Thumbs Up: The perfect balance of power, handling and luxury.
Thumbs Down: Rear seats don’t fold, limiting cargo carrying options.
Buy This Car If: You’re shopping for a midsize sport sedan and want more content for less money.
I know car reviewers are supposed to be unbiased, but I’ll come clean up front: I flat out love the Infiniti G37S, and was hard-pressed to come up with anything negative to say about it. Every single aspect of the car, from performance and handling to fit and finish to interior comfort, is first rate, on par with a BMW 3 series or an Audi A4. I’ve got friends with G35 sedans and coupes, so I can testify to their reliability and long term appeal. Unless you need the BMW roundel or the Audi rings on the front of your car, you really do need to drive the G37 if you’re shopping for a luxury sport sedan.
The exterior styling of the G37 isn’t quite as cutting edge as it once was. It’s pleasant but conservative, and the humped front fenders set the Infiniti apart from the rest of the sport sedan crowd. Sculpted rocker panels and slightly flared fenders give the G37 a sporty look without saying “boy racer”, and the styling appeals to a wide range of prospective buyers. As you’d expect from a high end brand like Infiniti, paint quality is very good, with considerable depth and durability. My tester had over 6,500 miles on the odometer, and there wasn’t a single rock chip to be found on the front end. Unlike a lot of manufacturers whose paint seems as durable as hardened cheese rind, the paint on the Infiniti G37 will hold up well to daily abuse.
The interior reinforces the sport sedan mission of the G37. Seats are well bolstered, if a bit on the narrow side. I wouldn’t call them uncomfortable, but those of us who carry a bit of insulation for winter will certainly notice the thigh bolsters for the first few miles. Both thigh and side bolsters can be inflated for spirited driving, and the twelve way power adjustable driver’s seat includes adjustable thigh support. Passengers must make due with an eight way power adjustable seat, but the seemingly infinite adjustability ensures that passengers of all shapes and sizes will be comfortable. The quality of the leather is good, but not quite on par with BMW or Cadillac; there’s a lot of value for the money in the Infiniti, but you have to cut costs somewhere. I love the use of brushed aluminum trim over wood (or worse, faux wood) in the interior, and I think it helps to reinforce the Infiniti’s mission of sport first, luxury second.
The leather wrapped steering wheel is perfectly shaped for spirited driving, and controls for audio, phone, cruise control and the nav system are placed for easy access while driving. The backlit instruments are clear and easy to read, and the tach and speedometer are split by a driver’s information display. Audio and HVAC controls are located in the center console, and Infiniti’s stellar nav system is atop the dash. Like all luxury brands, Infiniti utilizes a system similar to BMW’s IDrive to setup and control secondary systems like audio, HVAC, vehicle information display and navigation. Maybe I’m just used to them by now, but I don’t find any systems particularly difficult to use or understand. If you’ve seen them before, you’ll find Infiniti’s Infiniti Controller system intuitive enough.
Infiniti deserves praise for the quality of their navigation system. It’s large, well placed and I love their 3D birds eye view. Entering data is easy thanks to well scripted menus, and spoken directions are clear and easily understood. I’m generally too cheap to spring for in-car navigation since my Garmin and my iPhone do the job well enough, but I’d have to reconsider that if I was buying a G37.
It’s easy to get jaded when you drive a lot of high horsepower cars, but the G37 still feels like a sport sedan should. It’s not going to shove you back in your seat like an M3 or a Cadillac CTS-V, but the price of admission for the G37 is quite a bit lower that either of those options. The V6 motor makes an honest 328 horsepower and doesn’t mind being revved high, which works well for spirited driving with the 6 speed manual gearbox. I saw fuel economy of 18.8 mpg in a mix of city and highway driving, and just shy of 28 mpg on the highway. Steering feedback from Infiniti’s variable-assist system was good, and nearly on par with BMW’s superb 3 Series. My tester had the optional R-Spec high friction brake pads, which are a “must order” option if you intend to track the G37. As you’d guess, braking was good with little pedal fade even after hard driving with repeated heavy braking.
Push the G37 hard in a corner, and you’ll find out that the handling limits are set by the all season Bridgestone tires. They work well enough for commuting duty, but I’d strongly recommend something with a bit more grip if you plan on using your G37 for the occasional high performance driving event. Infiniti’s Vehicle Dynamic Control and Traction Control System work in harmony to ensure the G37 goes where you wanted it to, but both can be turned of to give the driver full control. A limited slip differential helps the power goes to the ground when you enthusiastically get on the throttle.
Unless you hang out with NBA players on a regular basis, the rear seats of the Infiniti have plenty of room for adults, even on longer trips. The center tunnel would definitely make the center rear seat unpleasant for all but the shortest trips, but that’s true with any mid-sized, rear-drive sedan. If I had a complaint about the G37 at all, it’s simply that the rear seats don’t fold down to carry oversized cargo. The trunk is big enough for a few weeks on the road, and there is a center pass through to carry odd shaped things like skis, but the lack of fold down rear seats is puzzling. In fact, I can’t think of another mid-size sedan that lacks this feature. How important it is depends on other vehicles you own or have access to; if you’re other car is a pickup truck, this is a non-issue.
My G37 Sport tester had a base price of $37,000, and came with the $370 R-Spec Brake Pads and the $1,850 Navigation Package (which includes navigation, DVD playback, Bluetooth audio streaming, XM Nav and XM Weather, Zagat restaurant reviews, Infiniti voice recognition and a 9.3 GB hard drive). Throw in the destination charge, and my tester carried a sticker price of $40,065. By comparison, a comparably equipped BMW 335i will carry a sticker price of just over $51,000, and a comparably equipped 328i will still set you back just over $45,000.
If I were in the market for a midsize sport sedan, I’d take a serious look at the G37. It’s always been one of my favorite cars, and the fourth generation hasn’t managed to lose it’s appeal. Infiniti may not carry the prestige of BMW, Mercedes or Audi, but it certainly delivers the comfort and drivability that an enthusiast demands. Go drive one if you’re in the market, and don’t be surprised if you actually prefer the Infiniti over the German brands.