2007 Infiniti G35S: Shifting at Speed
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