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2006 Infiniti G35x Review


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2006 INFINITI G35x
Another Great Luxury Sedan

By Steve Purdy
TheAutoChannel Detroit Bureau

SEE ALSO: New Car Buyer's Guide for Infiniti

Last week we evaluated the Infiniti M35x all-wheel-drive luxury sedan. This week its sibling the G35x graced our driveway and entertained us on the road. We found the similarities we had expected but found some rather unexpected differences as well.

First of all let me explain that they are not different versions of the same car, as I had expected. The ‘M’ sedan is billed by Infiniti as a premium performance sedan and the ‘G’ is called a premium performance sport sedan. Both are rear-wheel-drive with an all-wheel-drive option and both are luxurious and competent. Both have that wonderful 3.5-liter V6 named by Ward’s AutoWorld as one of the world’s 10 best engines. The ‘G’, however, is a tad smaller than the ‘M’ and with sportier suspension settings.

Inside a couple of differences are immediately apparent. While the ‘G’ has a keyless ignition it works differently than the ‘M’. The latter is a push button on the dash and one must have a foot firmly on the brake pedal to start the car. The ‘G’ on the other hand has a twisting switch that has a little gate which is too small for the fob and must be turned about 60-degrees to start, much like a traditional switch, but without a key inserted. In the ‘G’s case we needn’t have a foot planted on the brake, which I thought was superfluous in the ‘M’ anyway.

The interior is luxurious with fine leather, aluminum trim and quality materials. A little pod high on the dash contains the lovely analog clock and some data fields. Power seat controls are on the console-side seat bolster. When tilting the tilt/telescopic steering wheel the entire gauge pod moves with the wheel, which keeps the gauges readable through the wheel. Like the Nissan we took to Tennessee a few weeks ago there is plenty of travel in the tilt and telescope functions to get the wheel in just the right position.

Both exterior and interior styling must certainly be described as conservative, some would say understated – fine for a luxury car, of course. Single exhaust, stylish, 7-spoke aluminum alloy wheels, taught, and concise lines without extraneous bling, make this Infiniti very pleasant to look at and to live with. And, get this - the G35x has a coefficient of drag of .27 with the Aero Package and .28 without. These are admirable numbers, better than most cars in its class and better than some race cars.

Ingress and egress are excellent at all four doors but I must say the trunk opening could be improved. We had to haul a medium sized box that would have fit easily into the trunk if we could have gotten it through the opening (see the photo above). The bumper is just too high to make that good cavern accessible.

This quick 3.5-liter engine truly feels, and even sounds, like a V8. With 24-valves, aluminum block and heads, dual overhead cams and continuously variable valve timing, “microfinished” camshafts and molybdenum-coated pistons - an extremely efficient and sophisticated engine. Generating 280 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque it has plenty of thrust and a smooth delivery. Just remember, you can also get a 4.5-liter V8 with 335 horsepower, if you wish, and you can get a 6-speed manual transmission with short-throw shifter. The engine compartment of our ‘G’ is considerable less finished than the ‘M’ and it has a prop rod rather than struts to hold up the hood. Seems to me any car over $30,000 ought to hold its own hood up.

The competent electronically controlled 5-speed automatic transmission with manual mode has a driver-adaptive learning algorithm that senses the driver’s style adjusting itself accordingly. Shifts are not particularly quick but are smooth and decisive.

The “x” in both our test cars’ monikers means all-wheel-drive. It’s an intelligent system that senses the needs of the moment and distributes the torque exactly where and when needed. When conditions are not challenging all the power goes to the rear wheels for the coveted rear-wheel-drive experience. With the most demanding conditions the torque split is 50/50. When the ABS system senses slippage at one wheel the power goes to the others.

I was as impressed with the G35x chassis as I was last week with the M35x. The mulit-link fully independent designs front and rear make for stability, stiffness without harshness, and great control. Bouncing firmly over a particularly rough railroad crossing disturbs the chassis not an ounce. The suspension is tuned for a bit more stiffness with this sport sedan than last week’s luxury sedan. Tires are P215/55R17 Bridgestone Turanzas.

EPA estimates tell us we can expect 17-mpg city and 24 highway. We did not drive it long enough to do an independent calculation, but having reset the instant mileage we apparently averaged 19.2 in a variety of driving conditions. With a 20-gallon tank the range is good.

Our test car, the 2006 Infiniti G35x AWD 4-door sedan has a base price of $33,100. It includes Vehicle Speed Sensitive Power Steering, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Traction Control, 4-wheel disc brakes, cruise control, 8-way power driver’s seat, 4-way front passenger seat, zero-lift aerodynamics, low beam Xenon headlights, leather seats, and lots of other stuff. We have a $3,500 “Premium Package that includes the 7-speaker Bose audio system with AM/FM, Bluetooth, in-dash 6-disc with MP3, dual automatic temperature control with micro filtration, lots of state-of-the-art airbags, and tire pressure monitoring system. With the $650 destination charge our sticker shows $37,250 – considerably less than last week’s M35x and nearly as well equipped.

Infiniti’s warranty is 4 years/60,000 miles. The powertrain is covered for 6 years/70,000 miles. Corrosion coverage is 7 years/ unlimited mileage. Twenty-four-hour roadside assistance is included as is a complimentary service loan car when you must leave the car for service or repair.

My opinion has not changed from last week, that is: if you’re in the market for a sporty premium luxury sedan with plenty of technology you’ll want to include the M & G35x in your search. Put them up against the Lexus GS models, BMW 5-Series, Cadillac CTS and Mercedes E-Class and you’ll have a tough choice to make.

There could hardly have more fun shopping than browsing this category of automobile.

Enjoy.

© Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions All Rights Reserved