For years, manufacturers such as Lexus, Acura, and Cadillac have tried to beat, or at least take some share away from the BMW 3-Series’ firm grip on the luxury sports sedan/coupe market. None, however have come as close as the Infiniti G35. Some say the G35 even surpassed the 3-Series. I for one loved the G35 Coupe. Fun to drive, great handling, great looking, and the best exhaust note this side of $60K.
But when BMW hit back with the 335i, Infiniti had to come up with something even better – and they did. For 2008, Infiniti released the G37 Coupe. Styling similar to the G35 Sedan which was (at the time) recently redesigned, the G37 contains a larger 3.7-liter version of the excellent V6 powerplant which powered the previous model. Now sporting a naturally aspirated 330hp, Infiniti is back in the game.
We had the Infiniti G37x Coupe – the “x” means that it’s equipped with Infiniti’s Intelligent AWD system. The system keeps the car in RWD until it senses slip, which will allow it to send up to 50% of its power to the front wheels. Our G37x was fully-loaded, equipped with the $1,150 Technology Package, $3,000 Premium Package, $2,200 Navigation Package, $330 illuminated kick plates, and the $1,650 upgraded 18-inch wheels. The Premium package added stuff like a moonroof, upgraded audio, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and Bluetooth, while the Tech package adds Adaptive Cruise Control, Adaptive front lighting, and front pre-crash seat belts. The Navigation package included a hard drive-based nav system, voice recognition, rear back-up camera, and a 9.3-GB hard drive music system.
New for 2009
Not much was changed for the 2009 model, except for the addition of a seven-speed automatic transmission which replaces last year’s five-speed. Infiniti has also incorporated their new self-healing clearcoat paint to the G37. Don’t go around keying your G37, but the claim is that small scratches in the clearcoat (not the base coat underneath) will heal themselves after a day or two, which will keep your car’s finish nice and clean over time and eliminate those pesky hairline scratches found in all cars a few years old. You might want to contact Nissan about what type of polish to use and how to wash the car as to not ruin that clearcoat.
Also new for the 2009 G37 is the addition of the sedan, which is upgraded from last year’s G35 line, and a long-awaited convertible model later this year.
What We Liked
Infiniti might just be onto something here. The G37 Coupe hits a nice balance between a sports coupe and luxury car. It looks great, but if you’re a long-time reader you’ll know I was disappointed at Infiniti’s decision to design it more like a G35 Sedan with 2 doors, and less like the gorgeous Infiniti Coupe Concept shown at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show. The interior is designed well, with sporty curves and aluminum accents abound.
Driving is where the G37 shines. Under the hood you’ll find a responsive and powerful 330 horsepower V6 engine that gets you from 0 to 60mph in just over 5 seconds, and provides an intoxicating exhaust note, which is one of the best sounds out of an exhaust you can get for under $40K. The downshift rev matching feature is cool, and when you get it just right, the throttle blip when downshifting sounds great. The G37 is fun to drive and has excellent grip around turns with its AWD powertrain, but allows to to break loose the rear tires for a couple seconds before the traction control nannies you back into a straight line.
Steering is tight and balanced, and rivals the BMW 3-Series. I never noticed anything about the suspension, which shows that it’s perfectly balanced for both a sporty drive and luxury ride. Comfortable and very bolstered seats keep you in place around turns, and allow lots of adjustability. I also liked that the entire instrument cluster moves when adjusting the tilt & telescoping steering column, which helps to ensure the gauges aren’t blocked by the wheel no matter your height.
The technology on-board was plentiful, such as the adaptive cruise control, which eases the pain of a slow driver in the passing lane. Adaptive front lighting pivots the headlights around turns to increase visibility. The GPS is fast, and allowed easy control over the system which could be controlled via buttons, or touch screen. The on-board iPod integration is nice, but should also have a standard auxiliary jack for other devices.
Ultimately, the G37 is priced below its competitors, offers the same or more power and luxury amenities, making it an overall great value for a sport coupe or sedan.
What We Didn’t Like
Limited interior space hampers the G37 Coupe from hauling more than 2 adults, and the trunk is rather small. Storage space is also at a minimum, as the center console and glove box are both tiny. Regarding media, there is no standard auxiliary jack for MP3 players, only a connector for your iPod and RCA jacks for a video feed. The main controls for navigation, media, and car settings also need some work, as it can be confusing to navigate through the menus.
My main complaint about the car is the transmission. While a 7-speed automatic is otherwise fine for this car, it has problems deciding how it wants to act. It never seems to shift at the right points, and doesn’t adjust to driving style. Too many times I steeped on the throttle and had to wait a few seconds before it kicked in; it doesn’t always have power there when you need it. You can remedy this by switching to the manual mode and shifting yourself, but you shouldn’t have to do that. If that’s the case, then just get the manual transmission, which I imagine would better fit this car anyway. Lastly, at high revs the engine gets windy and complains, which could be fixed with some extra sound dampening under the hood.
The 2009 Infiniti G37 Coupe is an evolutionary upgrade from last year, and continues to prove an excellent value for those in the market for a sport/luxury coupe or sedan. Here’s the skinny:
You can get a comparable BMW 3-Series – which would be the 335i xDrive Coupe – with AWD, 300 horsepower (30 less than the G37,) same fuel economy, starting at $44,100. The same Infiniti G37 AWD Coupe starts at $38,700. Don’t get me wrong, the 3-Series is a great car, but at least drive both before you make the decision, and don’t let the brand name factor skew your decision.