Infiniti G37 review

Nissan’s luxury division introduced what was then called the Infiniti G35 mid-size sports coupe in 2004 as a racier companion to its similarly named sedan. As with the four-door version that preceded it, the coupe was part of the brand’s efforts to move its entire line of autos onto sportier-handling rear-wheel-drive platforms. The car was immediately and almost unanimously praised for both its entertaining performance and its fresh and elegant-looking styling.

Infiniti G37

Meanwhile, the coupe was redesigned and rechristened the G37 for the 2008 model year by virtue of it carrying a larger 3.7-liter engine; an all-wheel drive version and a saucy new convertible rendition that features a three-piece power retractable hardtop was added to the line for 2009. The G37 received a modest visual revamp for 2010 that included freshened styling with a larger grille and Xenon headlamps up front and more aggressively shaped bumpers at both ends.

A new IPL G Coupe version debuts for 2011 (see below), which is the first model in what’s planned to be a series of aggressively modified Infiniti Performance Line vehicles. What’s more a new Limited Edition version at the top of the model range features a few distinguishing exterior tweaks and a full complement of amenities.

As before, although much of the G37’s underpinnings are shared with the similarly redesigned Nissan 370Z sports coupe, it carries more refined styling inside and out to appeal to a more-sophisticated buyer. Exterior curves are gentle, with the car’s long hood incorporating the brand’s trademark swept-back headlamps. Inside, it includes at least one key component that’s lacking in the Z, namely a back seat.

The aforementioned 3.7-liter V6 generates a hearty 330 horsepower. And 270 pound-feet of torque It combines hydraulic-controlled variable valve timing and electronically controlled variable valve lift to enhance performance and response while reducing emissions and boosting the car’s fuel economy. While the G37 is not the most powerful sports car on the road, at least from a specifications stand-point, the car makes good use of those 300-plus horses to produce 0-to-60 mph times at around 5.5 seconds, which is sufficiently quick for buyers in the luxury coupe market.

While the available quick-shifting six-speed manual transmission makes for an engaging driving experience, we suspect most buyers will choose the optional seven-speed automatic gearbox instead. It features a manual mode with available steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, a sport-shifting mode, downshift rev matching and Adaptive Shift Control that allows for quicker shifts in aggressive driving situations.

The G37x version adds the automaker’s advanced ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system (it stands for Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All Electronic Torque Split), which adds both foul weather capabilities and added dry-pavement grip to this already feisty coupe. It delivers quick-response variable torque distribution, which means it’s able to automatically adjust the amount of power sent to the front and rear wheels on a continuous basis (even during cornering maneuvers) for smoother launches, better fuel economy and improved traction and maneuverability on snowy roads than conventional all-wheel drive systems can offer. Since it can also send up to 100 percent of the engine power to the rear wheels, it helps the car retain a decidedly sporty driving character.

The car’s handling benefits from both a nearly ideal weight distribution, a light-weight aluminum alloy four-wheel independent suspension and speed-sensitive power steering that transmits good road feel. Vehicle Dynamic Control is included to help the G37 retain its poise over a wide variety of roads, driving conditions, and handling situations, but still allows for aggressive motoring. Whip the car though a corner, hit the throttle and the back end will swing out playfully, then snap back almost immediately as the car blasts off down the straightaway.

While the coupe’s ride is harsher than the sedan’s as a tradeoff for its crisper handling abilities, it’s tolerable over all but the roughest pavement surfaces. Four-wheel disc antilock brakes afford smooth and secure stopping power, with an optional higher-performance system including larger rotors and aluminum calipers.

A four-wheel Active Steer system is optional that helps improve the car’s cornering prowess incrementally by automatically optimizing the front steering ratios and the rear-wheel suspension geometry during hard cornering maneuvers. It works as advertised, though most buyers would be just as satisfied with the basic setup.

Meanwhile, the new-for-2011 IPL G Coupe features an upgraded version of the car’s 3.7-liter V6 that produces a nominally quicker 348 horsepower and 276 pound-feet of torque, with a slightly higher maximum engine speed. Stiffer springs, specially tuned dampers and a sport-tuned steering gear help sharpen up the car’s handling a notch, with braking enhancements providing added stopping power. The IPL G Coupe can be specified with the manual or automatic transmission, but it otherwise comes fully equipped with no options offered. Distinctive styling cues include a dynamic front and rear bumper/fascia design, sculpted side sills, rear spoiler, chrome exhaust tips, graphite-finish 19-inch wheels and a red-stitched interior trim treatment. A IPL G Convertible concept was unveiled at the 2010 Paris Auto Show and we expect it to go into production later in the 2012 model year.

The G37’s interior is both attractive and functional, with supportive leather seats and attractive aluminum-alloy trim, the pattern of which is inspired by Japanese Shodo calligraphy. Rosewood trim is alternately offered. The cramped back seat is useable in a pinch, but it’s not a particularly hospitable environment for adults. Unlike other cars in this class the rear seatbacks do not fold flat to expand the cargo area into the passenger compartment.

Standard features are plentiful, and include an Intelligent Key keyless entry/ push-button start system. The convertible version features heated and cooled leather seats, a Bose “Open Air” audio system and a special climate control system that self-adjusts according to whether the top is up or down.

As is the case in other Infiniti models, assorted high-tech options are available to please gadget lovers. These include Intelligent Cruise Control with Preview Braking that both only establishes a set speed and distance from the traffic ahead, and automatically pre-pressurizes the brake lines in anticipation of a panic stop.

Also offered is a GPS navigation system with a subscription-based real-time traffic alert function, a Bluetooth hands-free cell-phone/streaming audio interface, a rear-view camera, an 11-speaker Bose “Studio on Wheels” premium audio system (with iPod connectivity), a Music Box 9.3-gigabyte digital music storage unit and an Adaptive Front Lighting System that pivots the headlamps slightly in conjunction with the steering wheel angle to light the way through curves after dark.

In all, the G37 remains an entertaining ride for those who seek style and performance but prefer a sports coupe that is more refined and easier to live with than a flat-out sports car. Buyers who prefer the same basic elements, but with more of an edge, can find them in the car’s more affordable counterpart, the Nissan 370Z.

Infiniti G37 Coupe Quick Facts

Engine: 3.7-liter V6
Horsepower: 330 @ 7,000 rpm, 348 @ 7,400
Torque: 270 @ 5,200 rpm, 276 @ 5,200
City/Highway: MPG 17/25-19/27
Transmission: 6-Spd Manual, 7-Spd Automatic
Drive: Rear
Wheelbase: 112.2 in
Overall Length: 183.1 in
Width: 71.8 in
Height: 54.8 in
Curb Weight: 3,627 lbs
MSRP: $35,800 - $58,000

Did You Know?

Nissan’s luxury-car division, Infiniti, was established in the U.S. in November, 1989. While the brand name is used internationally, Infiniti cars are only sold in Japan as Nissans. In the car’s home market the Infiniti G series is called the Nissan Skyliner.