Infiniti, the once-underdog Japanese luxury brand by Nissan, finally showed us the long-awaited revamp to the BMW-challenging G35 sports sedan. After being teased with various sexy coupe concepts, then, can we be forgiven when the four-door production model is finally final but we can’t see much difference?
We don’t intend to offend the Infiniti folks, nor do we mean to say the new G is unattractive. We always liked the way the G looked, and we understand that sedans, with their wider target markets, can’t be as extreme as coupes can. And yes, there are certainly noticeable changes to the 2007 model, notably the bulging hood, swept-back cabin, and a new body-side character line. Still, we’d have to describe the look as evolutionary-and we look forward to the (assumedly) more-assertive coupe to come.
Less unexpected is the comprehensive upgrade to the G35’s interior. The dash is more organic, with illumination now in an attractive white/violet combination. Plastics and other materials seem much improved, and we look forward to the next-generation navigations system, with XM’s NavTraffic real-time info. New, too, is the addition of a push-button start system. Even the redesigned steering wheel, with audio and cruise controls, is notably nicer.
What’s also nice is Nissan/Infiniti’s improved 3.5-liter V6. Eschewing the industry trend of upping displacement to gain power, the G’s engineers instead refined 80 percent of the engine’s internals and reduced restriction on both the intake and exhaust sides. It’s good for a significant bump in power, to “more than 300” horses (final figures to come).
The redline has also been bumped up, by 900 rpm-as has compression, by three-tenths of a point. Transmission choices remain the same, although the optional five-speed automatic gets magnesium paddle shifters. That slushbox is also made crisper by virtue of Downshift Rev Matching and Adaptive Shift Control; the standard six-speed stick-shift makes you think for yourself.
Chassis improvements include track width gains of nearly an inch, and structural rigidity that eclipses the last model. The all-round independent suspension has had its geometry tweaked in the name of nimble-ness.
Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes are augmented with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD). Your poor driving skills are even further mitigated by at least eight airbags and active headrests. All-wheel-drive remains an option-thus creating the G35x model designation-for those who want yet another measure of stability.
The awd versions, however, cannot be ordered with G35 Sport equipment, which is a shame. We expect the stiffer suspension, limited-slip differential, sport seats and 18-inch rims with 225/50 front and 245/45 rear rubber to be a popular option among serious drivers.
And the G35 has always been-and from all appearances remains-a car for serious drivers. If the rumors that some are whispering about now-namely that pricing is slated to remain on par with the 2006 Gs-the 2007 G35 will be a serious value, too. We’ll know for sure sometime prior to the November delivery target.