They presented the Pontiac G8 in 2008 and discontinued it in 2010, right before the Pontiac brand was gone. The reason this relatively new car is on this list is simple. Car enthusiasts and customers quickly forgot the G8, even when it was new. Yet it was a true performance sedan and a proper rear-wheel-drive model.
To revive their performance image, Pontiac imported Australian-built Holden cars to re-badge them as Pontiacs. The first car was the Holden Monaro. They gave it a new old name: Pontiac GTO. Despite the 400 HP engine and convincing performance, the GTO wasn’t the success Pontiac wanted.
The next car was the G8 they conceived as the Holden Commodore. Pontiac thought a rear-wheel-drive sedan would help them fight their European competitors. And with the redesign and small-block V8 engines, it was an effective performance sedan, too. The base engine was a solid 3.5-liter V6 with 256 HP.
But the real deal was the G8 GXP with 6.2-liter V8 and 415 HP. The G8 came with high levels of standard equipment, as well as a lot of optional extras. Unfortunately, car customers weren’t ready to accept a G8 performance sedan that could beat those overpriced European models.
After years of anemic models, front-wheel-drive economy cars and the minivans of the ’90s, Pontiac lost its performance image. Only a handful of buyers remembered what they were capable of anymore. So, when they finally presented a car to reclaim their title of a performance brand, it was too late.
In two years, Pontiac sold over 30,000 G8s. Interestingly, the platform and the concept lived on in the form of the Chevrolet SS, a highly praised car. However, it was that last Pontiac that people have forgotten.