Infiniti G25 - dialing back the power saves some cash

Infiniti broadens demand for its already wildly popular G car with the introduction of the 2011 G25. Providing the core values of the G in terms of handling, features and creature comfort at a lower price, the new G25 provides entry to Infiniti for an, as yet, untapped set of owners.

The G25 should figure large in the brand's efforts to maintain a sales surge that has the G nameplate's market share up by about 10 percent through the closing months of summer. Providing somewhat diminished giddy-up relative to the more potent G37, the entry-level G25 has a price point about $2,300 less than last year's base G37. This should open the door for some less well-heeled intenders looking for their first foray into the entry-luxury market.

With the introduction of the 2011 G25, Infiniti scratched the entry-level G37, making the $35,925 G37 Journey the lowest priced G37 for 2011. In contrast, the $31,825 base G25 slides under the G37 Journey by $4,100. Infiniti also offers the G25 in Journey trim at $33,225, and the all-wheel-drive G25x at $34,825.

Inspiration for dropping a less energetic V6 into the G sedan came from the Lexus IS 250. Its marketplace success persuaded Infiniti product planners that an audience exists for a lower horsepower engine in an otherwise high-performance sedan. Driving the G25 back to back with the G37 makes a convincing case for this strategy.

Although the G37's gutsy 328-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 is an adrenaline rush to drive, the 218-horsepower all-new 2.5-liter V6 propelling the G25 has the potential to trigger some grins. It enthusiastically accelerates thanks to the 2.5L's 269 pound feet of torque. Springing off the line, the G25 relentlessly gathers momentum. The same seven-speed driver-shiftable automatic transmission found in the G37 distributes engine output to the G25's rear wheels. Shifting is timely and smooth.

Fuel economy is decent for a sporty midsize sedan. The EPA estimates its mileage at 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. This compares favorably with the IS 250 with an EPA-estimated 21 mpg and 30 mpg respectively. A case can be made that the IS 250's slight advantage in fuel economy is a tradeoff resulting in a more significant disadvantage in power output that has the IS 250's 2.5-liter V6 generating 204 horsepower and 185 pound feet of torque.

Engines aside, base mechanicals are shared between the G25 and G37. The common underpinnings include the four-wheel independent suspension consisting of a double-wishbone setup in front and a multi-link arrangement in the rear. Although the G37 has available sport-tuning for this suspension, the basic architecture is the same. Drivers inclined to push the G25 hard will be happy with its competence when attacking curves. Its grippy 17-inch tires contribute to the G25's road-holding prowess, but it's the taut suspension doing the lion's share of the work to keep the driver in control.
Located behind the alloy wheels are ventilated disk brakes at all four corners. A four-channel antilock system supervises braking. Included in the system are traction control, stability control, electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist.

G25 and G37 commonality is carried into the cabin. The G37 gets a few standard features upgrades, such as a power tilt-telescoping steering wheel in place of the G25's manual one, and a memory feature that includes driver's seat position, steering wheel and outboard mirrors; but the overall layout and styling are the same. One glaring difference between the G25 and G37 is the availability of a navigation system in the G25. It is restricted, as an option, to the G37.

In terms of space and configuration, the G25 cabin mirrors the G37. It is an area excavated for five occupants, but two rather than three will be decidedly more comfortable in the back seat. At 43.9 inches, the IS 250 equals the G25 in front-seat legroom; however the Infiniti bests the Lexus in every other interior measurement including a four-inch advantage in rear-seat legroom. The trunk opening is somewhat narrow, but the 13.5 cubic feet of luggage space it reveals is more than acceptable.
The G25 cabin provides the same passenger experience as a G37 Journey. Leather seating, six airbags, full power accessories, automatic climate control, eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, steering wheel-mounted redundant audio controls, remote keyless entry and keyless start, and cruise control are all standard.

The basic audio system is the same whether it's in the G25 or G37. It includes six speakers, an in-dash CD player, satellite radio capability and a seven-inch color monitor. Where the G37's system includes an iPod interface, the base G25 just gets an auxiliary input jack, but a USB connection is standard on the G25 Journey and G25x. Stepping up to the G25 Journey adds other extras like an eight-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats and outboard mirrors, and Bluetooth cell phone connectivity,

On the road, the G25 doesn't give up much to the G37 other than some straight-line quickness. It goes just as fast, but takes a little longer to get there. It handles beautifully providing its driver with crisp cornering and responsive steering.
How many extra buyers the couple of grand less in purchase price from last year's base G37 the new G25 will attract remains to be seen, but Infiniti has managed to provide a more affordable entry-level G without diminishing the nameplate. Logic seems to dictate that it will help sales.

By Russ Heaps - MyCarData