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Easily the best thing to come out of the now-defunct Pontiac brand in recent memory was the G8 sports sedan – based on the Australian Commodore. Not only was it an impressive performance machine, but it gave North America a taste of just how good a job Holden is doing down under.
Looking to satisfy that appetite, General Motors will reportedly re-introduce the rear-drive sedan in 2013 as a 2014 model year car. According to GMInsideNews, internal documents regarding the development of the car (code named ‘SS Sedan’) now have it listed as an approved program.
Delayed several times, the new launch date is designed to follow with the introduction of a new Commodore in Australia.
With the Pontiac brand now gone and no indication from General Motors to revive it, look for a Chevy bowtie to grace the grille of this new rear-drive machine.
Less certain, but not entirely ruled out, are the introduction of two additional Commodore-based models for North America: the Holden Ute (El Camino?) and Holden Commodore SportWagon. The future of these two vehicles depends on the success of the sedan, as well as the effect of rising gas prices on the buying habits of consumers.
During our drive of the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible, we chatted with one engineer about GM’s Zeta platform, which underpins rear-drive full size cars. Among remarking how much we adored the Pontiac G8 sedan and how we longed for a revival of the car, the engineer broke into a broad grin and said “well, these things have a way of happening.”
Cut to Saturday, where GM’s Mark Reuss announced the debut of a vehicle based on the Camaro platform at the Chicago Auto Show. The only other car built on the platform is the Holden Commodore, which formerly underpinned the G8 and is the basis for the Chevrolet Caprice PPV, a model only sold to law enforcement agencies for police duty.
In recent weeks, photos of the Caprice have emerged that show it looking very ready for civilian duty (seen above). Gone are the steel wheels, push bars and flashing lights, and to the untrained eye, the car could be any other full-size American sedan.
There’s a strong chance the car will be a new variant of the Caprice, although a high-performance Camaro Z28 is also rumored to bow in Chicago. With Chrysler’s new 300 sedan (and Dodge’s Charger) being the only rear drive full size car on the market (and receiving rave reviews), Chevrolet will certainly want to capitalize on this and smash the 300′s monopoly. The only question is whether the vehicle will be the long-wheelbase police version (based on the Holden Statesman) or the standard length Commodore based car that was previously given to Pontiac as the G8. Engine choices will likely be the familiar 3.6L V6 making 300 horsepower or more, and a small-block V8 of indeterminate output.
[Source: Detroit News]
See AutoGuide’s complete 2011 Chicago Auto Show Preview here, with coverage starting Wednesday, February 9th.
Backing up the last reports from a few months back, General Motors appears ready to bring back the only truly exciting product Pontiac had to offer, the G8. Now with Pontiac dead the car will be badged as a Chevy (likely wearing the Caprice name), but the important part is that it will be based on the rear-drive Holden Commodore platform, just like the G8 was.
The latest rumor comes from the LA Auto Show, where a senior engineer told an Australian outlet that the plan to bring back the rear-drive V8-powered sedan was under consideration for the retail market. It should be noted that currently GM offers the long wheelbase Holden Commodore-based Chevy Caprice as a Police-only vehicle in the U.S.
An unnamed source then reportedly commented that the car has been approved by GM’s product planning folks.
With the platform already sold here in the past, federalizing the car wouldn’t be difficult either. Now wouldn’t a V8-powered 6-speed manual Chevy Caprice performance sedan be just the perfect car for the upcoming Detroit Auto Show?
Chevrolet‘s fleet-only Caprice will likely be sold to the General Public after a tide of interest forced General Motors to re-consider their plans to restrict sales to fleets.
The Caprice is essentially a stretched version of the Pontiac G8, a rear-drive, V8 powered large sedan based off the much-lauded, Australian market Holden Commodore. The G8 was beloved by enthusiasts but tepidly received by the public. The G8 lasted only two model years before the Pontiac brand was killed by General Motors.
According to a report from Carenvy.ca, a “very reliable source” confirmed that the car will be sold in dealerships, but gave no details as to trim levels or how the vehicle would be positioned. After contact Car Envy’s Peter Dushenski, we’re inclined to believe the information as true. The new Caprice nameplate has a ton of cachet among a few demographics, as boomers remember the car from their youth, and young people associate the car with hip-hop music, lowriders and “donks”. The prospect of a Corvette derived small-block V8 is also enticing.
General Motors also revealed their first pictures of the “Detective Package” Caprice, which should give some major clues as to how the civilian version will look if it comes to market. A Caprice sold to the public will likely have an upgraded interior compared to the G8 and the workhorse versions, and don’t be surprised to see a V6 version as well.
As General Motors’ sole brand in Australia, Holden’s lineup gets most of GM’s better products, like the Cruze, Captiva (a re-badged Saturn Vue) and 6 varieties of the Holden Commodore, formerly known as the Pontiac G8. While GM claims that Cadillac is ready to go head to head with the Germans, in truth, the G8 was the closest GM has come to making a car as good as a BMW.
Our G8 was essentially a Holden Commodore SS, a fairly standard model in its home market, despite having a 6.0L, 361 horsepower V8, but in Australia, customers can opt for a Commodore that’s been breathed on by Holden Special Vehicles, a division similar to Mercedes-Benz’s AMG outfit, or BMW’s M division. The “base” model HSV Clubsport, has been selected for a special edition to commemorate the groups 20th anniversary. Only 100 cars will be produced, featuring a unique leather interior, sport suspension package, 20″ wheels and special decals echoing the original Clubsport’s graphics package.
Power remains the same, but that’s ok – with a 425 horsepower 6.2L LS3 V8 engine, straight line acceleration will be so rapid that bystanders won’t be able to tell that your car is any different from a standard car.
Gallery: HSV Clubsport 20th Anniversary Edition
[Source: Motor Trend]
Several months ago GM’s Australian Holden division announced that it would offer a special edition of the Commodore, dressed up to look like the Pontiac G8. Called the Holden VE Commodore SS V-Series Special Edition, the new model looks mostly identical to the Pontiac model (itself based on the Commodore), except for the absence of any Pontiac badging.
The model has been such a huge success, that Holden has now said it will continue to offer the package indefinitely. Retailing for $1,000 Australian premium ($923 U.S.), dealerships are even ordering stockiles of Pontiac badges so Aussie gearheads can more accurately replicate the G8.
Sadly, the Aussie’s enthuaism for the car isn’t shared by American consumers, or at least not by the execs at General Motors, who killed off the Pontiac brand shortly after it began to offer the G8 – arguably the best product from the company in 30 years.
The General holds private event, attendees tweet on 2012 Chevy Malibu, Cadillac XTS flagship and new ATS 3 Series fighter
If you’re a car junkie, Twitter is the place to be today. Ahead of a webcast tomorrow morning by GM CEO Fritz Henderson, the General arranged for a select few media to meet with its PR folks and get a preview of what the New GM has to offer.
Many of those folks have been tweeting on Twitter and so we have a good idea of what’s going on. In a press release from earlier today, GM said that Fritz will unveil a new model during the webcast. The only problem is, the tweets cover so many new models that we don’t know which one it will be.
Some of the biggest stories of the day include a new Cadillac model named the ATS, which is aimed at taking on the BMW 3 Series (yes pulease)! And it would be offered as both a coupe and sedan. Other Cadillac news includes a story we ran earlier today about the new CTS Coupe and CTS-V Coupe coming in May. Tweets also covered a story we ran several weeks back about the DTS replacement being called the XTS and using the LaCrosse platform – meaning AWD will be optional.
As for the Buick brand, there will reportedly be a new model added to that lineup – a mid-sized sedan due out in the next 24 months. This will no doubt the the Chinese market Regal, a story we reported on several weeks back as well.
In Chevy news, those lucky enough to be at the General’s party today got to glimpse the 2012 Malibu, well ahead of its unveiling. Additionally Bob Lutz still isn’t done getting peoples’ hopes up, saying that the Pontiac G8 might still have a life at GM.
[Source: Twitter via Autoblog]
GM CEO only confirms rebadged Pontiac G8 being looked at for "police applications"
Perhaps General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson and his newly appointed Vice Chairman Bob Lutz should sit down, have a talk and get their stories straight.
After consistently saying that the Pontiac G8 would be eliminated with the rest of the Pontiac brand, it seemed as though Henderson had a change of heart after his newly appointed Vice Chair and product boss Lutz proudly proclaimed that the G8 would live on as a Chevrolet Caprice. Calling it “too good to waste” Lutz said the rebadged G8 would be available for consumers and as a special model for police departments.
Now, according to an Autoblog interview with Henderson , it seems only the latter is true. “We’ve been looking at it for police applications. As for whether or not it’s broader than police applications, I am not a believer in re-branding and re-badging. We’ve been talking about in terms of potential police applications and we’ll leave it at that.”
So there you have it… the official word on the future of the Pontiac G8… at least until Lutz opens his mouth next.
For a company that recently emerged from bankruptcy and that is trying to promote confidence in its leadership, General Motors certainly isn’t doing a very convincing job.
Chevy Cruze also slated to get turbo-four
GM’s interim CEO Fritz Henderson is starting to open up on some of the company’s fuel-efficiency plans and the future involves a pair of turbocharged four-cylinders.
The first turbo-four will be offered in the new Buick LaCrosse but won’t be available immediately. Currently the LaCrosse is slated to get a standard 3.0-liter V6 that makes 255hp thanks to direct injection. The larger optional engine is a direct-injection 3.6-liter V6 which makes 280hp.
It’s not clear what size or output the new turbo engine will provide but if the Envicta concept on which the LaCrosse is based it could be a 2.0-liter engine with 250hp and 220 ft-lbs of torque. It could, however, a a version of the Ecotec 2.4 or even a direct-injection version of the turbo 2.0-liter currently offered in the Cobalt SS.
This would fit in between the two V6 options, although it’s not clear that the 3.0-liter six would continue on past the introduction of the turbo-four.
Little more is known about the second turbocharged four-cylinder, which will sit as the base engine in the upcoming Chevy Cruz. It will be just a 1.4-liter four-banger and while actual output figures are not available they will likely be in the 150hp range.
Henderson also confirmed that the Corvette will live on in a V8 rear-wheel drive package. He did, however, reiterate the company’s position that the Pontiac G8 will not survive past 2010