Is The G Coupe a Better Z?
I’ve had my ’05 G Coupe for about six months now. I traded an ’03 350Z for it, and I think that I have gained enough perspective into G ownership that I can have, and make, some valid comparisons with my Z. I drove the Z cross-country and up and down the Atlantic coast and in 55 months I put 55, 000 miles on the car. The car was TESTED and proved–I did everything you could do to probe the cars’ limits–max speed, urban survival, stoplight Grand Prix, cornering tricks, the introduction of horrible weather while trying these tricks out, etc, and I came to love owning a Z. That’s why, when it was time to trade I knew that I had to find a car that would give me the same kick I got from my 350 .I was led to Infiniti NOT by some blind loyalty to Nissan and its products, but by the lure of the familiar and by a long-standing opinion I have had, that the G is just a bigger Z, a 2+2 sport car with a different name.
Well, the transition from sports car to GT has been seamless. The handling, performance and dynamics are so similar that comparison seems odious. Here are some differences, some similarities and some observations.
–Dynamics: the same motor, suspension and handling. The differences are so tiny as to be meaningless. The ride is softer, none of the bleeding kidney sensations imparted by the Z’s buckboard ride–something I do not miss–but I haven’t sensed any handling tradeoffs. And, naturally, you are driving a much bigger car, but the size vanishes when the dynamics are called upon.
I’ve been in a few sudden situations where the handling team gets called from the bench to take over the field, a few where rapid speed is called for, some others where the whole package gets called into play, and the G always satisfies in a very familiar way. I miss the 6-speed, but the Tiptronics are a good substitute. I’ve only recently broken the annoying habit of stomping my left foot to the carpet when I use it…
On my favorite stretch of freeway interchange there is a sweeping, increasing-radius curve that tightens up like a fist before it punches you onto the highway. In the Z I could hit about 80 before it got stupid. I can do the same in the G. It sticks, it holds. I have also seen 125–and could have gone much faster–but I started thinking about my lawyer’s phone number a lot so I slowed down.
As far as power–well, I would like to do a side-by-side on some back road, me and the G and a Z.I have a friend who has one identical to my old car, but she doesn’t want to even hear about doing this, not yet anyway. I think the Z would win the faceoff, but not by much.I’m thinking of asking Travolta if I could use his runway…
–Cosmetics: The G Coupe is a nice looking car. It has a proper amount of the long-hood-short-deck Pony car style to distinguish it from Big Brother Z, but it retains a lot of familial Z-cues in it, like the sweep of the roofline, the side window profile or the shape of the headlamps. It’s a little taller, a bit broader, and of course, 10 inches longer. And it has a big, fat butt, just like the 350. If the Z held its breath and puffed out its cheeks, it would look like a G. You can tell that they were designed together, probably by the same people over the same bottle of saki.
Still, it is nowhere near as distinctive as the Sunset Z’s humpy, come-race-me shape. Hell, it’s practically anonymous, especially in Pewter. And nobody stops me in parking lots to ask silly questions about my car anymore…
–Inside: much larger, obviously. I’m 6’2, 215 lbs, so I really was packed into my Z. I am totally NOT squeezed in the G. There is a lot of front seat room for me and a passenger, like my 6’4 baby brother, who had to practically fold himself in half to get in the Z, then would sit all hunched up and miserable, complaining at least once per mile. Plus, there is the BACK seat, a rarity in Zs, where actual, human sized occupants can ride.
The dash layout is a total rethink of the Z’s. First, a lot of important information has been eliminated from the G’s interface. There are no oil temp/oil pressure gauges, nor is there an ammeter. All you get is a speedo, a tach, a temp gauge and a fuel gauge. Then, there is no little computer thingee that gives MPG readouts or elapsed times or miles per hour, no friendly flashing light if you exceed a certain RPM, no precise, camera-like controls for wipers and lights.(No little “G” emblem cast into the A/C duct in the doorways either). The pod does move with the steering wheel though, a cool Porsche-like touch that I’m happy they retained.
The seats are comfortable and fat, compared to the kidney-gripping thin-shell buckets in the Z. The sunroof robs some headroom so I have the driver’s seat in the extreme low-rider position, but I’m still very comfortable. You sit taller, and hanging an elbow out the window becomes realistic once again. Still, I miss the all-business, fighter-jet feel you get when you strap yourself into a Z cockpit.
And, finally, there are glove boxes, plural. Yay!!!There are plenty of places to stash things, including some clever touches like a little card slot for turnpike tickets above the driver’s left ear and a secretstash place between the backseat riders. The cutouts in the doors have useable cup holders, there are both lighter AND ashtray, the HVAC and audio controls are well-placed, the 8-speaker BOSE is tits-up and the interior is done in shades of tan and off-white, a 180 degree departure from the Z’s womb-like black cave.
Lastly, there’s the Back Seat. This is a whole new territory and a massive departure from the space-deficient 350. I love it. Actual adults can use it, and there is a lot of room for baby seats, bulk purchases from Sam’s and the occasional 3rd or 4th passenger. I can now party with friends or pick up hitchhikers with large backpacks, and instead of scaring the sheet out of only ONE passenger with my driving techniques, I can now frighten a carload.
–Complaints: the aforementioned headliner irritation comes to mind, and sometimes over big bumps or railroad tracks I smack my head onto the (much lower) roof, which adds to the irritation. And the same bunch of saki drinking Japanese who designed the Z incorporated the same aerodynamics into the G, resulting in any water heavier than fog simply pushing the moisture through the car’s open window and onto somebody’s face. Despite the G’s wealth of space, it still has a Z-sized trunk. No way I can cram a keg into it, and the ashtray only holds four or six butts before it’s filled…um, that’s it, complaint-wise.
–Conclusion: Is the G BETTER than the Z??? Well, no. It’s about the same. I gave up very little in the trade. I’m driving the ying to the Z’s yang, the po-tay-to to its po-tah-to, a linebacker rather than a quarterback. Its the same car,upscaled.I like it and I’m glad I bought it.
Gee, it’s like a Z.
A 2+2 350Z.
Still, tomorrow, if I won the Lotto, the first thing I’d do is go and buy another Z, something I can park in the garage alongside the G. The G would become the Spare Car, the one I use to haul crowds.
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