The Infiniti G sedan makes no pretensions. Its intentions are pretty clear in those exhaust notes that crackle like a pot of boiling water when driving up ramps or tunnels. Spiraling down a flyover or challenging a narrowing curve, the rear wheel drive sedan allows you the feeling that you are on a track day out. Be it the G37 or the G25, the trappings of luxury are all there in this Infiniti yet they play second fiddle to the drivability of the car.
UPSIDE: Intuitive steering, Track-worthy handling, Friendly cabin controls, Adjustable rear backrests, great value in luxury segment
FLIPSIDE: Low headroom, rivals flaunt more frills, 2.5L version noisy on acceleration, practically seats four
The Price: Infiniti G sedan from AED 137,500 onwards
Ramadan 2013 special: G25 at AED 119,000 and AED 129,000 with 5-year warranty.
The Drive of the G37
The steering feel of the Infiniti G Sedan is unparalleled. It is precisely weighted, and the response can be best termed intuitive rather than sensitive. The Infiniti G37 hugs the road, and drags the curves with a hint of a tailspin even with traction control on – like a thoroughbred sports car.
In the Infiniti G37, driver assistance comes largely in natural forms. I mean, a willing naturally aspirated 3.7 L V6 engine churning out 326 hp; a well-designed greenhouse conducive to excellent surround view; and a steering and suspensions tuned for superior feedback. The tachometer red comes around 7500 rpm and it isn’t a showcase number. Driven by 360 Nm of torque, the smooth 7-speed transmission takes the high rev car quickly up to the red, and to its maximum output.
Electronic nanny-coddling through active cruise control, blind spot monitor, or self-park support weren’t there in this luxury car but who is gonna miss them? One doesn’t want to let go of the reins, the side view mirrors are self-sufficient, and so is an Infiniti G37 driver, when it comes to backing into a parking lot. By the way, there is no sports mode, coz the car is always in character.
The Drive of the G25
Essentially sharing the same character as the G37, the 2.5 L engine – again a V6 – and its 218 hp output is what sets the G25 apart from its more powerful sibling. On settled highway speeds across midrange cycles, the pleasure of the naturally aspirated power-stream makes up for the relative shortage of torque. With only 253 Nm of torque squeezed out at 4800 rpm, the G25 sometimes drags through the lower rpm cycles, especially during passing acceleration. The complaint remains as short as the car’s pedal travel, but then it is a rather noisy though quicker climb when floored. It takes away from the reasonably composed ride quality of the G25.
The redeeming factor of the G25 drive would be the dictum that it isn’t power, but the way it is manipulated, that matters. For, despite an occasional delay in engaging gears, the 7-speed automatic transmission with Adaptive Shift Control and the exceptional steering feel overtake the yearning for power during an overall enjoyable ride.
I was about to comment on the design when I remembered that Infiniti has already introduced the Q50 as the heir apparent to the G sedan earlier this year. It renders the current design much milder starting with an aggressive in-your-face grille but I think if there is one compact luxury sedan of our times that has the potential to remain a classic presence in your garage, it is the G-sedan. Another one is the new sport-faced Mercedes C-class.
The Infiniti G sedan has character both in design and drive and that isn’t something many cars can boast. Across its sheet metal, you can see design has been ‘applied’ – soft, beveled finishes that leave the sides almost plain but for a subtle character line from fender-to-rear lamps. There is a slight feminine touch to the car’s design that is balanced by the uplifted flanks, suggesting the power held within.
The Cabin and Controls
The Infiniti G sedan has one of the most intuitive placement of dashboard controls, neatly segmented into three – AC, audio and navigation. The console remains uncluttered, harbouring only the gearshift lever. The navigation screen is tucked into a niche with a ledge housing the controls as well as a rotary knob – perhaps not the most contemporary of designs but very convenient and friendly all the same. The indented position of the screen displayed clear directions, even on a sunny day. But the navigation itself added layers to the operation in terms of feeding in the location or finding points of interest.
The navigation screen can be accurately controlled either by the touch screen or the rotary knob – or both. It was a great privilege not having to suffer spoken directions all the time and easily get one just when you want it – there is a voice button designated for this on the navigation control panel. Talking about voice assistance, one feature increasingly seen in luxury cars but absent in the G37 is the voice command.
Infiniti G37 does its bit to be counted among sophisticated luxury cars. But how sophisticated can luxury get in a car where the level of lumbar support is set by a rotary lever, manually operated from the side of your seat?
The car looks and feels compact but actually, there is enough space inside as defined by the segment that includes the 3-series, the C-class and the ATS. The interiors feel a bit too cozy perhaps due to the lack of headroom, especially under the slanting roof of the rear. The breathing seats in beige were really comfortable though there isn’t much of center seating above the drive train tunnel than what a child wouldn’t mind.
The most useful of the rear cabin features is the individually adjustable backrests of the two rear seats inclined for personal comfort. With the sport-tuned suspensions with their stabilizer bars, the ride character is firm but that doesn’t takeaway from passenger comfort.
The family gets enough boot space despite narrowing sidewalls, and there is netted storage space behind the front seats, but compromise happens on the door side pockets, strangely absent in the rear. Children will be happy to see the little sunroof while the inspiring 10-speaker Bose music system wraps up the cabin luxury.
The Essential Infiniti G Sedan
Infiniti G37 is a wolf in a sheep’s clothing, if you give that saying a benevolent twist on its head. Of course there is enough luxury and space to please – but the G37 gives what would make a driver happy and doesn’t fiddle around much with what is outside its domain.
Drive Courtesy: Infiniti Middle East
Pictures: Sudeep Koshy