2008 Infiniti G37 Journey Review
By Annabelle Frankl
Southern California Bureau
The Auto Channel
A long-time fan of the G35 coupe and sedan, the prospect of some seat time in the new G37 has me very excited. Alas, a massive inundation from the skies – the first in a while which always signifies slick pavement, water build-up and even-more-scary-than-usual driving from my fellow Los Angelenos – is not my idea of an ideal first driving experience in the sporty coupe.
Of course, my anticipated horror commute soon turns into 2.5 hours of wet ‘n’ wild fun! Updating the 3.5 liter motor that you’ll find in a whole host of Nissan product, the 3.7 liter V6 makes a smile-inducing 330 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, increases of 24 and 2 respectively. While this doesn’t sound a lot, a broad torque curve that hits full stride at 5200rpm, plus Infiniti’s VVEL (Variable Valve Event & Lift) that acts in conjunction with the C-VTC (Continuous Valve Timing Control) system, ensure maximum oomph and, thus, maximum enjoyment.
Teamed to a 5-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode and rev matching on the downshifts, the G37 is a joy to drive. Incredibly responsive and wonderfully precise, slicing through traffic and carving a path home proves exhilarating. The car’s speed sensitive steering is well-adjusted and Infiniti’s optional 4-wheel Active Steer (4WAS) adjusts front steering gear ratios and rear suspension geometry according to steering inputs and vehicle speed, for improved handling performance on par with any of the Euro sports coupes around. The heavy water on the road leaves the G37 unfazed, its 19-inch alloys clad with Bridgestone Portenza performance tires making short shift of the deluge. Available Sport brakes with 4-piston front calipers mated to 14-inch rotors are excellent, although the brake pedal requires a deft touch. Add Electronic Brake force Distribution, Brake Assist, 4-wheel ABS, plus Traction Control and Vehicle Dynamic Control and you get the full enchilada of Infiniti features to keep you pointed in the right direction.
Overall visibility is good, although the thick ‘B’ pillar does create quite a blind spot and requires assiduous checks for lane changes. While you’re enjoying the view from the driver’s seat, others are sure to be appreciating the G37’s road presence. The Sport package adds a unique front fascia and side sills and these complement the beefed-up look of the new coupe. Although it’s based off the G35 sedan platform, apparently the only shared exterior component is the door handles.
Inside, the cabin is definitely sporty, sleek, modern and comfortable. A nice mix of materials keeps things fairly simple. Although the ‘Washi’-finish aluminum trim is certainly different, it rather looks like someone went to town with a scourer – less brushed than scrubbed. The 2 + 2 configuration doesn’t give much room to rear passengers, and getting back there is a decidedly unladylike affair! The leather 8-way power seats are really excellent – great bolstering – although they could prove a snug fit for those of greater stature than yours truly.
The G37 packs a technology punch: check the navigation package box and get a 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive instead of an ‘oh so outdated’ 6-CD player, plus a compact flash slot for MP3 files and an Ipod hookup. The touch screen navigation system, that’s always been one of the most intuitive to use and has the cool ‘BirdView’ ability to see where you’re going from a bird’s eye kind of view, now integrates XM Nav Traffic with real time traffic info, so you get plenty of warning about the pile-up ahead. The whole system, with a large dial to help navigate the menus – is easy to use and let’s you stay focused on matters at hand.
Base priced at $35,000 for the G37 Journey model, Infiniti is sure to give its competitors a run for their money, and rightly so. It looks better than ever, is well-mannered, fun to drive, oh-so-sporty and even with all the bells and whistles, comes in at a price that’s hard to beat.
MSRP: $35,000 As Tested: $45,415 (incl $715 Destination charge) Engine: 3.7-liter DOHC VVEL V6 Horsepower: 330 @ 7000 rpm Torque (lb-ft): 270 @ 5200 rpm Transmission: 5-speed automatic w/ Manual Shift Mode & Downshift Rev Matching Brakes, front/rear: ventilated disc / ventilated disc, ABS standard Suspension, front/rear: Independent w/ stabilizer bars EPA Fuel economy: city: 18 / highway: 24 Technology Package: $1,150 Includes Intelligent cruise control, Adaptive front lighting system, pre-crash seat belts Premium Package: $3,200 Includes Moonroof, Studio on Wheels premium Bose Audio system, Ipod interface, Memory system wheel, seat & mirrors, Power Driver’s seat lumbar, power tilt/telescope wheel, Homelink, Bluetooth, heated front seats & side mirrors Sport Package: $1,850 Includes Magnesium paddle shifters, Viscous limited-slip diff, 19-alloys w/ performance tires, Sport-tuned suspension, sport brakes, unique front fascia & sills Navigation Package: $2,200 Includes Nav system w/ touch screen, lane guidance, XM NavTraffic, Voice recognition, 9.3gb hard drive, flash slot. 4-Wheel Active Steer: $1,300 Includes active steer front & rear