Performance pipes on a Pontiac G8 GT

When Pontiac introduced the G8 product line for the 2008 model year, it certainly had performance in mind.

The GT and GXP models had healthy V-8 powerplants, and the rear-wheel drive platform gave car guys an excuse to go out and buy a four-door sedan.

Cars need to meet certain requirements for interior noise and all that corporate stuff, so the G8 GT has catalytic converters, a single muffler, and two giant resonators in the stock exhaust system. We wanted to keep the catalytic converters, but free up some power with a new cat-back exhaust kit. And so the search was on.

Our research led us directly to Solo Performance. Their exhaust system for the G8 GT has all the requirements of an aftermarket performance exhaust, good sound and build quality. There’s also no dreaded drone that is so common with modern performance cars, especially the G8 GT. This car is a daily driver and its primary driver happens to be a female, so the idea of drone at low rpm didn’t sound very appealing.

We listened to about a million exhaust audio clips and continued to ask around on the various G8 forums online. Solo offers four kits for the GT and GXP models, so we carefully read the descriptions of each system. Each kit had a different sound level, and we actually chose the quietest kit, which is called the Mach Balanced system.

The Mach Balanced system is made up of 2½-inch T409 stainless steel tubing, which is mandrel-bent. It features one of Solo’s Mach series mufflers, which is a polished stainless steel 14-inch muffler. The coolest aspects of the Solo’s exhaust kits are the J-pipes, which is essentially a J bend that is capped off to create an additional chamber in the exhaust. The J-pipes are the secret to this exhaust system’s lack of drone. The “balanced” aspect of the Mach Balanced exhaust system is a simple crossover pipe just before the muffler, which helps soften the exhaust note. This also softens the transition between four-cylinder and eight-cylinder modes on the L76 engine, which has GM’s Displacement on Demand feature.

With intentions to keep the Displacement on Demand, we wanted a kit that would muffle the transition but still give us an increase in power and overall sound quality. The Solo Mach Balanced kit did the trick, and it was incredibly simple to install. We took the car to Jimmy’s Pro Muffler & Brakes in Dayton, Tennessee, for the install, but it could easily be a great do-it-yourself project, even if you don’t have a lift.

The sound quality during regular driving is excellent, with a deep rumble that isn’t overpowering but really sounds great when the throttle is wide open! For our application, the Mach Balanced proved to be the perfect choice, and it even shaved a few pounds off of our 4,000-pound sedan, and helped it pick up nearly two tenths of a second in the eighth mile!