C'mon guys, one at a time!
So, with the understanding that a more powerful, more luxury-loaded G35 four-door model with an extensively redesigned interior could be available in November, here's the lowdown on the '06 model. (And who knows? Infiniti dealers might be willing to part with it for a little less money when the 2007 shows up.)
The current G35 Sedan is classy inside and out. It's a genuine luxury passenger car. And not for $50,000 but for an entirely reasonable starting price of $31,950, including a $650 destination charge. That price on the tester included everything; not a single item was listed as optional.
The tested G35 was loaded up with standard electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, two vehicle-control systems, high intensity headlamps, power/heated exterior mirrors, dual chrome exhausts, leather seating surfaces, power-adjustable front seats, dual-stage front air bags, supplemental side-impact air bags, roof-mounted curtain air bags, rear seat air bags, power/vented disc brakes at all four corners and an in-dash audio system that can accommodate six compact discs and MP3 playback.
Whew, that's just the partial list. It's all very nice, but the classy part is in the design and small details.
For starters, the G35 Sedan looks elegant, smooth and sporty from the outside.
And not merely imitation sporty - like those automakers who screw a spoiler on a car's back end and charge you an extra 500 bucks - but genuine sporty, with clean, aerodynamic lines and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The car's interior is all about comfort and expensive-looking materials. Uplevel touches include an analog clock center-mounted in the dash and what Infiniti calls a "Fine Vision electro-fluorescent illumination system" across the instrument panel.
I'll buy that label, but to me, I felt like I was in the lounge of a five-star hotel, where a champagne cocktail costs almost as much as a sofa.
The sedan's sporty looks are backed by a responsive, 3.5-liter V-6 with 280 horsepower and a maximum torque rating of 270 foot-pounds. Variable valve timing also is part of the power plant.
The six-cylinder engine produced brisk accelerations and gave me plenty to work with on freeway entrance ramps. The G35, with independent, multi-link suspension front and rear, was nimble in all conditions. Steering was sufficiently firm, but the car could easily be zipped around with one hand.
One thing that did surprise me, however, was the tester's inability to gain traction on slick road surfaces, despite the presence of two aforementioned vehicle-control systems, including traction control. Those relentless spring rains were still pounding Northern California during my time in the G35 Sedan, and the back tires routinely spun without grip on even mild accelerations.
Perhaps the all-wheel-drive version of the '06 G35 Sedan is more of a wet weather performer. Infiniti touts it as such, but the starting price is nearly $2,000 higher than the rear-drive sedan.
One other gripe: The G35 Sedan is a five-passenger car, but those three seats in the back are a serious squeeze for three adults. And woe to that unfortunate person who has to sit in the middle, with one foot on either side of the center hump. That passenger is not going to be grateful for the underfoot shaft driving the car's rear wheels.
Otherwise, this is a tempting luxury sedan that stacks up very well in a pricey niche. And while the neighbors might be impressed with an Infiniti parked in your driveway, you can appreciate other, more practical aspects of the ride: As one might guess from the preponderance of air bags in the standard features list, the 2006 G35 Sedan has an exceptional safety package.
Naturally, Infiniti is already talking up the 2007 G35 Sedan's enhancements, including a 300-plus horsepower V-6, a rearview monitor and a blow-you-away Bose sound system. The new edition does sound sweet, but again, the still-desirable '06 model might be had for a bargain in the months ahead.
Either way, you're likely to feel pretty good about the car you drive off the dealer lot.
INFINITI G35 SEDAN AT A GLANCE
Make/model: 2006 Infiniti G35 Sedan
Vehicle type: Five-passenger, four-door, rear-drive, luxury sport sedan
Base price: $31,300 (as tested, $31,950)
Engine: 3.5-liter V-6 with 280 horsepower at 6,200 revolutions per minute and 270 foot-pounds of torque at 4,800 rpm
EPA fuel economy: 18 miles per gallon city; 25 mpg highway
Transmission: Electronic five-speed automatic with clutchless manual-shifting and other features Steering: Power-assisted rack and pinion with speed-sensitive feature
Brakes: Power-assisted, four-wheel, vented discs with anti-lock and other braking-enhancement features
Suspension: Independent, multi-link on front and rear (stabilizer bars front and rear)
Fuel tank: 20 gallons
Interior volume: 98 cubic feet
Trunk volume: 14.8 cubic feet
Curb weight: 3,449 pounds
Track: 59.1 inches on front; 59.3 inches on rear
Ground clearance: 5.5 inches
Height: 57.7 inches
Length: 186.5 inches
Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
Width: 69 inches
Towing capacity: 1,000 pounds
Tires: P215/55R17, V-rated, all-season radials
Final assembly point: Los Angeles