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Update: Pontiac G8 ST to feature direct-injection V6Enlarge Photo
Confusion with the similarly-named G8 GT is likely, though any uncertainty will be only on paper, as in the flesh, there will be no mistaking the wayward spiritual offspring of the long-gone El Camino - a name which was itself in contention for the new car, given that strong familial resemblance.
"'G8 ST' was one of the most popular suggestions, plus we noticed a far broader trend toward simple, easy-to-remember names," said Craig Bierley, product marketing director for cars and crossovers at General Motors' Buick, Pontiac and GMC division. "We actually thought very long about El Camino," he said.
"In the end, we felt it was more appropriate to honor the El Camino's unique place as part of Chevy's heritage and not use that nameplate on a Pontiac."
The G8 ST is on track to make its U.S. debut in late 2009 as a 2010 model, featuring the same 361hp (269kW) V8 as the G8 GT performance sedan, and zero-to-60 times of 5.4 seconds. According to Edmunds, the new G8 ST will also be available with a V6 engine. The new mill won’t be the same V6 engine used in the base G8 sedan, but rather the direct-injected 3.6L V6 used in the Cadillac CTS.
Original: Following months of rumours, General Motors announced today that their Australian branch, GM Holden, will export two new vehicles to North America to join the Pontiac G8. The new arrivals include a Pontiac G8 "sport truck", based on the Holden VE Commodore Ute and the G8 GXP high performance sedan, both of which will soon be shown at the New York Auto Show.
The export programs were confirmed today by GM Holden’s new Chairman and Managing Director, Mark Reuss, who described them as great additions to Pontiac’s portfolio.
“It’s not everyday that a manufacturer announces a vehicle that creates a whole new segment in a market, but with this, the first ute export to North America in the form of the G8 sport truck, is exactly what Pontiac is doing,” Reuss said. While 'utes' (an Australian abbreviation for utility vehicles) are a dime a dozen Down Under, their presence has largely been ignored in the U.S in favor of larger, more rugged offerings like the Ford F150. However, this doesn't mean that the ute is 'soft' in any sense - the Pontiac G8 sport truck will sport a 6.0L V8 engine mated with a six-speed auto box that should get it flying, although in a car this powerful, the lack of weight at the back and the rear-wheel drive combination will likely lead to some hairy moments.
Not content to settle for the moniker "G8 Sport Truck", Pontiac is running a competition allowing consumers to come up with a name for the new vehicle. The public will be able to submit their suggestions through the Pontiac website.
Full production of the Pontiac G8 sport truck will commence at GM Holden’s Elizabeth plant in South Australia, in the second half 2009 with the Pontiac G8 sport truck expected to arrive in dealers’ showrooms in late 2009.
Also being unveiled by Pontiac at the New York International Auto Show will be the new flagship vehicle of the GXP performance series, the G8 GXP, which adds to the existing line up of the G8 and G8 GT and will also be built in Adelaide starting later in 2008.
At the heart of the G8 GXP is the 6.2L LS3 small-block V8, currently rated at 402hp and 546Nm of torque, only 100 horsepower less than the new M5 and with similar practicality and weight. Purists will also be pleased to hear that there will be a manual variant with both 6 speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmissions available.
Pontiac is also reportedly considering adding an option for a V6 engine to its G8 Sport Truck lineup in the U.S. Holden already makes two variants equipped with the global V6 Alloytec engine, so it would not be unrealistic for GM to simply decide this late in the game to add the same basic models to the U.S. offerings.
Community feedback is playing a role in the decision making process, however. Given the low costs in bringing the model over, it may be more of an exercise in gauging the effect of the less-powerful model's existence on the perception of the V8-equipped models than one of weighing the cost of import against the likelihood of sales.
Nevertheless, the added fuel economy of the smaller-displacement engines would be a potential selling point, even with fuel prices falling back somewhat from their crest earlier in the year. And though they may not be V8s, the V6s being considered are still quite potent. The two variants offered in Australia are rated at 180kW (241hp) and 195kW (261hp), which should be more than enough to preserve the 'Sport Truck' appellation intact.