• Oct 5, 2010
Increases Performance Little, but also Increases Price Little

2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe – Click above for high-res image gallery

Our waiting Infiniti IPL G Coupe idles curbside. Exiting its enormous Thermos-sized chrome exhaust tips, the invisible waveforms invite a closer listen. The baritone note suggests power, with a cadence that is is lumpy, sounding closer to a V8 with a heavy cam than any V6 we've ever heard. A harbinger of things to come, or just an evil audible tease? We had flown to California's Napa Valley to find out, but first we needed some context.

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Photos copyright ©2010 Rex Roy / AOL

The 2011 IPL G Coupe is the first vehicle to come from Infiniti's newly formed in-house tuning division called – wait for it – the Infiniti Performance Line. In other words, you're witnessing the start of something new for Japan's sportiest premium brand.

Nat Mason, IPL's manager, is not your run-of-the-mill marketing type, and he's certainly not the type of guy you expect to find at Infiniti – even with the brand's enthusiast leanings. Mason has personal ties in the enthusiast community and drag races a first-generation Chevrolet Camaro RS with a 540-cid big block.

2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe, side view

A straight shooter, Mason was quick to clear the air, noting that the IPL is not meant to be the equivalent of Mercedes-Benz AMG or BMW M, telling us "Listen, we could have developed a new G Coupe with our 5.0-liter or the 5.6 [V8]. But at what cost? Sure, it would have been a halo performance vehicle, but traditionally those don't sell well." In other words, we all need to remember that the auto business remains a for-profit enterprise.

Recognizing that Infiniti hopes to continue increasing sales by expanding its model line (through August, U.S. sales were up 25 percent), Mason tells Autoblog that the purpose of its new IPL is to provide an incremental step up in performance and style beyond products that are already badged "Sport."

So now we know why the new IPL G Coupe is not intended to hunt M3s. It was never meant to.

2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe, front view2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe, rear view

The target is unashamedly one rung lower, the likes of the BMW 335is. Mason said, "Compared to the number of customers willing to pay around $70,000 for a sport coupe, there are many more people willing to spend incrementally for a limited edition vehicle that delivers more luxury and performance." Mason points to a sweet spot of just under $50k.

IPL could therefore stand for Increases Prices Little. It was with this understanding of IPL that we approached the svelte two-door G Coupe seen here, a car that you'll find in dealerships come December.

From a distance, this new model is still immediately recognizable as a current-generation G Coupe. Everything we liked about the G37 remains unchanged. The profile still looks fresh and the IPL treatment enhances things visually with new front and rear fascias, different side sills and IPL-exclusive 19-inch split-spoke wheels. Colors for 2011 include Graphite Shadow (a.k.a. metallic gray) pictured here, plus a Malbec Black (another metallic with heavy red overtones).

2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe, wheel detail2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe, IPL badge

Besides the handsome wheels, the new front fascia stands out. Its rakish design carries the bodylines forward from the hood, throwing them toward the pavement in front of the car. The look is aggressive while falling just shy of boy-racer. The enormous 120mm dual exhaust tips, however, cross that line, albeit just a little.

Inside, the changes are more subtle. Red accent stitching ties in both interior colors (graphite or bordello red), silk-finished aluminum complements the standard leather and... that's about it. While we understand that unique sport seats or a re-engineered short-throw shifter might have pushed the MSRP over $50k, we find it hard to believe that there wasn't room in the development budget for a purple and red IPL emblem on the tach dial or a 3D dash plaque.

Otherwise, the IPL's equipment list is equivalent to a contemporary G37 fitted with Premium, Sport and Navigation packages. In other words, the IPL G Coupe is loaded. You'd expect nothing less at the car's $47,950 MSRP ($875 destination and handling extra) – a mere $3,000 more than a well-equipped G37 Sport.

2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe interior2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe gauges2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe navigation system2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe door sill

Thankfully, the IPL team has spent time and money on the powertrain and chassis. For starters, the IPL's 3.7-liter VQ37HR V6 breaths better. The exhaust was opened up considerably – back pressure dropped 30 percent – using bigger dual pipes and a different crossover design. This enabled engineers to recalibrate the engine's ECU, raising the horsepower peak to 7,400 rpm and the redline to 7,500 rpm (an increase of 500 revs). Fuel and spark maps were changed, allowing for a richer high-rpm fuel mix, yet no internal engine changes were required to make the extra power. Compared to the standard G37 Sport, output climbs by 18 ponies to 348 horsepower, while torque gets a six pound-foot bump to net a total of 276. This mild increase could also lend another meaning to IPL: Increases Performance Little.

The balance of the IPL G Coupe's driveline remains unchanged, meaning a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic sends power rearward to a limited-slip differential that uses a viscous coupling. The suspension gets new shock tuning to make the best of the 20-percent stiffer front springs and the 10-percent stiffer rear coils. Brakes and steering components are G Sport carryovers while the tires are staggered Bridgestone Potenza REO50A summer compound radials measuring P225/45R19 front and P245/40R19 rear.

2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe on the road

All of these changes come together nicely on the road. The IPL G Coupe feels like what you'd expect: a slightly hotter and very well-rounded G37. The ride is a little firmer, but not harsh. Turn-in is precise but not darty. IPL's Mason said, "When we were working on the suspension, we went through 70 different combinations before we chose this one. The changes don't make it a track car, but we think it's a car you'd drive home from the track and be very satisfied."

On the throttle, it's tough to tell any immediate 0-60 mph difference between an IPL and a G37 Sport. Tests may reveal the IPL being ahead by a tenth or so, but the difference you do feel is in how the engine revs – especially in the mid and upper rpm ranges. The IPL 3.7-liter loves winding up and feels like it's got amazingly long legs. Importantly, the engine never loses its composure, unlike others that protest hitting their redline with a spike in noise, vibration and harshness. The tach's white needle also looks good sweeping around the G's violet-trimmed gauge.

We drove two IPLs; one with the six-speed manual and the other with the seven-speed automatic. Naturally, we preferred the former because it demanded a higher level of driver involvement and appreciate more of the balance Infiniti engineers have achieved.

2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe, rear 3/4 view

However, we're not trying to cast aspersions on the automatic – the two-pedal arrangement does make gathering speed incrementally easier. In the process, though, the auto steals some of the IPL's spirit. For whatever reason, the unit we drove refused to hold off shifting until the horsepower peak, choosing to change up at about 7,200 rpm and stealing that last 200 rpm.

As evidenced by the S line of vehicles from Audi and BMW reintroducing the "is" nomenclature, Infiniti recognizes an existing market opportunity. It's likely customers will note the company's response. Mason also said, "We're not going to produce a fixed number of IPL vehicles, but production will be limited. At this point, we're looking at the IPL G Coupe maxing out at about five-percent of G Coupe production."

In coming months and years, IPL plans to expand its offerings to include additional vehicles with likely candidates being other G and M vehicles. Stay tuned, because if Infiniti continues to expand its model line, a genuine ultra-performance halo vehicle will eventually make sense. When that day arrives, we'll take our IPL G56 in flat black, thank you.

Photos copyright ©2010 Rex Roy / AOL

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      So its faster, looks better, AND cheaper then a 335is? Sounds like a winner to me.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I like the wheels and that's it. Should consider twinturbo-ing up to 400hp and make a GTR version of this Skyline ;)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Good point. Nissan has the GTR with 500ish hp and the 370z with 300ish hp. They seem to have a market gap for something with 400ish hp to compete with the IS-F and M3. And I'm all for bringing back the Skyline name.
      • 4 Years Ago
      kind of surprised by the somewhat narrow rubber for something putting down almost 350hp and trying to look tough doing it. our 01' 330i sport package has the same footprint and makes 225hp. despite the slightly over-done styling, i have to applaud Nissan/Infiniti for turning out a range fast rwd cars though.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd like it better if it were more subtle. I don't like the front bumper look and 18 HP gain isn't worth the extra cost in my opinion. Hopefully Infiniti will be able to get a new IPL model with a unique engine with around 400 HP.
      • 4 Years Ago
      You can get a 1 year old CTS-V for $50,000 with real performance, a better interior and no rice. Nissan, you have failed.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You seem to lack any real understanding of what "rice" is, and if you do, you sure have me fooled.

        This car isn't rice, if you don't understand what I'm getting at. With that said, I like the car. Between all the Luxury Coupes however, I overlooked this one when I was making my decision, and went with a german automobile. I looked a bit harder at the Euro Coupes, for some reason. I suppose because they aren't rebadged Nissan's (not outright a bad thing, but spending half a grand on a car, I felt I wanted my car to be made from the start as a luxury branded vehicle).

        Snobbish, I know.

        Aside from this, this does indeed sound like a sound idea. And they will sell.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hmmm, it sounds like we have another jealous ricer amongst us. Unlike the rice you undoubtably drive with fake crap tacked on to look fast, the fender vents the V uses are fully functional and tastefully integrated into the design of the car and the V actually is fast.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Kinda looks ugly.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's an Infiniti for those who know nothing about cars but want a car in the market of an M3 or IS-F...they'll see the badge, they'll see all this talk of better this and better that and they'll see a slightly cheaper price and they'll be sold.

      Infiniti isnt entering the realm of the M3, and im so sick of reading that about this car, this car is just a tool to sell to the automotive ignorant that, for some reason, think the G37 is a handsome car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ...and the new Mustang GT is .1 seconds faster in the quarter mile, and .07 seconds slower on a road course, than an M3...

        Just sayin'.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And Car and Driver raced a Cobalt SS and a Mustank around a race track with the Cobalt SS beating the Mustank.

        Just saying.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm confused that the highest performing car from both brands is a Nissan and not an Infiniti. 335 has nothing to worry about, sorry.
      • 4 Years Ago
      At first glance, it's tough to ignore the cheap looking add-ons like the snowplow front end and the ugly rear. Then there are the dual fart cans that are just too big, a couple of squashed oval / integrated rear pipes would have been much nicer and more modern.

      The overall result looks like a budget Fast & Furious special from the NOPI catalog which can't be distinguished from the riced-out ones roaming the streets of SoCal.

      It could have been so much nicer if they made it more subtle.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Man, for that price I'd rather go up to a M3
        • 4 Years Ago
        My bad, I forgot to qualify it as used. I too would rather have a new 335. Don't get me wrong, I love the G. My last car was a G35. I just like the 335 better for that price.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Better look used then, not that there's anything wrong with used (I'd rather have a used M3 than this), but $50K is not new M3 price range, maybe 335 (which I'd rather have too lol).
      • 4 Years Ago
      I dont think its enough to stand on its own against the standard G sport.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I,as well as many others,are holding off any major purchases until after the Nov elections.
      If the Democrats win they'll let the Bush tax cuts expire (raise taxes) and that will damage the economy.
      And Yes,that has everything to do with cars and discretionary income.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually, that is incorrect.

        The obama administration hasn't passed anything. They WANT to say that they'll help the middle class and small businesses, and that has yet to be proven.

        But they haven't passed ANYTHING

        The tax rates were cut years ago, under Bush, and the cuts are set to expire across the board, regardless of no Congressional action now.

        Even if nobody does ANYTHING, every tax rate will increase when the previous law expires on Jan 1, 2011.

        BTW... when has anyone here been employed by a poor person, or even a lower-middle class person? Tax rate hikes on higher income earners put your jobs in danger. The government is literally taking your salary money away from your employers, in many cases. If your boss can't stay afloat, where do you think your job goes?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Can you please comment about what this whole blog is intended for, Cars. If you want to argue politics, go to Fox or CNN's websites. This article has nothing to do with the November elections, or the Bush tax cuts. If you want to discuss the Infiniti IPL, than please, feel free to comment. If not, go somewhere else.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Do you personally make more than $250k annually? If not, the proposed tax law would actually help you; the only tax cut the Dems actually want to expire is the one on the highest tier. All the
        • 4 Years Ago
        The whole idea of trickle down economics is entirely false. Giving the rich more money does not help anyone but the rich. Anyone with a basic understanding of the current financial landscape could tell you that. If you're rich you invest because you can and if you're poor you spend because you have to. The economy actually benefits more by giving money to the poor as they immediately put 100% of it back into the economy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes because the Democrats are what got us into this mess. You sir are a genius! You should run for office.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hey Flamable, the economy doesn't benefit by the government GIVING anyone anything. The economy benefits from working for and relying on the fruits of your own labor. The government only takes and keeps. It is a necessary component of society, but it passes from necessary to cancerous when it gets too big-unless you're one of the leeches that thinks my hard work and self made success is better spent by the "poor" public employee unions and corrupt, pension laden bureacrats.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thank you BoxerFanatic for stating the truth. However, there are many more tax changes than just income tax changes. So many are stuck in the perpetual class warfare battle over income (including the gov't) that the other changes are not discussed.

        Cameron: This is a complicated issue that talking heads are trying to boil down to a few slogans (like hope and change! tax cuts for the middle class!). That is all they think we can understand and remember. Oh, and the real message: you should hate those evil 'rich' parasites making >$250K per year.

        There are MANY tax changes that will impact those making
        • 4 Years Ago
        lol troll
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