• Oct 20th 2008 at 3:00PM
  • 34

2009 Infiniti G37x Coupe – Click above for high-res image gallery

Infiniti recently invited us to Napa, California to show off its 2009 model lineup, and while they didn't bring the all-new G37 Convertible (we'll be at the Los Angeles Auto Show to report on that one), they did hand us the keys to the new all-wheel drive G37x coupe and the more-powerful 2009 G37 S sedan. Does all-wheel drive make a slot car out of the coupe? Does a larger engine transform the sedan? Read on for our full impressions after the jump.

Photos Copyright ©2008 Michael Harley / Weblogs, Inc.

2009 Infiniti G37x Coupe

It seems as if Infiniti has finally put it all together. They started with the sexy FM-platform Coupe, shoehorned the hot 330-hp VQ37VHR 3.7-liter V6 under the hood, mated it to a new transmission, and connected it to the pavement through a performance-oriented ATESSA E-TS all-wheel drive system. This has to be the ultimate Infiniti, right? Well, our time with the car indicates that the sum of these parts equals a mixed message. The new G37x may satisfy the masses, but it doesn't attempt to masquerade as an enthusiast-oriented sports car.

First, the product planners have chosen to mate the ATESSA E-TS only to the new 7-speed automatic transmission – sadly, you won't find a G37x S 6MT anywhere in the lineup. Even thought the Infiniti team boasts the "Drive Sport" mode and "Downshift Rev Matching" features on the new 7-speed auto, it is still a traditional "slushbox" with characteristic automatic transmission inadequacies. Second, even though the ride height and suspension are unchanged from the standard RWD model, Infiniti will not offer Four-wheel Active Steer (4WAS), the Sport Package (and big brakes) or the Performance Tire & Wheel Package on the G37x. That said, the most scalpel-like Infiniti Coupe for '09 will remain the G37S Sport 6MT (essentially unchanged from '08).

So, where does the new all-wheel drive G37x fit into the lineup? In a sense, it is the most capable model, but for very different reasons.

We spent about an hour behind the wheel of the G37x, and it all began to make sense. Most notably, the new 7-speed automatic is an excellent transmission. Shifts are quick and smooth, and you don't find yourself cursing its gear selection during normal driving. We left it in "D" and it performed admirably without needlessly hunting for a ratio. Add efficiency to the transmission's accolades as it sips less fuel than the 5-speed automatic it replaces. Fuel economy for the rear-wheel drive coupe with the new 7AT jumps from 18 city/24 highway to 18/26 thanks to its tall gearing (the all-wheel drive G37x is rated at 18/25).

The default torque split on the ATTESSA ET-S all-wheel drive is 0:100 (front:rear). When the G37x is floored from a standstill, the rear tires chirp for a split second before the fronts hook up – it reacts nearly identically to the way the Nissan GT-R does under similar circumstances. If a wheel is off the pavement, the TCS (electronic traction control) light will illuminate briefly while the system instantaneously transfers torque to the wheels with adhesion. On abrasive pavement, it just rockets off without drama. Compared to the Audi's quattro, BMW's xDrive, and Mercedes' 4MATIC systems, the ATTESSA ET-S wins hands-down in terms of sportiness and reaction time. It is rear-wheel drive until you exceed the grip of the tire's contact patch – just the way we prefer things.

Even though it's second-fiddle to enthusiasts, the G37x Coupe will be the car of choice for those looking for seamless all-wheel drive capabilities, with nary a penalty in driving dynamics (or even to be noticed at the pump). It is hard to argue against the benefits of four-wheel traction while pulling out of corners, off from stoplights, or during any type of inclement weather. In that sense, the fitting of ATTESSA ET-S does make this one of the most capable G Coupe models in the '09 lineup (comprised of the G37 Coupe, G37 Coupe Journey, G37S Coupe Sport 6MT and G37x AWD Coupe).

The addition of the all-wheel drive Coupe (and upcoming Convertible) to Infiniti's G series means the lineup will now smartly match that of close German competitors. The Japanese offering is sportier (e.g., lower ride height), but the other guys still offer a version with a clutch pedal. There is no doubt that the new 7AT will satisfy a large chunk of those who wander into showrooms looking for a manual transmission, but we still wonder if Infiniti is leaving something on the table. With die-hard Infiniti customers forced to watch Nissan dealers peddle the supercar GT-R, and the Q45 just a fading memory, the upscale brand needs its own flagship. It really is time to search the parts bin and toss a bone to loyal Infiniti enthusiasts. We suggest they snap together a direct-injection forced-induction G37x Coupe with a dual-clutch gearbox. Come on, that's all we are asking for.

2009 Infiniti G37 S Sedan

Answering the horsepower calls, Infiniti dropped its VQ37VHR 3.7-liter V6 under the hood of the G Sedan for 2009. Rebadged the G37, the new engine up front is rated at 328 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque in the sedan (still down a few from the G37 Coupe). Compared to last year's VQ35HR 3.5-liter V6, the G37 Sedan sports an additional 22 horses and (an imperceptible) additional 1 lb-ft of torque. In addition to the increased displacement, the new engine features "VVEL", a system that combines hydraulic-controlled variable valve timing and electronically controlled variable valve lift on the intake side. Not only does it enhance performance and response, but it also helps with emissions and fuel efficiency. The 6-speed manual (in the G37S Sport 6MT) is unchanged, but the automatic has been upgraded to the aforementioned 7-speed electronically controlled unit with "Downshift Rev Matching" like its predecessor. Fuel economy for the Sport 6MT is unchanged with the new powerplant (it remains at 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway), but the 7AT efficiency jumps from 17/24 to 18/26 thanks to its tall gearing.

The brakes have also been upgraded on the G37S Sport 6MT sedan (the big brakes are also optional on the G37 Sedan Journey). The standard models are fitted with 12.6-inch front rotors and single-piston calipers (12.1-inch in the rear). The 6MT gets beefier 14.0-inch fronts with 4-piston calipers and 13.8-inch rotors in the rear with 2-piston calipers.

The wheel and tire sizes also remain unchanged, but their styling has been updated to differentiate the model years. If you look past the new wheels, two new colors (including standard Scratch Shield paint) and new "G37" badge on the rear, nothing will visually distinguish the exterior of the '09 model from the outgoing '08 model. On the inside, Infiniti made a few minor changes. They include some improved trim and a redesigned seat heater switch. There are four '09 models arriving in the showroom: G37 Sedan, G37 Sedan Journey, G37S Sedan Sport 6MT and G37x Sedan AWD.

We spent about 45 minutes in the '09 G37S sedan and enjoyed every minute of it. The new 7-speed auto is geared low enough to really launch the sedan from a stop, yet tall enough to keep fuel economy in check (we would like to hear some more exhaust note on the S model, if anyone is asking). In terms of sheer acceleration, the new gearing should drop the 0-60 time a bit, but Infiniti doesn't publish numbers and we didn't have our test gear with us. Our "butt dyno" says the car is quick. Really quick. We are betting the new engine/transmission combo helps the G37 sedan sprint to 60 mph in about 5 seconds flat – that's faster than the Audi A4 3.2 and Lexus IS350, but it still won't snuff a stock BMW 335i.

Where the G37S sedan really excels is in the handling department. Transitional handling and balance are excellent, and it exhibits far less body roll than its European counterparts. As we mentioned, the brakes have been bumped up in size, but we never abused them to the level that their additional swept area or mass would have made a difference. We hit the pedal hard, and the G37 stopped each time without a whimper.

Don't tell the displacement junkies, but it's not the new 3.7-liter VQ that transforms the G37. Sure, the new V6 offers more horses under the hood, but the torque is practically unchanged. The increased efficiency is welcomed, but is offset by the additional engine volume (check the 6MT fuel mileage figures again). The metamorphosis is wholly credited to the new 7-speed transmission – it delivers smooth shifts, an accurate power band, and improved fuel economy. The sedan feels faster, more responsive and more comfortable at speed. It's just what the four-door G needed to continue standing on the podium.

Photos Copyright ©2008 Michael Harley / Weblogs, Inc.

Travel and lodging for this event was provided by the manufacturer.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      The wheels on that G37x coupe makes it look even more like the Altima coupe.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I would definitely take this car over anything the domestics have to offer as Infiniti G Series are excellent trend setting performers. I would already have the one with the Manual 6 but my heart is set more on the new Hyundai Genesis Coupe with the 3.8L V6.
        • 6 Years Ago
        FryLock you may want to check your vehicle dimensions the G37 has similar dimensions to a 5-Series not a 3-Series

        G-37 Sedan
        99 Cubic ft passenger volume
        112.2 in wheelbase

        5-series sedan
        99.1 Cubic ft passenger volume
        113.7 in wheelbase

        98 Cubic ft passenger volume
        113.4 in wheelbase

        3-series sedan
        93 Cubic ft passenger volume
        108.7 in wheelbase
        • 6 Years Ago
        Also if you are considering the Genesis Coupe, the V6 Camaro will be a better performer. It's suspension is n-ring tuned and if the Cobalt SS, CTS-V, and ZR1 are any indication, it will handle far better than its price tag lets on. The Genesis sedan has sloppy handling compared to its competition. I'd much rather have a G than a Genesis.
        • 6 Years Ago
        If you want bang for your buck a $31k Camaro SS will humiliate the G37 around a track and leave it for dead in a straight line. Hell a Cobalt SS will embarrass it on the track.

        If you want luxury too though there's nothing domestic to compete. The CTS is a fantastic car, but much larger than the 3-series sized G. Does a domestic brand even offer a luxury vehicle that size?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Don't mind Frylock. We all know by know that by his past comments on previous blogs he is quite often full of total crap.

        He uses made up numbers to justify his strong dislikes and likes towards certain cars or companies.

        Even though this thread is mostly about the G37 series cars I still have to wonder where this dude get's his so-called opinions about the Genesis Coupe 3.8. Most smart people, ones with common sense, and have good reading skills know that the Genesis Coupe has not been released here yet and the only true tester of this car was an establishment by the name of Car Middle East and they had a lot of positive comments about the car, including the handling.

        I wonder if this Frylock dude is one of the more lesser informed or ignorant people that still thinks that the Genesis Coupe is nothing more than a redesigned Tiburon with RWD, that if he even knew it had RWD. Just to be clear to you Frylock the Genesis is an entirely different car and your so called made up opinions are null and invalid. Also using reference cars such as the Camaro, CTS, Corvette ZR1 and..COLBALT???? Not only does it prove you know nothing about the Genesis Coupe, the G series, or even the class these 2 cars fit in, it also further strays away from the so called shameful point you are trying to make.

        You can just make it easy on yourself by saying "I Am A GM Fanboy" and "I hate Hyundai & Infiniti". It will make you look less of a fool than trying to use made up numbers to prove a ridiculous point.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Come on Frylock, the gearing of the Camaro V6 is too tall. Unless GM changes from the 3.27 to the 3.45 the Genesis V6 coupe will be faster in a straight line.
        Compare apples to apples.
        Hyundai will offer an 'SE' suspension option
        GM offers FE2 & FE3 suspension
        GM offers 19" for the V6 auto, hopefully with grippy tire, maybe GM will offer a 'limited slip' for the V6 auto
      • 6 Years Ago
      Can anyone explain why most car companies do not combine awd with a manual transmission? I assume it has a lot to do with price, but I live in the northeast and love my manual, but want AWD for the snow. Looks like I'm out of luck on this one though. Thanks!
      • 6 Years Ago
      PSA for Infiniti, it's not 90s anymore, ditch the spoiler.
      • 6 Years Ago
      A sexy sedan and a cute coupe, Infiniti kicks you know what! There is nothing wrong with an automatic transmission, there is nothing wrong with femininty either.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What a letdown! Another wonderful car mated to a sissy transmission.

      Any "man" that buys a car like this with an automatic transmission has totally found his feminine side. Congrats to him and his new found vag1na!

        • 6 Years Ago
        unless the CTS somehow feels and drives better when I test drive the two in the next year or so,
        the G37x with the 7-speed will be my next car (to replace my '03 G35)

        i enjoy both about the same even if the manual gives you more control

        if to you that means i'm getting in touch with my feminine side oh well, that's too bad

        i'm hoping i hear rumours that the dual clutch is coming with DI as well, then i'll wait for it for a few more years
      • 6 Years Ago
      How can they leave out the 6 speed MT of the G37x. This was my car to get until I read this post. I seriously hope this reconsider before I decide to purchase next year. (well saying i can get a loan first).
        • 6 Years Ago
        Thats true. but there's still something a lil unsettling about driving a G37 mated with an automatic transmission. Not to mention i've been driving my MT 96 240sx for almost 9 years. I still can sit in a AT car with out falling in my seat looking for the clutch.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Acura's SH-AWD, possiblely one of the most advanced 4wd systems. allows you to have the manual shift. I see no reason for G37 to NOT have a manual shift.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Acura's SH-AWD system is a FWD system with a rear PTO. Although complex, it is by far not one of the most advanced AWD systems on the market.
        • 6 Years Ago
        If the take rate of the stick is low, and the take rate of the G35x was low, what would the take rate of G37x stick shift be?

        and maybe Nissan didn't want to spend the money to develop yet another powertrain combo.

        Nissan should still offer a sporting package for the G37x in the future: wider rear tires, viscous speed sensitive rear differential, lower (or just normal) ride height suspension, maybe the quicker steering ratio, or even variable front & rear wheel steering systems, big brakes, big 19" wheels (coupe)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Nice Altama.
        • 6 Years Ago
        What the hell's an Altama?
          • 6 Years Ago
          The car that looks like the car on this page regardless of misspellings. Or rather, "what the hell is cognition?"
      • 6 Years Ago
      So a 7sp trans with a V6 and it gets one MPG higher on the highway than the bigger, just as fast, heavier, and more more agile, Dodge Challenger R/T with a 5.7L HEMI V8? And with the manual its the same?
        • 6 Years Ago
        What? Are you saying the challenger r/t is more agile than the G37, or that it's just as quick?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Don't tell that to the import guys... they think they're reversing global warming by driving their light, fast and efficient things!?!?
        • 6 Years Ago
        What Challenger is as fast as this car, not the SE or 5.7? The SRT8 had better be faster it has 65% more displacement.
        Look at the gearing in the G sedan, 1st to 30mph, 2nd to 50, 3rd to 80, 4th to 120, 5th to 170, 6th to 165, 7th to 160

        The gearing is still plenty short, 30mph per 1K rev in top gear, so it could still be taller for better mileage.
        I wonder if Nissan is planning on the same axle ratio for both the VQ25 & VQ37. That would bring the top speed down to 155 in 5th, 150th in 6th, 145 in 7th for the VQ25hr
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow ! 0 to 60 in 5 secs flat? Cool. With a turbo it
      probably can get down to the 4s!!!!!
        • 6 Years Ago
        After you replace the blow up 7 speed auto, and have to replace/upgrade to the 7 speed automatic from the Fx50?

      • 6 Years Ago
      I swear there is no difference btw a nissan and an infiniti other than the infiniti is rear wheel drive. It is so clear to me that the person who designs for infiniti is the same person who designs nissans especially when it comes to the interior (exact same switch gear for all buttons and displays).
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ya i agree, and it's not a good thing.

        The 2 door has altima coupe written all over it.

        I used to think infinite cars were pretty decent looking. Now they look just like nissans with an infinite badge, just like they did years ago.

          • 6 Years Ago
          Actually, it is the other way around.

          The G37 coupe came out first, and the Altima Coupe aped it on the second verse.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's likely due to the fact that what we know as Infinity is the upper level JDM Nissan lineup. The G37 is a Nissan Skyline in Japan, etc. The platforms are entirely distinct though.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The maxima looks more like an Infinite now more-so than a Nissan, I love the new maxima
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Maxima looks like the JDM Skyline to me, so it does look like a Nissan, just not an American Nissan ;)
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