Like all brilliant people, Nissan-Renault-Infiniti chief Carlos Ghosn has the ability to break-down complexity. And for automotive companies, the core must always be great products.
So it is with the prestige Infiniti brand which has now commenced in Australia following decades of success in North America, Europe and Asia. After launching with the FX SUV and M sedan, Infiniti has now whipped the covers from its G37 model, available in both Coupe and Convertible variants.
Not a crook offering in that lineup and arrival of the G37 allows Infiniti to draw a line in the sand and get on with building its local business. “We don’t follow the crowd,” explained Infiniti Australia’s astute chief Kevin Snell and for him, the focus is now on opening new dealerships and that means nothing less than partnering with Australia’s best automotive retail operations.
Yes, there’s lots more to come from Infiniti – sales are up in North America by 23 per-cent this year, Brazil has been announced as the next country which will be opening, and by 2016 Infinitis will be sold in more than 71 global markets.
Infiniti launched with the stunning FX SUV and slick M model sedan, but we knew the G37 Coupe and Convertible were following. The range clearly points to Infiniti’s history as predominantly an American market brand, however, as we know from its involvement with Red Bull Formula 1 and Aussie Mark Webber, the brand is these days increasingly global and determined to build not only in Europe but also in markets like China.
Photos can be deceptive, and with an overall length of 4655mm, the Infiniti G37 is roughly the same size as rivals from Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Like all Infinitis, the G37 comes to market jam-packed with luxury and technology features as the Japanese brand (although these days headquartered in Hong Kong) goes head-to-head with some credentialed opposition.
The Infiniti G37 lineup for Australia looks like this:
Coupe GT Premium $75,900 ($84,970 ‘Driveaway’)
Coupe S Premium $83,500 ($92,950 ‘Driveaway’)
Convertible S Premium $87,900 ($97,570 ‘Driveaway’)
S Premium Coupe adds sports suspension, four-wheel-active steer, viscous limited-slip differential, sports seats and rear spoiler, while both S Premium Coupe and Convertible score sports brakes, 19-inch five-triple-spoke alloy wheels and the tyre pressure monitoring system.
You can go further with the Infiniti G37 Convertible by specifying the ‘Monaco Red’ specification. This adds $2,000 to the sticker but brings glorious ‘Monaco Red’ leather upholstery and red-stained Maple wood trim.
Put simply, the VQ37 V6 engine is one of the world’s best. Also used by Infiniti in the FX SUV and M sedan, the VQ has racked-up numerous ‘Engine Of The Year’ awards.
For the G37, maximum power is 235kW and peak torque is 360Nm. Drive is to the rear wheels via that wonderful seven-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle-shifters for manual changes and downshift throttle-blipping.
Infiniti rates the fuel consumption (combined cycle) at 10.5l/100kms (coupe) and 11.4l/100kms (convertible).
You know the Infiniti G37 was created as a drivers’ car the second you slip behind the wheel and fine-tune the adjustments for steering wheel and seat to your requirements. The combination of that relationship and the relationship to the sports pedals is one you only get from serious sports cars…there is no hint of compromise and the seats support in the right places for high-speed cornering.
In front is the nicely shaped dashboard (Infiniti calls it a ‘double-wave’ look) with the now familiar upmarket analogue clock in the centre and white/violet colour scheme (another Infiniti staple) for the instruments.
Infiniti doesn’t miss a trick when it comes to premium interior fit-out – lots of double-stitched leather and beautiful machined aluminium (except for the transmission paddle-shifters – they’re genuine magnesium!)
There’s a seven-inch colour touch-screen for the 30GB HDD satellite navigation system and a Bose audio system (110-speaker ‘Studio On Wheels’ for the coupe and a 13-speaker – extras in the headrests - ‘Open Air Sound’ for the convertible).
Rear seat accommodation is on-par with others in the segment. Cargo capacity is interesting – 275-litres for the Coupe and 333-litres for the Convertible with the roof closed. But open the roof and the Infiniti G37 Convertible’s complex three-piece top means you’ll be flat-out getting a cricket bat housed in what’s left of the boot space.
You need look no further than the platform sharing going on across the brands at the Volkswagen Group to understand how much automotive company finance departments hate unique engineering – just detonates the bottom line they say. And you need look no further than the unique engineering of the G37 Coupe and Convertible to understand how serious and committed Infiniti is to bringing the best possible products to market…regardless of the complications.
Because, while closely aligned in almost every way, the G37 Convertible boasts unique styling and engineering all the way from the A-pillar to the rear bumper. Even the rear track is wider to – get this for attention to detail – accommodate the folding hard-top roof architecture.
That folding roof on the Infiniti G37 Convertible is a three-piece design and it opens/closes with perhaps the most complex operation of any similar vehicle we have seen. Buy one and you’ll have your mates engrossed for hours watching the various flaps and panels open-and-shut-fold-and-whirr for 25 seconds each way…remarkable.
Both the Infiniti G37 Coupe and Convertible look athletic and purposeful and there’s a nice sense of proportion. They are Infiniti’s FM (Front Mid-Ship) platform which sees the engine sitting well back of the front wheels for the classic long-bonnet-short-cabin profile.
At the front is the hallmark Infiniti double-arch grille, nicely-curved front fenders and curved bonnet, while the rear sees beautifully shaped fenders and a curved boot with complex, shaped tail-lights – all very modern, stylish and reflective of contemporary Japanese architecture in the sophisticated yet simple lines.
Sportiness is enhanced on both models by aggressive wheel arches for the 18-inch or 19-inch alloy wheels.
Infiniti waved as ‘good-bye’ from the Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne’s CBD and our route called for an outbound leg to Hanging Rock and a return via Tullamarine Airport. Victorians will be familiar with some of the excellent driving roads in that part of the world.
Car Showroom sampled the Infiniti G37 Coupe in range-topping S Premium (complete with sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, viscous diff and four-wheel active-steer) and later the G37 Convertible. Both run a complex suspension system with many aluminium components to reduce weight – the front is double-wishbone design with a single pivot lower wishbone, while the rear employs a multi-link arrangement with shock and springs separated (the shock absorbers in line with the wheel centres).
Heading out of town in the Coupe, a brief burst out the back of Keilor showed the excellent response of the 3.7-litre V6 and that superb seven-speeder which automatically blips the throttle on down-changes making every slow corner sound like the Japanese GT race series.
But when we got into some high-speed twisty stuff up and down the hills behind Mount Macedon, the Infiniti G37 Coupe showed its mettle in no uncertain terms. Infiniti has the sports suspension so well calibrated it challenges the spine-rattling stiffness of some high-performance Europeans – the G37 is firm and precise, but doesn’t labor over bumps and imperfections.
And the combination of Infiniti’s four-wheel active-steer and viscous rear differential brought a level of mid-corner balance and exit response from the Coupe which will bring a smile to high-performance coupe drivers. If we were to be super-critical, we would say the Infiniti G37 on initial turn-in is not quite as pin-sharp as say the BMW 3 Series or ‘Benz C-Class…but we’re talking very small increments here.
As we mentioned, the Infiniti G37 Convertible is wider at the rear than the Coupe and there’s no doubt the whole folding roof thing does bring a degree of softness to the open-top version (in direct comparison to the S Premium coupe). Again we’re in the league of very subtle differences which you’ll only really notice when punting hard along your favourite road.
Probably of more interest to convertible buyers is wind intrusion. And we can report, the Infiniti G37 Convertible certainly matches the likes of Mercedes-Benz SLK for keeping the breeze away from your bonce. In fact, at speed in the Infiniti G37 Convertible with the wind-blocker in-place, you actually feel the breeze slightly buffeting the seat belt strap on your shoulder more than it tearing the follicles from your scone…once again very impressive engineering from Infiniti.
Infiniti isn’t just launching a model; it’s still launching a brand in Australia. So you’ll need to look hard to find your nearest dealer and/or go on-line. But make the effort – you’ll be astonished how good these cars are.
So we’ve driven the Infiniti FX SUV and M sedan and yes, we thought they were excellent. And we’d read some good stuff out of North America on the G37…but we didn’t have any real sense of anticipation when we headed off to the national media preview.
And, yep, we should have expected more from the team at Infiniti.
The G37 Coupe, especially the ‘S Premium’ with that sports suspension tune, is a genuine missile – fast, responsive and possessing absolutely the dynamics demanded by high-performance drivers. Just as we should have expected from the same company which brings us the GT-R – possibly the best car in the world.
And the G37 Coupe - while more a ‘boulevarder’ – ticks all of the boxes for buyers in this segment.
All Infiniti G37 models are easy on the eye, loaded with features and beautifully made.
Probably the most direct rival for the Infiniti G37 Convertible is the Lexus IS250 C. Of course Lexus has a lot more dealers in Australia, but there’s no denying the IS250 C is getting a bit long in the tooth, its 153kW/252Nm 2.5-litre V6/six-speed automatic transmission is outgunned by Infiniti’s 235kW/360Nm 3.7-litre/seven-speed auto with downshift rev-matching and, at $87, 900, the well-equipped G37 sits right in the middle of the IS 250 C range ($76,800 - $94,800).
BMW’s 3-Series Convertible looks the bees-knees with its metal roof, but talking petrol engines, you’ll need to pony-up $96,864 for the 325i automatic and even then you’re only getting 160kW/250Nm and a six-speed auto.
Looking at coupes…
Entry-level for the six-cylinder Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe is the C350 priced at $99,900 ($75,900 - $83,500 for the Infiniti G37). Benz’ 3.5-litre V6 gives the Infiniti a run for its money with 225kW/370Nm.
For BMW, its $83,114 for the 325i Coupe but again the 160kW/250Nm six-cylinder and six-speed auto are overshadowed by the Infiniti G37.
Good looks; stylish interior; obvious quality; coupe a genuine sporty
Convertible not quite as sharp on-road as coupe
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