Infiniti G35 Coupe – Road Test – Car Reviews – Car and Driver

26 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Infiniti G35 Coupe – Road Test – Car Reviews – Car and Driver
Infiniti G35

Infiniti G35


Infiniti’s coupe coup delivers the coup de grâce to its long product drought.

The first time Infiniti glued its Mt. Fuji-peak badge on a two-door was 13 years ago. The M30 was a four-year-old Nissan Leopard, rousted from the home market and hastily decorated with Infiniti tinsel to help fill out the new brand’s product line.

Parked in the shadow of the fabulous Q45, the rectangular M30 made it painfully obvious where Nissan spent its product budget for Infiniti.

If John Adams were alive today, he might say, One useless man is a disgrace, two are a law firm, and three or more are Nissan’s product-planning department. The company pretty much fumbled its way through the high times of the past decade, succeeding the M30 and Q45 with a raft of eminently forgettable Infinitis while luxury competitors ate its lunch.

Not so this time.

The G35 coupe is the most appealing article to slide down the Infiniti chute since the original Q. Its hunky body hugs the earth and looks swish enough never to be confused with the four-door G35. It seats its patrons in comfort and supplies steaming performance, thanks to a few potent ingots of aluminum. Under the hood is the big 3.5-liter V-6 making its 280 horsepower, and down in the wheel wells the various control arms and links of the elaborate suspension reach for the pavement.

Nissan’s product planners deserve credit for their moment of inspiration. A few years ago they decided to split the sports-car duties of the company’s sophisticated rear-drive FM chassis, which also underpins the G35 sedan. Whereas the old 300ZX came as both a two-seater and an elongated (and somewhat ungainly-looking) two-plus-two, Nissan decided to split the Z variants between its mainstream and upscale brands.

Exhibit A is the comparo-winning Nissan 350Z (Hot Tin Roofs , December) that features bucket seats for two on a 104.3-inch wheelbase. Exhibit B is the G35 two-door with slightly softer springs and four seats planted between axles that ride 112.2 inches apart.

Infiniti G35

Note that this is also the wheelbase of the G35 sedan, a car that distinguished itself in a comparison test in October (Waiting for a Bimmer Beater ) by having the longest wheelbase of the group by more than four inches. In Holland, G35s would be put to work spanning canals.

All that acreage between the wheels should bode ill for the coupe’s handling, especially since the example pictured here, at 3485 pounds, totes 122 more pounds than the recently tested and similarly equipped 350Z Touring from December; and especially considering that the G35 sedan was knocked for nervous oversteer that made turning off the electronic skid control on a public road a certified health threat.

But whether because of the meatier 18-inch rubber that is standard on the six-speed coupe or a relocated center of gravity (or both), the G35 coupe remains unflappably stable and neutrally balanced. Indeed, the coupe turned in a scorching 0.90-g run on the skidpad, the highest number by 0.02 g we have recorded for the entire G35/Z family. The wheel is a precise scalpel and the turn-in aggressive, and the body remains level and composed through the corners.

At track speeds, the fun fades in the turns not because of tail wagging but owing to progressive front-end scrubbing. As with the Z, the G hits understeer at the border of its performance envelope, but it won’t intrude on your daily enjoyment of the car’s spry footwork unless you view your morning commute as a time trial.

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