Tuesday, July 14, 2009

On Independent Thinking and the Real Significance of the G8

Suffice to say that the Pontiac G8 has been receiving fairly stellar views for while now; click here to see thecarconnection.com’s “review of the reviews.”

Now there’s loose talk that the G8 will survive Pontiac’s demise as a Chevy or sorts, but GM (client) has not and will not confirm this. The enthusiast in me—as well the detached PR practioner—hopes they figure out a way to make this work.

The enthusiast loves this car because while everyone thinks “muscle car,” all accounts are that this is not the “beast-in-a-straight-line, but-I-wouldn’t-want-it-as-a-daily-driver/boy racer/aging-boomer-with-no-taste” car some might have guessed it would be. Where I live in Northville, Mich. (Ford country), I see a surprising number of these cars. I walk by one house every day that has a new-ish 5-series BMW in the driveway, and the G8 looks every bit to be its equal (the BMW I see, and the G8 I always see in the Cabbagetown area I live in are both white. . . nuanced menace. Dig it.) The PR guy likes it because making great product and creating "owner-advocates" is the best PR going for any consumer products company. I don't even own one and I find myself always talking about it.

Reports are that body integrity, structural rigidity, steering feel, brake feel/strength are all the equal of the benchmark 5 (people say Infiniti is coming up on BMW; having been in a recent G37, I don’t think BMW or Pontiac have much to fear . . . Carlos, check quality control bud . . . dash rattles? Come on, not in 2009). That the G8 has the beans under the hood to run with a 550i with the big mil is the least biggest surprise.

What I believe are the biggest markers of “quality” to most people in the showroom or on test drives. . . the whooomp with which the doors close; the body control and quick chassis recovery from railroad crossings or deep pocked Michigan roads; shutlines . . . the big Poncho/Holden can legitimately hang with the 5-series . . . that’s amazing. BMW can put a ton more money into pricey shocks, better/lighter/stronger structural materials, etc. because, well, it’s costs a lot more.

I think fans of GM should be elated, as should independent thinkers who believe that whoever makes the best cars should win; the doubters/cynics should wallow in some strong cognitive dissonance, because this isn’t about the G8 living on or not . . . it’s about having such kickass product development within the company that any GM product could and does compete with any BMW, let alone for at steep retail discount.
I owned two BMWs, a ’97 M3 and ’94 325iC. Both were great or good to drive, but horrifically expensive to own. If GM could make a G8-like car, this means they could make another car that equally baffled the cynics and delighted the open-minded drivers of America. Here’s to hoping they do (whoops, Camaro already is). Rock steady Tom Stephens, rock steady.

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