2007 Infiniti G35: Smashmouth Sport Sedan
March 04, 2008
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?
Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 19,086 miles