Through most of the 1990’s, Nissan was a company in very deep trouble.
Between 1993 and 1999 the company ran seven straight years of losses. However, by 2009, when most other car companies lost money, Nissan was among the few profitable concerns.
The difference between ‘99 and ‘09 can be traced to Nissan’s CEO Carlos Ghosn (pronounced Gone).
One of the first things Ghosn did to turn the company around was to take a look at all of the assets Nissan had going for it and emphasizing them in every way possible. One of Nissan’s strongest assets at the time was its V6 engine. A paragon of smoothness, it was powerful, free winding, and among the most delicious sounding devices to ever exhale through a pair of tailpipes. Ghosn set about making this engine the centerpiece of Nissan’s product portfolio and proceeded to install it everywhere it’d fit.
Another of Ghosn’s strategies was to limit the number of basic platforms Nissan worked off of to create its cars. Because of this, Nissan’s FM (front/midship) platform, underpins every rear-drive car the company produces. Thus, the Infiniti G and the Nissan Z share the same front mid-engine layout.
This configuration mounts the V6 engine behind the centerline of the front wheels, for a mid-engine design like that employed by Porsche for the Boxster and the Cayman. However, the FM platform places the engine in front of the occupants of the vehicle, rather than behind them as in the Porsche cars. This layout results in a near 50/50 front to rear weight distribution, giving the products Based off of it exceptional balance and outstanding handling characteristics.
And thus begat the contemporary Infiniti G cars, the subjects of this overview. Available as a four-door sedan, coupe and convertible, Infiniti’s G cars are world-class rear-drive Grand Touring automobiles. Introduced to market as the G35—having been preceded by the somewhat lackluster G20 in Infiniti’s lineup—there have been essentially two generations of rear-drive V6 powered, Infiniti G cars produced since 2003.
Infiniti G35 and Infiniti G37: 2003 - 2006
For model year 2003, there was but one version of the G35 sedan. The engine, as the car’s nomenclature suggests, displaced 3.5 liters and produced 260 horsepower and 260 ft-lbs of torque. While there was only one version of that sedan, it could be had with either a five-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. The only other differentiator was leather upholstery.
Still, being a product of Infiniti’s upscale luxury division, that first G35 was a nicely equipped car. Standard features included; automatic climate control, one-touch auto up-and-down front windows, a six-disc in-dash CD changer, keyless entry and a rear-seat trunk pass-through. Opting for the leather package added an eight-way power driver’s seat, 17-inch wheels, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and illuminated vanity mirrors.
Beyond that, Infiniti offered a premium package, which incorporated dual-zone climate control with rear vents, driver’s seat memory settings, a power passenger seat, automatic headlights, an auto up/down feature for all four windows, an upgraded sound system, and manually reclining rear seats.
Freestanding options included navigation and satellite radio.
On the safety front, Infiniti installed antilock brakes with brake force distribution and brake assist, side airbags, head-protecting side-curtain airbags, load limiter front seat belts with pre-tensioners, and stability control — all as standard equipment.
Basically a four-door 350Z with a trunk, that first G35 sedan was immediately considered a worthy competitor to BMW’s highly vaunted 3 Series. Of course, if it were to truly compete with the BMW 3 Series, there had to be a two-door coupe as well. Available with all the same features and options as the sedan, the coupe enjoyed a 20 horsepower advantage (280) as well as 10 more ft-lbs of torque.
Infiniti G35 and Infiniti G37: 2004
Mild tweaks for 2004 included the adoption of a tire pressure monitoring system and a power passenger seat for the six-speed models with leather. A limited-slip differential was also specified as of model year 2004. The other development for 2004 was the introduction of the all-wheel drive, automatic transmission only, G35x.
Infiniti G35 and Infiniti G37: 2005
A mild styling update for 2005, OK, actually a mildly-major styling update saw the hood, grille, bumpers, side sills, tail lights and wheels replaced. The two-engine strategy was dropped as well—sedans no longer ran second fiddle to coupes in the power department.
Automatic transmission G35 sedans got the 280 horsepower engine, while both cars with six-speed manual transmissions were bumped to 298 horsepower. However, they did so at the expense of 10 ft-lbs of torque. The sedan’s sport package acquired an 18-inch wheel set and for an extra edge of sportiness, the car ran drilled aluminum pedals.
The coupe’s sport package featured 19-inch wheels of the forged alloy persuasion, a tighter suspension system, the aforementioned-drilled aluminum pedals and a limited-slip differential.
Infiniti G35 and Infiniti G37: 2006
For 2006, most of the attention was lavished upon the coupe, although the sedan did get Bluetooth and HID headlights. The coupe got the option of an active rear-steering system. Turning the rear wheels slightly in concert with steering inputs helped the car corner more sharply. The coupe’s sport package picked up an optional rear spoiler and a new front fascia featuring a chin spoiler. Deeper side sills further differentiated its styling, while helping the car in the aerodynamic department as well.
Infiniti G35 and Infiniti G37: 2007 – Current (2011)
For model year 2007, Infiniti introduced a completely redesigned G35 sedan (the coupe’s redesign would come a year later). In addition to a new (evolutionary) look for the car, the G35’s product planners designated five different trim levels for the first time; Base, Journey, x (AWD), Sport, and Sport 6MT (six-speed manual transmission).
The Base 2007 G35 came with 17-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, leather upholstery, power seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger), automatic climate control, full power accessories, a CD player, a trip computer and keyless entry and start. The Journey trim package folded in dual-zone climate control and a six-disc CD changer. The G35 x featured all-wheel drive and heated front seats.
The G35 Sport took the G35 Journey's kit and fortified it with a tighter suspension system, 18-inch alloy wheels, a limited-slip rear differential, front sport seats and a sport steering wheel. The 2007 G35 Sport 6MT was essentially the G35 Sport with a six-speed manual gearbox.
But wait, there was more; optional packages were available as well. The Premium Package included a moonroof, an upgraded Bose audio system, heated front seats with driver memory, a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and Bluetooth connectivity. The Technology Package offered adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights and a rearview monitor. As before, standalone options included navigation, but this time it was hard drive-Based with real-time traffic and MP3 music storage capability. Other options included satellite radio, four-wheel steering and genuine wood trim.
For the first time in the history of the car, the sedan made more horsepower than the coupe, (but only for one year). The 3.5-litre V6 was bumped to 306 horsepower and 268 ft-lbs of torque for 2007. Because the SAE reworked its methodology for calculating horsepower, the 2007 coupe’s output was quoted at 293 and 258 ft-lbs, though actual output did not change.
Infiniti G35 and Infiniti G37: 2008
Coming off the redesign there were no significant changes for the 2008 G35 sedan. The G35 coupe however, ceased to exist (sort of). For 2008, the coupe was rechristened G37 to reflect the displacement increase of its engine to 3.7-liters. Along with the larger engine of course came more power. The 2008 G37 coupe’s V6 made 220 horsepower and 270 ft-lbs of torque, once again catapulting it ahead of the sedan in output.
Rather than five trim levels as were available for the sedan with the redesign, the coupe got four; Base, Journey, Sport and Sport 6MT. The Base model was equipped with 18-inch wheels, xenon headlights, keyless ignition, leather, eight-way driver and four-way passenger power seats, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, automatic climate control, folding rear seat, and an audio system comprised of a CD/MP3 player with satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack.
Moving up to the Journey trim added an eight-way power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control and an in-dash six-CD changer. Just as on the sedan, the Sport 6MT designation was in deference to the six-speed manual transmission. However, it also incorporated a limited-slip rear differential, 19-inch wheels, high-performance tires, sport suspension, high performance brakes, and sport-styled front seats with manual thigh extensions as well as power-adjustable torso and thigh bolsters for the driver. All of this kit was also part of the G37’s automatic transmission Sport Package.
If you wanted to tilt more toward the luxe end of the G37 spectrum, The Premium Package included a sunroof (which was also available as an option on its own), a power-adjustable tilt and telescoping feature for the steering wheel, driver memory settings, heated front seats, Bluetooth, an upgraded Bose stereo, and an iPod interface.
Offered in conjunction with the Premium Package was a navigation system that provided real-time traffic information, voice activation, a rearview camera and a 9GB hard drive for music files. If you got the Premium Pack and the Nav system, you could go all the way and get the Technology Package. That bought you adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, and pre-crash seatbelts.
The 2008 G37 Coupe also offered four-wheel active steering (4WAS).
Infiniti G35 and Infiniti G37: 2009
For 2009, the coupe and sedan once again achieved parity in terms of engine output. The V6 was massaged to produce 328 horsepower and 270 ft-lbs of torque for ’09 and was fitted to both models in the same state of tune. Both went to a seven-speed automatic transmission for 2009 as well.
In other news, 2009 also saw the introduction of the G37 retractable hardtop convertible. Capable of stowing itself or deploying itself in 30 seconds, the top was easily operated at a traffic signal—should you decide to reconfigure the car while waiting for the light to change. However, rather than all the different varieties of trim offered with the coupe and sedan, the convertible was offered only in two states of trim; Base and Sport.
Although, referring to the Base model as such was somewhat misleading. The car was exceptionally endowed with comfort and convenience content. Standard fare included leather seats, a double-hand-stitched leather cover for the steering wheel (which featured buttons for the audio system and cruise control), dual-zone climate control, a video-based rearview monitor system, and a six-speaker CD audio system with MP3 and satellite radio capabilities. The sedan and coupe’s Premium and Technology Packages were offered for the convertible as well.
Features specific to the convertible included pop-up roll bars, an optional adaptive climate control system, and the Bose Open Air sound system —which incorporated speakers mounted in the headrests.
Infiniti G35 and Infiniti G37: 2010
Four-wheel steering was dropped for 2010, and a freshening of the exterior changed the sedan’s grille, headlights and bumpers. The interior was reworked a bit as well. New instruments, and a revised treatment for the aluminum trim marked those changes.
Infiniti G35 and Infiniti G37: Current Model (2011)
The refreshments applied to the sedan for 2010 were adopted by the coupe for 2011. Model year 2011 also marked the introduction of the first G car to run less than 3.5 liters since 2003. The 2011 G25 sedan is powered by a 2.5-liter V6 producing 218 horsepower and 187 ft-lbs of torque.
Offered as a lower-priced alternative, many of the highline tech features of the G37 models are left off of the G25’s order sheet. G25 buyers forego manual transmissions, Navigation, Premium and Technology packages.
However, on the other end of the spectrum, 2011 also marked the introduction of the IPL G37 Coupe, featuring a retuned engine producing 348 horsepower, more aggressive body work, new wheels, a retuned suspension system for better handling, and a few other minor tweaks.
Infiniti G35 and Infiniti G37: Summary
Wholly indicative of the changes at Nissan as a direct result of Mr. Ghosn, the Infiniti G35/37 series of cars is one of the most desirable product lines on the road today. Highly popular, there are a number of examples of the car available on the secondary market. Fun to drive, comfortable and luxurious, we have no problem recommending them.
However, it should be noted, the high performance engine fitted to the G series of cars prefers premium gasoline. So you’ll pay more to fuel it. Also, parts and oil changes can be a bit on the pricey side as well. It’s a luxury car and it in many ways it expects to be treated as such.
For this reason, you’ll want to take particular care to ensure you get the most solid example of the car you can find if you have your heart set on purchasing one. This means doing your research to find the recalls issued for the model, as well as making sure you have the car subjected to a very thorough pre-purchase inspection by a trusted professional mechanic, one well-versed in Infiniti’s line of cars.