Infiniti G37 Sport – 2008 Review: The Infiniti G37 sport coupe unapologetically blazes its own trail. Its flexed bicep styling looks like nothing else in its class, the handling is excellent, there’s power everywhere you look, and it’s supremely satisfying to drive. Comparisons to BMW’s 3 Series coupe are inevitable, and the G37 more than just holds its own, it throws down, kicking sand in the BMW’s face and challenging it for the luxury sport coupe crown. Whether the Infiniti bests the BMW boils down to extremely fine points, but it’s far and away one of the strongest contenders against the 3 Series in a long, long time.
By Keith Buglewicz
Photo credit: Oliver Bentley
What We Drove
The basic Infiniti G37 Sport will set you back $36,265 with the $715 destination charge included. The Sport is the only way to get the manual transmission option, and it comes with a beefed up suspension and more aggressive tires as well. Options included the $3,200 Premium Package, which added a sunroof, Bose audio system, heated front seats, iPod interface, power seats, lumbar, tilt/telescope steering wheel and a handful of other goodies. It also had the $2,200 navigation system and the completely transparent $1,300 rear active steer package. The $550 rear spoiler topped things off, driving the total price to $43,515.
The Infiniti G37’s 3.7-liter V-6 and six-speed manual transmission are just short of perfect. The 330 horsepower flows like water through a spillway, and the 270 lb.-ft. of torque peaks at 5,200, but there’s plenty down low, too. The transmission’s perfect ratios and short throws are marred only by an abruptly engaging clutch. The only other thing that keeps us from falling head over heels for this drivetrain is the harsh thrum from the engine at high revs. It’s not a deal killer, but it’s especially annoying in light of the powertrain’s overall performance.
Our test car arrived with seriously worn rubber, and the upshot is that this powerful rear-drive coupe understeered precipitously on turn in, a trait we didn’t anticipate. When we slowed down our entry the Infiniti G37 behaved more like we expected, with a sublimely balanced chassis that allows you to steer with the throttle. We’d need a back-to-back comparison to report fully on the four-wheel steering, but we didn’t feel anything unusual or twitch about the G37. The ride was rough but still acceptable, and with fresh tires, we think the G37 would be one of our favorite twisty road cars.
The view over the hood of the Infiniti G37 is a little like looking out of a Porsche 911 thanks to the fender blisters rising behind the headlights. It’s also the best view out; to the side things are acceptable thanks to the large mirrors, but the rear view is merely so-so. The sloping rear pillars block the view considerably, and the steeply raked glass gets a lot of reflections from the light-colored rear shelf. The car’s high rear haunches limit the rear view, and we wished for backup sensors on our car to keep from harming the bulbous rear bumper.
Fun to Drive
The Infiniti G37 is a sports coupe for people who are too old for the Nissan Z’s noise, but don’t want to see themselves coming and going in a BMW either. It handles exceptionally well, has more than enough power to keep all but the most power-mad happy, and it looks stunning. Nearly everyone on staff could envision this car parked in his own garage, and compliments don’t get much better than that.
Considering the low roof line and fastback shape, the Infiniti G37’s front seat is pretty accommodating for tall drivers. There is plenty of head and leg room, and it’s easy to get comfortable thanks to the multi-adjustable seat and tilt/telescope steering wheel. All the primary controls fall to hand, although it’s a bit of a stretch to the navigation system controls. The steering wheel and stubby shifter both feel good in the hand. Entry and exit is a little difficult because of the low roofline, but otherwise it’s a comfortable cockpit.
The rear seat in the G37 is a tiny upholstered package shelf. Squeezing two adult humans back there while having another two in the front seat is an exercise in futility; even one extra person seriously taxes the passenger carrying capability of this car. It’s the one area where the Infiniti G37 gives up a serious advantage to the BMW 3 Series coupe.
Open the throttle and the engine roars. Unfortunately, slip it into sixth and cruise on the freeway and there’s still some roar from the tires and the engine. It’s disappointing from a luxury brand. The Infiniti G37 is significantly quieter than, for example, a Nissan 350Z, with which it shares its underpinnings. But you expect that. The problem is that it’s also noisier than a luxury sport coupe should be. It won’t result in tinnitus, but it’s louder inside than a $40,000 car should be.
The Infiniti G37 is long on sport but short on practicality. The trunk is small, barely big enough for two sets of golf clubs, or just enough luggage for two on a long weekend. The liftover is also surprisingly high for such a low car, and the rear bumper protrudes far from the trunk opening, begging to be scratched.
Our Infiniti G37 Sporttest vehicle was a pre-production unit. We did not assess build quality, as it is our rule to praise or critique this aspect of a vehicle only when it is reflective of what consumers will find at the local dealership.
At last, Infiniti has given its G-series cars an interior worthy of a luxury brand. The door panels are soft all the way to the floor. Most surfaces are soft touch, and where they aren’t, the plastics feel expensive and solid, with the sole exception being some of the plastics in the rear seat area. We like the chrome accents and the brushed look on the metallic trim around the cockpit, as well as the soft leather on the seats and solid feel of virtually everything you touch.
From any angle, under any lighting condition, the Infiniti G37 is a strikingly good looking car. Its low shape is aggressive, and would be thuggish if it weren’t for the delicate sculpting of the headlights, bumper and hood. The same is true for the wide rear haunches and elegant taillights. OK, maybe in profile the nose is too blunt, and the windows look a tad small, but c’mon, don’t tell us you don’t drool just a little when you lay your eyes on this car.
Considering its compact interior dimensions, storage is pretty good. There are small door pockets that have molded-in bottle holders, and there is a small storage compartment in the center console under the arm rest. Cup holders are hidden under a rolltop cover in the center console, which can be converted into a general storage tray by removing the separator. The glove box is small, but at least there’s an overhead sunglasses compartment, and in a pinch you can put your spare change in the ash tray. In the rear there’s a pop-out cup holder and a shallow tray between the seats, but that’s it.
Elegant in layout, the controls for the audio and navigation systems are only slightly compromised by their design. First the good: the audio system sounds great, and all the controls look good, designed to fit around the oval Infiniti-signature clock. The navigation controls are also neatly designed and easy to use and understand. The flaws come in placement. The audio system buttons are split between the main set near the clock and the area below the navigation system. The nav buttons work fine, but are a stretch even for tall drivers.
Automatic climate controls are expected in a luxury branded car, and in this Infiniti they’re as simple to use as can be. Two knobs control left and right temperature, and the buttons between them control fan speed and vent flow manually. We left it in auto and never found ourselves wanting.
The one thing where Infiniti is still playing catch up to its Lexus rival is in the switchgear. There’s still too much Nissan here; many controls look like they’re directly out of a Z. They’re still good of course, with positive feel and all that, but we’d like a unique look to the Infiniti gear. That aside, we love the instrumentation with the blue highlights, and the pale blue glow of the ignition button is perfectly dramatic.
Did we mention the 3 Series? It’s the primary competition for the G37, and car at which the entire Infiniti G lineup is aimed. The 3 has more room inside, since it retains its sedan-like profile. On the other hand, it still looks a lot like the sedan, while the G37 coupe shares only a styling language with its sedan counterpart. It comes down to priorities. While the 3 Series still puts a premium on practicality, the G37 is willing to compromise in the name of style.
2nd Opinion – Beamesderfer
Dear Mr. Lucifer,
I’m not one of those “make me a billionaire and president of the U.S with a trophy wife types,” so I’m wondering if I could interest you in small piece of my immortal soul in exchange for the G37S? The GT coupe does come in an appropriately devilish red color, and that’s only the beginning.
2nd Opinion – Heywood
The 2008 Infiniti G37 coupe is the perfect blend of sport and comfort. It handles like a sports car straightening corners and tearing up straight-aways, yet offering interior comforts and ride quality not found in most cars capable of such feats. Seating is especially comfortable with the adjustable leg support at the edge of the seat creating a nearly perfect bucket for your “seat.” Rear visibility is slightly hindered at the rear corners but not so intrusive that the mirrors can’t compensate.