Infiniti G35S: Out for blood.
July 20, 2007
Our long-term G35 is trying to kill me.
Really. It is.
More specifically, the traction-control algorithms in the VDC program are trying to kill me.
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 I’ve 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 gas—the 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.
Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @6900 miles