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  • 2007 Infiniti G35 Coupe

    Posted on April 27th, 2007 ninarussin

    Tuned for performance
    By Nina Russin

    2007 Infiniti G35 Coupe

    2007 Infiniti G35 Coupe

    A steering wheel can make or break a car. Before power steering was invented, steering wheels were the diameter of beach balls: extra girth gave the driver more torque to move the steering gear. Now, steering wheels are a lot smaller, but most aren’t small enough. When I find a steering wheel small enough to fit my frame, I see the whole car in a more favorable light.

    The Infiniti G35 coupe has a right-sized steering wheel. When I get into the driver’s seat, I feel as if the designer had me in mind. If the G35 was a racecar, I’d need to add a five-point harness, but I wouldn’t have to change the seat or the steering wheel, because they’re perfect out of the box.

    The G35 is so driver-oriented, that the other three seating spaces are almost extraneous. In fact, the back seats have very little leg or head-room, due to the aerodynamic lines of the roof. The steering wheel has redundant volume and phone controls, so the driver can keep his eyes on the road. Controls on the instrument panel are easy to reach from both front positions. Key climate and audio controls have separate knobs, so the driver can access them without using the more complicated mouse that also controls the navigation system.

    This leaves the passenger with very little to do, outside of looking at the cool 3-D graphics on the navigation screen. The driver will be having too much fun driving to focus on a conversation. The exhaust note is so nice that the Bose sound system is almost an afterthought. This isn’t to say that the Bose system isn’t worthy of an audiophile: it is. But unless that person is playing something as cool as the digitally remastered “Birth of the Cool,” by Miles Davis, what comes out of the speakers won’t be as cool as the sound coming from the tailpipes.

    Why racecars make road cars better.

    Racecar technology has always been core to Infiniti’s mission. Engineers spend lots of time working on things that most people don’t see: under-car aerodynamics is one example. But this “invisible” technology is what makes the G35 different than other luxury coupes. Making the car more aerodynamic under as well as above the chassis improves fuel economy, and gives the car better ride and handling. Driving through a cloverleaf is a visceral experience.

    There’s more steering effort on the G35 than most passenger cars, but not enough to be distracting. The tight steering is most noticeable at low speeds. On-center feel is excellent. Engineers developed a system called rear active steer that varies the suspension geometry according to driver input. The more aggressive the driver is, the stiffer the rear suspension becomes, so the driver can maintain control. Cruising at moderate speeds the suspension is more compliant, similar to a luxury sedan.

    The suspension itself is heavy on aluminum to minimize unsprung weight. The difference between light suspension components and heavy ones is similar to training shoes versus racing flats: both get the job done, but the flats work much better at speed. Like the flats, the car rides on low-profile rubber. The sport-tuned suspension package on the test car includes a 19-inch wheel upgrade (17-inch wheels are standard). Ripple-control shock absorbers compensate for the hard ride of the low-profile tires.

    The G35 is a rear-wheel drive platform and it shows. Front-to-rear weight balance is near perfect.
    Engineers positioned the engine behind the front axle, so the majority of the chassis weight is right near the driver. That’s ideal for performance, as is the low center of gravity. The aero package adds a rear spoiler and diffusers, to optimize down-force. None of this is noticeable while commuting through rush-hour traffic, but it does make a difference on a two-lane rural road, when the driver can really open up the engine.

    The five-speed automatic transmission is well matched to the car’s standard V6 engine. There is no noticeable shift shock when the driver is traveling at moderate speeds. At wide-open throttle, the transmission responds accordingly for good linear acceleration. The driver can also opt to use manual gear selection on the shift column.

    Visibility around the car is excellent. The rather large rear pillars don’t seem to obstruct the driver’s side or rear vision.

    Keyless start is standard for G35 coupes with the automatic five-speed transmission. Since the manual transmission cars come with conventional ignition systems, the driver still needs to crank the switch on the steering column. I still don’t see the value in this feature, but I suppose it’s one of those add-ons that luxury automakers consider necessary in order to make their vehicles competitive.

    Small but functional passenger cabin

    Inside, the G35 works well for two passengers. Even small adults will feel cramped in the rear seats. The optional sunroof makes the most of the limited space by flooding it with ambient light. Both rows of seating have center consoles with storage areas and cupholders. The doors also have bottle holders molded into the map pockets. The front center console has a generous-sized bin behind the cupholders, with a 12-volt outlet, change holder, and a small, removable tray the right size for a cell phone or PDA. The glovebox is small, primarily because the DVD player for the navigation disk is directly above it.

    The navigation map is cool to look at but not particularly easy to read because of the 3-D imaging. The screen that pops up above the center stack is easy to see without obstructing the driver’s view of the road. I can’t see paying $1800 for the option since aftermarket devices that mount on the dash do as good a job at the fraction of the price.

    The premium package adds the upgraded audio system, sunroof, dual zone temperature controls, auto-dimming rear mirror, and Bluetooth-compatible hands-free phone. It’s probably worth considering for drivers who have long commutes. The aero package ($550) and sport-tuned suspension option ($1600) are worthy investments for driving enthusiasts who might occasionally take their G35 to the track.

    Limited cargo space

    The trunk is deep but fairly narrow and shallow. A pass-through allows the driver to fold the rear seats flat and load in longer items. It’s possible to load a road bike into the car, but not especially easy. The G35 is best suited for people who don’t carry a lot of luggage or gear on a regular basis.

    Standard first-aid kit

    Standard safety features on the G35 include front, side and side-curtain airbags, antilock brakes, vehicle dynamics and traction control, a first aid kit, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

    Base price for the G35 is just over $33,000. It’s a lot of car for the money, and a good candidate for shoppers seeking a more practical alternative to traditional sports cars. The G35 is available for test drives at Infiniti dealerships nationwide.

    Likes: Exceptional ride and handling, with a suspension worthy of cars that are significantly more expensive. The G35’s race-inspired chassis will not disappoint serious driving enthusiasts.

    Dislikes: Minimal storage space in the passenger cabin, especially for four passengers. Trunk space is also limited.

    Quick facts:

    Base price: $33,450
    Price as tested: $41,330
    Horsepower: 280 Hp @ 6200 r.p.m.
    Torque: 270 lbs.-ft. @ 4800 r.p.m.
    0 to 60: N/A
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: Yes 
    Fuel economy: 18/25 m.p.g. city/highway
    Towing: No
    Off-road: No
    Bicycle friendly: No
    Fuel economy: 18/25 m.p.g. city/highway
    Comments: Base price does not include $650 destination charge.

     

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    43. Currently it sounds like Expression Engine is the preferred blogging platform available right now. (from what Ive read) Is that what youre using on your blog?

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