The Pontiac G8 is a domestic muscle Sedan that’s red blooded and American as Apple Pie, yet at the same time, is about as American as Crocodile Dundee. Sold elsewhere as the Holden Commodore and now sold as the Chevrolet SS / Caprice PPV, the Pontiac G8 has serious sporting chops. However, to get the most out of your G8, whether that’s the standard G8, G8 GT or G8 GXP, there are a few basic best mods for Pontiac G8 that will make the car look better, sound better and perform at its best.
So let’s start with the first mod on our breakdown of the Best Mods for Pontiac G8.
Wheels are subject to personal choice, mostly due to costs and style. Our Pontiac G8 experts suggest a good aftermarket 3-piece wheel like Forgeline if cost is no object for ideal performance. Strength is important, because the G8’s kind of heavy. Some of our experts had 17″ wheels for an E36 on their G8 in the past to maximize weight savings and performance, and while yeah, the 17’s cleared the stock GT brakes, the car too low and would scrape on driveways and low hung obstacles. To anyone serious about maximizing the car’s handling performance, 18in is probably ideal, with 19s being a bit on the heavy side, with 20s being a bit too much altogether if performance is your number one goal.
The biggest thing however, with a big heavy car like the G8, is TIRES. Our experts cannot overstate the importance of wide, quality rubber. Toyo Tires R888, Nitto Invo, Michelin Pilot Super Sport and Hankook Ventus V12 Evo2 are great dry weather choices, and many of those are often in stock here at ModBargains.
A set of wheels makes all the difference. Pontiac isn’t exactly known for their great taste in wheels – for whatever reason all Pontiac wheels looked like they’d been designed by the same guy back in the 1980s when pastels and cassette tapes were all the rage.
Since a 3-piece may not be in the cards for everyone’s budget, a good alternative is a flow form wheel. Flow form offers strength and significant weight savings over the OEM wheels and cast aftermarket wheels.
Sportline 8S GM 19×8.5 ET35 / 19×9.5 ET45 w/ 72.6mm to 67.1mm Hub Ring
245/40-19 / 275-35-19 Hankook Ventus V12 Evo2 Tires
One of the newest Flow Form wheels on the market is one of the best values for the money – Sportline 8S wheels. Available for about what a set of lower-quality cast wheels would cost, a set of Sportline 8S wheels for Pontiac offers great style and performance in your choice of silver, gunmetal or black.
A great set of wheels for Pontiac G8 is a set of Forgestar Wheels, like the CF10s on the G8 above, seen in gloss black. Our experts tell us from firsthand experience that ditching the massively heavy OEM 19in wheels for a set of lightweight 17s made a huge difference in performance, but swapping the factory 19s for a set of 19in Flow Form wheels both retains the look and offers the strength and weight savings you need.
VMR V810 Flow Form Wheels 19×8.5 ET35 19×9.5 ET57 / Toyo R888 255/35-19 / 295/30-19
*Extremely Aggressive Drag-Fitment, Not Recommended
Another great flow form option that’s popular with the G8 community is offered by VMR Wheels. Their VMR V810 Flow Form Wheels are available in the offsets necessary for the G8, and their flow form construction means that they’re both lightweight and strong, and will save weight when compared to the factory wheels or a similar size cast aftermarket wheel. It’s worth noting the black G8 above is running an extremely aggressive setup on his V810s specifically for drag racing, which isn’t at all recommended for a daily driven car. Mismatching the tire sidewall sizes can cause errors with the TPMS, ABS and so on so staggering the height of the tire is not recommended.
VMR V810 Flow Form Wheels in Hyper Silver Finish
The V810 is an especially sharp choice in the Hyper Silver finish, and really stands out on white cars or high-impact color cars like Striker Blue.
VMR Wheels V701s in “Solar Rain”
If a set of flow form wheels is still too spendy, there are also some great low pressure cast wheels from VMR Wheels that are still strong and lighter than the factory wheels (honestly damn near anything will be lighter than those stock wheels, it seems like the factory wheels were cast in friggin LEAD.). The VMR V701 offers a multispoke look and is strong enough to stand up to the rigors of drag race use, as they do on Ken L’s G8 above.
Avant Garde Wheels M510 on Pontiac G8
Avant Garde Wheels is another manufacturer that offers some great looking fitments for the G8 platform. Check out the split 5-spoke M510s, seen in Hyper Silver above. These offer a blockier look than some of the VMRs for an altogether different look.
Avant Garde M590 Satin Silver 19×8.5 et.35 / 19×9.5 et.43
An especially sharp looking wheel option is the M590, which features a stylish and modern 7-split spoke design with just a hint of concavity for a great look befitting this super sedan.
Tires can be something of a mystery for some people, and while the photos above are great examples they may not necessarily be the right fitment for you and you may not necessarily be willing to make the sacrifices/compromises necessary to pull off someone’s specific fitment setup.
Therefore, here are some general suggestions for tire sizing. Stock is a 245/35-19, which honestly is not a lot of tire for as much car as there is. Your G8 should be able to accommodate 275/35-19 front and rear, which should afford your G8 more grip than stock, but this is aggressive. With 17s, 255/40-17 is a great option, but this drops the car considerably. For 18s, 245/40-18 is close to stock but again this is kind of skinny and narrow for the car. These are general guidelines, and your setup may vary, so consult a Mod Expert for the best fitment for you.
Whatever you decide to go with, the most important thing is that you like the look of the wheels you’re getting. Not sure about what fitment might be best for your G8? We invite you to consult our team of Mod Experts – give us a call at 714-582-3330 to see what wheel options for Pontiac G8 might be right for you.
After sorting the wheels, the next order of business is a big one. The suspension.
Pontiac G8 Lowered On Coilovers
General Motors USA isn’t exactly known for their outstanding handling dynamics (outside of the Vette at least), so the fact is, in order for your Pontiac G8 to handle – and look good on a set of wheels – Pontiac G8 Suspension Mods are something you’re going to need to look into. But the G8 is a whole other animal than most domestic muscle cars, meaning it needs attention to things that muscle car folks might otherwise overlook if you want to be able to kick ass at the next NMCA Hotchkis Autocross.
For maximizing your handling, stiffening up the chassis is critical, which is why a BMR Suspension Strut Tower Brace and BMR Suspension Subframe connectors are something you really want to consider to get the car to carve the corners.
After you’ve braced the chassis so the car’s not flexing like it’s at Muscle Beach, we can move onto actually dealing with the suspension itself.
A set of lowering springs is a great place to start, and Eibach Pro-Kit Springs for Pontiac G8 are favorites among enthusiasts all over the world. These offer a mild drop in ride height and improved handling, but not so much of a drop that rubbing might be a problem. If you’re considering a set of lowering springs, a set of these is a very safe bet. If you like a firmer ride, a set of H&R Sport Springs for Pontiac G8 might be the right option for you.
However, if you want to have control over how much drop you have and control over the handing behavior of the car, it’s hard to beat the value of the 30-way adjustable BC Coilovers for Pontiac G8.
T he G8 above is likely lowered on a set of coilovers, as coilovers will allow you to go lower than anything short of airbags. Coilovers allow you a range of adjustment for ride height, giving you control over exactly how low you are, and some coilovers feature adjustable shock absorbers, so you can tailor how the car rides and handles to your specific tastes as well.
When you consider that a coilover includes both springs and shock absorbers, the price difference over springs really isn’t that big, making them a better fiscal decision than you’d think.
When you lower your G8, it eliminates the unsightly wheelgap that sours an otherwise awesome set of wheels. Interested in lowering your G8, but aren’t sure what the best way to go about it might be? We invite you to talk to our Mod Experts – give us a call at 714-582-3330, chat live at ModBargains.com, shoot us an email or just drop by the showroom any time.
Which brings us to Mod #3. An exhaust for Pontiac G8. So that said, let’s talk about flow.
When we were young and dumb, we’ve made stupid mistakes – anyone who claims to have never made a mistake is a liar, and mistakes are often great lessons. And here’s one such “lesson”. One of our friends did a cheap exhaust ‘mod’ and just unbolted the two mufflers, then went to an exhaust shop and had them make me some pipes that exited at the stock location.
As our friend found out, this worked, yes but wasn’t ideal. See, the thing is, a 3.0L V4 engine sounds really weird due to the random harmonics when Displacement On Demand is active. As it turned out, The mufflers helped keep the car from droning when it went into cylinder deactivation mode. Drone really sucks, and can make an awesome car not very fun.
Having learned from this, our friend recommends doing an actual exhaust system, preferably a Cat-Back – ModBargains Customer Service Rep Brandon rocks a Solo Performance Mach Shorty Cat-Back Exhaust for Pontiac G8, and the tone is very aggressive and muscular with that signature beastly musclecar burble.
The Solo Performance Cat-Back features unique J-pipes that help reduce drone and produce a better sound. It’s mild at low RPMs, sure, but it’s BEASTLY at anything over 3000 RPM – and those J-Pipes do their job damn well – there is no drone, despite the volume when you get into it.
A Borla Cat-Back Exhaust for Pontiac G8 is another popular option, offering a more refined, touring oriented sound than you’d see out of a Flowmaster or something.
As with any cat-back system, exhaust flow is significantly improved for more horsepower and torque to the wheels.
Another great option for the G8 is offered by SLP Engineering. SLP is renowned for their work with the LSx motor and GM performance vehicles in general is the SLP Loud Mouth Axle-Back Exhaust for Pontiac G8s. As an Axleback system it’s cheaper, but it gives you the sound you want without breaking the bank – and of course, should you want to get more aggressive, SLP is happy to sell you a set of SLP Long Tube Headers with High Flow Cats if you’re after maximum power – or waking the neighbors.
Exhaust systems are subjective, so it’s important you go with a Pontiac G8 Exhaust system that sounds good to YOU – your opinion is the one that matters most, not even the Mod Experts or your best buddy’s opinion really matters – after all, we aren’t the ones who drive your car, YOU are. So pick a sound you know you’ll love. We’re happy to recommend a system for you, but like we keep saying, listen to clips and decide what you like best for yourself.
Now let’s talk about performance. For the sake of discussion, we’re going to be just talking about V8 models here – there’s not much gain with the V6. So, onto getting more out of the V8.
Performance wise, the L76 motor is basically a tuned down LS3. It just has the DOD/Cylinder deactivation. So the camshaft is a bit weak. A Cam swap is doable, but is expensive. Also, if you want to remove the DOD, it’s not cheap – it involves basically replacing the entire valvetrain AND the cam swap, AND a tune to turn off the DOD function.
One of the most popular options is the Roto-Fab Cold Air Intake for Pontiac G8 (V8), this intake offers a far superior heat shield to the design that K&N offers (click here if you’re a K&N diehard and insist on that), meaning you’re getting the coolest air possible going into the motor.
However, this is the simple version. Roto-Fab recently updated their intake with this awesome new Sealed Airbox Roto-Fab High Flow Cold Air Intake for Pontiac G8.
RotoFab’s new high flow intake setup is designed to accomodate the correct Card-style MAF and the lower airbox has been heavily redesigned to create an intake that yields maximum airflow.
Another solid intake option comes from Injen Technology.
The Injen Cold Air Intake for Pontiac G8 completely relocates the air filter inlet outside of the engine bay completely, ensuring it’s drawing in cold air from beneath the bumper. Good for an +18whp / 20wtq gain, an intake for your G8 is something you’ll notice every time you open the hood – and press the accelerator pedal.
That wraps it up for the 4 best mods for the Pontiac G8 – it’s worth noting though that this is a general guideline, for specific recommendations, give us a call at 714-582-3330 and speak with our Modification Experts who can assist you with advice and suggestions for what might be the best fit for your needs. With these 4 Best Mods for Pontiac G8, your G8 can go faster, corner harder, hook up better and sound sexier every time your fire up your engine.
Of course these are just a few suggestions – check out our full selection of G8 Parts Here, and if you don’t see what you’re after, ask a Mod Expert, as we can likely get a hold of what you’re after.
Want to make your Pontiac G8 faster? Handle better? Look cooler? Give The Mod Experts a call at 714-582-3330, chat live with the Mod Experts at ModBargains.com or stop by the Mod Auto showroom in La Habra, CA any time during normal business hours to see what we can do for your ride.
Thanks for joining us, see you next time!
Story by Nick Gregson