Test Drive: 2013 Infiniti G37xS coupe car test drives reviews luxury cars infiniti
2013 Infiniti G37xS coupe. Click image to enlarge

DBDR: 2013 Infiniti G37xS coupe

Manufacturer’s web site
Infiniti Canada

Review and photos by Chris Chase

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2013 Infiniti G coupe

Practicing restraint behind the wheel of a powerful car is not always about keeping my own driving in check. Twice during the week I had this Infiniti G37xS coupe, other drivers expressed their frustration (not verbally or violently, thankfully) with the fact that I wasn’t driving this car flat-out at all times.

The first was the guy in a Mazda3, apparently late for an appointment at his bank (which I only know because it was quite near to my destination); I can only assume the other individual, in a half-rusted Pontiac Montana minivan, also had time-management issues.

The problem in both cases was that there’s a time and a place for driving a sports car the way it was designed to be driven, and a residential neighbourhood, especially one quite literally full of young kids, is not that place, at any time.

But in the right time and place, Infiniti’s G37 is always an agreeable car for a blast of quick acceleration, a corner taken quickly or a (not terribly egregious) high-speed highway run.

Test Drive: 2013 Infiniti G37xS coupe car test drives reviews luxury cars infiniti
Test Drive: 2013 Infiniti G37xS coupe car test drives reviews luxury cars infiniti
Test Drive: 2013 Infiniti G37xS coupe car test drives reviews luxury cars infiniti
2013 Infiniti G37xS coupe. Click image to enlarge

You know it’s an interesting time in the auto industry when you can look at the specs for Infiniti’s 3.7 L V6 – 330 horsepower, 270 lb-ft of torque – and consider them to be quite ordinary in many ways. With a “premium” car like this, however, it’s not just about the numbers (well, not to everyone, anyway); it’s about how those numbers translate into actual performance. Flatten the throttle and little is lost in this translation: the car is quick (if not blindingly so) and acceleration is accompanied by a fantastic exhaust note that, while notable in volume, seems less obnoxious – at least from inside the car – than the distinctive sound Infinitis are known for.

While not a torque-beast like the turbocharged motors some of Infiniti’s competitors use now, the three-point-seven delivers power from impressively low revs, and keeps it coming close to the engine’s 7,500 rpm redline. It’s a smooth engine, and sounds, as it should in a $45,000-plus car, like it enjoys whatever you ask it to do.

Infiniti offers a six-speed manual transmission in this car, but it’s a $2,500 option (over the car’s base price) that can only be had along with the sport package. All other G37 coupe models, like my G37xS tester, use a seven-speed automatic transmission. I’ve never driven a G with a manual transmission, but based on my experience with a variety of automatic-equipped models, the seven-speed is very well-suited to the car. It shifts smoothly, responds willingly to throttle input and makes good use of the engine’s power.

I suspect Infiniti only offers a three-pedal transmission in the G because it feels it has to in order for the car to properly compete with the 3 Series’ and A4s of the world. It’s a suspicion based on the only underwhelming aspect of the automatic transmission’s operation, its manual-shift mode, accessible through the shift lever (a slide to the left engages sport mode, and toggling the lever forward and back puts the car in manual mode, where it stays as long as the shifter is left in that gate) or steering column-mounted shift paddles. The paddles themselves are quite nice – long enough to make them easy to use at moderate steering angles – but any way you slice it, the transmission doesn’t work as well when it’s being told what to do. Shifts are less crisp, and the delay between input and response, while fairly brief, is long enough to be annoying: when you tell a car you want it to change gears, the car needs to change gears right now. On the plus side, manual downshifts are accomplished with an automatic blip of the throttle to smooth the transition.

Test Drive: 2013 Infiniti G37xS coupe car test drives reviews luxury cars infiniti
Test Drive: 2013 Infiniti G37xS coupe car test drives reviews luxury cars infiniti
Test Drive: 2013 Infiniti G37xS coupe car test drives reviews luxury cars infiniti
Test Drive: 2013 Infiniti G37xS coupe car test drives reviews luxury cars infiniti
Test Drive: 2013 Infiniti G37xS coupe car test drives reviews luxury cars infiniti
Test Drive: 2013 Infiniti G37xS coupe car test drives reviews luxury cars infiniti
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)
Freight: $1,995
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $57,645

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