The 2007 Infiniti G35 Sedan
The 2007 G35 Sedan was a welcomed change in all aspects. Interior has been cleaned up using much more upscale materials, the 306HP VQ35HR, and a vast array of other goodies.The G35 combines “cool toys” with luxury and performance.
The last G35 I drove was a 2003 Coupe. All of my qualms with the G35 at that time seemed to at least have been addressed.The seats were much softer but were still supportive. The leather is very soft and smooth, and seems to be of very high quality. The only issue I had with the interior is the brushed aluminum is not really aluminum; however it feels solid with no compliance. They also moved the seat controls down on the side, which was a complaint by some but not really a problem with me.
The one think that still irks me is that Infiniti still puts on those dreadful Goodyear RSA tires.Yes, on the sport models you get the Bridgestone RE050A which are great tires, however if you get the base or G35x you are stuck with Goodyear RSA’s, which are not to be on a car of this caliber.Any handling problems that I had with this car can be blamed on Infiniti’s terrible persistence in tire excellence! Apparently, they got many complaints of harsh rides, because now the sport model (equipped with 18” alloy wheels) comes with 225-50-18and 245-45-18 front and rear, respectively compared to the 225-45-18 fronts that were on previous G35s with 18’s.
So we were on our way, a simple press of the start button brings the famed VQ35HR to life.You definitely can feel something is there, unlike the M which purrs whisper quiet…
Still it idles smooth and quiet once it settles down, but Infiniti did not want us to forget about that thing that is in front of us!
Driving this beast is different than a previous model G35. I immediately put it into the manual shift mode, took off and was banging off the redline before I knew it!!! Man, that thing FLEW through 1st gear!!! After I got done with my 7500 RPM rampage, a quick touch forward of the gear shifter elicits an immediate and quick shift into 2nd gear, where the monster just keeps on going. This motor BLAZES through the gears, and actually that is one of my problems with this vehicle. I think that this car is under geared and it would be more enjoyable to spend a little more time in each gear. For straight line racing, it is best to leave it in Drive and let the computer shift for you, because it won’t forget where you might. I thought a shift light would be a nice addition, even the
Pontiac Grand Prix that I occasionally drive, which is hardly comparable to this car, has one!
The good side to all of this is there really is not a bad gear for the G35. It seems to pull no matter what gear you are in, so downshifting is not always necessary to get lightning fast acceleration. The transmission shifts different than the old G35 does. The shifts are very quick when you want them to, but velvety smooth when you want to remain civilized. The manual shifter is very much improved, as it actually shifts when you tell it to without hesitation.
The ride is surprisingly smooth and handling is very tight. It gives a supportive ride with compliance to bumps. When you are not driving very hard, it has a very sterile feel to it, possibly due to the lack of a sport package, I suppose that most drivers would prefer not to feel the road. The sport probably has a feel that I would like more, and consulting the salesperson that was with me, seemed to agree with me. Still, the G35 provides flat cornering, and if you take a corner too hard the VDC simply does its job. It is not intrusive at all, like previous models. It also does not start dinging at you like other vehicles do; it simply blinks a small and inconspicuous light in the instruments. It simply will not let you overdrive the car!!! More grip would be nice, but like I said, I won’t hold high expectations to Goodyear RSA’s!
I briefly sat in a G35 sport and it had a compact flash card reader to play MP3s (unfortunately it will not read pictures) with and also an adjustable seat bottom similar to the BMW. It also sports aux-in preouts in the center console with a nice dished area to put your MP3 player. The sport model has much more bolstering on the seats and for the minor added cost of the sport package; I would simply get the sport package to not have Goodyear RSA’s!
The BMW 335i
The BMW has a very grassroots interior. No fancy gadgets, just a simple CD player and climate controller. The older BMW owner would feel very at home in this vehicle,
and frankly I felt very at home. The dash is free of clutter and everything is easy to find. Interior was on par with what you would expect with BMW, no complaints or problems here.
Pressing in (toward the driver) up shifts the car, and pressing away
downshifts the car. It is not as simple as it seems, even toward the end of my extensive drive I still found myself fumbling with them. I chose to use the shifter on the console more, because it was easier to use. Using the paddle shifters isn’t all that bad; it displays what gear you are in on the display in between the 2 simple and classic BMW gauges. For instance, if you are in 3rd gear and you accidentally downshift when you wanted to up shift, and you see you did this, if you catch it quick enough and hit the paddle the other way, it will automatically go to 4th.
However, flipping the shifter over into the “manual area” puts the vehicle into sport shift mode, which uses delayed shifts which are intended for spirited driving only, it expects you to shift sometime before the redline. What I really liked about this is that it will shift at the redline even if you forget. I turned right off a 4 way stop, downshifted into 1st and it flew through the gear, but then it shifted into 2nd gear! Slightly confused and relieved, I really liked this option!! The car lets you focus on driving and will take care of the petty details.
The ride was very smooth however it gave the road feedback you would expect from a BMW; you can subconsciously feel the road through the steering wheel without actually realizing you are feeling it. You just knew it was there, you knew where each bump was but it was on a very subconscious level. The passenger would not feel it, unless they were holding the steering wheel, which is ideal for everyone.
Despite their difference in price, the G35 and 335 very much compete with each other. I had a BMW enthusiast tell me “there is simply nothing like the feeling in the steering wheel that a BMW can give you”. Well, I would respond that the G35 and 335 have very similar feelings. Even the steering wheels are shaped similar, and the shifter has a very similar design. I would presume that with the same tires and same driver, they would do roughly the same in the slalom
Overall, I would have to say the way I drove them, I preferred the BMW, however it’s very unfortunate because the G35 could have easily been better with a few simple touches. Simple things like the computer automatically shifting at the redline, because it is VERY easy to wait too long to shift in that car. The BMW had much longer gears, which I preferred. I like to stay in the power band, the BMW just stays in the powerband and the G35 pulls through the power band. The BMW had 6 gears compared to G35s 5, which even makes less sense. The bottom line is that the BMW was just better thought out, like it was put together by a bunch of people who like driving vs. a bunch of engineers who drive their Toyota prius to work. Do not read into that statement too much, because they are still very driver oriented cars. Infiniti certainly has come a long way from the 1997 Q45 to this car in terms of making people think twice about “The Ultimate Driving Machine”.
The BMW, surprisingly or not, was more civilized. It started in 2nd gear to give very smooth takeoffs. The car seemed to know when you wanted to take it easy or when you wanted get on it. You could take your kids to school and then take the back roads to work, and it would be like your driving 2 different cars! The G35, however, was very hard to make a smooth takeoff, and I’m not sure the average buyer in this segment would appreciate that. I would certainly prefer to start in 2nd gear in the G35, because the VQ35HR is just way too rev-happy. Wow, I never thought I’d see myself making note of that. One qualm I’ve always had with the G35 is that the pedal is too firm. It needs to be looser so that it is easier to modulate at low speeds. If these cars could talk, the BMW would say “Whatever you want to do” vs. the G35’s “Lets GO!!”.
Still, there is something about that boosted inline 6 that is just different and special. The engine feels like it has every bit of 300HP and it makes it with ease, whereas the G35 feels like at 300HP it’s had enough. It does not have that strained feeling that the earlier VQs had, much more refined, but it still does not have the torque push that the boosted inline 6 had. In fact, the inline 6 felt more like a V8 to me, so you can rest assured I felt at home!
Still, I could never justify spending an extra 10,000 on the BMW. If I was going to spend 45,000 on a car, I would spend a little more on an Infiniti M45 and get way more car for the money. Everything I don’t like about the G35 is fixed doesn’t apply to the M, so it still remains a worthy flagship of the Infiniti lineup, which some have questioned with the debut of the new G. If I wanted to spend 35,000 on a car, the G35 would be a strong contender.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Bottom line- Lots of car for the money, go drive one, if you liked the old G35 you’ll love the new G35.
The bottom line- Yeah it’s a BMW, but if Infiniti keeps it up, they’re going to get more people converting.
Author: Wes Stinson (elwesso) is a NICOclub Infiniti Moderator