Infiniti G37 Sedan - 2011 makes driving fun and luxury affordable

Standing tall among a gaggle of top-tier competitors such as BMW's 3 Series, Cadillac's CTS and Audi's A4, to name just a few, the Infiniti G37 Sedan returns for 2011 with virtually no changes beyond two new appearance packages that Infiniti markets as Special Editions.

Already in showrooms, this year's sedan lineup begins with the $35,925 Journey, like my test G37. There is also a $40,325 Sport 6MT. Filling out the G37 stable are the $40,075 Sport Appearance Edition (SAE) and the $44,275 Limited Edition (LE). Drivers wanting a little more stability and better foul-weather performance can add all-wheel drive to the Journey, SAE and LE for a $1,600 premium.

Gone from the 2011 lineup is the G37 Base thanks to the introduction of the new G25 with its less powerful V6 and slightly diminished list of amenities. It now serves as the entry-level G Sedan.

Receiving a minor refreshing for 2010 that included new front and rear fascias, as well as a bolder grille and headlamps on the outside, and an enhanced gauge cluster and other minor improvements inside, the 2011 G37 is all but indistinguishable from the 2010 version.

Percolating under the hood of every G37 Sedan is a 328-horsepower 3.7-liter V6. Smooth and quiet, this V6 is capable of launching the G37 from a standing stop to 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds via the seven-speed driver-shiftable automatic transmission found in all but the Sport 6MT. Drivers wanting to choose shift points themselves can do so either through the console-mounted shift lever or steering wheel-mounted paddles. Standard on the Sport 6MT, and its only available tranny, is a six-speed manual transmission.

Fuel economy is respectable for a midsize sport sedan no matter which G37 you measure. Achieving the best fuel numbers is the Journey with an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Adding AWD chips 1 mpg from the city estimate and 2 mpg from the highway. Hardest on fuel is the Sport 6MT with an EPA-estimated 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

While the Sport 6MT gets some special attention in the way of its suspension tuning for crisper handling and better control, every G37 is balanced on the same basic suspension architecture. Ideally engineered for hauling full tilt through the twisties, its primary components are a double-wishbone arrangement up front and a multi-link setup in the rear. A stabilizer bar on each end reduces flex and helps keep the all-season tires in contact with the pavement.

Even in the Sport 6MT with its stiffer suspension tuning, the G37 ride is pleasing rather than harsh. Cornering is stable and predictable even at higher speeds. The steering is spot on. This is a sedan that takes its sport mission seriously.
Powerful and well suited to the G37's enthusiastic performance, the four-wheel ventilated disc brakes halt forward motion with authority. Monitored by an antilock system, they bring the G37 to straight sure stops. Traction control, stability control, electronic brakeforce distribution and emergency braking assist are all standard.
Offering more passenger space than the Lexus IS, the G37 cabin is comfortable and user friendly. One great feature that should be liberally copied in other cars is a center gauge pod that moves up and down with the tilt adjustment of the steering wheel. This keeps those key white-on-black gauges clearly in view regardless of the steering wheel position. The three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel also contains redundant controls for the six-speaker audio system with its seven-inch color monitor, in-dash CD player and iPod interface.

Generously bolstered, the heated front bucket seats have eight-way power adjustments. Providing scads of lateral support, they also have a beefy bottom cushion with a thigh adjustment on the driver's seat. The rear seat accommodates two more comfortably than three, but there is a decent amount of head and legroom. Leather covers all seating surfaces. Aluminum accents brighten the interior and enhance the sporty ambiance.
Even with the amount of technology built into the G37, the controls are easy to use. Changing the radio station or redirecting the air flow of the dual-zone automatic climate control doesn't involve an owner's manual consult. Other standard features on the Journey include rearview camera, full power accessories, heated outboard mirrors, Bluetooth cell phone connectivity, keyless entry and start, and a rear-seat pass through to the trunk.

The Sport 6MT includes as standard features several Journey options encompassed in the Special Edition packages, such as an upgraded Bose-infused Infiniti Studio on Wheels audio system with 10 speakers, a 9.3GB Music Box hard drive, voice recognition, aluminum pedals, memory system for the driver's seat, steering wheel and outboard mirrors, and power tilt and telescoping steering wheel.

For buyers on the hunt for performance, luxury and value, the G37 is a tough act to beat. The ten grand spread between the RWD Journey and the AWD LE opens the G37 door to a wide array of budgets. Content aside, every G37 model delivers gobs of performance and an up-scale passenger experience. Effectively straddling the gap between performance and indulgence, it makes driving fun and luxury affordable.

by Russ Heaps - MyCarData