April 07, 2008
This is one of my favorite transmissions in any car in the world. The shift action has the slick, mechanical feel of a bolt-action rifle. Trustworthy and precise, it reminds me of those terrific old Muncie transmissions you find in the 1960s Corvette Stingray.
Every transmission feels different. In a Honda S2000, the shift throws are short and the action is precise. In a Porsche Boxster, the throws are long and slightly vague to reduce effort, while the gear engagement is pronounced and precise. And in an old Mitsubishi Eclipse, it's like stirring a plastic rod in a box of rocks.
The transmission is the most complex example of mechanical engineering in a car. It's no wonder that racing drivers of past eras like Dan Gurney always have said that the thing that really set apart a Ferrari from other racing cars of his day was the durability of the transmission, its ability to stand up to both the torque loads of the engine and the brutality of an uncaring driver.
Of course, there are plenty of people who want more isolation from vibration and a lot less mechanical effort than you'll find in the G35S's transmission. The Getrag-built manual gearbox of the BMW 3 Series is what they talk about, and they're always blathering about quick shifts. After having put up with far too many tired Getrags with worn synchros and notchy gear engagement, it doesn't make any sense to me. Trying to make time by using the transmission just leads to expensive visits to your mechanic.
The G35S's Aichi Kikai-built manual transmission never confuses me about gate selection or gear engagement, and its totally mechanical feel is always a pleasure. If you understand that a shift lever is more than a funny arcade-style wand sticking out of the console, then you'll really appreciate the Infiniti G35S's transmission.
Michael Jordan, Edmunds.com Executive Editor @ 21,230 miles
April 02, 2008
It's sad to say that our year with the G35s is almost up. So, like all of our test cars about to go away, we took it to the track. While you'll have to wait for the long-term wrap-up to get the official numbers, follow the link below to see some videos of the day. Braking from 60 (yes I was the camera operator here, and yes I was killed.)
March 07, 2008
The more time I spend in our long-term 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport, the more I like it. I'm a huge fan of its power, pure and simple, and the fact that it's held to the ground by such a capable suspension so you only want to go faster.
But it's not just the power per se, it's where it happens. According to our full test, the G35 makes its considerable 306 horsepower peak all the way up at 6,800 rpm and its 268 pound-feet of peak torque at 5,200, but it sure doesn't feel that way. You put your foot to the gas and it pulls hard from down low, providing gobs of usable torque all the way down at 2,500-3,000, where most of us city dwellers want it.
I don't have the numbers, but I'm pretty sure dyno testing would confirm that this car makes a lot of its power at low engine speeds. Which suits me just fine.
Doug Lloyd, Senior Copy Editor @ 19,163 miles
February 21, 2008
Back in my high school baseball days, a wet day was a great excuse to play around on the practice field sliding around and doing goofy things. Yesterday, our track day was rained out. As we waited and hoped for the sun to come out as the weather report had indicated, a wet track and a selection of high-powered, rear-wheel-drive cars was simply too tempting to resist sliding around and doing goofy things.
Our long-term Infiniti G35 Sport just happened to go up yesterday for logistic purposes and in between my own hooliganism, I broke out the Scorcese cam. May I now present to you Mr. Jacquot and the G. Enjoy. James Riswick, Associate Editor
February 01, 2008
There it is, folks. Where the magic happens. The 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport with a six-speed manual is now officially perfect. As our dedicated blog readers know, we all pretty much love the G35, EXCEPT for the clutch... The only car that we dedicated professional drivers still manage to stall, some of us with more than 20 and 30 years of driving under our belts. It's always "Great car, fast, stylish, beautiful. Except for that $*%&# CLUTCH!"
Well during a recent service we discovered that there was a slave-cylinder recall and Infiniti promptly fixed it. Good for them. Big ups to Infiniti for stepping up to make this car even better. The G35 is now officially phenomenal. I have always loved it, but the past few nights, I have essentially driven it from our Santa Monica office the scant mile or so to my palatial Santa Monica estate. Last night I drove it in rush-hour traffic (the true test of a p.i.a. clutch) and found it to be absolutely pleasant. Of course, the 10 p.m. return trip was the real reason I drove it. Oh baby! LOVE this car. So much so that my bass player wants the sedan (his wife has an '06 G35 coupe) and I already encouraged an old friend up north to lease a G35 sedan (and he loves it also).
Doug Lloyd, Senior Copy Editor @ 16,835 miles
January 31, 2008
I recently had the good fortune to return to my favorite place in my Edmunds life: the driver seat of the 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport. What a spectacular machine! The clutch issue has definitely been significantly improved, although the action is no less responsive. The engine note is still a magnificent rumble, the driver seat is firm and supportive, the steering is bowstring tight, the doors close like a vault, and damn I LOVE the way the thing looks... And the stunning acceleration as those 306 horses gallop away just under my right foot: magnificent.
Now, if any of my fellow editors are reading this: The car stinks. It's absolutely terrible, it's obscenely dangerous and unsafe, and I can't say anything good about it. In fact, for the good of all of my beloved co-workers, I am volunteering to throw myself in harm's way each and every night for the next few months and continue to test and report on this car myself. I just can't let any of you drive it, in any sort of good conscience. It's for your own good.
That's just what kind of stand-up cat I am.
Doug Lloyd, Senior Copy Editor @ 16,795 miles
January 29, 2008
It was a late night as I wandered back into the office after going to the gym. Sitting there typing away was Mike Schmidt, our resident Vehicle Testing Coordinator.
"Jacobs, you going home?" he called out to me as I walked toward my desk.
It meant he had a car for me. I like cars.
After going through the list of available vehicles, the Infiniti called out to me. I haven't driven it in a long time.
"It just got back from getting its' clutch repaired." Mike explained. "You can be the first one to drive it home." A small smirk came across his face. "Let me know how it works."
Ah yes, the infamous G35 clutch. The one that was very stiff and had a nano-width of gear engagement. It's the car that made you limp after driving it.
"I already went to the gym, I don't want another work out." I joked in return.
I took the keys anyways. I might not be the brightest bulb, but I'm not dumb enough to turn down a nice car.
I got in, depressed the clutch and started the engine. It was a little stiff, though not overly. I did notice a slight squeak that was there before its repair. I slid it into reverse and edged out the clutch. Wow! It works without tanking the engine!
I drove home thinking about the first couple of shifts from a stop. Yes, the clutch was still a little heavy. Yes there was a short catch point but nothing like it was before. Honestly, it's like having a sports car and this is a G35 Sport, isn't it?
Would I say it's 100%? Well, no, I wouldn't say that. But it's much better than it was before. Far easier to live with.
Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer
December 18, 2007
You've heard more than enough about our 2007 Infiniti G35's crummy clutch / shifter relationship. I've made an effort not to belabor that point in previous blog entries.
With that in mind, I'm pleased to report that this morning I executed a perfectly smooth downshift in the G35 for the first time.
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 14,221 miles
December 10, 2007
In the spirit of the original Infiniti ads, I've used a nature-themed photo without a car in it. The significance of this shot is not as murky as those ads seen back in 1989, which showed a tranquil, babbling brook...and no car, leaving people to wonder "What the heck do these new Infinitis look like?" You've all seen what our G35 Sport looks like -- the purpose here is to show our G's natural habitat. Here, among the winding canyon roads located in Malibu, the G likes to show off its moves. With that torquey V6 and the responsive chassis, getting into the rhythm of the road gladdens my heart as much as those tasty waves amp up the surfer dudes.
On a couple of less romantic notes, I also like the power-adjustable side wing supports on the driver seat (they hug you in the turns while the G hugs the road). And fuel mileage over nearly 14,000 miles is 19.4 mpg. This is in line with the updated EPA estimate of 20 mpg for combined city and highway driving. Not bad, considering we fully enjoy the 306-horse V6.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 13,884 miles.
December 05, 2007
One of my favorite things to do while behind the wheel of our 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport is to sit at the line at a freeway on-ramp stoplight waiting for the green light (which I'm clearly not doing in morning rush hour traffic in the above picture, blah!).
As soon as I see green, shift 1-2-3 and then glance at my rearview mirror at the tiny motorists behind me. Ha! They usually don't know what hit them. I did that to my friend who was following me in her Civic Si when we jumped on the freeway. At first she was stunned but then was soon able to catch up. "You drive fast, lady," she later said to me. "It's not me, it's the car," I replied.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 13,513 miles
October 30, 2007
Just how steady is our 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport at a buck thirty? Steady enough for me to snap this pic. At night. With no flash.
Better news: The car had more in it. A lot more. Fourth gear is good for 120 mph and at 130 mph I still hadn't used up fifth. So there's more than a gear to go at this point, and the G35 was accelerating briskly. On a slight downhill, I'm pretty sure the Infiniti will pin its 160 mph speedometer.
And for the record: This experiment was performed on a closed course, by a professional driver with all safety precau...blah, blah, blah.
Scott Oldham, Edmunds.com Editor in Chief @ 11,472 miles
August 06, 2007
Though I'm perhaps putting myself at odds with commentary delivered in previously published G35 and G37 road tests, I will state that I'm not overly enamored with our Infiniti G35's steering. It's variable assist, but in some instances slower speed corners, primarily the steering feels artificially heavy. Most drivers equate heavy steering as being sporty, but in this case I feel it hampers this sedan's ability to be nimble and engaging.
Otherwise, the G35 is highly capable.
I took it out on one of my favored canyon roads a few days ago. There's plenty of grip available from the Bridgestone RE050A 245/45R18 tires, and the car is solid and well balanced. You can drive the G35 Sport hard and fast and it won't complain a bit.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor, Edmunds.com, 7,591 miles
July 31, 2007
Last night I tottered off at dusk to snap some pics of our 2007 Infiniti G35 and ended up just a couple blocks away from my house. But rather than just go home afterwards, I decided to give the G35 a bit of exercise. And hoo-eee boy, the new G is a runner. As we reported in the introduction, 0-to-60 mph takes just 5.6 seconds. BMW's gotten all the recent attention with its new turbo straight-6, but we're still talking Mustang GT acceleration here...
By taking a few right-hand turns at speed, I also found the G35 maintains the sporting sense of character initially developed with the first generation. The car is balanced and, thanks to the standard limited-slip rear differential, easy to get some throttle-induced oversteer as long as the stability control is turned off. Oh, and that tricky engagement of the clutch? Disappears when you're snapping off quick heel-and-toe downshifts.
Most fun 10 minutes of my day yesterday. I think an early morning trip to some curvy roads will be in order this weekend.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 7,468 miles
July 24, 2007
I'd been dreading the inevitable day when I would have to drive our long-term G35 in shoes with heels on them. It happened yesterday when I was wearing my wedges and it turns out my dread was unwarranted. In fact, clutch operation was actually smoother and easier compared to my normal shoes. The only explanation I can come up with is that clumsier shifts are a fact of life in taller-heeled shoes because you can't work the third pedal with the same delicacy. However, the G's clutch pedal doesn't reward a delicate touch, so my blocky heels were pretty much the perfect match for it.
One other observation: A while back James wrote an entry about the driving position in our G35 versus that of the G37 coupe. He's taller than I am and preferred the coupe's lower seating position. However, I'd like to cast a vote for our sedan. Because I'm short of torso, I find it more relaxing to sit a bit higher (but not "SUV high") with a lower cowl surrounding me. The G's cockpit suits my physiology quite well.
Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor
July 23, 2007
One of my favorite summertime activities is to seek out and explore hidden beaches and coves. Pretend I'm a multimillionaire with my own beach house tucked away, up in Malibu, away from the teeming masses even for a few scant hours. And in these environs it's shockingly common to see Lamborghinis (7), Bentleys, Ferraris (5), McLaren SLR (1) and Porsches. But the G35 Sport is such a perfect part of the fantasy.
July 23, 2007
The Infiniti G35 Sport is not for wimps. This is a 306-hp car, and it's not fooling around. You can lean hard on it through the corners and it won't go limp, as the suspension is sufficiently controlled to keep the Bridgestone RE050s under the car and the brakes are up to the task of burning off the speed without catching fire. And the preference of G35 program engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno for a slightly forward bias for weight distribution gives the sedan a clean, predictable, intuitive feel as it turns into fast bends, when you're doing more work with the balance of the chassis than the action of the steering wheel.
Most of all, this is a genuine muscle car. It feels heavy and thick through the controls, more like a BMW 5 Series than a 3 Series. Considering the power coming from the engine, the shift action is remarkably clean and precise (better than any BMW, in fact), but you can't expect to flick it from gear to gear like a Honda S2000. And the clutch action (documented ad nauseum elsewhere), is genuinely difficult, with a strong over-center action and not much feel at engagement. The added complication of light-effort throttle action (with too much power too soon), plus no audible feedback from the quiet V6 inevitably leads to occasionally stalling the car or smoking the clutch. After more than 700 miles in the G35 Sport over the course of three days earlier this summer, I still found myself making these mistakes.
But, hey, this is a difficult car. Maybe that's why I like it. I tend to like difficult things. The G35 just isn't for everybody, and I like that. While it's possible to mystify the G35 Sport's failings just as people have long mystified the hidden evil of the early Porsche 911 or the truculence of the Ferrari GTB Daytona, it might be that the most memorable cars are the difficult ones.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 6990 miles
July 20, 2007
Our long-term G35 is trying to kill me.
Really. It is.
More specifically, the traction-control algorithms in the VDC program are trying to kill me.
July 19, 2007
One of my favorite elements of the G37 coupes we've tested recently is the seating position, which not only puts you in the right position to drive the car, but also gives you a great view of the car's rather stunning front-quarter-panel curves. Our G35 sedan has a more upright seating position than the coupe, but during my drive last night, I noticed that it, too, has a pleasing contour line in the driver's line of sight.
But last night's drive was more about the drive than aesthetic treats -- I'd been fiending for a chance to drive the G35 harder. Once you're moving at a decent clip, its funky clutch isn't a problem and the heft of the shifter moving through the gates is frankly satisfying.
Plus, as others have written, the engine sound and response as rpm climb (above 5,000-6,000) borders on intoxicating. After going around a few curves, the G seemed a bit heavy and soft. But much like a Z car, it likes to be driven in anger and the rewards were greater as I built up my pace. All in all, it's a rawer experience than you get with the BMW 330i/335i. Many of the little edges that have been refined out of the Bimmer are still present in the G, and in some moods, my affections lean toward the Infiniti.
I wonder about the stock brakes, though. After an hour of play, they were smelly and hot, and I'm hardly the most demanding driver on staff.
And I still have to come back around to the clutch. Had to leave the car with a hotel valet this morning, and while waiting in the parking circle after a meeting, I knew which car was mine before I even had the G in full sight -- could see a hint of silver rocking back and forth up the garage ramp. When the car was delivered to me, the stench of clutch permeated the cabin. That's something I'd have to deal with all time if I owned a G -- you can't always take the self-park option when you live in LA.
Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor
July 16, 2007
I used to dream of owning a car like the Infiniti G35.
Some time ago, I was broke and could only drive cars that were handed down to me. These cars were slow, lumbering beasts that were frustrating to drive. So I often dreamed of piloting something sleet and fast with a tight stick shift.
As I drove our long term G35 for the first time, this forgotten power lust came back to me. Now, I was finally behind the wheel of power, style and status. How did I like it?
Well, I won't bore you with my reaction to the clutch, which has been adequately covered in earlier posts. Once I had the thing launched it drove like that dream I often had. I found my normal passive driving style suddenly altered into a hard-charging lane changer, flooring it into openings and always hungry for open lanes. But at the end of my three days in this car I was kind of done with it. I don't need a cardiac event every time I get behind the wheel. Sometimes I just want to get there and think about something else during the journey.
But I did love the interior, the look of the center console and the feel of the leather seats. The car is handsome without being to ostentatious -- just my style. And, as my time in the G35 progressed, I came to really like the look of the spoked wheels. If I had this kind of money, and still had a yearning for my dream car, I'd probably take this over a BMW. I'm not saying it is a superior car, just that it suits me better.
Philip Reed, Edmunds Consumer Advice Editor
July 03, 2007
It takes 60 miles of driving our long-term Infiniti G35 Sport Sedan to figure out why I'm inexplicably irritated. Yes, there's something wrong with the clutch. In fact, it's easy to have beef with each of the fussy pedals the brake pedal travels too far before engaging the brakes and the e-throttle often seems to have a mind of its own, stuttering just before fully opening the throttle when the pedal is floored. But even when cruising the freeway at speed, an activity that requires no use of the clutch or brakes, the mysterious annoyance is still there.
Passing the exit for another freeway, the source of my problem is suddenly loud and clear: The navigation voice is the same overly pleasing monotone that systematically rattles off numbers at the DMV. Identical. You know, “Now serving, B-237…” And as soothing as DMV lady is designed to be, it's the long series of numbers called before yours that act as a kind of aural drip torture. You know it's not your turn you can read the red LED display but the numbers just keep rolling off her digital tongue.
She does exactly the same thing in the G35 as you pass exits that aren't yours: Stay on I-405 North.” And if you're in the middle of a good song, being interrupted to hear about the exit you don’t want to take four times by, of all people, the DMV lady, you just might find yourself irritated. But it's a personal problem, not an Infiniti problem. The navigation is still among the best I've used and objectively speaking, the voice is pleasant.
James Tate, Associate Editor @ 6475 miles
July 02, 2007
Once again, the skies parted, the Gods smiled down on me and Mike handed me the keys to the Infiniti G35 Sport Sedan, again affording me one of my favorite views in the world.
I realized why I love it so much. It comes right down to what makes a driver's car a driver's car. It makes you feel like you are a terrific driver, it makes you WANT to drive, it challenges you to go faster because everything about it, from power to steering to brakes, fills you with confidence and the buckets hold you in tight, letting you know that the car is with you in whatever decision you make.
Yesterday I went to a party in the valley off Coldwater Canyon. Instead of boring freeways, I made it a point to take the long way, tearing through the turns on Sunset and then up and over Coldwater. On the way home, I made it a point to route the trip via Mulholland to Beverly Glen, two other fantastic roads full of hairpin turns and long, sweeping Esses. This car inspires such confidence, it makes you want to power through the turns because the rear slides through them so confidently, with plenty of power no matter what gear. And that engine note? Che bella!
I think Infiniti should make a special nav function that highlights twisty roads, so you can actually plan your route based on the roads with the most turns and challenges. Because the G35 Sport will assure you that together, you can handle them.
Senior Copy Editor Doug Lloyd @ 6,387 miles
June 29, 2007
I hogged up the Infiniti G35 Sport for three days in a row after having avoided it because of its weirdo clutch -- "annoying long travel and minuscule engagement." I just like that power and luxury and felt two months away from it was long enough. Finally getting behind its wheel again, I noticed the loud creak of the clutch was still there but working the clutch itself wasn't as problematic as I last remembered.
I didn't have as much of an issue driving the car in stop and go traffic. Sure, there was still a bit of lurching but I didn't have to make as much of an effort to control it.
I could have sworn it was worse but could I also have just adapted to it somehow? Or maybe it's just because I was expecting it to be really bad. I talked to Road Test Editor Brian Moody about it; he had taken it to the dealership that time where they greased the pedal. He said that the creak only happened when you slowly ease up/press the pedal but when you shift normal, it's quiet. The creak also seems to go away when the car is hot and has been driven awhile. So now I'm thinking the creak is like having a bum knee, where your joints only get stiff when it's going to rain.
Kinda of a shame, though, considering that noise is rather jarring in such a luxurious interior.
Production Editor Caroline Pardilla at 6,320 miles
June 22, 2007
As I drove the G35 Sport Sedan last night, I was listening to Prince (hence the blog title) but for some reason, I was also deciding that he would probably like this car for many of the same reasons I do. And it's more than like for me. I LOVE this car. First of all, I think it's probably one of the best-looking Japanese cars ever, (Uh-oh... Here come the haters) although I really like the look of the new Lexus IS 250 and 350s. Finally these cars are coming into their own. And yes, I know. This is a BMW 3 Series or Audi A4 wannabe but I don't care.
June 07, 2007
I got my first taste of the second-gen Infiniti G35 sedan on back roads during a quick AM run in our long-term car (apologies for the mediocre photo). Body roll is tightly controlled, and the G is eager to adjust its attitude in response to brake and throttle input. It's not a cuddly car, and our Sport model comes across as more hard-core than any other entry-level luxury/sport sedan. Yet, the steering, although hefty, fails to offer the kind of detailed feedback I'd get in, well, you know, a BMW 3 Series.
That doesn't mean the G35 can't be fun, of course. As I type this, I'm trying to think of an excuse to leave the office early to take it on a longer drive.
Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor
May 18, 2007
I drove the G35 Sport for the first time last night.
-Yes, the clutch is stiff. My calf twitches just thinking about it.
-I really fell in love with the exhaust note.
-I want to take it home with me so we can live in sin together. I found myself massaging the throttle just so I could hear that snarl.
-Acceleration is another high point. Step on the pedal, and the car bolts like an inmate who's just grabbed the brass ring of freedom. This is a car from which that sort of performance is to be expected, but still. The G35's wealth of power (306 horsepower, to be exact) was even more striking to me given that I'd spent the previous night in the humble Versa.
-To my eyes, the car is about as visually exciting as a bowl of tomato soup. A co-worker said it looks Altima-esque -- not what you want to shoot for with a sports sedan. Still, a friend who saw it parked outside as I left a birthday party last night said it was "pimpin'''. To each his own.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 4,980 miles