2009 Pontiac SLP Firehawk
What do you get when you cross a Pontiac G8 GT with a supercharger, and a lot of imagination? Sorry, no punch line here, just a serious street legal performance car: the Firehawk. Now if the name sounds familiar, you’re right. The 2009 Firehawk is yet more American muscle from the wizards at SLP Performance Parts. We’ve been testing their super-tuned Pontiac Firehawk since 1992, and while the G8 Firehawk may be the last high-performance Pontiac we ever test, at least it’s going out with a roar.
Just three little words: Hot! Burning! Rubber! That’s what we’ll remember most about the supercharged 2009 Pontiac G8 GT SLP Firehawk!
The latest Firehawk follows a long line of super-tuned Firebirds and Camaros from SLP, and while they’ve all been wildly powerful and crazy-fun to put on the track, it appears that the Jersey-based SLP has outdone itself this time.
With only 250 to be built, the rear-drive G8 Firehawk’s 500 tire screeching horsepower comes from adding ZR-1 style supercharger technology, cold air induction, and a low restriction mandrel-bent stainless steel exhaust to the GT’s 6.0-liter V8. With 489 pound-feet of axle twisting torque peaking at 4,300 rpm, the ride is breathtaking.
At our track on this picture perfect day, 0 to 60 in 4.0 seconds flat. That’s a second faster than the G8 GXP. With a quarter-mile of just 12.1 seconds at a very impressive 124 miles-per-hour. Power builds all the way down the track, shifts are wafer crisp, and the car is just brutally fast. The Firehawk’s strong, throaty exhaust rumble is music to anyone that’s into cars.
When you finally have to steer, the Firehawk’s equally rewarding agility comes from a lowered chassis fitted with SLP’s Sport Suspension package. Compared to the G8 GXP, the Firehawk is better nailed down, and even more entertaining. Response is laser-precise, with virtually no body roll, rare comments for a two-ton sport sedan to be sure.
Grip comes from Bridgestone P245/40R19 Potenzas mounted on 5-spoke alloys. These tires are like talons dug into the asphalt.
Darting in and out of cones is child’s play, as the Firehawk can be pointed almost as easily by goosing the throttle as by the steering wheel.
To clamp down on all the fun is our car’s optional Competition Brake Package with 14-inch front and rear vented and cross-drilled disc brakes with 6-piston calipers. There’s no sense in going stock here.
Though the ABS-equipped brakes showed wear from other media testing, stops still averaged a short 123 feet from 60 to 0. Overall stability was high.
And, we’re also high on the Firehawk’s looks. This G8’s hardcore facial includes a classic muscle car flat black hood, and grille surrounds, that contrasts perfectly with the now body colored fog lamp inserts.
Firehawk badges abound, on the wheel center caps, the front doors, and on the decklid which is topped by a black high-lip spoiler with uniquely shaped exhaust outlets below, all giving this bird a proper sendoff.
The G8 GT business-like cabin is one we already like, with changes pretty much limited to embroidered Firehawk headrests and specialized floor mats, and there’s a dash plaque that shows the vehicle’s unique production number. Beyond that, the Firehawk enjoys Pontiac G8 features we appreciate like auxiliary steering wheel controls, a digital information center, and power sunroof, and for safety, six standard airbags - a must when you’re driving fast and furious.
Just for giggles, we did a mileage loop and got a respectable 22.6 miles-per-gallon of premium. That’s nearly on par with the stock G8 GT.
Pricing for the Firehawk package is $18,995. Add a stock G8 GT and the tab comes to $51,300. The Competition Brakes add $4,995 more for a total of $56,295. But, with Pontiac’s future sealed, G8s are going out the door with good discounts.
Given Pontiac’s amazing contribution to American performance, we wish it wasn’t so. But, as a last muscle car hurrah, the 2009 Pontiac G8 GT SLP Firehawk leaves us with a fantastic permanent impression.
- Engine: 6.0-Liter V8
- Horsepower: 500
- Torque: 489 Lb Feet
- 0-60 MPH: 4.0 Seconds
- 1/4 Mile: 12.1 Seconds @ 124 MPH
- 60-0 MPH: 123 Feet
- Mixed Loop: 22.6 MPG