SEE ALSO: Infiniti Buyer's Guide
SPECIFICATIONS Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price $ 31,540 Price As Tested $ 36,185 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 3559 pounds Fuel Capacity 18.5 gallons Tires (F/R) 225/50R17 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 (with spoiler) PERFORMANCE EPA Economy, miles per gallon city/highway/average 19/26/23 0-60 MPH 8.5 seconds 1/4 (E.T.) 16.5 seconds @ 86.0 mph Top-speed 130 mph * Sequential multi-port fuel injection
(Bob Hagin says that although the Infiniti SUV is posh and its Q45 luxury liner even more so, he likes its midsize I30t the best. Son Matt says that even his two little daughters gave it their seal of approval.)
BOB - The Infiniti line has been around for 10 years this year but the I30 is relatively new, having been instigated in '96. It was pretty well updated by '99 and that's when it was changed to the version we were given this week. It's midsized according to the Environmental Protection Agency and at 3500 pounds, it's a lot of car for the money. The I30 has lots of upscale items as standard equipment which pushes it into the near-luxury segment.
MATT - It's actually a very fancy sports sedan, Dad, and the genre is very popular with thirty-something families that may have a kid or two but are still looking for a vehicle that's a kick to drive through twisting back roads. The "t" stands for touring, and I've always thought it kind of interesting that today's touring car is a sports sedan as opposed to the plush luxo-cruisers touring cars of the past. The I30t really does handle better than the standard model, although it gives up some of that luxury car ride doing it. The suspension uses conventional MacPherson struts up front with a well-thought-out multi-link system in back. The touring model has slightly larger diameter sway bars at both ends than the standard version. I suspect that the shock absorbers are somewhat "tighter" too and the springing may also be a tad stiffer.
BOB - There's no difference in the powertrain, however. The one engine that's available is an all-aluminum V6 that sports four cams and four valves per cylinder with variable valve timing. It puts out an impressive 221 horsepower from only 3.0 liters of displacement, one of the highest for its size. There's only one gearbox available for both models and it's a four-speed automatic.
MATT - A five-speed stick shift would be a nice option but I don't think that the usual Infiniti buyer is looking for quite that much "sport" in his or her sport sedan. The last generation model could be had with a manual but they didn't sell too well. Since the I30 was all-new only last year, there's been very few updates since then. Our touring model tester came with a liquid-viscous limited slip unit in the differential as standard equipment. I'm told than it tends to negate the torque-steer that's common in high-powered front-drive cars. Our unit also had traction control, which helps keep the driver from getting into too much trouble. It's a $300 option but well worth the money.
BOB - Oversteer is when the front end of a car "plows" though really tight turns and the I30 does this a bit. Most front-drive cars do this and I suppose most I30 buyers won't be racing their way through parking lots, so it's no big deal. The headlights are those eerie blue high-density units and after a week, I'm almost getting used to them. The upholstery is leather and there's lots of polished bits of wood on the inside, but I could do without the three-position moonroof that's standard on the touring model. The back seat is listed as seating three but as usual, it's a pretty tight fit. The lockable rear seat back has a split fold-down feature for long stuff, and now the trunk has one of those inside release handles in case someone gets locked in..
MATT - Now that it's wintertime, I really like the two-level heated front seats. They seem wasted in summertime, though. A redundant set of audio controls are now on the steering wheel, but the most impressive piece of equipment is the rear window sunshade. At the press of a button, a fabric shield raises and covers the back window. This does well in keeping the interior of the car cooler on hot summer days, especially when you've got kids in the back seat. Our test car's navigation system is kind of an expensive option at $2500, and for the most part I don't use them much. The price also includes a six-disc CD changer in the package, which I use all the time.
BOB - I could live without the CD changer, Matt, but I would like to listen to some of my old tunes. I wonder if they offer an eight-track as an option on the I30t?