General Motors redesigned its A-body line for 1968, with more curvaceous, semi-fastback styling, which was a revival of a streamlining on all GM products from 1942 until 1950 as demonstrated on the Pontiac Streamliner. The wheelbase was shortened to 112.0 in (2,845 mm) on all two-door models. Overall length was reduced 5.9 inches (150 mm) and height dropped half an inch (12 mm), but overall weight was up about 75 lb (34 kg). The concealed headlights were a popular option. The signature hood scoop was replaced by dual scoops on either side of a prominent hood bulge extending rearward from the protruding nose.
Powertrain options remained substantially the same as in 1967, but the standard GTO engine’s power rating rose to 350 hp (260 kW) at 5,000 rpm. At mid-year, a new Ram Air package, known as Ram Air II, became available. It included freer-breathing cylinder heads, round port exhaust, and the 041 cam. The ‘official’ power rating was not changed. Another carry-over from 1967 was the four-piston caliper disc brake option. However, most 1968 models had drum brakes all around. The 1968 model year was also the last year the GTOs offered separate crank-operated front door vents. Concealed windshield wipers, which presented a cleaner appearance hidden below the rear edge of the hood, were standard on the GTO and other 1968 GM products after having been originally introduced on 1967 full-size Pontiacs.
The 428 CI engine was disassembled and blueprinted to produce more than the advertised factory 390 horsepower and capable of 5,700 rpm. Car and Driver road-tested the 428 CI powered car with the Turbo-Hydramatic transmission and 3.55 gears. It could do 0–60 MPH in 5.2 seconds, 0–100 in 12.9 seconds, and the 1/4 mile in 13.8 seconds at 104 mph. This compared to a Car Life road test of a 400 CI powered GTO with a Ram Air engine, four-speed transmission, and 3.90 gear which did 0–60 in 6.6 seconds, 0–100 in 14.6 seconds, and the 1/4 mile in 14.53 at 99.7 mph. Car and Driver wrote that the 428 CI powered car was “a fine, exciting car for either touring or tooting around in traffic. Not overly fussy. Not difficult to drive–-up to a point. Too much throttle at the wrong time will spin the car, or send it rocketing off the road and into the farmer’s field. You can light up the car’s tires like it was an AA-fueler anytime the notion seizes your fancy.” On the other hand, according to Car Life, the Ram Air powered car “likes to run between 3,000 and 6,000 rpm. Below 3,000, the GTO ran flat and a bit rough. Part-throttle driving at 2,000 rpm around town was difficult and unpleasant. Freeway cruising at 4,000 rpm is anything but pleasant and promises short life for hard-working engine components. Also, driving the GTO on wet roads with this deep geared axle was thrilling. Rear tire breakaway could be provoked by a slight jab at the accelerator, sending the car into a minor skid that usually used up more than one lane of space.”