2011 Infiniti G37 Sedan 6MTPosted on July 29th, 2011
Versatile sport sedan for driving enthusiasts
By Nina RussinI have a soft place in my heart for Infiniti’s G sport sedans. The G37’s emotive styling and powerful, sure-footed performance meets the visceral needs of driving enthusiasts.
At the same time, a versatile interior, spacious trunk and tech-savvy features including Bluetooth, XM real-time traffic alerts, keyless start and navigation make the sedan a practical choice for commuters in large urban areas.
Power for the G37 comes from a 328 horsepower V-6 engine, mated to a close ratio six-speed manual transmission. Both the block and heads are aluminum, to keep weight off the chassis. The sedan’s hood is also aluminum, for the same reason.
By locating the engine behind the front axle, engineers achieved a near-perfect front-to-rear weight balance: 53/47 in the sport model tested. Because of the engine’s high compression ratio, the G37 requires 91 octane premium unleaded gasoline.
The sport is the only grade which comes with a manual gearbox in lieu of an automatic transmission. Base price is $39,450, not including the $875 destination charge. High friction brake pads on the test car add $370, bringing the MSRP to $40,695.
Test drive in PhoenixI spent the past week driving the G37 on surface streets and highways in the Phoenix metro area. The test drive included some time in thick rush-hour traffic, to mimic what an owner might experience on a weekly basis.
The G37 is a remarkably practical car, despite its sport orientation. The clutch pedal is light enough to function in stop-and-go traffic, and the gears have enough range to save the driver from shifting constantly. A short-throw shift lever makes it easy to snap between the gears.
The interior is well-insulated against wind and road noise while allowing the occasional exhaust belch from the dual pipes. Over-the-shoulder visibility is quite good, as is the view around the perimeter. A standard rearview camera makes it easier to park on the street and back out of vertical parking slots.
The V-6 engine has ample low-end power. It reaches peak torque at 5200 rpm: just over half throttle. As a result, acceleration in the 20-to-50 mile-per-hour range is excellent, making it easy to merge into high-speed highway traffic. The block’s 328 horsepower makes passing slower vehicles at any speed a non-issue.
Speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering provides plenty of assist at low speeds for maneuvering through traffic, while offering excellent on-center response on the highway. A 35.4 foot turning radius makes it easy to perform U-turns.
The compact double wishbone suspension in front and multi-link setup in back are compliant enough for uneven urban roads. At the same time, stabilizer bars on both axles keep the chassis flat in the corners.
Eighteen-inch wheels with W-rated performance tires give the sedan an ample footprint to enhance cornering and add extra traction at speed. Large vented disc brakes have four pistons apiece in front and two in the rear to enhance the car’s stopping power.
As practical as it is, the G37 also has a distinct personality which gives it presence in the ever-widening sea of like-minded products. People unfamiliar with the brand might find this surprising, primarily because what makes the car special is invisible to the eye.
The front mid-ship configuration is one example. Moving the engine block towards the center of the chassis reduces inertial weight at the front end of the car.
Engineers paid as much attention to aerodynamics under the car as on top: something they learned from Infiniti’s formula race cars. Ground clearance is a scant 5.2 inches, enhancing performance at higher speeds.
Models equipped with automatic transmissions have a downshift rev matching feature which blips the throttle during gear shifts to smooth out the power curve. Drivers with pedestrian skill levels appear to have learned some tricks from the pros.
Inside, the G37 holds up to four adults. A tall rear tunnel essentially eliminates all legroom in the second-row center position.
Product planners loaded up the G37 with most of the comfort and safety features luxury buyers look for, eliminating the need to wade through option packages. Standard features on the test car include power heated front seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with redundant audio, cruise and Bluetooth controls, XM satellite radio, a Bose premium surround-sound audio system, navigation, dual-zone climate control, and a USB port for iPod interface.
Both the gauge cluster and center stack screen are easy to read in a variety of lighting conditions. The navigation graphics are easy to follow if the driver wants to use the system without voice prompts.
Passengers in both rows have ample head, hip and legroom. The rear bucket seats provide the equivalent lumbar support to the sport seats in front. The front doors have map pockets and bottle holders but the rear doors do not, due to the location of speakers. I was surprised to find no vents anywhere in back, which could make sitting in the second row uncomfortable on a hot day.
A pass-through behind the second-row armrest allows the driver to load long items such as skis into the car with the rear seats in place. The trunk is quite spacious, easily accommodating luggage for a road trip, some smaller camping supplies and the weekly groceries. However, the rear seats do not fold flat to extend the cargo floor.
The G37 sedan comes with front, side and side curtain airbags, front active head restraints, tire pressure monitoring, four-channel antilock braking, traction and stability control. Standard xenon headlamps provide brighter and longer beams of light than halogen. A speed limit advisory which comes with the navigation system can help the driver to avoid citations.
The G37 received a five-star rating for rollover protection from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Likes: A sport sedan with excellent acceleration, steering response and braking, which is also practical enough for urban commuters.
Dislikes: No rear vents can make the second-row uncomfortable in hot weather.
Model: G37 Sedan 6MT
Base price: $39,450
As tested: $40,695
Horsepower: 328 Hp @ 7000 rpm
Torque: 269 lbs.-ft. @ 5200 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: No
Fuel economy: 17/25 mpg city/highway
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