2009 G37x New Car Test Drive
The Infiniti G37 represents an entire line of sports sedans, sport coupes and convertibles. Essentially luxurious versions of the Nissan Z, all excel at driving dynamics. And all are powered by Nissan's 3.7-liter V6, an engine with a distinctive sound that revs freely and puts out a lot of power.
The G37 interior is lively and friendly without being fussy or overly busy. The overall quality of the passenger cabins has increased with this latest generation, and they're much better suited to the luxury class than they once were. The G37s are priced lower than some European competitors, with more standard equipment. They're a great place for performance-minded buyers to start shopping.
For 2009, there are lots of significant updates across the G37 line. All models are now equipped with a new, larger 3.7-liter V6 introduced in the G37 Coupe for 2008, and horsepower increases across the line. The standard automatic transmission has been upgraded from five to seven speeds, and EPA mileage ratings increase one mpg city, two mpg highway as a result. The Coupe is now available with full-time all-wheel-drive, offering buyers in tough-winter climates an extra element of mobility, security and safety.
The biggest news for 2009 is introduction of the G37 Convertible, featuring a retractable steel hardtop. The Convertible is the only G37 body style not offered with all-wheel drive.
All G37s come standard with rear drive, which delivers handling characteristics front-wheel drive can't usually match. All models are available with a six-speed manual transmission that's increasingly rare in this class; the new seven-speed automatic is tuned for sporting response, with available steering wheel paddles for manual shifting.
The engine is more powerful than that of many competitors, and it's tuned for the sort of response and excitement that enthusiast drivers prefer. This car's trademark has always been sporty driving dynamics, but Infiniti has also made strides addressing its shortcomings. Interior finish and overall smoothness have steadily improved the last several model years.
The four-door G37 is 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 two-door G37 Coupe looks racier than the sedan, and it's fresh from a complete redesign for 2008. Its chassis is stiffer, lower and wider than its predecessor's, with improved ride quality and even better handling. Its instrumentation is first rate, and its climate, audio and navigation systems are easy to understand and control. Rear seat legroom is more restricted than in the sedan, however, so two adults may not be happy in the Coupe's back seat for long.
The new G37 Convertible looks a lot like the coupe, until its three-piece steel top opens at the touch of a button. Then it's a cabriolet. The Convertible comes with a Bose Open Air Sound System that automatically adjusts audio levels according to vehicle speed and ambient noise. The Convertible's climate control system also adjusts fan speed based on vehicle speed when the top is open.
The coupe and sedan are available in three trim levels, and the convertible in two. The top level is the Sport 6MT, which features the manual transmission, bigger brakes and a host of performance-enhancing features, including 19-inch high-performance tires. 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 includes a 9.3 gigabyte hard drive with a compact flash-drive slot.
Safety features include a full complement of six airbags, a tire pressure monitor, Vehicle Dynamic Control to help the driver manage skids and advanced ABS with EBD and Brake Assist. In the convertible, head-protection airbags open up from the door rather than down from the roof, while two roll-protection hoops automatically pop up behind the rear seats in the event of a potential rollover accident. Optional safety features include a back-up camera, radar-managed active cruise control and a lane-guidance system.
The Infiniti G37 is available as a four-door sedan, two-door coupe or two-door convertible, in a total of 10 different variations. All are powered by the same 3.7-liter V6, with either a new 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, an eight-way power driver's seat, six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio with auxiliary input, keyless entry and starting, HID bi-Xenon headlights and 17-inch aluminum wheels with all-season tires. The 3.7-liter V6 delivers 328 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque in the sedan. The Journey ($34,000) adds a six-disc CD changer, eight-way power front passenger seat, and automatic headlights.
The G37 Sedan Sport 6MT ($34,250) comes with a six-speed manual transmission and a firmer, sport-tuned suspension. It also 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 G37x Sedan ($35,750) adds Infiniti's ATTESA E-TS fulltime all-wheel-drive system.
The G37 Coupe ($35,900) is equipped similarly to the sedan, though its engine delivers slightly more power: 330 hp, 270 lb-ft. The Journey ($36,650), Coupe Sport 6MT ($37,000) and G37x Coupe AWD ($38,700) come with essentially the same standard equipment as their sedan counterparts.
The G37 Convertible ($43,850) features 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. Its climate control adjusts fan speed according to top position and vehicle speed. Infiniti's RearView Monitor camera is standard. The Convertible Sport 6MT ($43,900) is equipped like the other Sport models.
Option clusters include the Premium Package for the coupe ($3,200) and sedan ($2,500) includes a moonroof, the 11-speaker Bose Studio on Wheels audio system with iPod connection, driver's seat memory, a power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, an anti-glare rearview mirror with compass, a hands-free phone system and heated front seats and door mirrors. The Navigation Package ($2,200 coupe, $2,150 sedan) is touch-screen and voice-activated, with detailed information on traffic ahead, using XM radio and includes a 9.3-gigabyte Music Box hard drive with compact flash drive slot, and the rearview video monitor. The Sport Package ($1,850 for coupe, $2,100 sedan) for base and Journey trim levels adds the Sport 6MT's tauter suspension, 19-inch wheels and tires, bigger brakes, sport seats and steering wheel paddle shifters for the automatic transmission.
Stand-alone options include 19-inch high-performance tires ($650), the moonroof ($1,000), and African Rosewood interior trim ($450). The 4-Wheel Active Steer Package ($1300) makes high-speed lane changes steadier and safer, by altering the front steering ratio and counter-steering the rear wheels up to 3 degrees.
Safety features include two-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags for front passengers and full-cabin, head protection curtains. 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 features pop-up roll hoops behind the read seat for rollover protection.
The Technology Package ($1,150 coupe, $1,100, sedan) is essentially 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 the RearView Monitor.