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Expert Reviews 1 of 11
By Jim Flammang
October 2, 2002
Posted on 10/23/2002
Vehicle Overview Nissans luxury division is sending a brand-new sedan to its dealerships. Its model designation is similar to that of the departing G20, but the new model will be considerably different in form. This one is bigger and comes with rear-wheel drive and a V-6 engine. The high-performance G35 premium sport sedan really is a showcase forInfinitis styling direction, class-leading performance and [new] technology, says Jack Collins, Infinitis vice president of product planning.
Equipped with a 260-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine and a new five-speed-automatic transmission, the G35 is priced in the same league as theBMW 3 Series. Starting at $27,100 (excluding the destination charge), the G35 has a fully independent multilink suspension and curtain-type airbags. This model can be fitted with an optional DVD-based navigation system for an additional $2,000. A manual-shift version will arrive later.
Targeting such rivals as theAcura TL Type-S,Audi A4 andLexus IS 300, the G35 sedan went on sale in March 2002. Likely buyers are considered trendsetters and image conscious but not necessarily slaves of one particular brand, says Marketing Manager Mario Polit. Infiniti expects to sell more than 30,000 units per year in the United States.
Infiniti will also introduce a G35 Sport Coupe later in 2002, which allegedly wont share any body panels with the sedan. The G35 Sport Coupe made its first appearance at the New York International Auto Show in late March 2002. By the end of 2003, Infiniti expects to have six products on the market, which include a new rear-wheel-drive midsize sedan and the FX45 thats been seen recently at auto shows in concept form.
Exterior Infiniti promises optimal space efficiency in the G35, which features short front and rear overhangs. Measuring 186.5 inches long overall, the G35 is 69 inches wide and stands 57.7 inches tall. Like the Nissan Altima, it rides a long wheelbase; the G35s measures 112.2 inches. Cabin length in the G35 is about the same as that of the larger Infiniti Q45 sedan.
The G35s beautifully shaped front-end styling follows a Catamaran theme. This design is said to signal a new direction for Infiniti, according to Product Planner Randy Fior. Rather than a mere styling approach, this design is supposed to make ones eyes line up with the top of the headlight when cornering. Vertical-style headlights have integrated fog lamps that flank a horizontal-bar grille. At the rear, LED taillights are installed.
The base model gets 16-inch tires, while 17-inch wheels go on popularly equipped sedans and also on models that include the Leather Package. As for aerodynamics qualities, the standard G35 has a 0.27 coefficient of drag, with zero lift claimed in front. With the Aero Package, which includes a rear spoiler and underbody aerodynamic side fairings, the coefficient of drag drops to 0.26, promising zero lift at both the front and rear. Weight distribution is 52 percent in front and 48 percent at the rear. The optional Sport-Tuned Suspension Package includes unique, five-spoke, sport-alloy wheels and a titanium-finished console inside the car. A sunroof is also available as an option.
Interior Cloth upholstery is standard in the five-passenger interior, which features an in-dash six-CD changer. The Leather Package costs an additional $1,850 and includes leather-appointed seats, an eight-way power drivers seat, steering-wheel audio controls and lighted visor vanity mirrors. A $2,200 Premium Package adds dual climate control, a drivers seat memory feature, a four-way power passenger seat and a Bose 200-watt audio system with Radio Data System (RDS) technology. The trunk holds 14.8 cubic feet of cargo.
A tilting gauge cluster can move in accordance with the angle of the steering wheel. Infinitis signature analog clock sits in the center of the dashboard. Cars without a navigation system contain a pair of glove boxes.
Under the Hood The G35s 3.5-liter dual-overhead-cam V-6 engine develops 260 hp and 260 pounds-feet of torque figures that Infiniti says are class-leading. A new five-speed-automatic transmission incorporates a manual-shift provision. A six-speed-manual transmission will be offered later. Infinitis electronic stability system, called Vehicle Dynamic Control, is standard; this feature provides braking to individual wheels to improve control through turns.
Safety Standard features include curtain-type airbags, dual-stage front airbags, side-thorax airbags, front active head restraints, antilock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and a brake assist system that increases braking force in panic situations.
Driving Impressions Even though the G35 may not rank as an all-out performance car, it comes across as one serious sedan. Whether its starting off from a stoplight or passing on the highway, extra-strong performance is one of the G35s bonuses. Engine noise is definitely noticeable even when accelerating modestly but its not an unpleasant sound at all.
Infinitis newest sedan takes curves beautifully at substantial speeds, simply proceeding just where you suggest with the steering wheel. Body roll is minimal, and the engines power helps when heading through quick turns. With both the regular suspension and the tauter setup, the ride is surprisingly smooth on most surfaces even on somewhat bumpy pavement. Only on one stretch of a strangely paved interstate did the ride become horrid.
Because the base model is so stable and flat, the differences with the sport suspension dont come across as dramatic. Top steering feel and control are achieved on the sedan version thats equipped with the Aero Package and spoiler, but all versions are pleasing.
The seats have short bottoms, but they are nicely cushioned and provide excellent support. The drivers seat has softer cushioning at the sides than in the center. Reclining seats in the rear work well and are quite appealing. Backseat legroom is very good, and foot space also is ample. The large, top-notch gauges are orange-lit at all times and exceptionally easy to read.