Hunting in Bavaria
by Scott Corlett
In 2003, after wallowing with the gussied-up-Maxima I35, Infiniti debuted the G35, a sport sedan that—with the BMW 3-series in its sights—sharpened the brand’s enthusiast creds. In 2007, with the arrival of an updated G35, I’m relieved to say that the focus remains on performance—a sentiment I rather doubt is shared in Munich.
On first glance, the new G35 looks like the previous iteration, except after a few more hours spent at the gym. The exterior is more buff, with greater definition and more heavily contoured metal. But the G35 is no Castro-clone on steroids: the new car is less than an inch bigger in any dimension, with a gain of lean muscle mass of only 40-odd pounds. On the inside, the designer had a dream client, one willing to spring for a major upgrade: the materials and finishes now rival those of Audi, the standard bearer of automotive décor.
And when not at the gym or at the fabric shop, the new G35 boned up on the latest technology: now standard is push-button start, with a rear view camera, intelligent cruise control, and adaptive headlamps available. And then there is the optional Bose audio system, which combines 24-bit Burr Brown digital converters; the industry’s first three-way, front-door speaker array with ten-inch woofers; and a shelf-mounted subwoofer. (I don’t have a clue what all that means; I do know the sound is off the hook.)
Under the hood, though the G35 remains powered by Nissan’s 3.5-liter V-6 engine, the output jumps to 306 hp and 268 lb-ft of torque—in technical lingo, hot stuff. The terms “high performance” and “front-wheel-drive” don’t belong in the same sentence, and, accordingly, the G35 still sends the juice to either the rear wheels or all four. Transferring all that power is a standard, five-speed automatic transmission or, available only on the Sport edition, a six-speed manual. Be warned: if like me, you prefer to throw ‘em long and hard, the manny’s tight shift pattern and quick take-up will keep you on your toes.
Out on the road, the G35 is a dream. The new variable-assist steering is a definite woof, airy for city parking and stud-tight for higher speeds. I drove the G35—a Sport with the man-six—north of San Francisco, on the twisty bits that lead to Bodega Bay. Through tight curves and two-lane slaloms, the G35 effortlessly held the line; while on straight-aways, a press of the pedal and you’re deep into the leather. And, despite the Sport package’s extra-firm dampeners, the ride was luxury-car smooth, or, dare we say, BMW-like.
Since 2003, with its G35 sedan, Infiniti has gunned for, but never quite hit, BMW’s 3-series. With the launch of the updated 2007 Infiniti G35, the shots are landing infinitely closer—and the Germans are getting nervous.
Infiniti is a gay-friendly company.
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