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SEE ALSO:Infiniti Buyer's Guide

During the last decade many changes have taken place in the type of products offered by the world's automotive industry. Two of the more prominent have been the creation of the sports-luxury sedan and the rise of the Japanese as luxury car manufacturers.

Once "luxury sedan" denoted a large car with comfort, image, and class but generally stately performance. During the boom years of the 'Eighties, luxury car makers added sports-derived features to their offerings to attract younger buyers. More recently, with economic downsizing and increased environmental concerns, they have added models that, while still luxurious, are smaller, more economical, and less expensive than the traditional vehicles in the field.

Up until the mid-eighties luxury sedans were of American or European origin. About this time Japanese car builders saw the opportunity to increase their sales by getting into the high end market. They created new nameplates and separate dealerships. The original models were very completely equipped mid- or large size four-door sedans powered by V-8 or V-6 engines. However, one luxury model will not sustain a dealership and thus additional products were added.

Nissan entered the luxury field five years ago with its Infiniti Q45. To round out its luxury offerings it first imported the compact G20 series, and followed it with the all new J-30 sedan. Last year the G20 was updated and for 1995 a new fully equipped "t" series luxury sedan is available.

APPEARANCE: The G20t is a Japanese four-door sports sedan with a lot of design cues from this side of the Pacific in its updated styling. The major visual give-away to its sporty stature is the prominent wing that rides above the rear decklid. Other clues are the performance-rated Yokohama P195/65R14 black tires and the monochrome finish offset by black window trim and polished alloy wheels and bright grille surround. An all-sound body-colored rub strip aids side-body protection, while large windows, a sun-roof and hefty side mirrors assure excellent over-all vision.

COMFORT: The cab forward styling provides a large and comfortable cabin with adequate head and leg room. The touring package that comes with the G20t includes leather covered power front sport seats with adjustable lumbar and lateral support for all-day driving comfort, as well as fold down split rear seats for added cargo, fog lamps, remote lock/unlock and a sunroof. Standard items are power windows, mirrors and locks, plus cruise control, tilt steering column, lighted vanity mirrors and a cargo net for the spacious flat trunk. All controls are easy to see and/or use, the sound system provides excellent fidelity and clarity, and the heater/air conditioner keeps the cabin quietly comfortable.

SAFETY: Dual front air bags with three point seat belts on outboard seating positions, plus front seat height adjustment and pre-tensioners provide interior occupant protection. Other designed-in safety factors include front and rear crumple zones, side door guard beams, child safety rear door locks and an anti-theft system. Anti-lock braking and four-wheel disc brakes assure safe, controlled stops.

ROADABILITY: The Infiniti G20t has had its patented independent suspension system tweaked to offer a classic sporting luxury ride, plus excellent traction. While its ride is softer, it is more stable than some others in its class and it is capable of handling all driving situations. Even though the G20 is a front wheel drive car its suspension gives it some viable rear-wheel drive characteristics. It tracks well, turns well, stops well and is predictable in good or adverse driving conditions. The G20t is nimble and quiet when cruising down the interstate or back road, or driving around town. Wind and road noise are practically nil.

PERFORMANCE: A peppy 2.0 liter, aluminum alloy engine propels the G20t down the road. This transverse-mounted, inline four-cylinder double overhead cam, sequential multiport fuel injected powerplant develops 140 horsepower and 132 pound feet of torque. Power is quickly directed to the front wheels via a short-throw, smooth-shifting five-speed manual gear box. The powertrain and suspension system are well matched to provide well-controlled handling and enjoyable performance.

CONCLUSIONS: The new G20t is a high-quality, crisp and responsive-handling compact sport-luxury four-door sedan. It reflects the quality standards that Nissan has established for its Infiniti nameplate. Since its inception the G20 has inherited many of the improvements and the quality traits assigned to the flagship V8 powered Infiniti Q45.


           Base Price              $ 25,975
           Price As Tested         $ 26,425   
           Engine Type             I-4, dohc - 16v, smpfi*
           Engine Size             2.0 liter/122 cid   
           Horsepower              140 @ 6400
           Torque (ft/lbs)         132 @ 4800
           Wheelbase/Length        100"/175"  
           Transmission            5-speed manual w/od
           Curb Weight             2880
           Pounds per Horsepower   21
           Fuel Capacity           16
           Fuel Requirement        Unleaded regular (87 octane)
           Tire                    Yokohama A344 P195HR14
           Brake                   anti-lock standard  vented disc/disc
           Drive Train             front engine, front drive
            * smpfi = sequential multiport fuel injection
           EPA Economy - miles per gallon,        
             city/highway/observed          24/32/29.8  
           0 to 60 mph                      9.1 sec
           1/4 mi (E.T.)                    16.9 sec           
           Coefficient of drag (cd)         .30