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2009.5 Pontiac G6 Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2008
Critical Knowledge:
  • New powertrain options, including a 4-cylinder G6 coupe with 33 mpg rating
  • 6-speed automatic transmission with GM's TAPshift manual shifting system
  • Revised front and rear exterior styling inspired by the Pontiac G8
  • Interior upgrades across G6 model lineup (except the performance GXP, which retains its unique style)
  • 17-inch chrome wheel covers standard on base 4-cylinder, 6-speed automatic coupes/sedans
  • Updated 17-inch alloy wheel with Sun-and-Sound package
  • Optional MY LINK communications package
  • On sale at dealerships in January 2009

Introduction
In a mid-year freshening, Pontiac's G6, the division's best-selling model for half a decade, gets new front and rear styling enhancements along with a revised instrument panel and additional powertrain options. Because it arrives in dealerships in January, Pontiac is using a half-year model designation for the updated G6. New for 2009.5, the G6 coupe will be offered with a 164-hp, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder Ecotec engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The transmission includes Pontiac's TAPshift manual shifting with steering-wheel-mounted paddle controls. This engine gets 33 mpg on the highway, the same fuel-economy performance as the current G6 sedan. A flex-fuel variant of the 2.4-liter Ecotec engine will also be available as a no-cost option. All non-GXP G6 coupe, sedan and convertible models will receive interior upgrades, while the performance-minded G6 GXP model (all-new in 2008) retains its own unique styling and powertrain.

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Design
The 2009.5 Pontiac G6 has a new look on the outside, with enhanced styling inspired by the larger G8 sedan. The changes include a new front fascia with chrome surrounds for the signature dual-port honeycomb grille, with the grille pattern also reflected in the updated lower air dam. The headlamp design is also revised with clear turn signal lenses and amber lamps, body-color mirrors and painted rocker panels on the sedan and coupe. At the rear, new bumper covers that are unique between the sedan and coupe/convertible models are able to accommodate single or dual exhaust outlets and larger-diameter exhaust tips. A revised rear spoiler comes standard on the G6 GT and is available on base models. Other styling updates include standard 17-inch chrome wheel covers on all coupes and sedans with the Ecotec 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed TAPshift transmission, while an updated 17-inch alloy wheel is part of the Sun-and-Sound option package. Pontiac says that a special value-priced G6 base sedan with a standard equipment package will be offered.

On the inside, the 2009.5 Pontiac G6 sports a redesigned center stack with all-new climate controls and an updated stereo with an auxiliary audio input jack. The gauge cluster gets new graphics and lighting, and now houses the driver information center. The interior changes also include new dark satin nickel trim accents and optional two-tone seats in cloth or leather with an Ebony/Light Taupe color combination as an alternative to the standard Ebony seats. Optional on all GT and GXP models is a new Ebony and Titanium leather seat package.
Hardware
The standard engine on 2009.5 Pontiac G6 coupe, sedan and convertible models is a 3.5-liter V-6 that delivers 219 hp; a flex-fuel variant of this V-6 engine is a no-cost option in areas with E85 ethanol fuel availability. For 2009.5, Pontiac adds an optional, fuel-efficient, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder Ecotec engine to the G6 coupe model (the same engine as the base G6 sedan). Mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with TAPshift manual shifting via steering-wheel-mounted paddle controls, the new powertrain combination gets 33 mpg on the highway. The optional and more powerful 222-hp, 3.9-liter V-6 engine for the G6 convertible and 252-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 engine that comes standard on the G6 GXP models (all-new for the 2008 model year) remain unchanged.

Safety
Standard safety features on the 2009.5 Pontiac G6 include an anti-lock braking system (ABS), traction control, electronic stability control, and six standard air bags including: dual-stage frontal air bags with a passenger sensing system, seat-mounted side-impact thorax air bags and side curtain air bags (the latter is not offered on the G6 convertible).

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2009 Pontiac G6 coupe and sedan receive a 5-star crash-test rating for the driver and a 4-star rating for the front passenger in the frontal impact test. In side-impact testing, front occupant protection is rated 5 stars while rear passenger protection is rated 4 stars. The G6 convertible was not rated in the NHTSA's frontal or side-impact tests. In the agency's rollover testing, the G6 coupe and convertible receive a 5-star rating, while the G6 sedan has a 4-star rating. While the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not rated the 2009.5 Pontiac G6, the structurally similar 2008 G6 received a "Good" rating in frontal tests and an "Acceptable" rating in side-impact tests. The 2009 G6 convertible received an "Acceptable" rating in frontal tests and a "Marginal" rating in side-impact tests.

The Pontiac G6 also comes with a free one-year subscription to OnStar's Safe & Sound service, which includes automatic crash notification. This feature alerts an OnStar operator when the G6's air bags have deployed; the operator can then contact emergency services personnel and give them the exact location of the vehicle. Furthermore, the OnStar operator can speak directly to the vehicle's occupants while they wait for help.
Technology
Along with an updated stereo with an auxiliary audio input jack, the 2009.5 Pontiac G6 features integrated infotainment with the optional GM MY LINK enhanced communication package. The MY LINK system integrates Bluetooth wireless capability, XM satellite radio, OnStar navigation and the audio system in a single package. The audio system is now USB-equipped to allow for numerous portable music devices. A full year of XM satellite radio and OnStar Directions & Connections service is also standard, the latter of which includes automatic crash notification to contact emergency services personnel in the event of air bag deployment.

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