2013 Infiniti G37x Premium Sport (USA)

 photo Picture167_zps64b0279c.jpg  photo Picture174_zps57bd4c67.jpg  photo Picture171_zpse8a01a4d.jpg  photo Picture170_zps3027d54d.jpg  photo Picture169_zpse606f2f0.jpg  photo Picture161_zps001b5610.jpg
 photo Picture168_zpsbf84fe75.jpg  photo Picture166_zps76086fcc.jpg  photo Picture165_zpsb2ca6473.jpg  photo Picture173_zps652bcd40.jpg  photo Picture164_zps775f38b7.jpg  photo Picture162_zpsd537e22a.jpg  photo Picture160_zps63170d36.jpg
   photo Picture163_zps3dc84e73.jpg  photo Picture172_zpsbed87354.jpg  photo Picture158_zpsecb94c7e.jpg  photo Picture156_zps08b5db3e.jpg  photo Picture151_zpsf62a6379.jpg
 photo Picture149_zpsb106cd11.jpg  photo Picture157_zps69895900.jpg  photo Picture155_zps8a28d623.jpg  photo Picture146_zps193cb285.jpg  photo Picture154_zps80207a80.jpg  photo Picture150_zps14a9cf39.jpg  photo Picture143_zps42b47a30.jpg
 photo Picture148_zps55656c59.jpg  photo Picture152_zps6f2f5e38.jpg  photo Picture147_zps61a46e7b.jpg  photo Picture144_zpsa039ed5b.jpg  photo Picture142_zpse55be48c.jpg
    photo Picture130_zpsae1c3193.jpg  photo Picture127_zpsda13d27c.jpg  photo Picture131_zpsec672af1.jpg photo Picture139_zps09cf8785.jpg  photo Picture145_zps5ebd9d29.jpg  photo Picture134_zpse366895b.jpg
 photo Picture126_zps98720606.jpg  photo Picture125_zps5875e7a8.jpg  photo Picture124_zpsaff94bfe.jpg  photo Picture123_zpsf4b69e91.jpg  photo Picture121_zps2f1cac54.jpg
 photo Picture122_zps12082a9a.jpg  photo Picture118_zps89628053.jpg  photo Picture115_zps9a680ed1.jpg  photo Picture128_zpsb84e1dff.jpg  photo Picture113_zpsbd4c6b79.jpg
 photo Picture120_zps709f9cee.jpg  photo Picture117_zps9b0453b1.jpg  photo Picture112_zpsb9877dc7.jpg  photo Picture116_zps7a81fca0.jpg  photo Picture111_zps013f1737.jpg  photo Picture110_zpsd0d6c6bd.jpg  photo Picture109_zpsf2784efd.jpg
Those of you who have analysed the various rental vehicles that I source for test from Hertz will note that in the US at least, there is next to no repetition. With over 120 different models on fleet at any one time, and my rental total varying between 15 to 25, depending on travel plans during the year, it’s quite hard to keep up with what’s on fleet for one trial. Renting from the larger airport locations clearly also helps, as even when they are low on cars, there is usually something that can be made available to me that I have not previously sampled. But when I arrived at the Hertz JFK facility at very early o’clock on a Wednesday morning, always the nadir of rental car availability in the US, there was literally no choice. It’s nothing like the size of the rental locations on the west coast, and on this occasion it was particularly devoid of cars of any size. The vehicle allocated to me was an Infiniti G37, and as I drove one of these when on vacation in Colorado in 2009, my natural reaction was to ask if anything alternative was available (which I did do), but when it was clear that at least for that day, this was going to be the car for me, I was actually not too upset. That is because when I had previously sampled the Infiniti G37, I had concluded that it was one of the very “best” cars on the fleet at the time. That was back in 2009, and although it has changed only in minor details since then, and its replacement by the rather awkwardly styled Q50 is imminent, I suspected that it would still turn out to be rather good.

 photo Picture102_zpsd73ff9c4.jpg  photo Picture101_zps70fd98bf.jpg  photo Picture100_zps3ff46f3b.jpg  photo Picture099_zpsb294b3a6.jpg  photo Picture088_zps3ddcd5fa.jpg  photo Picture087_zps366e3857.jpg  photo Picture093_zps2842f553.jpg  

One of the strong points of the G37 and preceding G35 models, has always been the engine, and that has not changed with this car. As well its sheer potency, it is the noise it makes which appeals to me. Sounding not unlike the Z car with which it shares the same basic powerplant, it roars delightfully when you fire it up. It does quieten down a lot in normal gentle motoring, but press on a bit and as well as coming to life, the sounds increase in a not unpleasant way, too. There is a price to pay and that is at the fuel pump. In the end I drove the G37 a distance of 255 miles and it consumed 14.1 gallons, which computes to just 18 mpg US or a rather disappointing 21.6 mpg Imperial, and it requires the more costly Premium grade fuel. Although I had this car in New York State, it did not spend much time in traffic, and most of those miles were steady speed on the New York and New Jersey Thruway with only a bit of stop/start on the morning I was doing the pictures, so this return has to be declared as poor. With 328 bhp at your disposal, it is probably inevitable that you will want to use the performance, so you just need to budget accordingly for the price at the gas tank!  There is a 7 speed automatic transmission, and it is among the very smoothest that you will find making genuinely imperceptible changes between the ratios if you leave it to its own devices. There are paddles on the steering wheel if you do want to make the shifts yourself. Infiniti project the G37 as a sports sedan, and that is a perfectly reasonable claim to make, as driving enjoyment features high on the list of qualities of this car. It starts with the leather wrapped wheel, which is pleasant to hold, and goes on to encompass steering which has just the right amount of weighting and feel such that you can tell exactly where the wheels are going to point in response to your steering input. The test car was a G37x, which means that it had all wheel drive rather than the standard rear wheel drive of the standard G37 models. If I am being honest, for the driving I did, you would not have been able to tell had there not been a badge on the back of the car. There are no clues inside the Infiniti, and on dry and mostly straight roads around the Tri-State area, I got nowhere near to finding any handling limits at all. It was a challenge to find any bends, certainly ones that were not on urban streets. The four wheel drive versions are popular in the North East for obvious reasons given the volume of snow that falls there, and I can well imagine that a powerful and torquey car like this with chunky tyres and just rear wheel drive is probably pretty challenged, just like its BMW rival without the extra drive to the front wheels.  The ride proved good, which is just as well, as some of the New York and New Jersey roads are in at least as ill-maintained and rough a state as those in California. Barring the engine noise that emanates when you work the G37 hard, this is a quiet car at cruising speed, with wind and road noise well suppressed. It is not that easy to manoeuvre as the steeply sloping rear window means you cannot readily judge where the back of the car finishes, but the standard reversing camera solves that problem. The door mirrors did a good job at showing was advancing along either side of the car.

 photo Picture095_zps2bebafc5.jpg  photo Picture129_zpsea359311.jpg  photo Picture107_zpse38a5d56.jpg  photo Picture096_zps1a462d21.jpg  photo Picture119_zps4f692d49.jpg

Almost lone among the Japanese manufacturers, Infiniti seem to have discovered the art of presenting an appealing interior which looks classy. The G37 is no exception, with plenty of nice leather in use, and some high quality plastics. There are dark satin inserts in the dashboard and some lighter ones on the door casing and elsewhere on the dashboard, along with sparing use of chrome rings and highlights which coupled with the iconic Infiniti analogue clock high in the centre of the dash and the Infiniti logo embossed into the seat backs, all combine to make this an appealing interior. The test car had the optional standard glass sun-roof, so with the cover pushed back, there was lots of extra light so what would otherwise have been a bit dark sombre was actually a pleasant an airy place to be. It is not just the overall ambience that Infiniti have got right, but the details are good, too. This starts with the fact that the instrument cluster moves with the steering column, so there is no danger of suddenly finding that your perfect driving position obscures the instruments. Not only are the twin main dials clearly marked and easy to read, but there is a nice dark blue ring around the inner circumference which lights up when the ignition is on, and in my opinion enhances the visual appeal. Like all Infiniti in the US, there is a remote Start/Stop function, so as along as the key is in range, the G37 is started by pushing the button to the right of the steering wheel. There is a slot for the key low on the left of the dash, but my pocket turned out to be as good a place as any. Stubby column stalks operate the indicators, lights and wipers. The upper centre of the dash is dominated by an integrated 7″ display screen which shows audio unit and climate settings in normal operation, and if you press the “info” button, a number of on board computer and vehicle related data points. When reverse gear is selected, it becomes the place where the image of what is behind the car is shown. I was not particularly impressed by the stray reflections in the windscreen at night from the unit, but in all other respects, it proved particularly easy to use, with a large central rotary knob and some large buttons to either side. This is all mounted under the unit rather than on the console and as such it is probably “better” than the equivalent iDrive or MMI in its German competitors. Under this unit are the main controls for the audio system and the climate control, some of the former of which are repeated on the steering wheel boss. The centre console contains the stubby gearlever and two small rotary knobs for the seat heaters, which I did not find necessary, but a passenger did on one occasion.

 photo Picture090_zps7af6c4f9.jpg  photo Picture089_zps3b29ed41.jpg  photo Picture092_zpscfe17ecd.jpg  photo Picture097_zps72ee025e.jpg  photo Picture098_zps9b8248ad.jpg

It would be a driver of particularly unusual proportions who could not get comfortable in this car. The front seats are electrically adjusted, and the optional Premium pack on the test car meant that there is a 2 set position memory function for the driver’s chair. When the ignition is off, the driver’s seat powers backward to give extra space for easier in- or egress, which proved useful, as I found the space between seat and steering tighter than in some cars, even though I was perfectly comfortable with the seat in position. Whilst many of the G37’s rivals – the German triumvirate of 3 series, C Class and A4 among them – have grown steadily with every evolution such that the once critisised lack of space in the back of some of them is now a complaint of the past, things are still quite tight in the rear of this car. Things are not helped by the sizeable transmission tunnel which means that should you try to put a third passenger in the back, they had better not have legs, as they will need to splay them on either side of this rather tall intrusion, which I suspect would not prove comfortable over even a modest distance. Even with just two adults in there, things are a bit tight, with legroom that will only seem generous if there is a driver like me who sits very far forward, and headroom is not in particularly abundant supply, either. The boot is even more compact, with overall capacity falling well short of that provided by the Infiniti’s rivals. The space available is regular in shape, but the floor is relatively high and the boot does not extend that far back. The rear seats are fixed, though there is a pass-through flap through the rear armrest. Inside the cabin, there is a decent glovebox, a cubby area under the central armrest which is situated well back so a little awkward to reach, and some small door bins. Overall, not that generous for a car that could well have four occupants travelling a decent distance.

 photo Picture091_zps7f755979.jpg  photo Picture094_zps4900a5b2.jpg  photo Picture114_zpsbe12177e.jpg  photo Picture135_zpscaf6d089.jpg  photo Picture133_zps6892d2f3.jpg

For 2013, Infiniti have three models in the G37 Sedan range, the entry level Journey, the all-wheel drive G37x and the top spec G37 Sport. There are also Coupe and Convertible models on offer. Equipment levels for the Journey and the AWD are probably slightly above what you would find in the G37’s rivals. Interior highlights include dual-zone automatic climate control, manual tilt/telescopic steering wheel, trip computer, leather upholstery, aluminium cabin accents, heated 8-way power front seats, a dashboard display screen with rearview camera, keyless entry/engine-start, and a 6 speaker CD/MP3 audio system with satellite radio tuner, USB port, and wireless phone link. Also standard are automatic bi-xenon headlamps, heated power door mirrors, and 17″alloy wheels. The AWD adds a locking centre differential to help maximise traction in slippery conditions. The Sport has a 6 speed manual gearbox, and to help out with its rear driven wheels, a traction-enhancing limited-slip rear differential, larger brakes, a firmer sport suspension, and 18″ wheels with staggered-width performance tyres. It also gets a power sunroof; rear-obstacle detection; power-adjustable steering wheel; 12-way power seats with driver position memory and adjustable thigh and torso cushions; a 10 speaker Bose “Studio on Wheels” stereo; and a voice-activated navigation system with live traffic/weather information and hard-disk digital-file storage. Reflecting its top of the range status, the Sport has no factory-fitted option packages. However, Journey and AWD buyers can get most of the Sport’s standard features by ordering a Premium Package in combination with a Navigation Package and a Sport Package. The last includes specific interior and exterior trim, plus steering wheel shift paddles for the automatic transmission. But typical of this brand, the Navigation and Sport groups require the Premium Package, which bundles the sunroof and obstacle detection with the power steering wheel, driver memory system, and Bose audio. A Performance Tyre and Wheel Package brings in the 18″ rolling stock.

 photo Picture132_zps58ac0ef7.jpg  photo Picture108_zps62986b17.jpg  photo Picture106_zps29100a95.jpg  photo Picture105_zps5c338300.jpg  photo Picture104_zps516452cd.jpg

Back in 2009, I concluded that the G37 was really very good indeed. My postulation that it would struggle to find buyers in Europe, thanks to the lack of an available diesel engine, proved to be prescient, and the G37 is a very rare sighting indeed on the European side of the Pond. Given the increases in the price of fuel in America in the past few years, you would have thought that a car that was as thirsty as this one would perhaps have lost some favour there too, but the reality is that the less powerful and more thrifty G25 version had a short life as buyers did not want it. They wanted the G37, and in some number, with just under 60,000 of them finding buyers in the US in 2012. That means it outsold the domestic Cadillac CTS by some margin and the Audi A4 by nearly a 2:1 ratio, with the Lexus IS fareing even worse, notching up just 40% of that sales volume.  G37 is Infiniti’s largest seller in the US market, and with good reason. Put simply, it is an excellent car. If you can live with the tight rear seat and relatively small boot, you would be unlikely to find other fault, and history has shown that these cars are reliable and stay that way, which is not something that can be said of the 3 series or C Class. Infiniti premiered a replacement model, with the new name of Q50, earlier in the year, and the burning question is going to be whether it is at least as good, or maybe even better than this G37. For now, though, all you need to know is that if there is any car in the US rental fleets at which you get a second shot at driving, this is probably the best one for that to happen.

 photo Picture141_zpsd625f594.jpg  photo Picture140_zpsfbe0aa98.jpg  photo Picture138_zps6a77b0dd.jpg  photo Picture137_zpsec2981d0.jpg  photo Picture136_zpsf880c951.jpg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *