2007 Infiniti G35: What's It Like to Live With?
Read the latest updates in our long-term road test of the 2007 Infiniti G35 as our editors live with this car for a year.
What do you want to know about?
- Not to Beat a Dead Horse, but...
- Fancy for the Night
- Stuck with the Stick
- Hard Drive
- Time and Time Again
- Big pimpin'... or not
- Window Auto-up Problem, and Solution
- Flawed Tilt/Telescopic Steering Wheel Design
- Tight control, but I want a deeper conversation
- Infiniti G35 Sport — Lovesexy
- Armrest & NavTraffic Update
- That Persistent Creak
- Infiniti G35S Driver Seat — No Place I'd Rather Be
- Stuck at the DMV
- Dream Car - Sort of...
- Love the curvy view
- Out for blood.
- This is a Genuine Muscle Car
- Gateway to Paradise
- Drive it in Wedges
- Hooligan Fun
- We'd Better Not Hit Anything
- Rear seat comfort
- Steering and handling
- Birds-Eye Nav
- $204.95 For A 7,500-Mile Service?
- Feeling Out the Steering
- More Than a Navigation System
- Cupholders, Storage Nooks Need Work
- All the Right Sensations
- Where Are the Cupholders?
- Skyline Family Resemblance
- Get the Automatic
- Excuse Me Sir, You've Got A Flat
- The First Part Has Fallen Off
- Expensive Tires
- Ergonomic Notes
- Steady at 130 mph
- Impressive Fuel Mileage
- Real-Time Traffic Reports
- A Clutch Road Trip Performer
- 1-2-3 Go!
- In its element.
- Perseverance Pays Off
- Not a Fan of HVAC System
- Service and Clutch Recall
- I Am the Guinea Pig
- Further Testing Required
- Vastly Improved Clutch
- Perfectly Fine
- Wet and Wild
- Reducing dangerous horsepower
- Fuel economy update
- Smashmouth Sport Sedan
- Torquing 'Bout Low Revolutions
- Better Looking Wheels Needed
- Bridgestones by the Slice
- Matsumura's V6
- On the track
- 2007 Infiniti G35 vs 2008 Cadillac CTS price
- Shifting at Speed
The scheduled on-sale date for the much-anticipated new version of the G35 sedan arrived last November, and we tried to get one right away. Now that the first quarter of 2007 comes to a close, this Liquid Platinum Graphite G35 Sport rolls into our long-term test garage at long last.
What we bought
It took some time to sift through the G35's five trim levels. After some debate we made our decision and ordered a 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport. The five-speed automatic G35 Sport is projected to be the volume seller, but we had already tested the automatic. This and our enthusiasm for the added dimension of command that comes with driving a car with a manual transmission led us to choose the six-speed.
A starting MSRP of $32,250 is a bit on the low side for many midsize luxury performance sedans, so we were comfortable with adding on the options. Infiniti's premium package cost us $2,350. Popular features in this package include a sunroof, power tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, heated front seats, heated outside mirrors, power windows with one-touch operation (both up and down), Bluetooth-compatible telephone capability and an Infiniti Studio on Wheels sound system by Bose.
Now that MP3 audio files are so popular, we rarely use in-dash CD changers these days, so we happily relegated the G35's example to the trunk when we upgraded to a 9.3GB hard drive as part of the $2,100 navigation package. Other elements of this package consist of a flash slot for playing MP3s and a touchscreen navigation system. XM Satellite Radio's three-month trial subscription and real-time NavTraffic were also part of the deal. With a total MSRP of $37,400, we walked away satisfied.
Why we bought it
This is the first redesign of the highly successful G35. We saw it at the New York auto show last year, and since then we conspired to add one to our long-term fleet. The revised G35's cosmetic makeover includes a more luxurious interior, and we're curious to see if the high-quality materials will wear well compared to the plain but durable interior of our long-term 2003 Infiniti G35 Coupe.
For years we've been impressed with the Nissan 3.5-liter V6, and it gives the G35 a unique personality among sport sedans. The 2007 G35 features an upgraded VQ-Series V6. Eighty percent of the engine includes new or substantially improved parts, and it puts out 306 hp and 268 pound-feet of torque.
We're also interested in whether the new G35 has moved the needle with its dynamic performance. You can measure the car's seriousness by its 245/45WR18 Bridgestone Potenza RE050s under the rear fenders, which are substantially wider than the 225/50WR18s under the front fenders. As before, Nissan's Front Midship platform locates the engine toward the middle of the car to enhance its maneuverability, while the suspension is calibrated for athleticism.
Track test and impressions
With just over 1,000 miles on the odometer it was time at last to determine whether the G35 measured up to the performance of our former long-term 2006 BMW 330i. At the test track, our latest addition made us proud. In only 5.5 seconds the rear wheels propelled the sedan to 60 mph, and then they pushed the G through the quarter-mile in 14.1 seconds at 101 mph. The engine pulled strong to its redline of 7,600 rpm, and it was lively and responsive throughout its rpm range.
Chief Road Test Editor Chris Walton noted, "The G35 is easy to balance on the brink between understeer and oversteer. It has exceptional cornering balance and it lets you adjust your lines with throttle application." You can find evidence of this balance in the cornering grip of 0.86g that the 2007 G35 registered on the skid pad, as well as the car's 67.0-mph agility through the slalom. We suspect that this 2007 G35's wide tires and limited-slip differential play key roles here.
Braking was similarly impressive, as it took only 112 feet to bring this 3,600-pound sedan to a stop from 60 mph. Over several test attempts the brakes showed no sign of fade.
Because the G35 is so much fun to drive, its fuel economy suffers. Our best tank is just over 22 mpg, with an average of only 19 mpg after 2,300 miles. We recorded our worst fuel mileage at 17 mpg following track testing. So far we are nowhere near the estimated EPA 27 mpg highway.
Early signs show that Infiniti's luxury performance sedan is more than capable of filling the shoes of our recently departed long-term 2005 Audi A4 and 2006 BMW 330i. We look forward to spending time behind the wheel almost as much as we do posting our daily experiences to the blog pages. Check in regularly over the next 12 months to see how the G35 sedan holds up.
Current Odometer: 2,307
Best Fuel Economy: 22.4 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 17.2 mpg
Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 19.3 mpg
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Not to Beat a Dead Horse, but...
Dan Edmunds hit the nail squarely on the head in his post about our Infiniti G35's clutch, so I won't beat a dead horse too much here. When I drove the G for a short while just after we got it, I definitely noticed the annoying long travel and minuscule engagement. But after driving it again last night, the clutch is now much much stiffer and sounds like a creaking door — Smyrna, we have a problem. After sitting in traffic last night for almost an hour with it, and a half hour this morning, my left leg is literally tingling. I'll have to hit the gym later and do some right leg presses just to even myself out...
As I mentioned, traffic was crap last night so I thought it would be a good idea to see how accurate the Infiniti navigation system with Real Time traffic is. As the picture shows above, it correctly displayed my eastbound route as being Red or bad (I kept going any way). But the map also shows the westbound lanes were moving yellow, or slowly, when in reality they were moving like grass through a goose. Also, the traffic information completely disappeared after a short while (note how the lines stop at the top of the map) and did not return. Perhaps I wasn't using it properly, but my experience with Acura's XM nav-traffic system indicates that it should be a no brainer.
Also, for the life of me I can't find the auxiliary audio input jack. There's a tri-color AV port under the center armrest that should come in handy when I want to set up my VCR in the backseat, but no place to plug in an iPod or my Samsung Helix. I asked around, but like Sasquatch, people said they remember seeing it once, but weren't exactly sure where. Infiniti's press and consumer sites say it has one. I'll check again when the G isn't such a pain in the leg to drive.
Fancy for the Night
I met up with a friend last night who was driving her 2005 G35 sedan. I've always admired her for her fine tastes in food, whiskey and fashion and envied the fact that she could afford such a car so it was a coup to show up in the new G, and driving stick nonetheless. Yes, the car isn't really mine but on this night it was. I have to say, I did relish the role of the young well-to-do that this sleek sport sedan afforded me as I sat in the plush driver seat wearing my Jackie O sunglasses.
I didn't sweat the slow-moving rush hour traffic getting to my destination as I had lots of bells and whistles to play with in the car. "Oh dear, I feel a chill. I'll just switch the seat heater on." "What's the traffic going toward downtown like? I can look that up right on the screen." "What time is it? Why, there's the time on the screen AND on the 'designer watch' located on the center console." "I don't like this song, what's playing on the satellite radio?"
I should have taken it around Santa Monica's affluent Montana Avenue to show off.
But my absolute favorite aspect of the G, and Nissan's Z, is that exhaust note. I found myself driving my commute with the radio off just so I could listen to it. So distinctive.
Stuck with the Stick
Creeeeeaaak, Creeeeeaaak! That's the sound the G35's clutch pedal makes each time you ease it out. As one editor plainly put it - Not good dude!
No good to say the least - so we took it to Cerritos Infiniti in Cerritos, California to see if we could get just a little satisfaction. We also had a busted cruise control (it turned on but would not engage)...
The car's mileage was around 4,500 so we figured we'd be early for a 5,000 mile service.
A quick check of the G35's maint. schedule revealed that we were, in fact, already late for the car's first service which Infiniti says should have been at 3,750 - seems kind of soon to us. And were not talking about a dealer recommended schedule either.
The service cost us $43 (BMW's is free btw), the cruise was repaired under warranty (brake pedal defeat switch not plugged in) and the clutch, well, funny story about that.
"There's nothing we can do" said the service advisior and the technician who worked on the car. The tech did grease the pedal spring with silicone grease and the problem was about 80% fixed - the noise was all but gone...., for about a day. But man was the G a blast to drive without that funky clutch sound. LIke All Summer in a Day, the G35's moment in the sun was short lived but packed with fun.
The next day the creaking and squeaking was so loud it sounded like an old fishing wharf the Scooby kids might have stumbled upon. We're going to try another dealership just for the heck of it but it's gonna take a lot more than a few Scooby snacks to quell this din.
New Topic: optional Stereo - the sound is excellent, not quite up to Lexus Mark Levinson standards but still very good.
The Premium Package gets you the Infiniti Studio on Wheels Bose stereo and the optional nav package gets the hard drive with Gracenote software plus a compact flash card slot and XM NAVtraffic. Both packages run a little more than 2 grand each but audiophiles will call it money well spent. In fact if it were my money, I'd skip the Sport version and opt for the Journey, then add the nav and Premium package...
At first i was bummed that there's only a single CD player up front, then I loaded a bunch of CDs on to the hard drive and realized it didn't really matter. I loaded disc 1 of the Two Tone Collection: A Checkered Past loaded on to the hard drive and blasted ska all weekend long.
The display works well and thanks to Gracenote software, song title and artist name are instantly filled in - no such luck on home burned discs though. One thing I can't figure out is how to navigate by list or how to play the songs from the hard drive in random order - so far, I can't find the car's owner's manual either.
I like the audio system but I don't like having to listen to all the songs in the same order each time.
Time and Time Again
Spent a few days in our G35 Sport recently. Much of it was spent cursing the car's groaning clutch pedal and too stiff ride, but I also managed to find some time to grow frustrated with the sedan's rubbery shifter and narrow seat.
Even with all that going on, I packed the wherewithal to notice the G35 supplies the driver with multiple timepieces. Two, in fact, the analog unit that looks like a wristwatch and a digital readout up on the navigation screen. We're not sure why this is?
I drove something like 250 cars last year and they all had one clock each, which seems to be enough. Infiniti does provide a provision for eliminating the redundant digital readout, but I thought it was interesting, nonetheless.
Eagle eyes among you will also notice that the clocks are reading different times in this photo. Well, that was my fault. I mistakenly reset the digital clock while trying to eliminate it.
Big pimpin'... or not
-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.
Window Auto-up Problem, and Solution
The one-touch auto up/down feature on the driver's door window did not work when I climbed into our G35 today. It went down fine, but I had to hold the switch to raise the glass. It reminded me of a little trick that saved us a trip to the dealer. It works for many of the one-touch windows on the market today.
Try it out.
In order to re-program the switch there are a few steps:
(1) Raise the window.
(2) When it's completely closed, hold the switch in the window-up position for 10 seconds.
(3) Lower the window.
(4) When it's completely open, hold the switch in the window-down position for 10 seconds.
(5) Repeat steps #1 and #2.
At this point the problem should be no more. Try it once or twice at a later time if the issue persists. If a second try still doesn't remedy the situation it may require dealer service after all.
Flawed Tilt/Telescopic Steering Wheel Design
Tilt and telescopic steering wheels are amongst my favorite features in today's automobiles. It doesn't seem like much, but if I can't find a comfortable driving position in a car it limits the fun of being behind the wheel. Our G35 has both adjustment features, but they don't work like I expected.
My beef isn't with the telescoping aspect of the wheel... It's with the tilt. In most other designs the cluster remains stationary when the steering column is adjusted. In the G35, the design of the tilt is such that the instrument cluster pivots with the steering column. So if the wheel is blocking my view of the gauges in one position, it's blocking them in all positions.
This problem won't affect all drivers, but it does me. And I don't care for it.
Tight control, but I want a deeper conversation
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.
Infiniti G35 Sport — Lovesexy
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.
I think its lines are utterly sensuous and smooth, like a dancer in a music video. And it moves the way it looks like it should, hugging the road with pure confidence, taking turns with an athletic economy of movement, involving its driver in every pirouette and dip.
And then we have the sound, since both Mr. Rogers Nelson and I are both music lovers. That engine. Oh, that engine. Fantastic torque and pulling power as high as you want to take it, and an engine note I could never get tired of. I was downshifting and passing people just to hear it. Not burly like a huge American V8 or so politely refined like a German sedan. A little of both. Almost like James Bond: looks good in a tux but can break your arm without flinching.
And the best part? That's the only sound you hear, the only one you need to hear. That magnificent engine. Lock the car and set the alarm? Just lights. Tap the trunk-opening button? It just OPENS. No extraneous sounds, no over-engineering, no excessive noise-making nannying. I can't WAIT to drive it again, to get lost in its sonorous symphony.
Armrest & NavTraffic Update
Shortly after we received our long-term Infiniti G35, one of our readers asked to evaluate how much the armrest interferes with shifting the 6-speed manual. The answer is it doesn't interfere at all, which is good. But it's also not possible to rest your arm upon it, which is bad. Even with the seat all the way back, I had to reach my elbow back just to touch a corner...
The 6MT G35 also has pretty lousy set of shallow square cupholders, which I'm not too worried about, but some may find it significant.
I also should update the situation I had with the G35's nav traffic feature. On a venture out to City of Industry, Calif., the nav traffic worked very well and was accurate by about a quarter of a mile predicting where traffic slowed. It seemed to show traffic flow on all highways, but as before, it failed to show traffic for a rather large strip on I-10 between I-405 and I-110 in Downtown LA. My guess iis that it's a problem with the XM traffic feed, not the car. I guess that strip is always so bad, reporting it seems redundant.
That Persistent Creak
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.
Infiniti G35S Driver Seat — No Place I'd Rather Be
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.
Stuck at the DMV
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.
Dream Car - Sort of...
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.
Love the curvy view
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.
Out for blood.
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.
Picture this: I'm stopped at a intersection, going left across 2 lanes of post rush-hour LA traffic; the streets aren't busy, but the drivers are cranky. I start to sneak my way into traffic, inch-by-inch. Claiming nose-first a piece of asphalt that will allow for a sliver of visibility (there was an illegally parked car blocking my view of traffic traveling in my direction) and set me up for the easy merge.
The G35, try as I might, does not like to inch. My inches turn to feet, and before I know it Ive bisected the first lane. Problem is, the lane is already occupied by a Chevy Cobalt. And he has no intention of stopping. I hear horn and see flashing high-beams, but there's no hint of deceleration. Keep in mind at this point the Cobalt has another lane at his disposal. His claim is staked, however, and he's not giving up the Edmunds.com.
Gut check time. Nail the gasthe other lanes are clear as day or quickie reverse a few feet? Obviously I dig into the go pedal, building up some quick revs while slipping the clutch out as quickly as I can without inducing massive wheelspin. This is the S model after all.
The engine wants to go and the much maligned clutch feels right. It seems to like a challenge. The clutch grabs, the engine growls, the VDC light flashes and the car stops.
Well not stops, but bogs to a dangerously slow speed. Instead of slight wheelspin and a smooth transition across the intersection, VDC has kicked on, sucked out all of my power, and left me virtually idling, barely moving, in the middle of the road. Uh-oh.
Some quick footwork got me back on the computer's good side and across the road unscathed. This time. I understand and approve of stability and traction control systems, yet I have to ask: How soon is too soon? How much is too much?
It's not the ideal solution, but from now on, anytime I'm lucky enough to drive yes, lucky, it's a great car despite the trying to kill me thing I'll be turning VDC off.
This is a Genuine Muscle Car
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.
Gateway to Paradise
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.
Because while it's not a supercar, it offers 306 horsepower, fantastic handling, great looks, a stunning engine note and more than adequate performance. And ours, handsomely optioned, offers that at a hair over 32K. It doesn't have the cachet of some of those cars, but who needs it? It provides the driver with a wonderful experience in a handsome package, at a considerably more affordable price. It makes the fantasy seem obtainable.
And for coming of f a little side road directly onto PCH, where the cars blow by at obscene speeds, that great power and torque really come in handy.
Drive it in Wedges
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.
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.
We'd Better Not Hit Anything
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety just released a report about low-speed damage done to the bumpers of entry-level luxury sedans. Of the 11 vehicles tested, the Infiniti G35 performed the worst, with a total of $13,983 accumulated from four different tests. Those tests included full-width frontal and rear collisions at 6 mph, and front and rear corner collisions at 3 mph. In the full-width frontal (sounds fun under different circumstances), the G35 sustained $5,223 in damage, which was topped only by a last-generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Damage to the G35's front corner was $1,321 more than the next sedan, while the rear corner was on par with several others. Full-width rear damage was also the highest, but only by $221.
In total, all of the luxury sedans did poorly in this test, as those sculpted bumpers dent and break easily. Considering the G35 got a "Good" rating (the best possible) in the IIHS' frontal offset crash testing, the Infiniti is certainly a safe car — it's just a really expensive one should you inflict low-impact damage to it. Hopefully we'll never find out first-hand.
For more information on how the G35 and the other models performed, here is the full IIHS Press Release.
Rear seat comfort
Presumably, one buys an entry-level luxury sport sedan for its four doors and back seat. Otherwise, you might as well get a G37 Coupe or sports car, right? Well, the G35's rear seat ranks pretty well in terms of comfort. As long as the front seats aren't positioned wildly rearward, there's a comfortable amount of legroom – 34.7 inches says the spec sheet...
This compares to 30.6 inches in a Lexus IS 350 and 34.3 inches in an Audi A4.
Foot room is adequate, and there's enough headroom for anyone less than 6 feet tall. There's also decent seat bolstering and armrest padding. The portal created by opening a rear door seems a little small, but without direct comparison it's hard to say whether it's any worse than that of other luxury sport sedans.
I wouldn't want to road-trip in the G35's back seat – no storage bins and dinky cupholders – but I think up to a couple of hours would be just fine.
Steering and handling
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.
I try so hard to find fault with our 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport, but frankly, I keep finding more things to like about it. This weekend, I was driving through Malibu looking at houses for a possible short-term rental and rather than taking hastily explained directions over the phone, I at least partly relied on the G35's map. It includes the birds-eye function, which I think is just fantastic. It's possible that many nav systems have this function, but I am disinclined toward reading a nav-system manual that's longer than the one for the car itself.
The G's is easy to figure out, and the birds-eye view affords one a view of a slowly unfolding landscape.
Later in the weekend I needed to find a particular gas station. Again, easy selection for the map to include gas stations, and it even highlighted the station types, so I was able to find my brand at a glance. I realize this is not a new feature. But the amazingly intuitive controls showed me how to quickly and painlessly select just that: show gas stations. Fantastic.
$204.95 For A 7,500-Mile Service?
Last week I took our 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport to a dealership for its 7,500-mile service. I had made an appointment and, having sat down with the service advisor writing up the order, nearly did a Letterman-style spit-take when she gave me a $204.95 estimate. The shortened story is that no, we didn't pay that. Ultimately, the price was $54.17. But the potentially scary thing I discovered was something Infiniti calls "Premium Maintenance."
If you've taken vehicles to a dealership for service before, you know that a dealership will often quote you for service that goes beyond what the owner's manual maintenance schedule actually calls for. You can always spot these attempts for extra work because they're typically presented as a dealership's service schedule and not the automaker's actual recommendation in the owner's manual. This is where the $204.95 estimate came from.
But if you look at an Infiniti maintenance booklet, you'll see a schedule called Premium Maintenance. It says this service is "...an Infiniti-recommended option that is suitable for all driving habits and local conditions." "With Premium Maintenance, more maintenance items are regularly checked or replaced than with either Schedule 1 or Schedule 2."
The list of what's included on the Premium Maintenance is eerily similar to what the dealership quoted. Now, I don't want to chastise Infiniti much for including this. The automaker can do whatever it wants. But doesn't this open up an opportunity for dealerships to more easily push for expensive services? Hoping to avoid unnecessary service, an owner says "I only want the work done that's in the manual," and the dealership says "That's what we're doing."
As justification, the maintenance booklet says the Premium Maintenance schedule "...may optimize the performance, reliability and resale value of your vehicle." I think may is the key word here.
A co-worker suggested that Nissan has something similar in its maintenance booklets. Anybody else know of other automakers with similar "premium" schedules?
Feeling Out the Steering
I gave the Infiniti G35 another shot. My first outings in it left me cold to some of its control interfaces, leaving an overall impression of being underwhelmed. One of those interfaces was the steering. Last night, I put my initial impressions aside and drove the G again.
Numerous previous blog entries have beaten to death the subject of the G35's clutch. Let me assure you that this blog entry has nothing to do with the clutch action, which is so godawful that it alone conspires to ruin the driving experience by making the driver's every gearchange feel like the first he's ever done. I promise to make no mention whatsoever of it. Cross my heart.
No, this entry pertains to the steering. First, the good. It's a great steering wheel, with well-placed "pads" for the hands at the 9 and 3 o'clock positions and wrapped in leather of a high tactile quality. The rim is shaped right, too.
My quibble is with the variations in steering effort. In short, the weighting changes too abruptly from turn to turn. A low speed turn has light effort, and the next, slightly faster turn is met with a drastically disproportional increase in effort.
Scrutinizing it further, it feels as though the steering assist is ramped out too aggressively as engine speed increases. The G35's steering assist "mapping" could use some finishing school.
Call it nitpicky but subtleties of this nature are partly what separate great steering from a system that's just okay. Truly great steering is transparent and natural — it should never call attention to itself.
More Than a Navigation System
Others have written about how effective and user-friendly our 2007 Infiniti G35 sedan's navigation system is, and I share that sentiment. However, when I'm not in guidance mode, I find the map screen a bit distracting — an issue I have with most other nav systems as well (I'm not a good multi-tasker).
For that reason, I prefer the G35's default split-screen audio and climate display...
The typeface and symbols are large and easy to take in at a glance, thus minimizing the time I spend staring at the screen. The information presented is exactly the stuff I want to know — CD album name, track title, elapsed track time, set temperature(s), fan mode. I also like having a digital clock readout as a supplement to the car's analog clock... I get a little obsessive about checking the time when I'm running late (almost always) so having multiple sources is a benefit for me.
Finally, I find the display attractive, almost soothing. The soft gray and orange background coordinates well with our G's black dash and metallic trim.
Yeah, that basso profondo rumble that emanates from under the 2007 Infiniti G35's hood is intoxicating. And the sedan is frisky as a puppy when experienced on the highway. But get past the fun and games and there are practical things to consider. Things like my tall water bottle.
My bottle had a hard time finding its place in the G35's world. The one cupholder that could accommodate it was located on the armrest, in a position that caused my elbow to smack the bottle every time I shifted. The bottle almost had me up on assault charges.
My other beef is with the storage bin located just in front of the cupholder, between the driver and passenger seats. That bin's the most accessible choice when it comes to stowing my parking structure access card. But it's not a natural fit; the bin has tons of odd edges that seem to love getting tangled with my card, making extrication difficult. It's also made of the sort of cheapo plastic that's not very becoming in an entry-luxury car. Less expensive cars offer smooth, felt-lined bins that are nicer to look at and more practical to use.
I rose early this morning and thought this might be one of the rare days when I'd get to the office early, too. But as soon as I settled into the G35's cockpit, I knew that wasn't happening: I simply had to go for a drive. Although not all is perfect with our G35 Sport (clutch, steering, cabin materials), there are many details that Infiniti handled beautifully. The very look of the place kindles my enthusiasm for the car — modern, bright, colorful displays reflecting off traditional black sport seats and a thick-grip, three-spoke steering wheel...
Of course, those sport seats are traditional only in appearance, as Infiniti has equipped with them power-adjustable bolster width on both the seat-back and seat-bottom — so you can set them to give you a comfortable squeeze no matter how broad your shoulders or how wide your hips. That contact makes the G35 subtly more endearing.
Finally, the shifter: It visibly vibrates and pulses like a Miata's. That's not exactly a sign of refinement in an entry-level luxury sedan, but in a manual-shift G, which is something of a tough guy anyway, it's an important line of communication.
At the risk of setting off another flurry of comments about how cupholders do not make the car, I, too, have a problem with our 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport's cupholders. Looking at them, initially you wonder if that's what they're for. They appear squarish — circle doesn't fit in square hole. But then my tall Jamba Juice cup did sit nicely in the "cupholder"...while I was parked.
However, as soon as the car was in motion, the cup fell over, looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, since the depth of the holder is kinda shallow and there wasn't anything to secure the cup in place. True, maybe my tall 24-oz. cup is top-heavy and maybe someone with a 12-oz. cup wouldn't have the same issue. But let's just say, I'm glad my drink had a secure cover because I do love accelerating in that car.
Last night, our long-term 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport ran into an old family friend. A colleague of mine has a 2005 Infiniti G35 Sport, but he has upgraded it as closely as he can to Skyline trim. The Infiniti G35 is called the Skyline in Japan.
The U.S. doesn't yet recognize the Skyline (at least not until the new 2009 Skyline GT-R goes on sale shortly after its official debut at the 2007 Tokyo Auto Show), so he has added Skyline badges. (It's gotten him into a bit of trouble at times when he's gotten pulled over, because his registration says Infiniti G35.) He's upgraded the horsepower to a dyno-confirmed 330 and torque is above 300 pound-feet. He's also added 20-inch wheels, a Tein suspension and a catback exhaust among other mods.
When asked about the performance of Edmunds.com's 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport, I responded with my usual ambiguous, "AWESOME!"
Thirteen months ago I wrote a Full Test of a 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport. The car was a virtural twin to out long-term G35 Sport, except it had a five-speed automatic transmission. Our long-term loaner is equipped with the six-speed manual.
In that test I wrote this:
"In the age of the six-, seven- and now eight-speed automatics, the Infiniti's transmission, with only five forward gears, may seem behind the times.
But the five-speed's proper gearing, attentive action and ability to match revs perfectly when manually downshifted makes the transmission a standout and the perfect choice for this very capable sport sedan. It delivers all of the hard-driving advantages of BMW's complex sequential manual gearbox (SMG) without any of that transmission's drivability issues.
Those manual gearchanges can be made with the well-placed shifter or steering-column-mounted paddle shifters, which are cast from lightweight magnesium and covered with a delicate swatch of leather. The paddles are extra large and conveniently placed, but they don't turn with the wheel as they do in the BMW M5 ."
More than a year later I stand behind these words. This past weekend I spent a day driving another G35 S with an auto box and was reminded just how fantastic the Infiniti is with two pedals. Then just yesterday I drove our long-termer and was reminded just how fantastic the Infiniti is with just two pedals.
Our long-termer's touchy clutch, rubbery shifter and groaning clutch pedal have kept me from enjoying the car. If you're going to buy a G, get the automatic. We wish we did.
This weekend I learned two very important things about our 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport. First I learned that the sedan's low tire pressure warning system works as advertised. And then I learned that the G35 does not have a full size spare.
Gratefully, that spare proved very easy to access, as did the car's jack, lug wrench and other assorted necessities for the wheel and tire swap.
I also feel lucky that I was able to do the job in my driveway and not by the side of the road. This is not because the Infiniti has run-flats and I was able to drive home. Instead it was luck, pure luck. The low pressure light came on just as I was arriving home from a 150 mile round trip.
The car's driver's side rear tire had picked up a screw and needs replacing. It's a Bridgestone Potenza RE 050A sized 245/45R18 96W. But replacing it is proving difficult. The Firestone store we tried on Sunday didn't have one and this morning the guys at Stokes Tire in Santa Monica (our home town) told us it needs to be ordered from out of state. It'll be here Thursday.
Until then the G is parked. We'll let you know how much the new shoe cost us later in the week.
It has taken 11,000 miles, but the first part has fallen off our 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport. And that my friends is a pretty good performance around here.
The culpret is the accordian-like thing that hides the workings of the sunroof. The one on the passenger side came loose and began to hang down...
The fix was to simply tear it out and throw it in the trunk. We'll get it reattached the next time the sedan goes to the dealer for scheduled service.
Recently, as you may have read, our long-term Infiniti G35 Sport experienced a flat. Editor Oldham dutifully swapped it out for the skinny little spare donut and ordered up a new tire. Several days later, I was given the G35 for the weekend so I could go get the new tire, which was due to arrive at our local tire shop Saturday morning.
I went in on Saturday and left the car...
Returning an hour later, I noticed that there was no new tire. I was then informed by the salesman that the company had accidentally sent a run-flat. The correct tire would be available Monday morning. He apologized and since I had some freeway driving to do (the donut's not rated past 50 mph), gave me a temporary full-size tire for the weekend. While that was being worked on, he checked his order, and the company once again was about to send him a run-flat, so again, he had to correct them.
Monday morning, I returned to the shop and they swapped out the replacement for the correct tire. Total bill: $276.83. For ONE tire, labor waived. Ouch!
With the clutch pedal groaning like the creaking door at the start of M.J.'s "Thriller" (how appropriate with Halloween approaching), I left the Edmunds' garage with the G35 S. I agree with everyone else who has griped about it. Whoever gave this pedal the green light should be sentenced to doing daily (left) leg presses on a dilapidated, creaky workout machine (like the ones you see in hotel "fitness centers").
But apart from that, I really enjoyed driving the G35. I didn't have any trouble enacting smooth take-offs or gear changes, and of course ya gotta like the powerful V6. Some folks may find the steering effort too heavy, but I tend to prefer some heft in the wheel.
I did notice a couple of ergonomic missteps: the one-size square cupholders that don't have the flexible rubber inserts to snugly hold cups (and they're also too small to double as a handy wallet holder) and the scooped-out exterior door handles. Judging by the scratches I saw on the latter, it seems that one of two things happened: Either Catwoman has joined our staff, or some of the ladies here are having clearance problems with their fingernails. On an up note, I appreciated that the instruments move with the steering wheel when it's adjusted, though this isn't the first car to have this (remember the '86 Mazda RX-7 or '88 Ford Probe?).
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.
Since Monday I've driven our long-term 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport 659.2 miles. I've enjoyed them all. Much of the mileage was covered on a late night banzai run from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, which included some things mom doesn't need to know about (see my previous blog). But it was the less eventful return trip 36 hours later that confirmed my appreciation for the Infiniti's well shaped seats, high-speed stability and precise steering...
This car eats miles like the Irish drink.
Speaking of drinking, the G35 also gets terrific fuel mileage (23.8 mpg during this past week) and packs a 400+ mile range.
Sure our car is still ill with a squeaky clutch pedal we can't seem to cure, but out in the middle of the Mojave Desert, speedometer needle wrapped around itself nicely, it's simply not a problem. This is without a doubt, one of the best cars around, and like its half brother, the Nissan Altima SE, it's a charter member of the Great Car For A Road Trip Club. And trust us when we tell you, GCFART membership is tough to come by.
Last night I had the unenviable task of getting from our offices in lovely Santa Monica clear across town to Silver Lake, during the oxymoronically named "rush hour." This endeavor involves no fewer than 3 freeways. So I wavered between two freeway routes and then ended up sticking with the one I always use. But in a discussion with techno whiz-kid Brian Moody, he suggested I see if our long-term 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport has real-time traffic.
The "Info" button above led me to the top screen, from whence I got the below screen.
Bear in mind that this photo was shot this morning. Last night it was "Traffic congestion" all through the screen, so I'm not sure how effective it is at a time like rush hour, where everything's backed up like Depardieu after 3 plates of ravioli. On the way home, it noted exit ramp closures and construction, since there wasn't much traffic that late. All good stuff to know.
My only source of confusion is very nitpick-y. I was on the 10 East, and I crossed the 405 (N/S). If I was past the 405 and heading away from it, why was it still giving me 405 readings? It would be more intuitive to have those on the list, but lower priority. I was still getting 10 East, 10 West, and both directions of 405. I would think that the top 5 or so listings would all concern the road I was driving on and in the right direction.
I know this is a silly point, but if a nav system knows you're on a particular road, and beeps if you miss your ramp, why wouldn't the traffic update have that same sense, and give you what you needed. A very minor complaint indeed.
Dear James of 300+ days from now,
If you should be planning on driving to Phoenix for Thanksgiving, please remember this year, which was only slightly less aggravating than listening to four hours of nothing but Fergie. Although you left at 1:30 p.m., it still took you four hours in near gridlock to reach Palm Springs. On Monday, it actually took you less time to reach Palm Springs from the opposite, twice-as-long direction.
However, be thankful that you won't be driving the Infiniti G35 Sport, a vehicle with a clutch only an American Gladiator could love. For the next few days, your left leg felt like you had been doing single leg calf raises for four hours — because you basically were. On the upside, the clutch seemed a bit more compliant (the creaking was rare) after a few hundred miles and a few chilly nights outside in Phoenix.
Once you breached traffic, though, you finally got to enjoy the G35. Although you weren't thrilled with its front seat legroom/thigh support (the G37 is actually better), the seats were very comfortable and you had no aches or NPS (narcoleptic posterior syndrome). With its ample power, there's plenty of oomph available even in sixth, although there was nothing better than dropping down to fifth or even forth, and rocketing past a Tahoe indignantly blocking the left lane. The nav system also proved easy to program with voice commands and its real-time traffic proved helpful on the way back when you were decided whether to take I-10 or CA-60 (on the way there, traffic actually went beyond XM's traffic reporting range).
So please James, avoid a similar predicament and just celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving. It's a good bet there'll be less traffic on October 13.
James Riswick, Associate Editor @ 13,187 miles
Here are some facts:
Time from LA to Phoenix on Wednesday: 7.5 Hours
MPG from LA to Phoenix: 19.4 mpg
Time from Phoenix to LA on Monday: 5 hours
MPG from Phoenix to LA: 23.3 mpg (fourth best tank thus far)
MPG for the entire trip: 23.0 mpg
EPA fuel economy: 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, 20 combined
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.
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.
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.
Directly below the slot of the CD player you see above you is the HVAC system for the beloved Infiniti G35 Sport. Southern California was afflicted with a particularly beguiling weather condition the last few days we believe you people call "rain," so frequently the interior of the car had to be defogged.
You hit the top defog button (front window), which curiously sets off the A/C, which you then turn off. I have a friend who swears that this actually works faster than just heat because it equalizes with the cold outside.
But what it really made me think is, I really don't care for the buttons here. The blower is two buttons (up and down), and the temperature dials are like volume knobs and don't really have a tactile feel.
I love all the G35's modern conveniences: great nav, keyless ignition and entry, etc. But for climate control, give me old-fashioned knobs and sliders any day. In this instance, I think the Honda Fit has it beat.
Last week our Infiniti G35s had a general maintenance scheduled with Infiniti of Santa Monica. All the basics were covered: Oil change, in-cabin micro filter, brake inspection, etc. The cabin filter is part of the recommended 15,000 mile service and it's expensive — $55. The total cost for the maintenance was $139.22. Edmunds Maintenance Calculator estimated the service at $127.52, so not bad considering our Santa Monica location and taxes.
We also brought in our spare remote key that was no longer functioning. There is a TSB out for non-functioning keys and it was fixed promptly at no cost to us.
When we checked in we were also made aware of a clutch slave-cylinder recall. If you've been following the blogs, you're aware that we're none-too-fond of the clutch in our G35. Unfortunately, we would have to wait to see if this would be the cure for our sore calves and necks. The part wouldn't be available until early the next week.
When the part finally arrived we dropped the car off as soon as possible. It's not the easiest job — the entire transmission had to be removed — but we brought it in early enough that they could get it back to us same-day. That was the plan at least.
In the early afternoon our service advisor George called with some bad news, the part was broken during transit and they had to overnight a new one. Thankfully these guys aren't doctors. I can see them standing over the open chest of a transplant patient only to find that the red HAZMAT cooler no longer contained an intact human heart, but a chunky red Slurpee. "Sorry ma'am," they'd say, "we'll have to keep your husband overnight. The part was broken and we'll need to overnight a new one."
Joking aside, let's take a minute and recall the transmission service on our Honda Fit Sport. You remember. It was the one where they never called us, lied about the problems they were experiencing, and shipped parts from Siberia via Pony Express.
Problems happen, it's how they're handled that makes or breaks an experience. Infiniti of Santa Monica did it right by contacting us early with truthful, thorough information. Although checking to see if a part is in working order before disassembly still seems like a better idea to me.
Our G was ready at 2 the next day. It was clean, vacuumed, and the paperwork was ready when I was.
How's the clutch? We'll, don't tell Scott Oldham (he'll hog it if he finds out), but it's good. Not once did I wish I were in an automatic.
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.
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.
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).
Our Long Term G35 is sort of like a really cute girl you might meet at the supermarket, a really cute girl that would be great for someone else. The G35 S is good looking, comfortable, quick, fun and stylish - all great qualities. It's just that the car doesn't have that certain something - FOR ME.
I'm not sure if it's the stiff seats or the stiff ride, I just don't find myself really connecting with the car...
Certainly, I would not get the S model - my perfect G35 would be a Journey with two options. True Market Value pricing is about $35,000.
Yes our G35 S has an amazing engine and the 6 speed manual has perfectly spaced gears. It's also very attractive - I can certainly see how others would fall for this car. I'll bet G35 owners are the type that never look at another car twice knowing the car they have is all they've ever wanted. And I can't blame them.
One thing I do like is Infiniti's presentation. I like the somewhat premium looking interior with plenty of chrome trim and that oval clock. The audio system is also very good with plenty of different media options. The G35 really is a great car - just not for me.
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.
Walking around our G35 Sport after Wednesday's antics in the wet I noticed something strange through the wheelwell opening.
Closer inspection proved this something was visible from both sides (first image is the right side, this is the left side). In this detail shot you can see exactly what I'm talking about: dead weight — about 1.4 pounds (22.16 ounces) of it per side. Bolted to both of the G35's mufflers is the below weight:
This weight is a physical manifestation of the efforts manufacturers go to to make modern cars smooth and quiet. Look under almost any modern car and you'll find similar weights hanging there on the differential, the transmission or, in this case, the exhaust. They exist to damp rogue resonances and vibrations produced by the powertrain.
I know why they're there, but as an enthusiast I can't help but hate the idea that most cars are packing around this extra ground-hugging mass for the sake of civility. And here it's painfully visible from above. But hey, I guess there's an additional benefit: Reducing dangerous horsepower.
At 18,563 miles it's time for a fuel economy update on our long-term G35 Sport...
So here's the data:
Best tank: 26.0 mpg
Worst tank: 14.2 mpg
Average mpg to date: 19.7
Smashmouth Sport Sedan
Playing smashmouth football means running the ball down the throat of the defense. It means punishing blocking and bone-crunching impacts. In a word, it's brutish. And so it is with our long-term Infiniti G35 Sport. This is a wonderfully capable car, but there's an undeniable edginess to it as well. It's the brute of the sport-sedan segment.
First of all, it's got brutish acceleration, and I mean that as a sincere compliment. Then there's the brutish engine note above 5,000 rpm, in stark contrast to the VQ's turbine-like hum under more civilized circumstances. Unfortunately, there's also some moderately brutish accelerator vibration north of 5k — when you really get on it, the pedal starts to shake it, shake it, shake it like a Polaroid picture.
Wait, there's more. The shifter vibrates menacingly at all engine speeds; it's like the lever is hardwired to the rumbling heart of the engine. That's pretty brutish. Clutch effort is brutish, too, and despite that new slave cylinder, the minuscule takeup-point is just plain brutal.
I suspect these traits are why the G35 keeps playing second fiddle to BMW's 3 Series in comparo after comparo (yeah, I know, it came in first in our last sport-sedan shootout — read the fine print, though, and you'll see that it was the G's bang-for-the-buck that put it on top, not its performance per se). If you've ever driven a 3 Series, you can probably think of a number of apt adjectives to describe the experience, but I can tell you right now that "brutish" won't be one of them.
Truth be told, I love driving the G. But Nissan/Infiniti's powertrain guys have got to dial up the refinement somehow. Not that this would ever happen, but, Skyline-spec RB26DETT inline-six, anyone?
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.
As much as I like our G35, its never impressed me in the looks department. Theres something about its soft lines that leave me a little cold. Then there are the wheels. Like most Japanese and American sedans, the design of the G35s wheels do little to highlight its rear-wheel drive layout.
If Infiniti had done it right, the rear wheels in the picture above would have a deep dish to them instead of looking so slab sided. It's such a simple visual clue, yet only the Germans seem to have figured it out. Just take a look at the rear wheels on a BMW 5 Series to see what I'm talking about.
Um, that's not good. The right front Bridgestone on our 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport has been curb crunched to the point of two large lacerations. For the record, it wasn't me. But I did check the car's tire pressures when I discovered the damage...
No problems to report, 33 psi all around, just as Infiniti recommends. BTW, I also checked the oil which was at proper operating level.
Since the tire is holding air and the G's 12 months in our fleet are quickly coming to a close, we'll probably just pretend those huge jagged slices of sidewall aren't out there flapping in the breeze. And when that doesn't work we'll Krazy Glue them back into place.
Motohiro Matsumara says the VQ35 V6 in the Infiniti G35 began as a kind of lucky guess and became a success by accident. He designed it, so he should know.
Nissan built Japan's first V6 in volume production for an automobile, and when it introduced the VG30 V6 in the 1984 300ZX, the company was so proud that it took journalists to the engine foundry to see the aluminum cylinder heads being cast. For Nissan, it was a big thing to break away from the inline-6 engine that had defined the company since the 1960s...
That's where Motohiro Matsumura comes in. When Nissan went to redesign its V6 for 1994, Matsumura was put in charge of the project. Ever since he had first arrived at the company, he had become something of an expert in forced-induction engines. He'd started with the little 1988 Nissan March's compound engine and then later worked on Nissan's turbocharged Group C V6 for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The VQ seemed like a big assignment to him at the time, though the senior Nissan engineers simply asked him to pay special attention to controlling noise and vibration in what would be one of the first all-aluminum V6 engines in volume production.
As Matsumura tells us, he decided that a soundly engineered structure is the best way to keep an aluminum engine from vibrating and making noise. So he just put his racing instincts to work, making sure the parts were rigid as well as lightweight. It was a lesson he'd learned with turbocharged engines. And because this V6's bones were sound, it became relatively easy to coax more horsepower out of it without compromising reliability. It seems so simple, doesn't it? That's what Matsumura says, anyway.
Some complain that the VQ's mechanical soul is way too apparent in the way it vibrates, but this is what makes it terrific. The G35's VQ35 revs cleanly from idle right to redline, and its throttle response is crisp and precise, so unlike other V6 engines that are either soggy, low-revving lumps like those from GM, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota, or torqueless screamers like those from Chrysler and Honda.
Matsumura's lucky accident worked out for him, as he went on to develop the turbocharged version of the SR21 inline-4, became chief of Nissan's engine testing department, and just recently became the president of Nissan's engineering facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As for the VQ, it has been one of Ward's 10 Best Engines ever since the award was created 14 years ago.
Not too bad for a lucky guess.
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.
As our G35 prepares to depart the Edmunds Long Term fleet, I was initially struck with..., well I didn't really care much. It's a great car and all but I'd never get the Sport version and the six-speed manual only appeals to me when I picture myself living in Nebraska or Montana or anywhere that's not Los Angeles.
Just as I was all set to not care about the car leaving, I had a glance at the window sticker - $37,400 including Premium Package and Navigation. For that price our car has a Bose stereo w/ hard drive, Bluetooth, real time traffic info for the nav system, sunroof, power memory for seats, mirrors and steering wheel, heated seats and one touch windows all around.
Here's where our Long Term 2008 CTS with DI comes in, it has similar features and is a similar kind of car only it's $9,000 MORE EXPENSIVE. I love our CTS but it's not $9,000 better than the G35. Granted the CTS has an $8,000 option package but that includes stuff like a Bose stereo w/ nav, XM traffic, heated leather seats, power tilt/telescope wheel, memory seats and an Ultra View sunroof.
I never realized what a bargain the G35 is. I don't think I properly appreciated the car. Now, I'm sorry it's leaving.
Shifting at Speed
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.
We've just finished our one-year test in the 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport, one of the most compelling sport sedans on the road. It's a four-door 350Z sports car, delivering a mix of speed and practicality that sets it apart from its competition.
This car represents the introduction of the second-generation G35, meant to be faster, more purposeful and even tougher than before. It's Infiniti's attempt to take on BMW in the most direct way possible. The right people must be listening, because G35 sales increased 18.2 percent to 71,809 sales in 2007, an indication that Infiniti is getting its message across.
But 20,000 miles behind the wheel of the 2007 Infiniti G35 sport also taught us an important lesson. Though it might seem heresy to say so, not all sport sedans are better with a manual transmission.
Why We Bought It
We first saw the redesigned 2007 G35 at the 2006 New York Auto Show. Our intention to add one to the long-term fleet was decided on the spot. Upgraded materials were a step up from the plain but durable interior of the previous-generation G35. We were interested to see if the improved interior would still look good in the long run.
Nissan's 3.5-liter V6 has always impressed us. Some 80 percent of the pieces in this upgraded VQ-Series V6 were new for 2007, raising output to 306 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque. There was no chance we'd pass on the opportunity to put this new power plant to the test. The G35's platform had been carried over largely intact, but it had been tuned to meet a more demanding standard of sporting dynamics, and we wondered whether this athletic suspension calibration would influence the sedan's overall character.
Our full test of the 2007 Infiniti G35 with an automatic transmission revealed that the car performed better than many competing sport sedans we'd tested to date. If this truly was the new leader of the pack, we had to have one.
By far the most loathed feature of our long-term G35 sedan was the clutch, documented profusely on the long-term blog pages. Prior to this test, Edmunds.com would scoff at the notion that any automatic could be better than its manual counterpart. Not anymore. A manual transmission in the G sedan just doesn't work.
While the gearbox itself was up to the task, the clutch pedal was not. The senses we utilize to drive a standard transmission are simply confused by this car.
As a beginning driver, you learn to use engine pitch as a tool to anticipate the clutch engagement point. But from inside the Infiniti's serene cabin, its V6 growl was more of a purr. The combination of a stiff action for gas pedal and dramatically aggressive tip-in made throttle modulation more difficult than necessary. And the clutch pedal itself was far from delicate. Its pedal sweep was long, but the engagement point was short and abrupt. Together these elements simply disoriented the driver.
Engineering Editor Jason Kavanagh aptly wrote, "The clutch action conspires to ruin the driving experience by making the driver's every gearchange feel like the first he's ever done." We found ourselves seemingly left with two choices. We could spare the clutch and stall the engine. Or we could slip the clutch and abuse it as we engaged the transmission, keeping the engine running and maintaining our pride as we accelerated away from stoplights. We did our best to split the difference.
Edmunds.com Editor in Chief Scott Oldham had his own take on the subject. "This weekend I spent a day driving another G35 Sport with an auto box and was reminded just how fantastic the Infiniti is with two pedals. Then just yesterday I drove our long-termer and was reminded just how fantastic the Infiniti is with just two pedals."
Within its first 2,000 miles of life, the clutch pedal mechanism also began to creak. The sound is best described as a mixture of a Spanish galleon under sail and granny's old rocking chair. Both the downward and upward strokes of the pedal played the same song.
When driven hard, the G35 changed its tune. Chief Road Test Editor Chris Walton noted following track testing, "Balance on the edge of understeer/oversteer is exceptional. Unlike the BMW 3 Series, which feels unflappable and magnetized to the road, the G35 Sport feels lively and athletic. Almost as if it's on the balls of its feet. With that, a skilled driver can manipulate the car's ability to rotate with throttle application." These impressions ultimately fueled a luxury sport sedan comparison test. The G35 won.
Inside the G35's cabin we found luxury to match its driving prowess. After 20,000 miles, black leather upholstery on the seats showed little sign of the countless backsides passing across it. High-contact surfaces like the shifter, audio touchscreen and steering wheel proved similarly durable.
From a functional standpoint, we found the storage bins inadequate. There are too few and they are too small. The cupholders could also use some work, as the door-mounted slots don't accept larger bottles, and drinks in the console directly behind the shifter are asking to be spilled.
We experienced some mechanical issues with our G35 over the past 12 months. Each was resolved quickly by local dealerships, with the exception of the clutch. First to go was the cruise control. A blown fuse was to blame and was replaced easily by Cerritos Infiniti. The dealership was also the first to tackle the clutch pedal groan, and did so by slathering a layer of silicone over the pedal mechanism. This quieted the noise for at least several hours.
Our next scheduled service brought us to Fresno Infiniti. It had a different approach to the clutch noise. "That's normal," the advisor said. "There is nothing we can do." Reassured, we crossed them off our list of useful dealerships.
Fate brought us to Stokes Tire Pros in Santa Monica after a flat tire. A nail near the sidewall meant the $280 tire had to be replaced. In the waiting room we picked up the newspaper. An ad for Infiniti of Santa Monica was right there on top. We decided to try them next. And it was a good decision.
All remaining service went through Infiniti of Santa Monica. Our first visit was to replace a faulty key remote. It did so under warranty and informed us of an open campaign on the clutch slave cylinder. Parts took some time to arrive, but the service team scored points for keeping us well informed of the car's repair status along the way. Too bad the new slave cylinder didn't fix our original problem. We felt little improvement in clutch feel after the transplant, and the creaking remained.
Total Body Repair Costs: None
Total Routine Maintenance Costs (over 12 months): $236.76
Additional Maintenance Costs: $276.83 for a replacement tire
Warranty Repairs: Slave cylinder replaced, inoperable key fob replaced
Non-Warranty Repairs: $20 tire patch
Scheduled Dealer Visits: 3
Unscheduled Dealer Visits: 3
Days Out of Service: 2 days waiting for parts
Breakdowns Stranding Driver: None
In the quarter-mile, the G picked up three-tenths of a second and broke the 14-second barrier with a run of 13.8 seconds at 102.3 mph. The G35 Sport needed just 5.5 seconds (5.2 seconds with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip) to reach 60 mph. From 60 mph to a stop, the 3,600-pound sedan needed a mere 109 feet, some 3 feet shorter than the result in its first performance test.
Dynamic tests also showed improvement over time. Slalom speed increased by more than 2 miles-per-hour to 69.5 mph. Lateral force generated around the skid pad grew to 0.90g. Chief Road Test Editor Chris Walton wrote, "It has an amazing ability to teeter on oversteer around the skid pad. Steering is a little heavy — springy, but offers a good deal of information. Tires appear to heat up quickly and limit results, however."
There was a mechanical price to be paid for the smoke-it-or-stall-it clutch. Walton noted following quarter-mile testing, "The G35's clutch spun on the first run all the way through 1st gear. There isn't much life left in it. But the engine still feels strong throughout the rev range. There are no dead spots."
Fuel economy over 20,268 miles averaged 20 mpg on premium fuel. Our highest and lowest recorded tanks were 26 mpg and 14 mpg, respectively.
Best Fuel Economy: 26.0 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 13.6 mpg
Average Fuel Economy: 19.5 mpg
Edmunds' TMV® calculator valued our G35 Sport at $28,547 by the end of our one-year review. This equates to nearly 24 percent depreciation from the original MSRP of $37,400. This is on par with competitive vehicles in its segment.
True Market Value at service end: $28,547
Depreciation: $8,853 or nearly 24 percent of the original MSRP
Final Odometer Reading: 20,268
The 2007 G35 Sport offers some of the best value in its class. For $37K it provides performance on par with the best its competition has to offer. This car has the engine, brakes and suspension tuning to compete with the benchmark BMW 3 Series. It means business and should be taken seriously in the sport sedan world.
But though the car represents great value, a few things are lost in translation. While the cabin offers the restrained luxury we expect in a sport sedan, it's not as sensuously plush as some of the German competition. The interior materials proved durable enough to last, however.
When it comes to the transmission choice in the Infiniti G35, get an automatic. This G35 and a manual tranny are not a good match. Too many elements of the driving experience are muddled in the process of shifting with the stick. While the manual is supposed to make a sport sedan more like a sports car, it produces in this case something that's more like a truck. Rumor has it the 2008 model year will address the noisy clutch issue, but that is yet to be determined.
Play it safe and spend the extra $1,000 for an auto. Performance will still be impressive, we promise. Besides, it will cost more than a grand to buy a new clutch every 20,000 miles.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.