truck chunky.
From the A-pillar forward the sport truck is identical to the G8 GT. It has Pontiac's iconic twin-grille snout and cosmetic ram air hood scoops.
The rest of the body back is unique to the G8 sport truck. The smoothly integrated lines of the B-pillar and cargo box were penned by GM designer Warrack Leach, who led the design effort on the GMC Denali XT concept shown earlier this year at the Chicago Auto Show.
18-inch aluminum wheels are standard and 19-inch wheels available with the optional Sport Package.
The inside of the sport truck is virtually identical to the front row of the G8 sedan, right down to the four window switches mounted in the center console of the two-door pre-production vehicle in these photos.
The leather seats are well bolstered and there’s 8.5 cu-ft of storage space behind them to store small items.
The instrument panel is logically arranged. It includes dual zone climate controls, an information center, and Bluetooth. There's also a 230-watt Blaupunkt stereo with a 6.5-inch display to control audio and HVAC.
The 118.5-inch wheelbase is almost 4-inches longer than the G8 sedan, to add extra room to the sport truck's 74-inch cargo box.
Payload and towing capacity will be modest. Payload is rated at 1,316-pounds and towing is limited to 3,500-lbs, because the G8 has ditched a live rear axle and sturdy leaf springs for a four-link independent rear suspension. The benefit should be much improved ride and handling that’s more appropriate for a sports car than a load-bearing pickup.
The G8 sport truck will come with a soft tonneau cover for the bed. A hard shelled tonneau will be available as a factory accessory from Pontiac dealers.
On Sale When?
Pontiac says the G8 pickup will be a low volume addition to the lineup.
"This is not going to a vehicle that everyone on the block has. It will be much lower than the 30,000 G8 (sedans GM expects to sell)," says Mr. Hopson.
–amino enthusiasts, you've patiently waited this long. You're going to have to hang on another (painfully long) 18 months or so. The G8 sport truck, or whatever it's ultimately called, goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2009.
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