By Cars.com EditorsMay 13, 2009
About the video
Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the performance features of the 2008 Infiniti G35. It competes with the Acura TL and BMW 3 Series.
(upbeat music) Hi, this is Kelsey Mays for cars.com, and we're here with the 2008 Infiniti G35. Now, in our other video, we walked you through some of the car's luxury attributes. Here, we're going to take a look at how it drives.
Under the hood of every G35 is Nissan's buttery smooth three and a half liter V6, here it makes 306 horsepower. There's a slightly larger version of the engine in the G37 coupe, makes 330 horsepower. A five speed automatic transmission is available, it's actually one of the better ones in the business. Our test car has a six-speed manual. This is a manual transmission for serious drivers, the friction point at which the clutch engages is pretty narrow, so those who don't drive a manual transmission regularly, will be lurching around for a little while, before they get the hang of it. Once you do, this car really becomes stick shift nirvana. The transmission really goes from one gear to the next very quickly, the nice short throws, the gates are very well defined. I'm terrible at heel-and-toe shifting, but if you're good at it, the accelerator pedal and the brake pedal are right next to each other, which makes it easy, and the accelerator itself is pretty sensitive, so you're going to be able to rev-match pretty easily as you're coming up on those downshifts. Earlier G35s actually had a really uncomfortable sort of crunching noise when you put the clutch in, probably one of our only complaints about this transmission. Infinity says that for 2008, that's been addressed, they really tried to kind of groom it for more smoothness. It is more smooth, although if you're really kind of shifting really high and driving the car pretty hard, you'll notice a little bit of roughness still. You'll definitely be riding hard in this car, the usual power as low as 2,500 RPM. Once the tachometer gets up past three, 4,000, this V6 really gets up and goes. There's not quite the torquey immediate thrust off the line that you get in a BMW 335, but there does seem to be a lot more power and more character in fact, than in the Acura TL type S or even in the direct injection V6 in the Cadillac CTS. The car turns as well as it moves too, the steering wheel strikes a nice balance, it's light enough that you're not going to be really having to crank it hard, turning around in a parking lot, but it's tactile enough that it's going to give you a lot of good road feel at higher speeds. There's a little bit more body roll than in some of the harder-riding sport sedans out there, but in return for that, you actually get a pretty good highway ride, even in our car with a sport-tuned suspension. We're equally impressed by the car's sense of balance, put it through a corner real hard, and there's a good sense of even weight over the front and the rear wheels, you don't get that sense of real mushy understeer as you're putting the car through a corner and it's kind of plowing, but neither do you get the sense of oversteer as the rear is kind of coming out unpredictably. So in short, the car is really balanced, it's very neutral. That's definitely a good thing. And for its price, the G35's driving dynamics are pretty hard to beat. Perhaps it's not quite as fun to drive as a 335, but it does beat most other contenders in its class, and for this kind of money, you'd have to get a 328, which the G 35 pretty much leaves in the dust. At cars.com we've often called this car the poor man's three-series. With the updates for 2008, it might just be the smart man's three-series. For additional information on this car or any other, go to cars.com and our blog, KickingTires.