2010 Infiniti G37x
2010 Infiniti G37x Expert Review:New Car Test Drive
New Car Test Drive
Hot rod luxury in a sedan, coupe, or convertible.
The Infiniti G37 lineup comprises coupes, sedans, and convertibles, all equipped with powerful V6 engines, rear-wheel drive and sports suspensions that deliver a high-performance driving experience. The Infiniti G37 models compete with the Lexus IS, Acura TL, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class, and Audi A4 and A5. The G37s generally offer more equipment for less cash with comparable performance and handling.
The Infiniti G shares major chassis and mechanical components with the Nissan 370Z sports car, so their sporting character may come as no surprise. We've been noting an ever-increasing level of refinement, the Achilles heal of these cars. Interior finish has steadily improved the past several years.
For 2010, Infiniti G37 models get subtle interior updates and more standard equipment along with some subtle styling revisions.
Sedan, coupe and convertible deliver comparable performance. While the G37 Sedan offers five-passenger seating, the Coupe and Convertible models add sex appeal. All-wheel drive is available for the sedan and coupe for greatly improved traction and handling in snow and rain, helping tame the torque these cars can otherwise deliver to their rear wheels.
All come standard with rear-wheel drive, which delivers handling characteristics front-wheel drive can't usually match. The standard seven-speed automatic transmission is tuned for sporting response, with available steering wheel paddles for manual shifting. All models are available with a six-speed manual transmission that's increasingly rare in this class. The G37's 3.7-liter V6 engine is more powerful than that in many competitors, and it's tuned for the response and excitement that enthusiast drivers prefer.
All G37s are offered with the high-tech features expected in this category, including adaptive bi-xenon headlights and excellent audio systems. The navigation system monitors traffic conditions and provides restaurant advice from Zagat, and it includes a 9.3 gigabyte hard drive with a compact flash-drive slot.
The four-door G37 Sedan is Infiniti's best seller, and a true sports sedan, reacting to driver commands in the fashion of a sport-tuned coupe. Yet it seats four comfortably in all circumstances, with easy in-out access and plenty of stowage space in the trunk. The V6 delivers 328 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque in the sedan.
The two-door G37 Coupe looks racier than the sedan. Rear-seat legroom is more restricted, however, so two adults may not be too happy in the coupe's back seat for long. Its instrumentation is first rate, and its climate, audio and navigation systems are easy to understand and control. The coupe's engine delivers slightly more power: 330 horsepower, 269 pound-feet of torque.
The G37 Convertible looks a lot like the coupe, until its three-piece steel top is lowered with a button on the console. Then it's a wide-open cabriolet. The power-retractable steel hard top opens or closes in about 30 seconds. The convertible comes with a Bose Open Air Sound System that automatically adjusts audio levels according to vehicle speed and ambient noise. Its climate control system adjusts fan speed based on vehicle speed when the top is open.
The 2010 Infiniti G37 Anniversary Edition, in all body styles, was created to mark Infiniti's 20th anniversary in the United States. It comes with special trim and virtually everything Infiniti offers, but only in Shadow Graphite paint. It will be available in limited quantity.
The 2010 Infiniti G37 is available as a four-door sedan, two-door coupe or two-door convertible in a total of 14 variations. All G37s are powered by the same 3.7-liter V6, with either a seven-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission. Fulltime all-wheel-drive is available on the sedan and coupe.
The G37 Sedan ($33,250) comes with leather seats, automatic temperature control, cruise control, eight-way power front seats, six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio with XM satellite radio, keyless entry and starting, HID bi-Xenon headlights, 17-inch aluminum wheels with all-season tires, and the automatic transmission. The Journey ($34,450) adds heated front seats and mirrors, dual-zone temperature control, rearview monitor and automatic headlights.
The G37x Sedan ($36,050) adds Infiniti's ATTESA E-TS fulltime all-wheel-drive system.
The G37 Sport 6MT sedan ($37,000) comes with the six-speed manual transmission and a firmer, sport-tuned suspension. It adds performance upgrades such as larger brakes, 19-inch wheels with high-performance tires and a viscous limited slip differential, for increased traction under hard acceleration. The Sport looks racier than other models, thanks to a more aggressive front end styling, with sport-style seats and aluminum pedals. The Premium Package comes standard, including a power moonroof, Bose Studio on Wheels audio upgrade with 11 speakers and a 2.0-gigabyte hard drive, seat position memory, climate controlled front seats with a cooling feature and rear sonar back-up warning.
The G37 Coupe ($36,050) is equipped similarly to the standard sedan, though it comes with 18-inch wheels. The Journey Coupe ($37,500), G37x AWD Coupe ($39,150), and Sport 6MT Coupe ($40,400) are equipped like the sedans.
The G37 Convertible ($44,350) has a power-retractable steel hard top that opens or closes in about 30 seconds. It comes standard with a Bose Open Air Sound System that adjusts audio levels based on outside noise, vehicle speed and top position. The Convertible Sport 6MT ($46,950) is equipped like the other Sport models.
The Navigation Package ($1,850) includes voice command, with real-time traffic information, a 9.3-gigabyte hard drive and compact flash drive slot. The Premium Package for Sedan ($2,150), Coupe ($2,900), and Convertible ($3,050) includes a power moonroof, Bose Studio on Wheels, two-position seat memory. The Sport Package for sedan ($2,100), coupe ($1,850), and convertible ($1,350) adds the 6MT suspension, 19-inch wheels and tires, bigger brakes, sport seats, and steering wheel paddle shifters for the automatic transmission.
The Anniversary Sedan ($43,350), AWD Sedan ($43,550), Coupe ($50,550), and Convertible ($54,990) come with the automatic transmission and all option packages standard, as well as Infiniti's four-wheel steering system. Anniversary models have Graphite Shadow paint, Monaco Red interior and special appointments.
Safety features on all models include two-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags for front passengers and full-cabin, head protection airbags. Infiniti's Vehicle Dynamic Control helps keep the G37 under control in the wet, and the anti-lock brakes feature Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Brake Assist. The convertible has pop-up roll hoops behind the rear seat for rollover protection. All-wheel drive can enhance safety in adverse conditions.
The Technology Package ($1,150) is largely a collection of safety features. It includes Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), which maintains the gap to the car in front, Preview Braking to pre-load the brake system in advance of a potential collision, Adaptive Front Lighting to aim the headlights into curves, and Infiniti's Advanced Climate Control System (ACCS) with Plasmacluster air purifier. (Hey, we report, you decide.).
The Infiniti G37 sedan, coupe, and convertible have similar exterior dimensions and an identical wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels). That's because all variants share the same chassis, despite the differences in styling, with the same mechanical components underneath. They share their basic structure with the Nissan 370Z.
The sedan was redesigned for 2007, and it gets a bit of freshening for 2010. The changes for 2010 are most obvious in front, where the fog lights have been moved from their previous location within the headlight clusters to separate housings below the bumper line. In back, the sedan's exhaust tips and rear panel have been reshaped. The G37 Coupe was redesigned for 2008, while the Convertible introduced for 2009.
All of the second-generation G37s are swoopier than previous Infiniti Gs though bulkier around the shoulders and hips. From the side or three-quarter view, the G37s, especially the coupe, bear a family resemblance to the Nissan 370Z.
The G37s are striking in their appearance. The front wheel cutouts are larger than those on earlier models, leaving less metal for the fenders and making them appear to rise even more. The headlights clusters are loaded with separate lenses, yet they're smaller and sexier. Infiniti calls the aluminum hood (pinned with two latches) a wave hood, although the sea looks pretty flat between the bulging shoreline of the fenders.
The 2010 G37 Convertible gets a power folding-mirror function that pulls the side mirrors up against the glass at the driver's request. This G37 has a unique design from the windshield pillars rearward. It's slightly wider than the other models, with a modified rear suspension that allows for the top's power mechanism and stowage space behind the rear seat. The convertible has more heavily reinforced windshield pillars, side members and body sills, which help reduce body flex and vibration when motoring with the top down.
When its three-piece steel top is closed, the convertible looks much like the G37 Coupe. Its heavily insulated headliner works almost as well as the coupe's fixed roof at keeping ambient noise outside the car. The automatic top's opening or closing sequence takes approximately 30 seconds from start to finish, initiated with the touch of a button on the center console. Like the other body styles, the convertible has a special, more aggressive looking grille and front end when it's equipped with the Sport package.
The factory wheel designs are handsome. The standard 17-inch wheels on 2010 sedans feature a new five-spoke, triple-fork design. The massive 19-inch wheels that are optional fully complement the car's looks. The Anniversary Edition models get a unique set of 19-inch wheels. Created to mark Infiniti's 20th year in the United States, the Anniversary Editions come only in brooding Graphite Shadow paint. Their grilles are blacked out, and their bodies are finished even more aggressively than the Sport 6MT models, with unique chin spoilers, deeper side sills and rear spoilers on the coupe and sedan.
Improvements inside the 2010 Infiniti G37s are subtle, but welcome, and they point to a steady trend over the last several model years. The overall quality of the G37 passenger cabins has increased steadily. They're much better suited to the luxury class than they once were.
Generally, the G interior is lively and friendly without being fussy or overly busy. There are features aplenty, tempered by a focus on function and connecting the driver to the car. The materials, fit and finish are good, though we're still not enamored with the graining on some of the harder plastics. There's a vent in each windshield pillar to keep the side windows clear, and the G37 Convertible comes standard with an adaptive climate control system that automatically adjusts airflow and fan speed based on top position and road speed. Lots of rear glass makes for good rearward visibility, even without the optional back-up camera, which is now standard on all but the base G37 Sedan.
Getting in and out of the G37 is easy with the four-door sedan, and a bit more difficult with the coupe and convertible, particularly if your driveway has a significant slant. The doors on the two-door models are long and heavy. The slightest incline can make it difficult to lock them in the open position, and they want to fall closed.
The perforated leather seats are comfortable, and the standard eight-way driver's seat has adjustable lumbar support. The Sport Package seats have more adjustment and bigger bolsters on the back and bottom cushions.
The three-spoke steering wheel is wrapped in hand-stitched perforated leather, with audio and cruise control buttons on its spokes. Optional paddle shifters for the automatic transmission are magnesium, and you can actually reach them with your fingers when hands are placed at 10 and 2 o'clock on the steering wheel. That isn't the case with many cars, and we like the shift sequence, too. You pull back on the right paddle for upshifts, and on the left for downshifts.
The dashboard and center console design is the same in all G37 body styles, with slight variation in the front door-panel designs. The dash applies Infiniti's double wave theme, and the company's signature analog clock sits front and center in the center stack of controls. For 2010, Infiniti has switched the standard aluminum trim from Washi to a design it calls Shodo for the sedan and coupe. It's inspired by the traditional art of Japanese calligraphy, and it's elegant. Yet the subtly etched Silk Obi aluminum in our convertible test car might be the most beautiful metal trim we've seen. A high-gloss Maple trim is optional in all models, while Anniversary Edition coupes and convertibles get a unique red-tone Maple.
The G37's gauges feature electroluminescent lighting: The needles glow red on a white background. An easy-to-read information display shows useful trip functions like immediate or average fuel mileage, average speed, elapsed time, running distance and distance to empty, as well as outside air temperature, odometer, and warning displays. Both the gauges and display have been upgraded with better resolution for 2010, and we love the crispness.
The center stack falls from a high-res LED screen that displays climate and audio data or navigation information. The stereo and climate controls are located out in the open below the information screen, with our preferred layout of audio on top and climate below. The design is attractive and very good from the functional perspective, though the main knobs for volume, temperature, etc. could be larger.
The navigation system is controlled by a mouse-like knob below the screen, by touching the screen itself for some functions, or by voice commands. Infiniti's point-and-click device is one of the more effective, least cumbersome interfaces in the luxury class, but it's still more difficult to use than the best touch screens.
The nav screen itself is quite sharp. The map offers a bird's-eye view, which gives a perception of distance by incorporating a horizon and, depending on the available mapping data, three-dimensional building footprints for the local surroundings. It's neat to look at, though many testers prefer the regular overhead view because it always keeps North up. The XM Satellite Radio system provides real-time traffic updates on the screen, where available, and for 2010 Infiniti has added the Zagat Restaurant Guide to the navigation software.
The G37's standard sound system is competitive with that in any luxury sedan. The upgrade Bose Studio On Wheels audio delivers a sound that's richer, fuller, more intricate and crisper than any system we can recall in cars costing thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars more than the G37. We stepped directly from a G into a $100,000-plus European sports coupe with that marque's top-level sound system and could not distinguish a difference between the two.
The upgrade audio is called Bose Open Air in the convertible, and it's standard, with an extra pair of speakers in the front headrests, right behind the ears. It adjusts volume and re-mixes the audio in real time according to ambient noise. And when it's equipped with the navigation system, the G37 adds a 9.3 gigabyte hard drive that will copy about 90 CDs in short order. You'll never have to carry CDs in this car, and the audio directory can access music by artist or type.
The front door pockets are small in all G37 models, half-taken by armrests, although each includes a hollow for a water bottle. There are also two cupholders behind the shift lever. The center console has been redesigned for 2010, and cubby storage includes a respectably sized glove box. The back side of each front seatback has a magazine pouch (unless you order the cooled seats in the Premium Package). Two cup holders pop out of the fold-down, rear seat center armrest, which also has a unique compartment masked by a Velcro-type flap on the right side.
Interior roominess is competitive for the class. The G37 Sedan's wide rear door openings leave room aplenty for legs, knees and feet when getting in and out of the back seat.
The coupe is slightly different story. It doesn't offer much knee room in the rear seats, and the legroom stat of 29.8 inches is the lowest we've seen in a long time. The driveshaft hump runs high between the two rear seats, and there's a wide crack between the seatback and seat bottom that might get uncomfortable over the miles. Overall, the rear seat sends heavy reminders that this is a coupe, not a sedan. You might even think of it as a four-seat Nissan 370Z.
Rear seat space in the G37 Convertible is just as tight. Access in both coupe and convertible is at least eased by a power walk-in device with position memory. In both, the front seats move forward automatically at the touch of a button to allow passengers into the rear.
With 13.5 cubic feet of trunk space, the G37 Sedan slightly surpasses competitors like the Lexus IS and BMW 3 Series in cargo volume. It falls well short of class leaders like the Audi A4 (17 cubic feet). The G37 Convertible, too, offers competitive trunk space, with 10.33 cubic feet. Of course, that space drops dramatically when the top is lowered under the rear deck, leaving only 1.99 cubic feet for bags or other stuff. With the top down, the trunk in the convertible is really in the back seat.
When it comes to trunk space, the G37 Coupe fares worst of all, lagging just about all competitors with 7.4 cubic feet. A folding rear seat back improves things by allowing larger items to flow from the trunk into the passenger space, and it explains that notable crack between the back and bottom cushion when the rear seatback is upright.
The convertible's top works easily and without a hitch, but we wish it would operate when the car is rolling at a moderate speed, as the tops do in many high-end convertibles.
Sporty handling and a strong, willing engine make the Infiniti G37 models exhilarating to drive. Based on the Nissan 370Z, the G37 has a performance edge, a rawness, that sets it apart.
Where the G has come up short is in the smoothness, finish and refinement of a luxury car. To Infiniti's credit, it has incrementally but steadily addressed the problem, to the point where the G37 line stands on better footing with the smoothest, most refined cars in its class.
This improved balance between edginess and refinement is demonstrated by the G37 Convertible. The Sport 6MT Convertible we drove came very close to the driving sensations one experiences in a pure sports car. The Sport steering is quicker than that in the standard G37s, meaning the car turns more for a given movement of the steering wheel, and the crisp manual shifter has fairly short throws. When the road ahead opens up and starts twisting, the Sport 6MT is a blast to drive.
Compared with the coupe, there is a bit more shake in the convertible. There is always more shake when engineers remove the top from a fixed roof car; think of it like snipping a big hole in the side on an aluminum can. The driver feels an extra bit of vibration through the transmission and up into the shift lever, or an occasional wave of slight flexing through the steering column. Still, the G37 Convertible remains a very tight ship when the top is lowered, tighter than many competitors. When it's closed, the three-piece metal roof is essentially as snug and quiet as a fixed hardtop, though you still don't get the structural rigidity of the coupe.
On freeways, all G37s cruise comfortably and quietly, and that may be the biggest improvement of all. While they maintain there sporty performance edge, much of the roughness, almost cheapness, has been refined out. The irritating drone that often plagued rear seat passengers in earlier sedans is gone, and when it comes to controlling noise and vibration inside, the G37 competes on much better terms with competitors such as Lexus and Audi.
There's little wind noise even at extra-legal speeds. There's more road noise from the optional, larger tire packages than from the standard treads, but the added grip and, frankly, sharper looking 19-inch wheels, are worth it.
All G37 variants are equipped with the same 3.7 liter V6, though exact output varies slightly depending on the body style. The Coupe's 330 horsepower is a lot to get out of a non-turbocharged six-cylinder, and it ranks right at the top of the G37's class. The engine features the latest in material and control technology. Its hydraulically controlled variable valve timing system improves not only performance and response, but also emissions and fuel efficiency.
All G37s deliver great acceleration. Stand on the gas and they pull right up to maximum rpm, willingly and heartily revving to levels normally associated with smaller, less complex engines. And the character is as important as sheer performance.
This V6 generates about 270 pound-feet of torque at a peaky 5200 rpm, and revs to a howling pitch at 7500 rpm, where the rev limiter begins to gently cut fuel. The power comes smooth and quick, accompanied by a unique howl crafted into the exhaust system. You can hear it when a G37 rolls by at 20 mph, and you can hear it from the driver's seat with the windows (or top) down. We guarantee it will bring a smile to your face. You can barely hear it with the windows up, however, thanks to improvements Infiniti has made reducing noise and vibration inside.
The seven-speed automatic transmission allows brisk acceleration, with a big overdrive gear that means lower engine speeds and less noise when cruising on the freeway. The automatic does its job casually at part-throttle. Most of the time we stayed in plain old Drive, able to forget the transmission was even there. If the driver moves the stubby leather-wrapped shift lever to the left, however, Sport mode is engaged. The upshifts come at higher rpm, and both upshifts and downshifts are sharper. Holding the right foot hard to the floor produces sharper, more solid shifts at the engine's redline.
For more aggressive driving on lightly traveled back roads, we liked the Manual mode. The automatic changes gears quickest and smoothest with either the shift lever or the column-mounted paddles under full throttle; it's like a power shift without the clutch. Credit the engine's control electronics, which feather the throttle through the instantaneous shift. The same electronics deliver smooth downshifts, too, whether in full auto mode or manual override, by blipping the throttle to match engine rpm to transmission speed in the lower gear. It's like double clutching a pure manual gearbox.
In short, the G37's seven-speed automatic is excellent, but we still like the conventional six-speed manual. We like it even better that Infiniti offers a manual in a category where such transmissions are increasingly rare. Gear selection is precise, requiring little effort. Clutch operation is heavier than we would expect even on a sports sedan. This can make for sometimes rocky clutch engagement, especially at low speeds and light throttle. The stiff clutch and stiff suspension can be annoying when motoring around the neighborhood at low speeds, especially if the roads are rough. But once the driver is used to it, it's a satisfying operation.
The balance of ride and handling is consistently good across the G37 line. The G37 uses rear-wheel drive, like a BMW, rather than front-wheel drive like an Acura. The G37 base and Journey models are a bit more softly sprung than the Sport 6MTs, but none of them float around. Quite the opposite, actually.
The 6MT sport-tuned suspension is the preferred choice for hustling down winding roads. It's comfortable cruising the Interstate: solid and taut, managing the G37's mass very well without exacting a price in stiffness. But the sports suspension is firmer than the standard suspension and it will transmit pavement heaves more dramatically into the passenger compartment.
The Coupe is the sportiest G37. We're really impressed with the handling, especially with the Sport package. The speed-sensitive power steering is seamless. It turns precisely into corners, with no dead spots through a long curve. The front-midship layout of the G37, with the engine set farther back behind the front axle, is inherently well balanced. Driving hard over roads that would cause almost any car to twitch, the steering wheel stays remarkably steady.
The Coupe Sport 6MT is so good it almost has a downside. Pushing harder, over remote, twisty, smooth curves, we felt the standard limited-slip differential and stability electronics (VSD) at work. Or rather, we saw them working thanks to a light on the dash. The corrections are beautifully subtle. You can pitch the G37 to a ridiculous point, and the VSD just gently won't allow the car to get out of shape. It doesn't tell you how wrong you were, by killing engine power for too long, like some electronic stability controls do.
The brakes are smooth, predictable, and rock steady, inspiring confidence in any driver. They're also sensitive, and when you jump on them they grab, so it takes a little time to develop the technique for smooth application. The G37 Sport models come with bigger brakes than the others for less fade in repeated hard applications.
Infiniti's ATESSA E-TS all-wheel-drive system monitors data such as wheel spin, throttle position and vehicle speed, and automatically diverts up to 50 percent of the engine's power to the front wheels, improving traction and control when road conditions are less than optimal. Yet in ideal conditions, when the road is smooth and dry, the all-wheel drive system still sends all of the power to the rear wheels, preserving the G's sporty rear-drive handling characteristics.
The Infiniti G37 sedans, coupes and convertibles with rear- or all-wheel drive and an optional manual transmission are to some extent luxurious versions of the Nissan 370Z sports car. All excel at sporty driving dynamics. The interiors are lively and friendly without being fussy or overly busy. Overall finish quality and refinement is substantially improved. The G37s are priced lower than comparably equipped European competitors. We think they're a good choice for performance-oriented drivers.
NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent J. P. Vettraino reported from the Motor City, with Sam Moses in the Columbia River Gorge, and Tom Lankard in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Infiniti G37 Sedan ($33,250), Journey ($34,450); G37x AWD Sedan ($36,050), Sport 6MT ($37,000), Anniversary Edition ($43,350), AWD Anniversary Edition ($43,550); G37 Coupe ($36,050), Journey ($37,500); G37x Coupe AWD ($39,150), Sport 6MT ($40,400), Anniversary Edition ($50,550); G37 Convertible ($44,350); Sport 6MT ($46,950), Anniversary Edition ($54,990).
Options As Tested
Navigation Package ($1,850) includes GPS navigation with Infiniti controller, lane guidance and building footprint graphics, 9.3GB Music Box hard drive, compact flash slot, XM NavTraffic with Real-Time Traffic information, and voice recognition for climate control, audio and navigation commands; R-Spec high friction brake pads ($370).
Infiniti G37 Convertible Sport 6MT ($46,950).
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