Pontiac introduced the sporty midsize front-wheel-drive G6 sedan for 2005, aiming it at the Mazda6, Mitsubishi Galant and Nissan Altima. Coupe and retractable-hardtop convertible body styles joined the lineup for 2006. For 2008, a GXP high-performance trim, available as a coupe or sedan, has been added to the lineup. It replaces the GTP model.
The G6 has multiple engine choices for 2008, including a 3.6-liter V-6 for GXP models. Exclusively teamed with this engine is a six-speed automatic transmission. Other changes for 2008 include newly standard seat-mounted side-impact airbags, standard antilock brakes and traction control on all models.
Displaying a wedge-shaped profile, the G6 sedan has wraparound headlights and triangular wraparound taillamps. Built on a 112.3-inch wheelbase, each body style has short overhangs, measures 189 inches long overall and is 70.6 inches wide. Pontiac's signature twin-port grille has chrome accents and mesh inserts. Pushed-forward A-pillars give the windshield a sharper rake. The coupe and retractable-hardtop convertible look similar to the sedan, but the doors are 6 inches longer and the rear ends differ.
The G6 uses a sport-tuned fully independent suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars. Three wheel sizes are available: standard 16-inchers for the base sedan, 17-inchers for GT models and 18-inchers for GXP editions. Three new colors are available, including Cranberry Metallic, Midnight Blue Metallic and White Diamond Tricoat.
GXP models receive redesigned front and rear faces with new rocker moldings, dual-exiting exhaust and polished stainless steel grille outlines. A Street Edition adds dual hood scoops and a unique rear spoiler to the GXP.
Like other Pontiac models, the G6 cockpit contains sporty controls and racing-style gauges with red LED backlighting. The coupe and retractable-hardtop models have seating for four, but the sedan can seat up to five. Brushed metal accents and chrome trim decorate the interior. A tilt/telescoping steering wheel is standard, and adjustable pedals are optional.
Due to its relatively long wheelbase, the G6 sedan promises abundant backseat legroom. The sedan's trunk measures 14 cubic feet — the coupe's and convertible's are slightly smaller at 12 and 12.6 cubic feet, respectively, but the convertible's drops to 2.2 cubic feet when the top is down.
The base sedan holds a 164-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder, while GXP editions feature a 252-hp, 3.6-liter V-6. A 219-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 goes into GT models, and convertibles can be equipped with a 222-hp, 3.9-liter V-6. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard in base and GT models, and GXP models have a six-speed automatic.
All-disc antilock brakes and traction control are now standard on all models. An electronic stability system is optional on GT models and standard on GXP sedans and coupes. Side curtain and side-impact airbags are now standard in coupes and sedans.
With the 3.5-liter V-6 and automatic, the G6 sedan performs well enough, aided by mannerly automatic transmission operation. Though it's an improvement over the Grand Am, the G6 isn't a big step forward.
Handling is on the ordinary side, and substantial steering effort is required. The G6 is quiet and rides comfortably most of the time. Monsoon radio controls are confusing. Rear legroom in the sedan is good, but headroom is horrible.