- One of the most powerful V6 engines in its class.
- Excellent handling characteristics.
- Larger interior than most rivals.
- Well-balanced chassis.
- Security of a well-developed all-wheel-drive system.
- Lacklustre interior design.
- Vertical headlight treatment not to everyone's liking.
- Steering feel not as communicative as BMW's.
- Only available with an automatic.
- Cost-cutting apparent from interior materials.
Press Coverage :
The Infiniti G35 sports sedan caused quite a stir in the automotive world when it was introduced in 2003. The all-wheel-driven G35x was introduced in 2004, to compete directly with similar models from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, all the while grabbing a portion of the wintery market. A number of significant enhancements to the G35 for the 2005 model year in North America. The changes include a facelifted exterior appearance for the sedan and a redesigned instrument panel and console area with aluminum trim or optional wood trim.
For 2004, the Infiniti G35 includes 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.
Still standard on all models is the advanced V6 engine with variable valve timing, recognized as one of the “Ten Best Engines” by Ward’s Auto World magazine for nine consecutive years. However the VQ35DE engine gets a 17 hp and 10 lb-ft upgrade for the 2005 model year.
Large 17-inch alloy wheels with high-performance 215/55R17 all-season tires are standard.
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 Aero 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 Sport Package and the manual gearbox are not available in the AWD G35x. Fuel economy also suffers as a result of the four-wheel-drive system, along with slower performance than the rear-wheel-drive sedan thanks to its heavier weight.
Under normal highway driving, almost all the torque goes to the rear wheels. Pushing the "snow" button on the console will set torque distribution at 50/50. For spirited driving in the dry, we found it best to leave the button alone and let the system play around with torque distribution.
In addition to its active torque distribution, the G35X gets stiffer springs, shocks and antiroll bars to handle the 308 pounds of curb weight added when engineers stuffed in the transfer case and extra driveshafts. That moved the curb weight from 3369 pounds to 3677 and slid weight distribution forward by 1 percent to 53/47 front/rear.
Both G35s have the same 260-hp, 260-lb-ft 3.5-liter V6 engine, so those extra pounds and the accompanying parasitic drivetrain losses of awd will probably slow the car in acceleration and lengthen its stopping distances. The mandatory five-speed automatic will slow it even more (not enough people would buy a manual transmission to make it worth offering one, Infiniti said). Ride height on the X is 10 mm (0.393 inch) higher than the rear-drive G35, and the center of gravity is 7.5 mm (0.295 inch) higher. Both versions of the G35 sedan have the same 215/55R-17 all-season tires.
In spirited corners all that gear made the car feel more stable. On our drive, the rear-wheel-drive G35s oversteered more when exiting corners under hard acceleration than the all-wheel-drive G35Xs, and the G35X felt stiffer in the front end, too, with what felt like better grip going into turns.
On a regular, dry road course, lap-to-lap with competent pilots, the rear-drive G35 would have to be faster, given the weight difference, ride height and power available to the wheels. But the X model is just a little safer to play with, and would certainly be more stable and maybe even more fun when it starts to rain or snow.
The exterior flair continues inside the car. Interior panels and surfaces are high quality, with wood and titanium-look accents. Seats are comfortable and easily adjusted, and the big, clear instruments are easy to read at a glance. A unique feature is that the driver’s seat is padded differently to the passenger’s seat for greater support during sporty driving. The passenger seat is oriented toward a more relaxed seating position.
The engine makes a pleasant exhaust note under acceleration and is quiet at speed. The five-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and responds quickly when you put your foot down. This car is low and wide, with front fenders that are visible from the driver’s seat, which helps properly situate the car when driving, and a long wheelbase (2,850 mm) with wheels pushed out to the car’s corners for increased stability and interior space. Coefficient of drag is a low 0.27, contributing to the near elimination of wind noise at speed and presumably improves fuel economy on long trips (fuel economy for the G35x, by the way, is only marginally reduced compared with the rear-drive G35).
My opportunity to drive the G35x took place during warm, dry conditions, in which it felt securely connected to the road and every bit as quick as the rear-wheel drive version. The all-wheel drive system doesn’t intrude at all, and doesn’t make the car feel heavier (all-wheel drive adds 137 kg). On gravel, under hard acceleration, no wheelspin was evident. Steering response was sharp and the four-wheel independent suspension provided a smooth ride, while minimizing body roll in corners.
1999-2002 Infiniti G20
1,998 cc / 145 hp / 136 lb-ft / 2923-2961 lbs / 0-60 mph 10.2 sec.