2003 I35 New Car Test Drive
Out with the Infiniti I30, in with the I35. Major upgrades to Infiniti's mid-level sedan make this year's I35 more attractive than last year's I30. That's impressive given that last year's I30 boasted exceptional handling, a smooth ride, and lots of performance.
A new 3.5-liter V6 engine replaces last year's 3.0-liter engine and that led Infiniti to change the name from I30 to I35. Bigger and more powerful, this new engine is one of the best V6s available from anyone.
This year's changes to the I35 go well beyond a simple engine swap. Also new for 2002: fresh styling, a redesigned interior, a refined suspension, improved brakes, and the availability of an electronic stability program designed to keep drivers in control.
What hasn't changed is the combination of sports appeal and luxurious accommodations this near-luxury sedan offers. The Infiniti I35 is sportier and provides a more entertaining driving experience than the Lexus ES 300. It is roomier than the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, the new Jaguar X-Type, or the BMW 3 Series sedans.
Only one model of the Infiniti I35 is available, which retails for $28,750.
It comes loaded with all the features we'd expect to find on a luxury sedan, plus a few surprises. Xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps and a power rear sunshade are standard. Also standard are big 17-inch alloy wheels and tires (P215/55HR17), a size normally associated with a sports sedan.
Options: A Sport Package ($1700) adds eight-spoke champagne-colored 17-inch wheels with wider tires (225/50VR17), a sport-tuned suspension, vehicle dynamic control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and side sills. A Navigation Package ($2000) comes with Infiniti's navigation system that cleverly hides the monitor in the dash when it isn't being used, and a six-disc CD changer. A power sunroof with a one-touch open feature is packaged with a one-touch power rear sunshade ($1380). A Cold Weather Package ($700) includes heated front and rear seats, dual heated outside mirrors, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel.