While the G coupe has been reinvented for 2008 as the G37, the sedan remains the G35, having been redesigned for 2007. The G35 comes in base, Journey, G35x all-wheel drive and Sport trim levels. Changes for 2008 are relatively minor and include an Apple iPod connection, standard XM Satellite Radio (excluding service) and content changes in the Technology and Navigation package options. Later in the model year, new Sport and 18-inch Tire and Wheel packages will be added as options.
The best-selling Infiniti model resembles the successful M35/45 midsize sedan, with shapes that are more angular, less organic. A character line runs from the front wheel arch and along the door handles and drapes over the rear wheel arch. The Sport trim level is distinguished by a different front face and side sills. A trunklid spoiler is optional.
The G35 comes with 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. The Sport trim level steps up to 18-inch rims. Dual exhaust is standard.
The G35 now boasts an improved design and higher-quality materials than the original generation, but it's still not quite as rich as the M35's interior. Infiniti wisely gave up on the fake stuff and went with real, textured-aluminum trim. The power front-seat controls are in the conventional location on the seat cushion close to the door, replacing the inboard, upward-facing toggle switches that attracted dust and debris. The G does away with the old ignition and uses an Intelligent Key transmitter fob and dashboard-mounted start button. Automatic swiveling headlights are optional, as is adaptive cruise control.
Under the Hood
The 3.5-liter V-6 engine cranks out roughly 300 horsepower in all models, revving as high as 7,500 rpm. Transmission choices include a six-speed manual and a five-speed automatic with a manual mode and magnesium steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The Sport trim level brings a firmer suspension than the other versions. Intended to be the sportiest version, the G35 Sport with the optional Four-Wheel Active Steer feature has the firmest suspension, according to Infiniti. 4WAS steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the front pair at moderate speeds for maneuverability and in the same direction at highway speeds for quick, stable lane-changing.
The G35 scores Good, the highest rating, in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal crash tests. It hasn't yet been tested for side impact.
Safety features include dual-stage front airbags, side-impact airbags for both front seats, and side curtain airbags that cover the front and rear side windows in a side impact. The front seats feature active head restraints.
Standard features that help avoid collisions include antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, an electronic stability system and a tire pressure monitoring system. A Rearview Monitor shows what's behind the vehicle on the dashboard's optional navigation screen when the automatic transmission is in Reverse.
Its handling is the aspect of the G35 that put it in league with the BMW 3 Series, the company for which handling is a claim to fame. The G35 followed the 3 Series formula: rear-wheel drive, balanced weight distribution, excellent road-holding and solid six-cylinder power.
The Sport has the best road-holding because of its firmer springs and standard summer performance tires. Anyone who intends to drive in freezing temperatures, not just snow or ice, will have to forego the summer tires or get an additional set of all-season or winter treads. Appropriately, the G35x comes only with all-season tires.
The all-wheel drive keeps the G35x more planted and secure in bad weather, but it also mutes the sporting nature of the rear-wheel-drive G35, in part because it's heavier overall, with added weight in the front. Note that AWD characteristically increases the car's turning diameter to 36.1 feet from 35.4 feet with rear-wheel drive.
The six-speed manual transmission, standard in the Sport trim level, has the right height and throw, and it feels more connected than that of the 3 Series. The clutch pedal, on the other hand, is grabby. With the automatic, downshifts employ rev matching that automatically gooses the engine speed before the gears mesh, providing exceptionally smooth downshifts and reduced wear.
The G35's backseat doesn't fold to extend the trunk forward, which is a disappointment.