2003 New Car Review: Infiniti G35 Sports Sedan


2003 G35

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By JOHN HEILIG THE AUTO PAGE

SPECIFICATIONS

MODEL: Infiniti G35 Sport Sedan
ENGINE: 3.5-liter V6 HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 260 hp @ 6,000 rpm/260 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed automatic with manual mode
WHEELBASE: 112.2 in. LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT: 186.5 x 69.0 x 57.7 in.
STICKER PRICE: $28,000 (est.)

There are very few cars that jaded automotive writers get excited about. One of these is the Infiniti G35 Sports Sedan. Another is the G35 Coupe, but we'll talk about that later. When the G35 was shown for the first time at the New York Auto Show, there was true applause. Not the phony kind that's canned or employee-led, but real applause. The reason for the applause is the design, which is striking. The G35 Sedan looks a lot like the Cadillac CTS in profile, which is no slouch in its own right.

So I have to admit from the outset that I liked the G35. When it was introduced, I was one of the clappers. Here was a relatively inexpensive luxury car, or car from a luxury brand, that had absolutely knockout lines. The front profile, to me, is gorgeous. The headlight treatment is superb, with an accent line that runs right down the middle of the cover. The taillight treatment is as interesting as the Q45's headlight treatment, with a18 jewel-like reflectors in the lens that give it a look of its own.

The G35 is powered by a 260-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that is the same engine that you'll find in the new Z35 coupe from Nissan. This engine has plenty of oomph and is extremely smooth as well. Nissan/Infiniti is noted for the quality of its engines, and this is definitely one of them.

The engine drives the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission with a select-shift option. This allows the driver to run the car in either full automatic mode of to manually shift through the gears sequentially. All you have to do is shift into "D," move the lever to the right and push forward to upshift; pull back to downshift. Unfortunately, we didn't have too many opportunities to play with the manual side of the transmission, but when we did use it we found it comfortable to use and it extracted maximum performance from the engine.

I also discovered that the G35 was as comfortable to ride in as it was to drive. I was forced into the passenger seat after surgery when the doctor insisted I behave. So I was a passenger several times and with the power adjustments for the passenger as well as the driver I was able to adjust the seat for maximum comfort.

Rear-seat legroom is extremely good. I discovered that when I had the opportunity to sit back there as well. I was grateful my period of non-driving was a short one.

Instrumentation is fairly standard with the regular four gauges. Also included is the trademark Infiniti analog clock in the center of the dash that makes its own statement.

There are some neat features. There is a small covered storage area in the center of the dash, and another just above the glove box. It can hold good-sized magazines, for example. In the pockets of both doors are good storage areas.

Our tester also had a sunroof and a small overhead console that was big enough to hold sunglasses. Extenders on the sun visors added to the amount of shade that was available. Both visors also had lighted vanity mirrors. Two cupholders in the center console and a power outlet for cell phones or laptops added utility to an area that was also large enough to carry a lot of items. There is a cell phone holder on the right side of the console. This is an addition that has become a necessity in modern cars, even though it's becoming more and more illegal to use a cell phone when driving.

Oddly, there was no remote trunk release on the dash. This was surprising, but since you have a luxury car it should have been there. The power windows were power up as well as power down.

The Infiniti G35 sedan obviously competes with the CTS as well as the Lexus ES300. The "entry level" is becoming more crowded every day and is filled with solid, quality vehicles that are close enough in price to the more mainstream Toyotas, Nissans, Hondas and Fords that they are an affordable alternative. Granted, the bogey is somewhat higher, but you get more car to go along with it.

All in all it's a solid vehicle and very comfortable, with none of the confusing aspects of the instruments or controls that so many luxury car manufacturers seem to want to offer consumers these days.

© 2002 The Auto Page Syndicate

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