2007 INFINITI G35 Sedan Reviews and Ratings

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2007 INFINITI G35 Sedan
Tom Lankard

Introduction
The Infiniti G35 sedan has been remade for 2007. The body of the four-door sedan is updated, giving it a tauter, more buff look but without forfeiting its signature styling cues. Inside, there's a richer, warmer look and feel, with performance-oriented enhancements that add to the driving experience.

The 2007 Infiniti G35 uses rear-wheel drive, a necessity for true sporty handling. But there's also an all-wheel-drive model, the G35x, that gives up none of the handling but adds capability in rainy climes and where winters bring snow. The V6 engine on the 2007 models is more powerful and more efficient than before even though it's the same size. A five-speed automatic transmission with manual mode remains standard across the line. However, the Sport model kicks it up a notch, offering a choice between a six-speed manual gearbox or an automatic with Formula 1 style magnesium paddle shifters on the steering column.

G35 buyers choose from four versions: a nicely equipped entry-level model with leather trim and automatic climate control; the Journey model with dual-zone air conditioning, a navigation system, a premium audio system, and a self-adjusting cruise control; the G35x with all-wheel drive; and a revised Sport model with upgraded front seats, active four-wheel steering with variable ratio power steering and a firmer suspension that turns the G35 into a serious sports sedan.

The substantially reworked 2007 engine invites a heavy right foot, delivering its added power smoothly and strongly right up to the borderline motorcycle-level, 7500-rpm red line. The icing on this cake is that estimated fuel economy for the 2007 model is up over the '06, by 1 mile per gallon, at least for those who can resist the implicit urge.

Infiniti didn't forget the people just along for the ride. The base sound system is competitive with that in any luxury sedan. But committed audiophiles will find the top-level, Studio On Wheels system from Bose delivers a richer, fuller, more intricate and crisper sound than many mega-buck home stereos.

When Infiniti first arrived in the U.S., many saw it as Japan's counterpart to Jaguar, much like Lexus was perceived as Japan's answer to Mercedes-Benz. That's changed, at least the part about Infiniti. Clearly, Infiniti has now set its sights on BMW, long touted as the ultimate driving machine. The 2007 G35 sedan is loosening BMW's grip on that crown.

Unlike the sedan, the 2007 G35 coupe carries over unchanged from 2006. It will be redesigned and introduced as a new model for 2008. Model Lineup
The new, 2007 Infiniti G35 sedan comes in four models, all powered by the same 3.5-liter V6 engine making 306 horsepower. Two transmissions are available, a five-speed automatic with manual-shift mode and a six-speed manual.

Standard across the line are leather-appointed upholstery; automatic climate control; power driver and front passenger seat; power windows, outside mirrors and central locking; AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary audio input; multi-function trip computer; seven-inch, color, center-dash, LCD monitor; tilt and telescoping steering wheel; analog gauge cluster that tilts with the steering column; aluminum interior trim; RFID-based, keyless ignition; HID, bi-xenon headlamps; fold-down, rear center armrest with lockable, trunk pass-through; and painted, aluminum-alloy wheels.

The base G35 comes with an in-dash, single-CD player; an eight-way power driver's seat and a four-way power front passenger seat; and P225/55R17 tires. The automatic is the only transmission available, and no options are available.

The G35 Journey comes standard with automatic climate control. The front passenger's seat gets eight-way power. The stereo gets an in-dash, six-CD changer. The automatic comes standard. The optional Premium Package adds a power sunroof with shade, heated front seats, an upgraded memory system for seat preferences and such, power tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, power driver's seat lumbar, and a 10-speaker Bose Studio on Wheels system with Burr Brown Digital Audio Converters.

The Navigation Package consists of a GPS-based system employing a 30GB hard disc drive (which displaces the in-dash, six-CD changer to the trunk and contains a 9.5GB partition for user-recorded audio tracks); MP3-capable compact flash media slot (also used to copy audio to the HDD and update the map database); lane guidance, which preps a driver for a left or right exit ramp from a freeway; voice recognition for climate control, audio and navigation; and a three-month trial subscription to Sirius or XM satellite radio, the latter including real-time traffic information where available. A performance tire and wheel package includes 225/50R18 front tires and 245/50R18 rear tires on lightweight, cast-aluminum wheels. An African Rosewood interior trim package is also available.

The G35x AWD comes with heated front seats. The option list is the same as that offered on the Journey, excluding the performance tires and wheels package.

The Sport offers a choice of automatic transmission or six-speed manual. The automatic's manual-mode gear selection is operated either with the shift lever or by magnesium shift levers mounted on the steering column. Pedals are aluminum with black rubber nibs. A viscous limited slip differential is standard, as is the performance tire and wheel package. The driver's seat has power-adjustable thigh and torso bolsters, and both front seats come with manual thigh-support, seat-bottom extensions. A rear spoiler and four-wheel steering with variable ratio power steering and a sportier suspension are optional.

Safety features that come standard on all models include dual-stage frontal airbags with occupant detection and seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters; front seat-mounted, side-impact airbags (for torso protection); roof-mounted, front and rear side-impact air curtains (for head protection); active front-seat head restraints; rear seat child safety seat anchors (LATCH); antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist; electronic stability control; and front fog lamps. An optional Technology Package adds Intelligent Cruise Control, which adjusts the speed for traffic conditions independent of driver input; adaptive front lighting, which swivels headlights as much as 17 degrees in the direction of a turn; Preview Braking, which senses an impending stop or slowing and primes the brake hydraulics; and rear view video monitor. Walkaround
Stylistically, the new, 2007 Infiniti G35 sedan doesn't venture far outside the shadow of its predecessor (the 2003-2006 models). By the tape, its wheelbase (distance between the tires front to rear) is identical to the '06, its overall length adds half an inch, it's less than in inch wider and it actually loses a half-inch in height. To the eye, it retains the styling cues and overall proportions of the '06, but slicked up a little, for a sleeker, yet more dramatic look.

The grille doesn't change shape, but its crossbars flatten at their extremes, an expression the car's stylists liken to sword blades. Compound, multi-element, L-shaped headlight housings wrap around the fenders. A one-piece fascia with large air intakes across its lower reaches embraces the front end. The tops of the front fenders flow over into the hood, emphasizing the G35's width and enhancing its planted look.

The side view presents a relatively long hood, steeply raked windshield, fast backlight and brief rear deck, giving the 2007 G35 the look of a sporty coupe over that of a four-door sedan. Recessed door handles sit almost flush with the sheetmetal. Tires snugly fill slightly flared, circular wheelwells. A rocker panel accented by a deep indent along the bottom of the doors pulls the sides of the G35 closer to the road.

Large, LED taillights repeat the L-shape of the headlights, crossing over from the fenders into the trunk lid. The trunk opening dips several inches into the rear fascia, compensating somewhat for the restricted opening imposed by the short rear deck. Proper dual exhaust tips exit beneath each side of the fully integrated rear bumper. Interior
The interior of the new 2007 Infiniti G35 sedan is livelier and friendlier than the '06's without being fussy or overly busy. There's luxury aplenty, but tempered by a focus on function, on connecting the driver to the car while at the same time providing passengers a pleasant and comfortable environment and entertaining diversions.

Most commendable is Infiniti's refusal to follow the crowd, lemming-like, and dump many everyday settings and functions into a multi-level, virtual bin and make them accessible only through a single, often counter-intuitive and super-sensitive, massive knob planted in the center console. Yes, the new G35 has a large, multi-function, knob-like control in the panel beneath the screen at the top center of the dash, but its duties and operational planes are limited, minimally distracting and difficult to confuse or unwittingly activate.

This leaves controls for climate and most audio settings conveniently located out in the open, on the face of the center stack, audio above and climate below, as they should be. With the navigation system, all elements of which are managed by that aforementioned knob and neighboring switches supplemented by voice commands, comes a slot below the climate panel for the compact flash media. And the nav system has one of the more pleasant perspectives, called the Birds Eye, that gives a perception of distance, incorporating a horizon and, depending on the available mapping data, three dimensional building footprints for the local surroundings.

Standard trim accents are aluminum alloy, finished in what the designers call Washi, a texture intended to recall traditional Japanese rice paper; the optional African Rosewood trim looks as authentic as it is. Violet hues dress up white-on-black gauges.

The seats are comfortable, with thigh support a bit above average; even so, we wish the manual thigh-support extensions on the Sport models were standard or at least available across the line. The adjustable torso and thigh bolsters on the Sport models do what they're supposed to but favor slender bodies. The gas pedal and the rest for the driver's left foot are on different planes, leaving the knees at different angles, which is not the most comfortable position for long drives or for spirited motoring on winding roads.

The Bose Studio On Wheels delivers a sound that's richer, fuller, more intricate and crisper than any system we can recall in cars costing thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars more than the G35. In fact, and although we're not prepared to go as far as Infiniti and compare it with a custom-configured, high-tech, in-home system, we stepped directly from a 2007 G35 sedan into a $100,000-plus, European sports coupe with that marque's top-level sound system and could not distinguish the two stereos. The G35's system's digital processing and eight-channel equalizer no doubt play a huge part, but our ears told us that almost as important is the Bose-designed speaker array. Infiniti claims, for instance, that the G35 is the first in the industry with a three-way, 10-inch subwoofer in each front door; the remaining eight speakers are traditionally located, with another 10-inch woofer in the rear parcel shelf, a 6.5-inch, full-range speaker in each rear door, three mid-range speakers across the front of the cabin and a one-inch tweeter in each A-pillar.

As for interior roominess, the 2007 G35 sedan's designers somehow managed to find almost two inches more front seat headroom, an inch more rear seat legroom and almost three inches more front seat hiproom inside a car essentially the same size if not a smidgen smaller than the previous (pre-2007) G35 sedan; trunk space, though, declines by more than a cubic foot. Wide rear door openings leave room aplenty for legs, knees and feet. Against the most probable competition, the BMW 330i and the Lexus IS 350, the new G35 sedan is as roomy or roomier in all measures, including trunk space.

The usual categories of storage spaces populate the interior, plus one surprise. There's a quite respectable glove box. The front center console provides as many as three cup holders, one inside the covered storage bin, and a can holder is molded into the hard-plastic map pockets in the doors. Two cup holders pop out of the front of the fold-down, rear seat center armrest; a unique compartment masked by a Velcro-type flap on the right side is the surprise. The back side of each front seatback has a magazine pouch. Driving Impressions
The Infiniti G35 sedan benefits from some serious work on the powertrain and suspension for 2007 and the results are immediately apparent underway. Only then does the full significance of the changes to for 2007 become clear.

The engine may be the same displacement and configuration, but it's far from merely a mildly tweaked carryover from the 2006 G35. By way of emphasis, Infiniti says some 80 percent of the engine's major components have been redesigned. Variable exhaust valve timing has been added, for example. A beefier engine block, modified pistons and, of course, new coding in the engine management computer have endowed the engine with a higher rev limit, now 7500 revolutions per minute versus last year's 6600 rpm. These modifications, together with a higher compression ratio (10.6:1 vs. 10.3:1), additional knock sensors, improved cooling, Iridium spark plugs and a freer flowing intake and exhaust system, not only boost the horsepower but also are supposed to deliver that added power more smoothly and over a broader power curve.

It works. Where last year's engine seemed to run out of breath, so to speak, as it neared its red line, the '07's pulls right up to its maximum rpm. It willingly and heartily revs to levels normally associated with smaller, less complex engines, along the lines, say, of the 2.2-liter, four-cylinder screamer that powers the Honda S2000 sports car. Fuel economy is up, too, by one mile per gallon in both city and highway driving, according to EPA estimates. That said, the new G35 still trails the 2006 BMW 330i and Lexus IS 350 by as much as 2 mpg in city and highway driving.

The transmissions ably handle the engine's power and power curve. Clutch operation on the six-speed manual is heavier than we would expect on a sedan, even a sports sedan. This makes for sometimes rocky clutch engagement, especially at low speeds and light throttle. A luxury car's shift lever ought not vibrate as much as the one in the pre-sale test car, but Infiniti techies said this was an anomaly that will be cured in cars built for sale to consumers. Similar assurances were given for a whine in the first four gears that evoked memories of straight-cut gears in full-on race cars. Shift pattern and gear selection, though, were tight and precise, respectively, requiring little effort.

The automatic does its job rather casually at part throttle. Holding the right foot unwaveringly hard to the floor produced sharper, more solid shifts at the engine's redline. The automatic changes gears the quickest and, interestingly, the smoothest with either the shift lever or the column-mounted paddles and under full throttle; it's like a power shift but without the clutch. Credit this to the engine's electronics, which feather the throttle through the instantaneous shift. The same electronics deliver smooth downshifts, too, whether in full auto mode or manual override, by blipping the throttle to match engine rpm to transmission speed in the lower gear; think double clutching a pure, manual gearbox.

Ride and handling are consistent across the line with the notable and commendable exception of the Sport models with four-wheel steer. Besides actively adjusting the rear wheel toe by up to a degree depending on vehicle speed and steering angle, that option brings with it a sportier shock and spring setup and road speed-sensitive, variable ratio power steering. For hustling down winding roads, this suspension and 4WS combination is the preferred. And it's not all that far out of its element cruising the Interstate. It's solid and taut and manages the G35's mass very well without exacting a price in stiffness. It's firm, yes, and will transmit pavement heaves more dramatically into the passenger compartment. But over anything less than chunking blacktop or weathered concrete, it gives up very little against the standard suspension, which leans a bit more toward supple. Not that the base suspension is floaty by any means, far from it, actually. But as demonstrated over several, fairly hot laps on a racetrack, it's not as planted and controlled as the 4WS Sport.

At that racetrack, Infiniti made available for comparison a BMW 330i and Lexus IS 350 (both 2006 models). While time spent behind the wheel of the G35 sedans and the BMW and the Lexus, or any car, for that matter, on a racetrack has limited relevance to everyday street driving, it nevertheless revealed some significant distinctions. Power differences were obvious, of course, with the BMW (255 hp, 220 lb.-ft. of torque) lagging the IS 350 (306 hp, 277 lb.-ft. of torque) and the '07 G35 in outright acceleration (the curb weights for all three fall within a 75-lb. range).

In cornering, the IS 350 understeered (where the car doesn't want to turn as much as the driver wants) the earliest and the most, with the G35 next and the BMW nearest to neutral. This last isn't necessarily surprising, as the BMW's front/rear weight distribution is 51 percent/49 percent, very close to the 50/50 balance most suspension designers consider ideal for handling responsiveness, while the split on the Lexus is 52/48. What's telling here is that the G35's front/rear distribution is 53/47, but its aggressive suspension geometry and tuning compensate for the greater front-end bias. Even better, with 4WS, which gives the rear tires a gentle nudge in the same direction as the driver is turning the steering wheel, the G35 cornered almost as predictably and precisely as the BMW. It also tracked with greater certainty, and with substantially less excitement, when the car's suspension unloaded over a slight rise in the track at the exit of a high-speed, uphill sweeper.

What also merits mention is that just because the BMW was the most neutral doesn't mean it was the most comfortable at the limit entering and through a corner. We wouldn't call it twitchy, but that near-perfect balance also means the car isn't as forgiving as it nears the edge of its tires' adhesion envelope; put more bluntly, it'll spin out, or oversteer, more readily and more abruptly if it enters a corner at too high a speed. For nine out of 10 drivers, a car that tends more toward understeer than oversteer is the better mode of transport.

This is true as well in cars equipped with electronic stability control systems, which these three were. But as sports sedans, the threshold of the ESC system in each is set higher than is the norm; put another way, their systems will let a car get a little, and sometimes more than just a little, out of shape before stepping in with corrective action. By way of context, these impressions came before any of the systems activated.

All three offered excellent braking performance and all were outfitted with ABS, brake assist and EBD in one form or another. The Lexus did, however, show a little more dive under hard braking and wasn't quite as composed when scrubbing off speed entering a corner.

Functionally, the automatic transmissions differed, with, again, the G35's easily the preferred. In manual mode, it holds the selected gear up to and at the engine's rev limiter. The BMW and Lexus manu-matics, however, upshifted on their own, a most frustrating interference when a feathered throttle was desired for carrying speed through a corner or when engine braking would have helped set the front suspension for quick, left-right transitions through a set of esses.

So much for how the new G35 survives the extremes of a racetrack. On the Interstates, it cruises comfortably and quietly. Gone is the irritating drone that often plagued rear seat passengers in '06 G35 sedans. There's little wind noise even at extra-legal speeds. There's more road noise from optional tire package than from the standard treads, but the added grip and, frankly, sharper looking 18-inch wheels are worth it.

The G35x has a snow mode that electronically tempers throttle response. Summary
The 2007 Infiniti G35 is Nissan's entry in the highly competitive sports sedan class. And it's definitely competitive, with its slick styling, comfortable interior, power and handling on par with any of its peers. For people wanting a sports sedan that's as accommodating of its passengers as it is rewarding for its driver, the new G35 is hard to beat.

NewCarTestDrive.com correspondent Tom Lankard filed this report from Lenox, Massachusetts.

Model as tested
Infiniti G35 Sport
Basic Warranty
4 years/60,000 miles
Assembled in
Tochigi, Japan
Destination charge
Gas guzzler tax
N/A
Base Price
Price as tested
Options as tested
Premium Package; Technology Package; Navigation Package; Four Wheel Active Steer Package

Model Line Overview
Model lineup
Infiniti G35; G35 Journey; G35x AWD; G35 Sport
Safety equipment (standard)
dual-stage front airbags; front seat-mounted side-impact airbags; full-coverage, side-curtain airbags; active front-seat head restraints; rear-seat, child safety seat anchors (LATCH); electronic stability control; ABS with EBD and Brake Assist; tire pressure monitor system; front fog lamps; collapsing brake pedal; first aid kit
Safety equipment (optional)
N/A
Engines
3.5-liter 24-valve V6
Transmissions
5-speed automatic with manual-shift mode

Specifications as Tested
automatic, dual-zone climate control; cruise control; power windows, outside mirrors and central locking; AM/FM/CD/MP3 RDS stereo with six speakers, in-dash six-CD changer, auxiliary audio input and 7-inch, LCD color display; leather-appointed seats and shift knob; heated, 8-way power front seats; leather-trimmed, tilt-and-telescope steering wheel; multi-function trip computer; aluminum interior trim; RFID key with push-button ignition; analog, quartz clock

Engine & Transmission
Engine
3.5-liter 24-valve V6
Drivetrain type
rear-wheel drive
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
306 @ 6800
Transmission
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy
19/26
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm)
N/A

Suspension
Brakes, front/rear
vented disc/vented disc with ABS, EBD, Brake Assist
Suspension, front
independent, double-wishbone, coil springs, gas-pressurized shocks, stabilizer bar
Tires
225/50R18 front; 245/50R18 rear
Suspension, rear
multi-link independent, coil springs, gas-pressurized shocks, stabilizer bar

Accomodations
Seating capacity
5
Head/hip/leg room, middle
N/A
Head/hip/leg room, front
40.5/55.1/43.9
Head/hip/leg room, rear
37.7/53.7/34.7

Measurements
Fuel capacity
N/A
Trunk volume
13.5
Wheelbase
112.2
Length/width/height
187/69.8/57.2
Turning circle
35.4
Payload
N/A
Towing capacity
not recommended
Track, front/rear
59.8/59.8
Ground clearance
5.3
Curb weight
3538


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