Like a tsunami headed for shore the newest member of the Infiniti stable has created a splash that has already been felt by the likes of BMW, and it is not even for sale yet. The car? Infiniti’s new 2008 G37 Coupe.When will the wave crest and hit the shore?August 21st at an Infiniti dealership near you.
Since the release of the 2007 Infiniti Concept, there has been a lot of internet discussions and speculation concerning the latest refresh of the G series. The 2007 G35 Sport Sedan was the first look at what direction Infiniti was heading. With its new styling, more refined instrumentation and features, stiffer chassis and revised VQ35 power plant, Infiniti gave some insight as to the next coupe design to be released for the 2008 model year. This was later followed by pre-release photo’s and information concerning the new coupe prior to the 2007 New York Auto Show. Since that time frame, numerous magazines have driven and tested the new G37 including a Motor Trend comparison titled “The King is Dead; How Infiniti’s G37 Beat BMW’s 335i Coupe” which sparked some interesting internet debate between BMW enthusiasts and Nissan/Infiniti enthusiasts. Regardless,the G37 has been delivered to Infiniti dealerships across the country in preparation for its release celebration on August 16th. Infiniti has successfully ramped up the masses in preparation of the G37 release, but is the car really up to it? While being no pro at test driving cars for comparisons, I felt it was time to throw my .02 into the arena and see what this car is all about.
With a Saturday open to myself, I headed over to Sam Swope Infiniti which is located on the east side of Louisville, KY. Upon arrival, I started scoping out the lot for the G, but to no avail. I saw an awesome M45 sport, a couple of ’07 G35 coupes and sedans but no G37 on the lot nor in the show room. With a bit of disappointment I grabbed salesman Ned Wood, whom I had met previously during a test drive of a ’07 G35 Sport Sedan, and asked him if they had received a G37. Indeed they had, it was simply being used for a test drive at the time. Ned and I spent the time waiting for the G37 to return by discussing the changes within the new generation G37 Coupe and the noticeable power difference it has with the new VQ37VHR in comparison to the VQ35HR in the Sport Sedan that I had previously driven. Once the G37 was returned, I was up to bat and ready to jump behind the wheel.
Now, I have met a large number of salesmen in my day. For the most part, a majority of them have no real clue about the vehicle they are showing and can only speak from the brochure or what they have been told. Put a real Nissan enthusiast in front of these guys and they fold like a stack of cards in the wind. I’m glad to say that Ned is not one of them. As an X-BMW guy and racer he is a true car enthusiast and knows all about the vehicles he sells. I’ve studied information on the car, I’ve written articles about the car and have built websites for the car (www.g37driver.com), yet Ned still knows more about the model than I do. This makes it a real pleasure for me to find out information and viewpoints on this new model, and while I will usually refuse to take a test drive with a salesman in the car Ned is one of those exceptions.So, after going over some of the new interior and exterior changes, checking out the new braking system and engine of the fully loaded G37S, we head out with Ned behind the wheel.
Ned has a set course for test drives that he likes to take people on. First is a nice tight sweeping curve at a relatively quick pace. This is followed by a spirited sprint from a stop to show its off the line performance. Even with the A/C blasting and the car in automatic mode with traction control enabled, I could tell a difference between this G and its sister Sport Sedan. Of course, when comparing 330hp to 306hp you should. Finally, I get behind the wheel for a nice 20-minute drive. One of the first things I notice is how smooth the suspension is over rough road work. Is it stiff? Yes, but not in a jarring way. With my daily driver being a Maxima rolling on stiff Eibach Springs and performance-adjusted struts, I was highly surprised at how comfortable the G37 was as not once during the trip did I cringe when hitting bumps. The throttle itself was light and did not have any of the quirks that new G35 owners have somewhat complained about. Traction control did its job in making sure the rear end was planted to the pavement no matter how hard I launched it. During this first portion of my test drive, Ned pointed out how much quieter the exhaust seemed inside the cabin as compared to the earlier G35 variants. The sedate tones were pleasant and nowhere near the potentially-annoying growl I had experienced in the previous G35’s nor Nissan’s 350z.
While continuing on the test course, I am shown the functionality of the Navigation package and I must say that it is top notch. It easily recognized voice commands over the A/C system, was easy to understand and from a visibility perspective it worked flawless even with the sun streaming onto the dash. Seating was comfortable and easily adjusted to suit my tastes. Controls were logical, and with some time spent over viewing the options, would be easy to utilize on a daily basis. If you travel a lot, this is one Navigation system that would do you justice.
We finally arrive on a two-lane country road and I proceed to aggressively take the G through some hilly countryside. I realized very quickly that the G could easily handle a whole lot more than I was giving it. The shifts were smooth, precise and implemented quickly which is a nice change from my daily driver. The suspension handled the switch-backs and hill transitions superbly and the vehicle was not pulled in different directions due to uneven pavement which is further testament to the time Infiniti has spent tuning this suspension. The 5-speed automatic transmission is a joy to utilize and offers paddle shifters for enthusiasts to utilize while in sport mode, another function that was fun to play with. The last straight away buzzed by at an even 80mph as I did not feel like pushing it higher on this day (I believe I hit 100mph on this same road while testing the Sport Sedan). Looking back, I should have taken it up a couple of notches as the G seemed to be begging me to let’er loose. I’ll have to save that for another day should I get a chance to take one out on a track. Better safe than sorry.
With the test drive over, it’s time to reflect over my impressions of the vehicle itself. From a styling standpoint, I feel it is a smash hit. Pictures that have been posted do not do this car any justice at all. The interior quality is excellent and the functionality of the instrumentation and other equipment in the car is top notch. The vehicle is powerful throughout the RPMs and does not suffer any lag time with the automatic thanks to its rev-matching capabilities. With all those accolades, did I find anything I did not quite like? Yes, but they seem minor and something a new owner will get used to. During my drive I noticed while braking that I needed to physically move my foot over more than I am used to as the close proximity of the gas and brake pedals would have me pressing both simultaneously. I also noticed that during heavy cornering the steering was much harder to turn than the Nissan product I drive today and the steering seemed dampened to the pointthat I was missing out on some steering feed-back from the road. Finally, for those who may wish to utilize the back seat, I would not suggest shoving anyone other than a hated mother-in-law in the area as they will be cramped and relatively grumpy after the trip. Then again, if back seat space was a requirement you would not be looking at the Coupe, but the sedan instead.
Conclusion? With a base price just shy of $35,000, Infiniti has another winning vehicle on its hands. While I hope the information above is helpful to those interested in the G37, there is a lot of features and details that were not covered. For more vehicle-specific information please visitwww.G37Driver.com or NICOclubs G37-specific Online Forums for questions and answers from our extensive Nissan/Infiniti online community.
Special thanks go out to Ned Wood at Sam Swope Infiniti for today’s excursion.I know he will see me soon as a G37 is destined to be in my driveway.
Article By: Matthew Moody (audtatious) is a NICOclub Administrator