Car reviews - Infiniti - G - G37
Coupe’s handling, precise steering, revvy V6, front seat comfort and ergonomics, equipment levels
Room for improvement
Excess weight of the convertible, tiny boot space, cramped rear-seat room, some budget-style switchgear
10 Dec 2012
INFINITI’S first two-door offerings in Australia, the G37 Coupe and Convertible, share all their main components, right down to the platform and V6 powertrain, but on the road they are poles apart.
For a start, the convertible weighs at least 170kg more than the coupe (depending on variant), thanks to all the extra structural engineering and added gizmos to handle the folding three-piece hardtop.
Compared with the sprightly coupe, this noticeably blunts performance of the convertible, notwithstanding the 235kW of V6 power under the right foot.
And when we throw in the advantage of the active four-wheel steering system that comes standard on the upper-spec S Premium Coupe, the difference in dynamics is even more apparent.
With the rear wheels nudged by actuators in the same direction as the front steering wheels, the G37 Coupe carves up corners with alacrity.
The resultant stability in sudden direction shifts at highway speeds is extraordinary, instilling great confidence.
It helps that the engine and transmission are slung low behind the front axle, and that the G37 puts the power to the ground via the rear wheels in time-honoured performance-car style.
In terms of dynamics, this Japanese-made coupe is up there with the best in its class, which is mostly populated by renowned German brands.
Just as Nissan’s GT-R has monstered Europe’s best with supercar performance, the Infiniti G37 Coupe is here to give the two-door 2+2 Euros some wasabi.
The coupe’s 0-100km/h acceleration can be achieved in a creditable 5.9 seconds, making it only 0.4 seconds slower than BMW’s M Sport 335i Convertible, which is roughly $10,000 dearer.
The Nissan V6 revs freely to more than 6000rpm, and even at those revs sounds and feels quite refined in the G37 compared with some other applications in the broader Nissan fleet.
While the coupe does the business, the G37 Convertible is much more of a boulevard cruiser. Infiniti claims a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 6.4 seconds – half a second slower than the coupe – but, on our taste test at the media launch, it felt a little more lethargic than that.
The extra weight can be felt in the corners, too. The convertible just lacks the sharpness of the coupe, which is understandable given the shortcomings of this fresh-air breed of car.
While some ‘scuttle shake’ was evident in the topless version due to the lack of roof strength, it was not as bad as many drop-tops of yore and even some on the market today.
We hammered over some potholed roads near Melbourne during our stint in the convertible, and came away reasonably impressed with Infiniti’s efforts to bolster body rigidity.
We were not so impressed with other aspects of the soft-top, namely the slow 25-second period required to raise and lower the top (some new cars can do it in nine seconds, and on the run at up to 60km/h), as well as the way the folded three-piece roof gobbles up all but a thin slice of the boot space.
With the roof down, the G37 Convertible driver could probably carry a briefcase in the boot, and not much else.
Of course, the rear seat comes into play as extra cargo space, but if you want to carry four people with the top down, forget luggage.
Even with the top up, the boot space is cramped and not much good for more than a couple of sports bags.
In this regard, the G37 Coupe is not much better, and rear seat room in both models lacks both legroom and headroom. It is a kids-only zone, at least until the roof is lifted.
So, with those negatives out of the way, we move to the front seat accommodation. Ahh, that’s better.
Your correspondent has long been of the opinion that Nissan makes the best seats in the business, and these leather-clad Infiniti sports seats are right up there. Germans, eat your hearts out.
They not only feel supremely comfortable the moment your backside is parked in them, but remain so hours later in the journey.
The keys to this seat luxury are the high levels of under-thigh support and just the right level of squishiness in the cushion to not only cosset your body but help to secure it against lateral forces.
The convertible we drove at the media launch had extra pizzazz with the $2000 optional ‘Monaco’ leather interior. For our money, worth every cent.
The G37’s ergonomics are equally superb. The instrument binnacle even moves up and down with the electrically adjustable steering wheel, as it is fixed to the steering column.
Speaking of steering, the variable weighting of the tiller is top-class, with lots of feedback and feel. Combined with the aforementioned four-wheel steering, this is a delight, as are beefy brakes that bite hard and long (although they take a little getting used to, with the pressure of just a single toe needed to throw out the anchors).
While the superb build quality and sumptuous leather upholstery provide a high-end luxury impression, some other features around the cabin are not so elegant.
The air-conditioning controls, for example, appear to be directly out of the Nissan parts bin, the upper dash surface looks a bit plasticky, and the dreaded foot parking brake is there to irritate (the likes of Audi have moved into the electric brake era).
Generally, items such as the sat-nav on the largish touchscreen, as well as the audio controls etcetera are all easy to navigate in the logical Japanese fashion.
The convertible is equipped with a high-end Bose sound system that even boasts little extra speakers on either side of the headrests for extra sound quality when the roof is down.
Not that wind causes that much buffeting in the cabin when the roof is retracted. With only two occupants aboard, the standard, manually installed mesh wind blocker across the rear seat does the job, making conversation easy at 100km/h.
As Infiniti rightly points out, the G37 is well loaded with goodies that German-car buyers often have to pay extortionate fees to include from a gigantic options list.
This makes the Infiniti G37 reasonable value for money, especially when considering its V6 performance and road manners in coupe form.
But will people buy one of these over something carrying a German badge or indeed a vehicle carrying the peerless quality reputation of Lexus?
That is a much harder equation …
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