By Daniel Weil
With Seattle’s Space Needle and coffee shops fading behind us, we rode across Puget Sound as guests of Infiniti for the press introduction to the all-new 2008 Infiniti G37. The planned route included twisting, forested roads that promised to showcase the handling prowess and refinement of the G35’s replacement. As the ferry gently landed, several G37s tucked neatly below came to life with a very satisfying chorus of growls.
The new G37 features a 330-horsepower, 3.7-liter V6 with 270 lb-ft of torque, available with a six-speed manual transmission, or an optional five-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Our first question: Why a five-speed automatic instead of six? According to Infiniti engineers, they matched the best transmission to the engine’s extended power band. Already weighing around 3,600 lbs., a six-speed automatic would tip the weight ratio over the edge.
Our next question: What else is new? The G37’s new 3.7 liter V6 (upgraded from the G35’s 3.5 liter) employs, for the first time, Variable Valve Event and Lift (VVEL) technology, which combines hydraulic-controlled variable-valve timing and electronically controlled variable-valve shift to improve engine response, emissions control and fuel efficiency (though it only shows 1 mpg improvement over the G35).
How does this new G37 fare? We found out as the buzzing choir of G37s quickly left the ferry and headed onto blacktop. With a downshift to summon the G37’s inner beast, the car’s mood lifted and the coupe’s sporting nature came alive. The optional 4-wheel Active Steering System (4WAS), which toes the rear wheels in and out slightly in response to speed and steering input, provided handling precision in lane changes and cornering to make the G37 feel downright nimble. Traversing the blacktop ribbon, only the speedometer evidenced our breakneck speed and the sure-footed G37 handled everything we threw at it with poise and stability. Putting the G37 into a power turn, the Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) refused to allow tire spin, even with a foot planted firmly on the accelerator. With the VDC off, we could have played our own version of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. (We do not recommend this on civilian streets; nor do we recommend wearing just a cowboy hat and a guitar in Times Square either.
As for style, Infiniti tightened up its brand presence in this G coupe – you won’t confuse this car for anything but Infiniti. The new fluid exterior design shares nothing with the previous version and only its door handles with other Infiniti models. . Inside, though much improved over the G35, some treatments seemed to polarize the group – most notably the “rice paper” approach to brushed metal trim as well as a desire to see a smoother transition between the dash and door trim. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all, so judge for your self.
If you like technology, you can pack the G37 with features like GPS navigation with XM’s NavTraffi® real-time traffic information and the standard equipment even includes a 12-speaker Bose® Premium Audio System. The G37 also acts as a giant MP3 “pod” player, storing 9.3 gigs in the Music Box hard drive. Better still, the G37 offers complete i-Pod integration with controls on the steering wheel and center console stereo.
As we ended our test drive and I became used to seeing the trees as more than just green blurs, the true sporty capabilities of the G37 finally hit me like the bugs on our windshield. The G37 provides the whole package: a beautiful luxury coupe with enough technology inside, outside and underneath to give almost any driver an enjoyable, comfortable and fast experience.
Infiniti is a gay-friendly company.
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