Infiniti G37 Long-Term Road Test – Part I
While road tests can give one an overall first impression of an automobile, only an ownerof said vehicle will be able to offer the most complete insight of what heartache or pleasure may be obtained with the car over the long term. What may be fun for a day may be wearing after weeks worth of use or there may simply be some uniqueness to the vehicle that was not discovered until you have had to face daily trials with the vehicle. Even then, the opinion of one person must always be taken with a grain of salt as one person’s pleasure is another’s pain.With that said, the following is my personal overview of the 2008 Infiniti G37 sport coupe after 2 months of ownership.If you find this helpful, please check back in for the next review scheduled at 6 months.
If we look at NICOclub’s coverage of this generation of the G-series coupe we begin with the 2006 Infiniti Concept, leaking of the first photographs prior to the 2007 New York Auto Show and the August 16th, 2008 Dealership Unveiling Ceremonies. We then move to our initial road test of the G37 itself. One thing you will notice is there are two individual entities which are a part of each article:The Infiniti G coupe and myself. As a Nissan enthusiast I have followed this vehicle from concept to release and so enjoyed the initial test drive I finally purchased one as my daily driver.With the purchase I felt the urge to continue coverage with milestone ownership reports in which this is the first installment.
The particular vehicle I chose is a G37 Journey in Ivory Pearl with the Sport and premium packages.I was hoping for a 6mt sport model but that idea was quickly nixed by the wife as she despises manual transmissions and with the need to swap cars from time to time I knew a 6-speed was not in the cards.The two packages upgrade the generous Journey configuration by adding:
Sport package:Viscous Limited-Slip Differential (VLSD)Upgraded brakes (4-piston front and 2-piston rear calipers, with 14.0-inch front and 13.8-inch rear brake discs)Sport tuned suspension19″ lightweight 10-spoke rimsUnique front fascia and side sillsFront sport seats with thigh extension and driver’s power torso and thigh supportSolid magnesium paddle shifters mounted on steering columnAluminum pedals
Premium package:Power moon roofInfiniti “Studio on Wheels” sound systemiPod interface2-way power driver’s seat lumbar supportMemory system for driver’s seat, steering wheel and outside mirrorsDriver’s seat, steering wheel, and outside mirror position synchronizationPower tilt and telescoping steering column synchronizes gauge cluster with column for improved visionAutomatic anti-glare rearview mirror with HomeLink® Universal Transceiver and compassBluetooth® Hands-Free Phone SystemHeated outside mirrors
Based upon availability, and personal taste in some aspects, I chose not to get the Technology package, Navigation package nor all-wheel steering.
Now, with each vehicle purchased the purpose of the vehicle may be somewhat different.From my perspective I wanted a daily commuter to replace my 2002 Nissan Maxima. Replacement may be a strong word as the Maxima itself has simply been shuffled to my wife so I have the pleasure of owning two Nissan products with award-winning VQ power plants and excellent looks. Regardless, the G37 now has a role of highway warrior and after hours commuter. With my “real job” I support a large tri-city area and 2-3 times a week I am driving at least 4 hours a day and sometimes 8+ hours as the need requires.On weekends and after hours I use it to make grocery runs and other inane in-town tasks as my spousal unit demands.
So, now that we have established what my normal driving is like, the question I have to ask myself is “how does it compare to the observations I made during the initial road test”. Well, pretty close.While I still feel the same way about the positive aspects I reported, I feel completely different about the negative aspects (want to know what those were?Read the article). Coming from a FWD sedan to a RWD coupe took a bit of transitioning to the point where I now dislike driving the Maxima.To be fair, dislike is too strong of a word as the Maxima is still a fine car. Regardless, after 4000 miles and 2 months of use here are my current feelings about the G37.
From an aesthetic viewpoint I love it. I love it more after I covered the chrome treatment on the trunk lid with a spoiler as I felt that was a cheap look for the car (others love it). It gets tons of looks from others on the road and in my area I have only run across two others (one being a visitor from Georgia). While I understand some areas have quite a large number of G-series vehicles, that is simply not the case here and I stand out. Not bad at all.Does that mean I love all aspects? Of course not.Being an owner’s review of the car I’m sure most readers probably caremore about what I don’t like than what I do,so addressing that from an exterior perspective is primarily about personal taste and what I view could be better. From a taste perspective I did not care much for the previously mentioned trunk chrome and I do not necessarily like the plain driving bulbs in the headlights as it gives the front end a cheaper look.Of course, this is a low-cost fix by simply replacing bulbs and is taste alone. From a preference standpoint the Sport Package changes the front fascia to have two separate “vent” areas in the nose, separated by a lower radiator filler, instead of two oblong slots. My issue with these is that they are non-functional.I would have preferred to have an option to have real mesh-style inserts in which I could use to duct air to either the intakes or the brakes themselves.Unfortunately I will have to wait for the aftermarket to provide replacements or make something myself when time allows.
Finally, from a paint perspective I found out that Ivory Pearl is a 1-year run so those with white cars should be happy they have a limited run color code.To date I have not had any issues with the paint other than one small nick in the front bumper to be fixed prior to installation of a clear bra (which I highly suggest owners look into to protect the nose from damage).
Interior and electronics
I can’t find much at fault with the interior, layout of the dash or the whole technological explosion that has happened within the G37. From an entry standpoint, I love the keyless entry and push-button start. The key simply sits in my pocket and I feel spoiled. The seats are comfortable and offer enough adjustments to keep me tweaking as much as needed to make long drives comfortable.I have heard of some “larger” owners complaining about the side bolsters being too tight for them but I have not experienced that issue and I’m sure not a small person.
I find that the car has a lot of space for drinks with two console cup holders, the doors can each hold a 20oz bottle and the rear has its own cup holders.No issues there at all.I do find the space in the center console to be somewhat limited if you are using the accessory plug-in or keep an iPod connected within the console itself. The glove box is also minute in comparison to Nissan products I have owned in the past.
The Studio on Wheels sound system is pretty impressive in my book and that is a hard thing for me to say.I have been into aftermarket car audio since the early 1980’s and I tend to strip out factory systems and put in new.Not in this case as I’m satisfied with the factory Bose performance.Does that mean all is perfect? Nope. From a stereo perspective the iPod interface can be annoying as you have to muck with the iPod itself at times to get the songs to pull up (not an Infiniti issue) and when youfirst start the car with the iPod attached it goes directly to it instead of staying on radio/CD/XM.From an XM standpoint I would like to see more integration with the steering wheel.The steering wheel controls will allow you change between music/talk genre’s but will not allow you to change to individual stations thus you have to use the center-mounted tuning knob.With over 200 XM stations this can be a time consuming process. Yes, you can program XM stations into memory which is a plus. The in-dash monitor itself does a good job although I have noticed that it does get somewhat washed out via sunlight every once in a while, something I did not notice during the test drive.
From a phone perspective, the Bluetooth works beautifully.I have yet to have any problems hearing a contact on the phone nor with me coming through clearly to the person on the other line.You have the capability of storing phone numbers within the car’s phone book as well. To do so you have to verbally store the name and number and you can only do this while parked, not driving. This would be a worthwhile exercise if you do not have a large number of contacts but I find myself using my phones contact listing instead. As I do not have the Navigation package I am not sure if you can upload contact lists into the phone via the compact flash card or not.
Performance and Drivability
With 330hp on tap I’m pretty satisfied at the moment with the performance of the vehicle. Of course, looking at other cars with 400+hp I do constantly want more. The aftermarket community is still ramping up production of these products and I am sure once the new Nissan 370Z hits the market there will be a ton out there, thus I sit patiently.
Initial observations during my test drive review listed that the gas and brake pedals seemed a bit close and the steering was a bit firm and overly dampened. After three months of driving the car I find it hard to go back to my Nissan sedan as its pedals now seem too far apart and the steering seems too loose. As expected, ownership of the car solved the majority of these issues within my mind as I grew accustomed.
From a highway perspective, the faster the speed limit, the more the car begs to beromped on.While I have bumped it up to 120 once, I’d prefer to avoid an emergency lane meeting with Johnny Law. I’m a “keep it on the track” kind of guy and hope to really be able to put it through its paces on a track at some time in the future.During city driving I have noticed that it is kind of “clunky” and a tad bit rough as the automatic transmission searches for my true intentions. This is felt as some hesitation here and there during slow acceleration (with and without dynamic control turned on) while in normal drive mode. I have yet to pinpoint the cause at this point and it is only somewhat noticeable in the first place so it may have to be chalked up to “business as usual”. Whether on the highway or city streets the ride is firm and controllable without any annoying harshness that is felt in other vehicles with sport suspension systems.
Being an automatic, the car has two driving modes which consist of 4 driving options.Standard drive mode is calm until you press the right pedal to the floor. Even then it will somewhat try and maintain an evenness to its shifting. Move the shifter to the left into DS mode and it’s a different beast as the transmission begins to rev-match and keep you in the peak of the VQ’s power band as much as possible to allow for spirited driving. For more manual control you can utilize the shifter to manually shift gears up or down. The fourth option is again within the DS mode and allows you to shift up or down via the steering column mounted paddle shifters. I have yet to determine which mode I like the best at this point and I play with three DS modes all the time unless I am on the highway in which standard drive mode gives the best fuel economy.
All-in-all, I find the car comfortable regardless of road conditions and sporty when I want it to be.
Economy, Maintenance costs and Dealerships
As the majority of my driving is highway, I still tend to have mixed driving on a dailybasis.I also tend to have a somewhat heavy foot from a stop.Average fuel economy in this highway-heavy mixed mode has been around 22MPG.As time progresses and the engine is further broken in I would expect to see that number rise a tad.
From a maintenance perspective, Infiniti suggests an initial 3,000 mile oil changewith inspection.I had this performed at the cost of $48.80. Upon initially purchasing the vehicle I noticed that the brakes seemed to shimmy a bit when slowing down from high speeds. Upon inspection it was obvious that something had gotten on the rotors eitherat the dealership itself or during the first few days of driving as they looked spotted.Initially, Infiniti wanted to try sanding down the rotors instead of turning them to resolve the issue but I was on my way out of town at the time and my work schedule would not allow me the opportunity to swing by and pick it up afterwards. By the time I was able to drop the car back off at my local dealership they had hot-spotted and warped, thus needing the rotors turned on all four corners.Infiniti provided me with a new EX35 loaner and repaired the brakes at no cost.
A rave review I have for Infiniti is the friendliness and support of their employees.I purchased the car in one state (Infiniti of Cincinnati, OH) and utilize that location along with my local dealership (Sam Swope Infiniti in Louisville, KY) for any and all questions and maintenance.
Months of Ownership:2 months
Vehicle list price:$41,300 + $500 for aftermarket spoiler
Maintenance:$48.80 for 3000 mile inspection and oil change
Repairs:$0 for warranty brake repairs
Miles Per Gallon:22MPG in mixed city/highway driving
Review by:Matthew Moody (audtatious), NICOclub Administrator