A few weeks ago we tested the 2011 NISMO Z which is a tuned version of the already-sporty 370Z, but more recently, we were able to check out another factory-tuned coupe from Nissan, the 2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe. Like the NISMO branding, the Infiniti Performance Line, or simply IPL, provides Infiniti products with sportier performance, more aggressive styling and a sport-tuned suspension, but instead of being a stripped-down track car like the NISMO Z, the IPL also improves the G Coupe’s level of luxury. Although the car is designed to be more capable on a track, we recently had the opportunity to spend a full week with the IPL G37 Coupe including a trip to Nissan’s Franklin, Tenn. headquarters and a short afternoon along some fun, twisty back roads in the area.
2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe Road Test and Review
Think NISMO, But In A Suit
2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe: Pricing and Trim Levels
Assembled in Japan, the 2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe is the top rung of the G Coupe line-up with a starting price of $48,900 – a premium of more than $11,000 over the standard G37 Coupe. Of course, this price is for the models equipped with the manual transmission, and those not wishing to shift their own gears will have to pony up $50,800 for the IPL with the automatic transmission. Factoring in options and the required destination charge, the IPL G Coupe used for this review had an as-tested price of $52,045. Compared to some of the high-performance luxury coupes that the IPL G Coupe is compared against, this price is a relative bargain especially considering the extra performance did not come at a sacrifice to ride comfort.
2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe: Competition
The 2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe is positioned in somewhat of a no-man’s land between entry-level models like the Cadillac CTS Coupe, BMW 3 Series Coupe and the upcoming Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe and their more powerful factory-tuned counterparts carrying V, M or AMG badges, respectively. Still, if there were cars that the IPL could go head-to-head with in terms of price and performance, it seems that Infiniti was shooting squarely at cars like the BMW 335is Coupe (less power and more expensive) and the Audi S5 (more expensive and requires a gas-guzzler tax). Nissan has been known for making some of the sportiest cars among its competition, and now Infiniti has laid the groundwork for a similar trend among luxury cars with its new IPL branding. Although it’s not clear which other vehicles could gain an IPL model in the future, the mid-size M56 sedan and the FX50 crossover seem like excellent candidates. Currently, the IPL package is only available on the G37 Coupe, but Infiniti has confirmed plans for the 2013 IPL G37 Convertible.
2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe: Exterior
All G Coupe models received noticeable styling updates for 2011, but the all-new IPL model somehow blends its tuner-car styling with Infiniti’s usual elegance. Similar to the changes found on the NISMO Z, the styling of the 2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe starts with an aggressive body kit that includes a front fascia with a low chin spoiler, lower rocker panels and a revised rear fascia to accommodate the larger dual, chrome-tipped exhaust outlets. Unique wheels are also a part of the IPL’s look with a set stylish V-spoke aluminum wheels with staggered widths and a dark graphite finish, and they are wrapped in low-profile Bridgestone summer tires. Rounding out the distinguishing changes made to the 2011 IPL G Coupe is a subtle yet noticeable decklid spoiler that is bigger than a standard G Coupe but far less “boy racer” than the NISMO Z. Another unique element of the IPL G Coupe is that it is only available in two exterior colors with our test vehicle coming in the IPL-exclusive Malbec Black. In most instances, the car appears to be a glossy black color, but in the right light, the dark burgundy color shines through.
2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe: Interior
On the 2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe painted in the exclusive Malbec Black exterior color, there is also an equally exclusive interior with seats and door panel inserts wrapped in Monaco Red leather. Unlike the interior of the NISMO Z which is devoid of amenities like a navigation system or power seats, the IPL G Coupe delivers all of the luxury expected from an Infiniti as well as a sporty interior expected from a track-ready car. ). In addition to the added performance, the higher price of the IPL G Coupe also includes all of the options offered on a G37. These standard features on the IPL with the automatic transmissions include the hard drive navigation system, power moonroof, magnesium shift paddles, and sport bucket seats with 12-way driver power adjustability (including thigh and side bolsters) and memory functions. While these seats are perfectly suited for keeping the driver in place during track time, they also proved to be quite comfortable during our long road trip.
Aside from the bright red leather interior, the rest of the cabin gets plenty of added styling details such as the aluminum trim on the instrument panel, door panels and center stack and red stitching on the steering wheel and seats (regardless of interior color). Rear-seat space is about the same as other luxury coupes with accommodations for two passengers, and access to the rear seat is made easy with a power sliding feature that moves each of the front seats fore and aft quickly and easily. Finally, at 7.4 cubic feet, the G Coupe’s trunk space is what might be expected from a convertible (and it offers less trunk space than the smaller 3 Series Coupe), but the small space is the result of an actual spare tire which is a rarity these days. Infiniti assures that at least two golf bags can fit in the trunk, but longer items can also be accommodated thanks to the fold-down rear seat back.
2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe: Packages and Options
Since all 2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe models come already equipped with every option available on the G37, there are no add-on options to be had. About the only choices buyers have to make when buying an IPL G Coupe is choosing between a manual or automatic transmission and interior/exterior color options, but there are also a handful of accessories from which to choose. This test vehicle added the $370 R spec high performance brake pads, but other accessory options include interior accent lighting, carpeted and rubberized floor and trunk mats and a custom-fit car cover.
2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe: Powertrain and Fuel Economy
The 2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe uses the same 3.7-liter V-6 as the G37, but Infiniti has upped the tuning a bit to 348 horsepower and 276 lb-ft of torque – an increase of 18 hp and 6 lb-ft of torque. This power upgrade was a result of a freer flowing dual exhaust as well as “engine management changes,” and it somehow doesn’t affect the car’s fuel economy with EPA-rated estimates of 19 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway (identical to the base G37). Starting prices for the IPL G Coupe are for models with the six-speed manual transmission, but this test car came with the seven-speed automatic transmission which includes the Downshift Rev Matching feature making downshifts more enjoyable. Unlike the base G37 Coupe, the IPL G Coupe is only available in a rear-wheel drive configuration, but the limited-slip differential and sticky summer tires should help give the car plenty of cornering stability.
2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe: Driving Impressions
After putting more than 1,500 miles on our test vehicle, it is clear that the 2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe is definitely a touring car. In regular, everyday driving, the IPL’s extra engine output isn’t that noticeable, and, fortunately, neither are the suspension upgrades. On our mostly interstate trip, the sport-tuned suspension still provided plenty of comfort, but when pushed hard along curvy roads – or freeway ramps – the stiffer suspension helps make the IPL feel more nimble than the regular G37 Coupe. Cornering in the IPL is even more fun thanks to the braking and steering components shared with the G37 Sport which includes larger-diameter front brake rotors and a tighter steering setup. Weighing in at 3,769 pounds, the IPL G Coupe 469 pounds more than a NISMO Z (and more than 100 pounds chunkier than a base G37), but somehow this car ends up feeling sportier and more refined at the same time.
2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe: Safety
Like the regular G37 Coupe, the 2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe comes with standard safety features that include six airbags, active front head restraints, electronic brake-force distribution with brake assist, four-wheel anti-lock disc brake system, traction control, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) stability control system and tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to rate the 2011 Infiniti G37 Coupe for passenger protection, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave it “Good” ratings for frontal- and side-impact protection, an “Acceptable” rating for roof strength and a “Marginal” rear-impact/head restraint rating (the IIHS does not break down the different G37 models – sedan, coupe and convertible – in its ratings).
2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe: Final Thoughts
Instead of thinking of the 2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe as a rival for cars like the M3 or S5, think of it more like a NISMO 370Z that has had some time to mature. The factory-tuned IPL G Coupe is still a luxury car at heart, but now owners can also spend some quality time on the track with their G thanks to a host of upgrades such as the brakes, steering, exhaust and suspension. Even better, the unique styling that the IPL package brings is just another way to accent the G37’s already-attractive exterior design, but those who truly wish to stand out in the IPL should opt for the Malbec Black exterior color and the Monaco Red leather interior. While Infiniti still needs a car to take on the luxury sport coupes like M3 and CTS-V, the new IPL G37 is definitely just as much fun to drive for thousands of dollars less.
2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe: Pros and Cons
- unique IPL styling
- sporty ride without sacrificing comfort
- added horsepower with same fuel economy
- not sporty enough for M3 or CTS-V
- higher starting price
Infiniti provided the vehicle for this review
Photos by Jeffrey N. Ross