New Car/Review

Infiniti

2000 Infiniti I30t

SEE ALSO: Infiniti Buyer's Guide

By Tom Hagin

Infiniti Full Line Video footage (6:08)
SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 31,540
Price As Tested                                    $ 33,785
Engine Type             DOHC 24-valve 3.0 Liter V6 w/SMFI**
Engine Size                                 182 cid/2988 cc
Horsepower                                   227 @ 6400 RPM
Torque (lb-ft)                               217 @ 4000 RPM
Wheelbase/Width/Length                  108.3"/70.2"/193.7"
Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
Curb Weight                                     3438 pounds
Fuel Capacity                                  18.5 gallons
Tires  (F/R)                          P225/50R17 all-season
Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
Drive Train                  Front-engine/front-wheel-drive
Vehicle Type                       Five-passenger/four-door
Domestic Content                               Five-percent
Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                              0.30


PERFORMANCE

EPA Economy, miles per gallon
city/highway/average                            20/28/25          
0-60 MPH                                        8.5 seconds
1/4 Mile (E.T.)                     16.5 seconds @ 84.5 mph
Top speed                                           130 mph
** Sequential multi-point fuel injection

Prior to Y2K, Infiniti I30 buyers were asked to pay a premium price for a car that was, essentially, the same vehicle as the Nissan Maxima, on which the car was based.

For the model year 2000, however, an all-new I30 is still based on the Maxima, but thanks to what the auto trade calls "platform flexibility," the two look vastly different. The lineup starts with the I30, which is well-equipped and quite luxurious, then jumps to the I30 Touring sedan with a multitude of extras and a more sporting flair.

OUTSIDE -The new I30 is modern and well-trimmed, with a profile that is similar to its Maxima cousin, but is distinct enough to make it a different car. The stately smiling "toothy" grille that's been a staple of the Infiniti line is still there, though the single-cover Xenon headlights with their smoked lenses (a Touring model standard feature), are new. The side windows are trimmed in black, and the rest of the exterior trim is body-color, while an optional Sport Package adds a rear deck lid spoiler and side sill extensions. A two-inch stretch in wheelbase has opened extra room inside. Touring models receive 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels as standard equipment.

INSIDE -An all-new interior combines sharp angles with smooth curves to give added flair as compared to the old model. But since the I30 is a car targeted to many, its interior is all business. There's faux wood trim attached here and there, while comfortable front bucket seats feel more plush and supportive than last year's version. The new dashboard places the controls within easy reach of the driver, and elegant, backlit gauges are easy to read and cast an eerie glow at night. Extra legroom in the back seat came with the wheelbase stretch and makes the ride in back much better. It will hold three across in reasonable comfort, though as in most mid-sized cars these days, the middle passenger won't be as comfortable as those seated outboard. Standard I30 features include power seats, windows, outside mirrors and door locks, leather upholstery, automatic climate control, variable speed intermittent wipers, power rear sunshade, cruise control, a 200-watt Bose-brand stereo system and front and rear defoggers. Heated seats and outside mirrors are optional.

ON THE ROAD -The I30 powertrain was already one of the best in the business, but for 2000, it's been improved. The engine is a 3.0 liter V6 with dual overhead cams and 24 valves. It's a lightweight, all-aluminum design that now produces 227 horsepower (up 37 from last year) and 217 pound-feet (up from 205) of torque, mostly due to a variable intake and exhaust system. The extra power is almost mandatory, however, as the I30 is a relatively big and heavy car. Acceleration is quick, helped by a torque curve that starts early in the rev range, and the throttle is responsive, though the real power doesn't appear until the tachometer needle sweeps past 3000 rpm. An electronically-controlled four-speed automatic transmission is standard, while Touring models benefit from a viscous limited-slip front differential. Traction control is optional.

BEHIND THE WHEEL -Improvements to the I30's unit body chassis have helped create a stiffer, more stable platform on which to attach an independent suspension system that has served faithfully for quite a number of years. The front setup uses struts, coil springs, tube shocks and an anti-roll bar. In back is Nissan's patented Multi-Link Beam suspension, a layout that is compact in packaging so it doesn't intrude on interior space. Touring models ride slightly stiffer than the standard I30 models, and with its standard 17-inch high performance tires, its handling is more robust. Its steering system uses speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion hardware, with a quicker turning ratio found in I30t models. Four-wheel disc brakes are assisted by a standard four-channel, four-sensor anti-lock braking system (ABS).

SAFETY -Dual dashboard airbags, ABS, side-impact airbags and door beams are standard; traction control is optional.

OPTIONS - Sport Package (rear and side sill spoilers): $1,000; Heated seats and outside mirrors: $420; Traction control: $300.

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