- One of the most powerful V6 engines in its class.
- Handling almost on par with BMW.
- Larger interior than most rivals.
- Well-balanced chassis.
- Supercar brakes.
- Lacklustre interior design.
- Vertical headlight treatment not to everyone's liking.
- Steering feel not as communicative as BMW's.
- Aero kit's rear wing looks out of place on a luxury sedan.
- Cost-cutting apparent from some interior materials.
Press Coverage :
The Infiniti G35 sports sedan caused quite a stir in the automotive world when it was introduced in 2003. Over the years, everyone from Acura and Lexus to Mercedes Benz and Volvo claimed to have finally built a machine to take on BMW's 3-Series, but all of them fell flat on their faces. For the first time in years, a real competitor for the Ultimate Driving Machine has emerged, and that too from Infiniti, a small-time player in the luxury market. The G35 has no other car in its sights but the BMW. Consider the competition -- the Acura TSX is a front-driver, the Lexus IS 300 is cramped and underpowered, the Mercedes Benz C-class is luxury-biased and overpriced, the Volvo S60 T5 is also a front-driver, the Lincoln LS is too big for its own good, the Cadillac CTS lacks refinement and the Saab 9-3 relies on four-wheel steering to cover up its shortcomings. In driving dynamics, the G35 is the closest you can get to driving a BMW without breaking the bank. As it stands, the G35 is priced similar to a BMW 325i but offers a total package similar to a BMW 5-Series.
For 2004, the Infiniti G35 included standard heated outside mirrors, standard 17-inch wheels on all models, a Tire Pressure Monitor System, and the option of a six-speed manual version. The close-ratio six-speed manual, which has the same gear ratios as the G35 coupe and Nissan 350Z, comes standard with a rear viscous limited-slip differential, sport-tuned suspension and more aggressive tires, while the 5-speed automanual has sporty suspension and tires available as options. However, the manual does not get the traction control system which is standard on the automanual. Standard on all models was the advanced 260 hp V6 engine with variable valve timing, recognized as one of the “Ten Best Engines” by Ward’s Auto World magazine for nine consecutive years.
For 2005, the G35 sedan received a restyled exterior including hood, trunk, bumpers, headlight lenses, and dual circle taillights, as well as a redesigned instrument panel and new console. Also, Infiniti revised the interior with better materials and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Under the hood, power is increased to 280 hp in the automatic and 298 hp in the 6-speed manual.
The G35’s performance is enhanced by a 4-wheel independent suspension with lightweight aluminum components and highly aerodynamic styling – including a coefficient of drag of just 0.27 and zero degrees of front lift. The G35’s roof panel and body side panels are laser-welded to enhance body rigidity and to enable the entire body to damp vibrations. The increased stiffness and rigidity improve driving stability and ride comfort while reducing noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). The bold styling takes full advantage of the vehicle’s FM (Front Mid-ship) platform, which was specifically designed for mounting a V6 engine behind the front axle in the so-called “front mid-ship” position. The positioning of the engine is a key to the G35’s high level of driving performance, providing a nearly optimized 52:48 percent front-to-rear-weight balance. This layout also features a long wheelbase (112.2 inches) and short front and rear overhangs, providing a large interior for its highly manageable overall length (186.5 inches). This also allowed the designers to push the wheels out to the car’s corners for better interior space utilization.
All G35s come with Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), enhancing vehicle stability under a variety of driving conditions – similar to that offered in the Infiniti Q45 and M45. The advanced braking system utilizes power-assisted 4-wheel vented disc brakes, 4-channel, 4-sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), which distributes brake force depending on load condition (passengers and cargo) and Brake Assist (BA), which senses hard or panic pedal application and helps provide maximum braking capacity and Active Brake Limited Slip (ABLS), which uses the ABS sensors to detect wheel spin and applies braking to the spinning wheel. Braking performance is good enough to rival the likes of Porsche and Lamborghini.
In creating the G35 Sport Sedan’s interior, the designers and engineers set three goals: premium space, premium comfort and premium utility. Taking full advantage of the FM platform’s long wheelbase and wide track, the G35 offers 98.0 cubic feet of interior space and 14.8 cubic feet of trunk space. More than just total volume, innovative packaging provides ample space where it is needed most for driver and passenger comfort – head, leg, shoulder and hip room. Special attention to comfort required a rethinking of the seat design from “one seat fits all” to unique front driver and passenger’s seats. The driver’s seat uses a special center mound shape with high damping urethane foam and special spring design to support the driver during sporty driving. The front passenger’s seat has a flatter-shaped lower cushion and the seat is shaped to provide a relaxed posture, even when folding or stretching his or her legs. In the rear, the G35 offers a choice of wide bucket-shaped seats or optional rear reclining seats, both with ample knee room and a pass-through armrest. Leather interior treatment is optional. A three-spoke steering wheel provides a firm grip and sporty feel and the instrument panel features Infiniti’s fine vision electrofluorescent illumination system and signature analog clock. The optional DVD-based Infiniti Navigation System includes a 6.5-inch retractable screen. Audio systems include a standard 6-speaker AM/FM/cassette with in-dash 6-disc CD changer and an optional 222-watt Bose® premium audio system with an AM/FM/cassette in-dash 6-disc CD changer (with faster operation for 2004) with RDS, 7 speakers, speed-sensitive volume control and steering wheel audio controls. The G35 is offered in two interior colors – Willow and Graphite – and is available with leather-appointed seating and genuine Birdseye maple wood trim. The G35 Sport Sedan’s trunk space is enhanced by the use of items such as a four-link hinge design, thin LED rear combination lights and underfloor storage compartments near the spare tire. From a safety standpoint, every G35 comes with standard dual-stage supplemental air bags with seat belt sensors, front-seat side-impact supplemental air bags and roof-mounted side-impact curtain air bags for front- and rear-seat occupant head protection.
The Sport-Tuned Suspension Package adds unique 5-spoke aluminum-alloy 17-inch sport wheels with W-rated high-performance tires, sport-tuned springs and shock absorbers and titanium-color finished interior C-stack, while the Aero Package, which is available with the Sport-Tuned Suspension Package, adds a rear spoiler with rear underbody rear side fairings. Other available options include navigation system, Bose audio system, genuine wood trim and sunroof.
The G35 is a radical reach into Nissan's Le Mans experience for tire-loading and airflow concepts that could be baked into a roadgoing sports sedan. The G35's unusual proportions are a direct result. This is a long-wheelbase design, 112.2 inches, almost five inches longer than the target 3-series. The front wheels are pushed forward slightly ahead of the engine's center of gravity, thereby easing front weight to just 52 percent and the rear wheels are pulled back out of rear-seat territory. Placing the wheels at the far corners of the body makes a roomy space inside, and it also reduces the change in tire loading for any given maneuver, which should make handling more forgiving.
The suspension is unusual in this class. No struts. Instead, multilink at all corners, with many alloy links and an aluminum rear crossmember to save weight. Also, there are big hollow anti-roll bars at both ends. Compared with struts, this approach enables better management of camber and steer angles, and the coils can be located farther outboard where they intrude less into spaces that might be better used for, say, trunk space, to name one.
The G35 is a lively car with plenty of lunge when you dip the pedal. The structure seems very tight over road irregularities. Wind, impact, and tire noises over textured surfaces are all well controlled, although we suspect the speedometer was inflationary. The engine sounds are smooth and happy. All in all, this is a sophisticated car for the class, combining verve with refinement in equal measures. At the track, we found the control motions to be light and quick and lacking that last little bit of sensitivity that makes some cars, BMWs for example, so trustworthy when the going gets feverish. The suspension is beautifully disciplined, free of feints and darts when you push.
Unlike a buttery Acura TSX or BMW 3-series manual gearbox that can be sliced and diced with almost complete nonchalance, the G35's manual does require some deliberation when shifting, because neutral feels as if it were housing a miniature turnstile. It creates resistance when exiting one gate and entering another. It's not bad or annoying, just different. You simply have to shift as if you mean it.
Car and Driver
Dynamically, however, Infiniti has done its homework. I won't say the G35 feels as nimble as the shorter-wheelbase IS 300 or BMW 330i, but it is entertainingly quick and unflappable. The suspension damping is superb, and although there's a fair amount of body roll, it's not excessive. Further, the steering feels precise, and the G35 turns into corners without feeling the least bit nose-heavy. With the standard yaw control switched off, the tail responds predictably to drop-throttle techniques that help tighten the cornering line.
The point is, this car moves when you put your foot down. It feels as quick and muscular on the bottom end as an American V-8, launching itself cleanly and quickly from stoplights, but as the revs climb, the all-aluminum engine reveals a hyper side, and at full song it positively flings the car down the road with a subdued but ripping exhaust note and a nice induction roar. The big V6 is ready to go when you are, all the time.
Brakes are strong and easily modulated at speed, but almost too sensitive at slow speed, causing the random parking-lot lurch (spilled coffee) until you get used to them.
On back roads, the G35 is not quite as nimble as the BMW or Lexus — it's a bigger car than either; 10.5 in. longer than the 330i — but it has precise steering and very good turn-in, with rather high steering boost at low speed. In corners, there's a bit more body roll than in either of the above-mentioned, but the car maintains tenacious grip and balance, and you can fling it about mercilessly without fear. It's not as connected and supple over small bumps as the BMW, but handles fast transitions and dips in the road with aplomb, and has a more civilized highway ride than the BMW. A first-rate chassis that will give most drivers what they want out of a sports sedan, day in and day out.
Road and Track
1999-2002 Infiniti G20
1,998 cc / 145 hp / 136 lb-ft / 2923-2961 lbs / 0-60 mph 10.2 sec.