2008 Infiniti G37 Coupe: Carrying on the tradition with intensity
By Mike Blake, Carlisle Events
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
The traditional sports car on the American scene is the little red coupe with power to spare, an aggressive spirit and curves that turn heads. Nissan’s luxury-sports group, Infiniti, adds some size and luxury to the equation, but carries on the sports-driving legacy on U.S. roadways with the 2008 G37.
What was the G35, with a 3.5-liter engine, has now grown into the G37 and its 3.7-liter powerplant. The extra .2 liters also adds about 24 horses, 2 lbs.-ft. of torque, a tougher structure, sportier suspension, new design cues and body panels, refined hood and grille, artistic headlamps, and an integrated rear spoiler.
In Vibrant red, accented by a Graphite interior, my test G37 in Journey trim lives up to the Infiniti marketing tagline: Intensity Captured. Driving it was a pleasure, the vehicle was intense, and the excitement was felt inside the cabin and outside by those who watched it race by.
In three trims, the base, the Journey and the Sport, the G37 combines drivability, lavishness and comfort with angular architecture, engine forcefulness and classic class.
Outside, my two-door sports ride was sleek and aerodynamically road-hugging with a wheelbase of 112.2 inches, overall length of 183.1 inches, width of 71.8 inches and an easy-in height of 54.8 inches. The corrosion-resistant high-strength steel unibody body is topped in front by a lightweight aluminum hood, and accentuated in the rear by the sweet rear spoiler. The G37 Coupe’s flowing front fender curves, wave-style hood, signature double-arch grille and L-shaped High-Intensity Discharge bi-xenon headlights create an attractively aggressive stance. Sitting within large wheel wells are 19-inch performance-oriented Bridgestone Potenza tires covering alloy wheels. The combination transmits an added sense of power for a vehicle that looks at home on the street, but destined to spend time on the track.
The front-engine, rear-wheel-drive G37 belongs on the track as well as on the highway, as it is powered by a 3.7-liter DOHC 24-valve VVEL V-6 engine that rumbles out 330hp and 270 lbs.-ft. of torque. Mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode, the set-up is EPA rated at 18mpg on the city and 24mpg on the highway. My seven days of car tests yielded an average of about 22mpg for non-track time, and it performed as admirably in traffic as it did on a road course and in a long straight. With a curb weight of 3624 lbs., my G37 Journey met the quarter-mile in a rapid 13.9 seconds, after smoothly accelerating from zero to 60mph in a steady 5.4 seconds.
Developed at test circuits throughout Europe the G37 Coupe was designed with performance and handling in mind. While I did experience some torque steer and slight yaw under stress during pedal-to-the-metal acceleration and tight, quick S-curve turns, the sequential multi-point fuel injection provides solid fuel-feed whenever called upon. With firm damping, stiff springs, large anti-roll bars, independent double-wishbone front suspension, independent multi-link rear suspension, front and rear stabilizer bars, power-assisted 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, vehicle-speed-sensitive power steering and a series of actuators that changes gear ratios and rear geometry for optimal results, the G37 is a study in catlike agility, athletic handling, smooth riding and stability.
The cockpit is sophisticated, from its electroluminescent instrumentation, to its multi-function information center; the interior is accentuated with African rosewood trim, lots of leather and au current electronics.
The double hand-stitched leather-covered steering wheel, designed for maximum comfort and usability with wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. The 8-way power driver and front passenger seats feature 2-way adjustable head restraints and a unique rear-seat access system.
A 6-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with MP3 playback capability, Radio Data System and center console-mounted auxiliary input are standard, as well as a 7-inch color display.
Safety is an Infiniti focal point and the G37 delivers with Zone Body Construction comprised of front and rear crushable zones to help disperse crash energy around the passenger compartment. For occupant safety, the engine is designed to move under the occupant compartment in a high-speed frontal collision, while a breakaway construction of the propeller shaft (connected with the engine-drop function) and the double-wall construction of the bulkhead helps to minimize cabin deformation, especially in the lower leg area. In addition, the brake pedal is designed to collapse to help reduce lower leg injuries in a severe crash
Standard is an Adaptive Front lighting System, which automatically controls the headlight lighting pattern according to steering angle and vehicle speed to help provide better visibility at night. Also standard is an Advanced Air Bag System with dual-stage supplemental air bags with seat belt sensors and occupant classification sensor, front-seat side-impact supplemental air bags and roof-mounted side-impact curtain air bags for front- and rear-seat occupant head protection.
Base-priced at $35,000, my test G37 came with a final sticker price of $44,665, after adding on nearly $9000 in options and destination charges of $715. These upgrades included power sliding moonroof, Premium audio system with iPod interface and Bluetooth, a 9.3-gig music box hard drive, XM radio and navigation system.
The Infiniti G37, a sports coupe with seating for five, brings intensity to America’s driving traditions.
Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.
Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.
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