2012 Infiniti G37xS Coupe: Introduction
If you want to step outside of the Teutonic hegemony but remain behind the wheel of a two-door entry-level luxury car, your choices are limited. The sole Japanese option in this segment is the 2012 Infiniti G37 Coupe, a vehicle which combines the sporty character of the Nissan 370Z (whose platform it shares) with the more mature styling and high tech features that are associated with the Infiniti brand.
The Infiniti G37 Coupe has always targeted BMW as its bogey, and the most recent edition of the automobile does an admirable job of chasing down the 3 Series in a number of key areas while retaining a personality all of its own - one that should appeal to drivers interested in stepping away from the pack of default German two-door luxo-rides.
As mentioned in the previous section, the 2012 Infiniti G37 Coupe is primarily challenged by the usual crew of European premium automobiles. Given that the
"x" appended to the G37 badge on our tester stands for all-wheel drive it's possible to narrow the field to the BMW 335xDrive Coupe and the Audi A5, as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe does not come with a 4MATIC option. On this side of the Atlantic, the Cadillac CTS Coupe represents a fresh challenger to the G37xS.
It's important to note that the premium all-wheel drive coupe segment provides a fairly wide spread in terms of cost and capability. The closest match to the 2012 Infiniti G37x in terms of pricing and power is the Cadillac, with the Audi A5 coming in with a lower MSRP as well as a significantly less robust engine package and the BMW generating comparable ponies but adding a price premium that pushes it past the Japanese model.
2012 Infiniti G37xS Coupe: Pricing and Trim Levels
The 2012 Infiniti G37x Coupe starts at an MSRP of $40,900. Adding the Sport package (which allows the Coupe to proudly wear the S badge on its flank) costs an additional $1,950. As with most Infiniti models, the G37xS Coupe has access to a number of technology-focused options packages that represent the most effective method for personalizing the automobile. The week-long test vehicle provided to us by Nissan Canada was outfitted with the Hi-Tech Package that brought the total MSRP to $55,450 CAD. A comparably-equipped US-spec model would roll out the door with an MSRP of $49,650 USD.
2012 Infiniti G37xS Coupe: Exterior
The 2012 Infiniti G37xS Coupe is a very handsome car that doesn't resort to the use of polarizing styling cues in order to present an eye-catching appearance. The G37xS Coupe is sleek, muscular and well-proportioned, particularly with the 19-inch Enkei wheels that were outfitted to our particular model, which was finished in an arresting red hue. The Sport package provides a unique front fascia that further adds to the performance character of the automobile, and a simple deck-mounted rear spoiler and dual exhaust outlets break up the Coupe's simple lines as seen from the back.
The Infiniti G37xS Coupe is a reasonably large car for an entry-level option but the automaker has done an excellent job at disguising that fact, with the two-door G coming off as shorter than the more complicated Audi A5. Visually, the vehicle appeals to buyers who value a clean, unfettered design that looks like it received most of its styling input from a wind tunnel rather than a focus group.
2012 Infiniti G37xS Coupe: Interior
Simplicity is again the keyword when taking in the 2012 Infiniti G37xS passenger compartment. The dash is split in two by an elegant center stack set off by the brand's signature analog clock - a feature that drew considerable praise from passengers over the course of the week. Buttons are clearly labeled and intuitive to use, especially those found immediately in front of the vehicle's gorgeous LCD navigation and vehicle information screen. The dual tachometer and speedometer gauges that face the driver are divided by a rectangular display that offers odometer, temperature and other vehicle readouts, and the controls used to cycle through the information provided on this screen are subtly integrated into the gauge cowl.
Our test vehicle came outfitted with a number of nice-to-have comforts and conveniences, including heated leather seats with power adjustment, a moonroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, rear parking sonar and a rearview camera (including an overlay illustrating where the Coupe's current steering wheel position would send the vehicle). The sonar was a bit more sensitive than we would have liked, as it frequently chimed its dissatisfaction with how close we were placing the automobile near a cement retaining wall in our parking facility, but this is a minor quibble.
The navigation system installed in the G37xS Coupe was paired with an impressive voice command interface that made it simple to program routes and addresses without taking one's eyes off of the road. This same voice control feature was also responsible for managing Bluetooth devices, and integrating an Android smart phone with the Infiniti's communication and stereo system was an entirely painless process. In fact, the G Coupe remembered which audio track had been streaming wirelessly during the last driving session and picked it up within 30 seconds of entering the vehicle, resulting in a true hands-free listening experience.
Both the driver and the front passenger will have nothing to complain about in terms of comfort no matter how long they spend being coddled by the vehicle's supportive seats, which come with the kind of aggressive bolstering that is always welcome in an automobile with the sporty pretensions of the G37xS. The door panels are also finished with very nice soft touch upholstery, although where the window glass meets the sill is a little rougher than we would like in this class of vehicle. While the G Coupe does come with two rear seating positions (separated by a plastic center console), the slope of the roof and the relatively shallow cushions reserve this portion of the car for children or small packages. Transporting the latter is facilitated by a button on the inside of the front passenger seat that allows for the driver to slide it forward and backwards in order to gain easy access to the Coupe's rear quarters.
For those who need to haul larger items, the G37xS does come with a folding seatback that expands the vehicle's small trunk to a certain degree. The narrowness of this particular opening, combined with the relatively tight confines of the trunk itself largely restricts the Coupe's transportation capabilities to a few overnight bags. We were happy with the keyless entry feature for the vehicle, although once again it was troubling to see that the Infiniti could be piloted without the key fob being inside the passenger compartment - or anywhere near the car, for that matter - once the ignition had been fired.
2012 Infiniti G37xS Coupe: Powertrain and Fuel Economy
The 2012 Infiniti G37xS Coupe is motivated by a 3.7-liter V-6 engine that generates a stout 330 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. Transmission options for the all-wheel drive G37xS model are restricted to a seven-speed automatic that can be manually shifted via paddles mounted on the automobile's steering column (rear-wheel drive models can avail themselves of an optional six-speed manual gearbox). Fuel mileage for the Infiniti G37xS Coupe is rated at 18-mpg in stop and go driving and 25-mpg during highway cruising.
2012 Infiniti G37xS Coupe: Driving Impressions
The 2012 Infiniti G37xS Coupe is a somewhat heavy automobile but it does an excellent job of concealing its 3,834 lb curb weight from the driver thanks to an impeccably setup suspension system. The S package found on our G Coupe tester brought with it a stiffer shock and spring pairing that never felt harsh but certainly assisted the two-door tourer in holding the road with a minimum of drama. Thrumming away underneath the G37xS chassis was the brand's ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system. Without getting into the details of what that lengthy acronym stands for, suffice it to say that the Infiniti's active torque redistribution feature was able to preserve the Coupe's rear-wheel drive dynamics by only diverting torque to the front wheels when absolutely necessary.
The combination of the G Coupe's all-wheel drive system with its sport suspension and the limited-slip rear differential that is also part and parcel of the S package has created a driving experience that is virtually indistinguishable from a traditional rear-wheel drive platform while maintaining the foul weather benefits of all-wheel drive traction. In long, high speed corners the rear end of the G37xS breaks free in a predictable and controlled manner, and it took very tight turns with the throttle punched in order to reveal even a hint of the understeer that can plague an all-wheel drive machine.
In addition to its smooth handling and excellent ride comfort, the Infiniti G37xS also displayed commendable acceleration from its 3.7-liter V-6 engine. There is plenty of power available at almost any cruising speed, making it easy to pull out and pass at will on the highway as well as a challenge to remain disciplined enough to avoid the stoplight grand prix on the way home from the office. The Coupe's seven-speed automatic transmission featured both Drive and Drive Sport modes, with the latter accenting performance with quicker gear shifts. At any time, drivers can choose to grab a lower gear by snapping back on the vehicle's magnesium shift paddles, an experience that provokes the tranny's automatic rev-matching feature - a welcome sonic emphasis for each downshift although one that at times brings with it an unexpected, small surge in forward momentum. Although the vehicle can be shifted entirely using the paddles, we found it preferable to leave the G Coupe in Drive Sport and let the computer handle things, as considerable lag accompanied each upshift input from the driver.
One of the features that came with our test vehicle's Hi-Tech package was Intelligent Cruise Control, a laser-guided system that is designed to automatically maintain a safe distance between the Coupe and traffic on the road ahead. We were able to activate the system without too much trouble, but try as we might we could not set a custom following distance as advertised by Infiniti's press materials. Intelligent Cruise Control did a good job of backing off the G37xS when vehicles ahead began to slow down and then resumed our original speed without any fuss. A bit more frightening was its tendency to turn itself off without any kind of warning once the automobile had dropped below a certain speed. This left us scrambling to hit the brakes on more than one occasion in order to avoid a collision with stopped traffic ahead.
We would be remiss in our review of the G37xS Coupe if we didn't point out the pleasing nature of the automobile's exhaust note. Infiniti has tuned the vehicle's muffler so that while underway it offers an exceptionally stirring soundtrack, making it perhaps the most attractive-sounding V-6 on the market. If only this approach to sound design could have been extended to the Coupe's engine startup sequence, which comes with its own far more industrial tone. It's also worth noting that shifting the G Coupe into gear on steep incline provokes a decidedly insonorous clunk from the transmission - a jarring contrast to the vehicle's smooth performance in all other categories.
2012 Infiniti G37xS Coupe: Safety
In addition to features such as HID headlights and Intelligent Cruise Control, the Infiniti G37xS Coupe comes with a list of safety gear that includes front airbags, seat mounted side airbags and side curtain airbags for forward occupants. It also offers active head restraints, brake assist, vehicle dynamic control and traction control and pre-crash seatbelts - a nifty add-on that acts like your mother's hand holding you back into the seat during abrupt braking (accomplished via the rapid tightening of the vehicle's safety belts).
2012 Infiniti G37xS Coupe: Final Thoughts
The 2012 Infiniti G37xS Coupe satisfies its mission statement with admirable competency. The G Coupe cuts an attractive profile, has power to spare and offers the level of technological gadgetry and ride comfort that many buyers are seeking out of a luxury coupe. In fact, everything about the Infiniti G37xS feels as though it was carefully designed to meet the expectations of the modern premium car shopper, and the added advantage of an all-wheel drive system that feels like a traditional rear-wheel drive setup is a bonus when compared against the two-door automobile's rivals.
Perhaps the only areas where the G Coupe falls a bit short are sophistication and refinement. The coarseness of the engine at startup, the confidence-inspiring but not necessarily engaging handling and the clean but undramatic styling elements that make up its exterior indicate that with a bit more polish Infiniti could enjoy an even greater share of the entry-level luxury coupe market.
What We Like About The 2012 Infiniti G37xS Coupe:
- Impressive all-wheel drive system
- Sticky handling without sacrificing comfort
- Well-designed interior
- Excellent power for its price point
We Aren't So Hot On:
- Not as fun to drive as it looks
- Engine noise on startup doesn't match wonderful exhaust note at speed