Full 2011 Infiniti G Sedan Review
What's New for 2011
The Infiniti G Sedan gains a new member to the family for 2011. The newly introduced Infiniti G25 has a smaller, less powerful V6 and fewer standard features, yet there's compensation in the cheaper price tag. To go along with this new entry-level model, the Infiniti G37 has been stripped of its base trim but has gained a pair of special-edition models. Four-wheel active steering has been discontinued.
Getting the most bang for your buck is rarely the most important aspect of a luxury car purchase. There's always going to be that unquantifiable X-factor, whether it's styling, perceived quality or the fact that it'll make your brother really jealous. Yet for those who would like to get the most power and the most stuff for the least amount of coin, the Infiniti G Sedan is a go-to choice.
For 2011, the new G25 trim level increases the G sedan's value proposition even further. While the 328-horsepower G37 provides rapid acceleration that similarly priced competitors simply can't match, it might be a case of overkill for many of its customers. To compensate, the 2011 Infiniti G25 features a 218-hp V6 that should prove to be just enough for most while also getting slightly better fuel economy. Thankfully, Infiniti didn't skimp on the equipment, as the G25 Journey trim level comes with the same abundant goodies as are standard on the G37. There will be a base G25, but it exists mostly to achieve an advertisement-friendly price point.
Also shared between both models is the G's engaging driving experience. Power will obviously differ, but the G is renowned for its compelling handling sourced from a platform shared with the Nissan Z car. Opting for the G37's Sport package enhances the G's talent around the corners.
Whether you go with the invigorating G37 or the more frugal G25, the 2011 Infiniti G Sedan indeed provides a lot of bang for your buck in terms of performance, space, luxury, convenience and high-tech features. There are other vehicles in its price range (Acura's TSX and TL, Audi A4, Cadillac CTS, Hyundai Genesis, Lexus IS and Mercedes-Benz C300), but none offer the same value with such a compelling driving experience as Infiniti's sport sedan.
If value matters less to you, certainly the BMW 3 Series remains the top sport sedan choice, while some of the G's aforementioned competitors give off a more luxurious vibe. Yet whatever your luxury-car X-factor may be, the 2011 Infiniti G25 and G37 are worth your consideration.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Infiniti G Sedan is available in a number of different trim levels broken into two model designations based on engine: G25 base, G25 Journey, G37 Journey and G37 Sport 6MT (six-speed manual transmission). G25x and G37x models add all-wheel drive to the Journey trims. The G coupe and convertible are reviewed separately.
The base G25 comes well equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, foglamps, keyless ignition/entry, cruise control, automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat, a four-way power passenger seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery and a six-speaker sound system with CD player, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. The G25 Journey adds automatic headlights, heated mirrors, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear-seat air vents, heated front seats, an eight-way power passenger seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth and an iPod/USB interface.
The G37 Journey differs only in the engine department. The G37's Premium package adds rear parking sensors, a sunroof (optional on G25 Journey), power-adjustable steering wheel, driver memory functions and a 10-speaker Bose sound system with digital music storage. The Sport Appearance package adds the Premium items plus a rear spoiler, chin spoiler and 18-inch wheels. The Navigation package adds a hard-drive-based navigation system, real-time traffic and weather, voice controls and additional digital music storage.
The G37 Sport 6MT adds all the Premium and Navigation package items, plus a six-speed manual transmission, a limited-slip differential, different 18-inch wheels, summer performance tires, a sport-tuned suspension, bigger brakes, sporty styling flourishes, sport seats with manual thigh extension and driver power-adjustable thigh and torso bolsters. If you want all this stuff without the manual, opt for the Sport package available on the G37 Journey. The G37 Limited is essentially a loaded Journey with Sport package that also includes a blacked-out grille, unique headlights, special styling flourishes and red leather upholstery. Only 350 will be made.
Powertrains and Performance
The Infiniti G25 is powered by a 2.5-liter V6 that produces 218 hp and 187 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic is the only transmission. Buyers have a choice between standard rear-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive (called G25x). Infiniti estimates fuel economy to be 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway for the rear-drive model. The G25x drops to 19/27 mpg.
The Infiniti G37 comes with a 3.7-liter V6 good for 328 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed automatic is standard, but the Sport 6MT features a six-speed manual transmission. As with the G25, rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive (G37x) is optional as long as you have the automatic transmission.
In Edmunds performance testing, the G37 Journey went from zero to 60 mph in a rapid 5.4 seconds. The G25 is more modest, with an 8.0-second 0-60 mph time. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the G37 is 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined with the automatic and rear-wheel drive, while the 6MT gets 17/25/20. The G37x returns 18/25/20. The new G25 improves upon these numbers only slightly with a 20/39/23 mpg rating. The G25x drops to 19/27/22.
Every 2011 Infiniti G Sedan comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is standard on all but the G25 base. In Edmunds brake testing, the G37 Journey came to a stop from 60 mph in a very short 106 feet.
The Infiniti G Sedan has not yet been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash testing procedures. According to 2010 ratings, the G Sedan received a perfect five stars in all categories except frontal-impact protection for the front passenger, which got four stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the G the highest rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side crash tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
The G37 offers user-friendly controls, excellent build quality and a handsome design -- the latter highlighted by such items as the car's leather-accented magnesium shift paddles and the Japanese "Shodo" aluminum trim (or optional wood trim). Overall materials quality isn't exactly to Audi or Mercedes standards, but you are spending less money. The front seats are comfortable and well-bolstered, while the available sport-styled seats offer even more aggressive bolstering, though they may be a bit too snug for larger drivers. The backseat offers respectable space for this class, with the exception of the narrow center seat.
The G benefits from Infiniti's user-friendly electronics. The iPod interface standard on all but the base G25 is among the best available, while the myriad audio, climate and navigation controls are easy to decipher. The available Bose stereo is particularly impressive as well.
As V6s go, the 2011 Infiniti G25's is a smooth revver. It tackles its 7,500-rpm redline with none of the coarseness that has crept into the bigger 3.7-liter V6, owing to the 2.5-liter engine's lighter reciprocating masses. Acceleration should be satisfactory for many entry-level luxury sport sedan buyers.
However, for thrilling acceleration, we'd suggest the G37. We're not fans of the coarse noises it makes at higher engine speeds, but for the money, you can't beat it in this class. The G's handling is also praiseworthy as the sedan attacks curves with aggression and precision, yet remains poised and compliant when driven over less-than-perfect pavement. Think of it as a world-class athlete in evening wear. Steering feel is commendable, particularly with the Sport package's quicker steering ratio. This setup provides excellent feedback and a pleasant weightiness that builds progressively when cornering.
The seven-speed automatic transmission is mostly faultless. Quick gearchanges are at your fingertips via the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and downshifts are executed with precise throttle blips to match revs. In testing, however, we've noticed that upshifts, even when in Drive, aren't as smooth as they should be for this class of car. Even so, this automatic makes a strong case for itself versus the optional six-speed manual, which has a pleasing bolt-action feel through the gates but is hampered by abrupt clutch engagement.