November 9, 2012
2013 Infiniti G37xS coupe. Click image to enlarge
The sport package (denoted by the S in G37xS) brings a firmer suspension than the standard car’s. I rarely found the ride unbearable, but you might want to think twice about it if your daily drive route includes plenty of bad pavement.
Functional sport package add-ons include the tighter suspension, shift paddles and front seats with thigh extensions, and adjustable bottom and side bolsters for the driver. Multi-adjustable sport seats like these are a bonus in a daily-driven sporty car: tighten up the bolsters for hard running, and back them off when you’re not in the mood. Cosmetic changes are limited to the front fascia and side sills and aluminum pedals.
The Sport package is a well-conceived option that makes a tangible difference in the car’s performance, even if you have to push it fairly hard to feel it. Steering feel seems more satisfying (compared to my past experiences with the G, which have all been sedans) and the chassis responds willingly when tossed into corners.
My tester had all-wheel drive which, while it seems incongruous in a sports car, is useful in putting the engine’s power down efficiently. Rear-wheel drive tends to be the enthusiast’s choice for driveline layout, but a rear-biased AWD system like Infiniti’s is, depending on your point of view, either almost as good or better than RWD for its ability to limit wheelspin without invoking the car’s stability/traction control system. G coupes with the Sport package also get a limited slip rear differential to further enhance the efficiency with which the engine’s power is converted to forward motion.
In 2003, when Infiniti’s G35 debuted, I remember the owner of the shop I took my own car to laughing at the G35′s “terrible” interior. (The shop was a VW specialist; the owner still drives a Porsche 911 and drinks a lot of German-car koolaid.) He’d have less to laugh about now: Infiniti’s interiors are lovely, and I’d go so far as to name the G’s accommodations among the richest in look and feel in the entry-level luxury class.
However, this is not a large interior: there is a surprising amount of legroom in the rear seat, which comes in handy for adults who need to slouch to keep heads from hitting the back window glass, but let’s call the G coupe what it is: a dressed up Nissan 370Z with an occasional-use back seat. The front seats power forward to ease rear entry, and this can be done from both inside and outside the car. This car is built for whoever occupies the front seats, particularly the one with the steering wheel in front of it. A tiny trunk also limits the car’s flexibility, but the back seat folds (and quite flat, at that).
This test car’s out-the-door price was $55,550 (before freight and taxes). That’s the result of adding $8,750 to the G coupe’s base MSRP, in the form of all-wheel drive ($2,500), Sport package (another $2,500), and the $3,750 High-Tech package, which includes navigation with voice recognition, Bluetooth audio, intelligent cruise control and automatic wipers.
The G runs in a tough crowd, but this coupe has fewer direct competitors than the sedan; only BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac build true coupes starting in the $40,000-something range. Volvo and Lexus build hardtop convertibles that would be better matched with Infiniti’s own G convertible.
This car might have less pedigree than some of its competition, but it’s still got lots to offer as a performance car; it deserves a bit of your time and a place on your test-drive list.
Pricing: 2013 Infiniti G37
Base price: $46,800
Options: $8,750 (All-wheel drive, $2,500; Sport package, $2,500; High-Tech package, $3,750)
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $57,645