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Expert Reviews 1 of 2
By Jim Flammang
January 15, 2004
Vehicle Overview Not long after introducing the new G35 sedan as an early 2003 model, Nissan’s luxury division had a sumptuously shaped G35 Sport Coupe offshoot ready. Though the two body styles are related, they share no body panels.
Featuring rear-wheel drive and a 260-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine, the G35 sedan is fitted with a fully independent multilink suspension and side curtain-type airbags. An available Aero Package includes a rear spoiler and underbody side fairings. The G35 Sport Coupe is built on a racing-inspired FM (front midships) platform and is designed with 52/48 weight distribution. It uses the same V-6 engine as the G35 sedan, but the V-6 in the coupe pumps out 280 hp.
Infiniti says the G35 Sport Coupe’s suspension tuning is slightly more aggressive than the sedan’s because it makes extensive use of aluminum to reduce unsprung weight. Luxury and Sport models are available. For the 2004 model year, the coupe earns a sunroof and a power rear sunshade, and side sills become standard. The sedan gets a new tire-pressure monitor and heated mirrors, and 17-inch wheels are standard in the G35 sedan for 2004. A limited-slip differential is installed on sedans featuring the Leather Package and six-speed gearbox.
Exterior Infiniti promises optimal space efficiency in the G35, which features short front and rear overhangs. Beautifully shaped front-end styling follows a catamaran boat theme. Mounted on a 112.2-inch wheelbase and measuring 186.2 inches long overall, the G35 stretches 68.9 inches wide and stands 57.9 inches tall.
The G35 Sport Coupe’s aerodynamic styling is highlighted by wheels that are pushed out to the corners and by what Infiniti calls an aggressive but refined stance. A blend of concave and convex shapes, the coupe rides the same 112.2-inch wheelbase as the sedan but is 4 inches shorter, 3 inches lower and 2.6 inches wider.
Interior Cloth upholstery is standard in the G35 sedan’s five-passenger interior, which features a tilting gauge cluster and an in-dash six-CD changer. The Leather Package includes leather-appointed seats and an eight-way power driver’s seat. The Premium Package adds dual climate control, a driver’s seat memory and a 200-watt Bose audio system with Radio Data System (RDS) technology. The trunk holds 14.8 cubic feet of cargo.
In the G35 Sport Coupe, four people fit into the driver-oriented 2+2 cockpit, which is available with ultrasoft Meridian leather and features a sculpted fold-down rear seat. Six-way power adjustment is provided for the driver’s seat, and two-way power is available for the front passenger seat. An in-dash six-CD changer is standard. Options include a digital eight-speaker Bose audio system and a DVD-based navigation system. Infiniti also offers XM and Sirius Satellite Radio systems.
Under the Hood The G35’s 3.5-liter dual-overhead-cam V-6 engine develops 260 hp and 260 pounds-feet of torque. A five-speed-automatic transmission incorporates a manual-shift provision. A six-speed-manual transmission is also available. Vehicle Dynamic Control is standard.
Like the sedan, the G35 Sport Coupe holds a 3.5-liter V-6, but the coupe’s engine is rated at 280 hp and 270 pounds-feet of torque. A five-speed-automatic or six-speed-manual transmission may be installed, and the automatic unit offers a manual-shifting provision. An electronic drive-by-wire throttle is used.
Safety Dual-stage front airbags, front-seat side-impact airbags, and front and rear curtain-type airbags are standard on both models. All-disc antilock brakes include Brake Assist and electronic brake-force distribution. Seat belt pretensioners are also standard.
G35x Sport Sedan An all-wheel-drive version of the G35 sport sedan joined the lineup in December 2003. The “intelligent” all-wheel-drive system on the G35x is called ATTESA E-TS (Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All Electronic Torque Split). An electromagnetic clutch promises quicker responses and lighter weight.
The system automatically transfers optimum engine torque to the appropriate wheels according to road and driving conditions. Torque distribution can range from 100 percent to the rear wheels to an even split, front to rear. A Snow-Mode switch is included. Equipped with a 260-hp V-6 and a five-speed-automatic transmission, the G35x also has 17-inch alloy wheels, a tire-pressure monitor and Vehicle Dynamic Control.
Driving Impressions Even though the G35 may not rank as an all-out performance car, it comes across as one serious sedan. Extra-strong performance is one of the G35’s big bonuses. Engine noise is definitely noticeable, but it’s not an unpleasant sound.
This sport sedan takes curves beautifully, simply proceeding where you suggest with the steering wheel. Body roll is minimal, and the engine’s 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. Because the base model is so stable and flat, the differences with the sport suspension don’t come across as dramatic.
Sporty in both appearance and feel, the two-door G35 Sport Coupe has plenty of eager energy on tap. Enthusiastic drivers can hardly ask for more on twisty roads as this car operates with stunning precision and super stability.
Even though the suspension is definitely taut, the ride is surprisingly easy — but jolts inevitably occur on rougher pavement surfaces. An automatic-transmission model is just about as satisfying as the manual-shift coupe, which has an easy-shifting notchy gearbox and a clutch that’s no problem to modulate. The driver’s seat feels cozily snug and ready for action, but front headroom with the sunroof could be better. A refined yet exuberant exhaust note rounds out the stimulating G35 Sport Coupe’s sensations.