Another day, another car. One would think that test driving all these vehicles might become boring some day. Well, it sure wasn’t today. Driving the all-new 2nd generation Infiniti G35 was as much fun as kids on a sugar rush at a Chuck E Cheese birthday party. See, it is possible to have fun and eat your cake, too. The car was such a blast to drive I invited Kevin to test drive the car and give his opinion of this stylish silver bullet.
Pros and Cons
306 horsepower, baby!
New 3.5 liter V6 engine that revs higher, makes more power and uses less fuel than the previous generation
Excellent overall driver experience
Gauge cluster and steering wheel move as single unit when adjusting height and reach
Stumbling automatic transmission
Closing the trunk could be easier with a power latch/lock.
Omigosh! The new VQ-series engine is so fast and smooth. Nissan's V6 has made Ward’s 10 Best Engines list an unprecedented 12 times. This new generation V6 is a shoe-in to make the 10 Best list a thirteenth consecutive year. Pressing the accelerator and feeling the engine’s power press you back into the 6-way adjustable leather seats had to be experienced over and over again. Even with our heavy feet on the gas pedal, the car still averaged 18.5 MPG.
On a closed course I had the G35 zipping along at 90 MPH and it still had more to give in terms of speed and power. I could hear Buzz Lightyear calling out, "To infinity, and beyond!" each time I used the powerful acceleration of the V6 engine. Underneath the car the suspension setup works its magic: controlled and refined providing a smooth ride; nimble and responsive handling sending good feedback to the driver. Engine and handling performance are “like man who eat many prunes – get good run for money.”
The only thing that mars the great performance of the G35 is the 5-speed automatic transmission mated to the engine. This is the third Nissan product I’ve tested this year and the transmission has been a common weak point in all three Nissan/Infiniti vehicles. Generally, I have to take a breath or two while waiting for the power to kick in. Even though the V6 is normally aspirated, I have to treat the car like it has a turbo delay. The other annoyance is sensitivity of the throttle and how the transmission reacts. I found out that my foot action has to be ultra-smooth or the ride becomes “snappy”.
For a luxury sport sedan the G35 handles like a border collie running an agility test – quick and accurate. Ride quality is comfortable on all except the worst road surfaces. Body roll is kept to a minimum when the car is thrown into the turns. Turn-in response responds to driver input like a DEA-trained German shepherd. This well-trained puppy owes it handling prowess to the second generation FM platform, similar to that used on the Infiniti M series. The racing technology-inspired FM platform locates the engine behind the front axle in the "front mid-ship" position. The positioning of the engine provides an optimal front-to-rear-weight balance, while the combination of long wheelbase, overall length and wider front and rear track (+0.7 inches front, + 0.9 inches rear) adds to the G35’s overall handling stability.
Note: our test car was the G35 Journey model.
The Infiniti G35 is essentially a wolf wearing a Brooks Brothers suit. The interior is quiet, has comfortable leather seats, and is well appointed with nice accents like the “Washi” style textured aluminum alloy panels in the dash and door panels. The real character of the G35, hidden underneath the new body panels, is the 306 HP V6 engine and a tuned suspension that can handle the “twisties” without shaking your fillings loose. This is one car that has all the refinements of a luxury sedan and can devour its prey with gusto.
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