Review and photos by Jil McIntosh
Click image to enlarge
In 2003, the freshly-introduced Infiniti G35 picked up Motor Trend’s coveted Car of the Year honours. But the company didn’t rest on its laurels; for 2005, the model receives several updates, including a boost in power and an interior facelift that addresses concerns about the previous cabin, which wasn’t quite up to the standards promised by the exterior.
The G35 is Infiniti’s entry-level model; in sedan form, it starts at $39,990 in rear-wheel-drive configuration, and as the all-wheel-drive G35x, at $42,890. It’s also available as a handsome RWD-only coupe, starting at $46,100. Of course, there are several option packages to add, including luxury features and navigation system. The priciest sedan, the G35x with premium package, wood trim and navigation system tops out at $49,390; my RWD sedan, with premium, aero and navigation packages, came to $48,190.
Click image to enlarge
Although the swoopy coupe is the looker, the sedan is a handsome vehicle, with styling cues that draw comparisons to the pricier Infiniti M Series, as well as parent company Nissan’s Altima. The platform is the corporate FM, for front-midship, which it shares with the Nissan 350Z.
All models come with a 3.5 litre V6 that makes 280 hp when hooked to the five-speed automatic, a boost of 20 hp from 2004. But opt for the six-speed manual, as my tester was equipped, and horsepower jumps to 298, a 16 hp increase from the previous year. (The M6 package, as its known, is only available in RWD; all-wheel models strictly use the automatic.)
Driving this car is a joy. The engine loves to rev, and the car begs to be driven hard; the smoothest shifts come around 4,000 to 4,500 rpm, and the shifter’s throws are short and precise. Both the automatic and standard transmissions can be optioned with the aero package, which adds a sport-tuned suspension and a viscous limited-slip differential, along with 18-inch wheels and a rear spoiler.
The G35 features four-wheel independent suspension and, for 2005, larger brake rotors; vehicle dynamic control, ABS, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist and a system called Active Brake Limited Slip, which applies the brakes should a wheel spin, are all standard.
The chunky steering wheel offers firm but very direct steering; input is matched immediately, and the car is more nimble than expected, given its midsize footprint. The weight is distributed 54/46, and tight corners are effortless, even when you come into them a little too quickly. This is a driver’s car, for a price that’s not as high as that phrase usually commands. In combined driving, I averaged 10.3 L/100km; premium fuel is required with the higher-horsepower M6.
The G35’s appearance has undergone several changes for 2005: there’s a new hood and trunk, new bumpers, revised headlight lenses, and very attractive, dual-circle LED taillights. Inside, there’s a new instrument panel and console.
All models come with leather interior; the seats are comfortable, with bolsters that provide side support for spirited driving, and handy power controls on the side of the console. My tester included the Premium Package, which adds adjustable rear headrests, dual-zone climate control, one-touch up and down on all windows, a manual reclining rear seat, a power tilt and telescopic column (which moves the entire instrument cluster, so visibility is always there), and power sunroof.
It also had the Navigation Package, a rather impressive set-up with a screen that rises out of the dash at the touch of a button, and provides a three-dimensional view of the surrounding area. Turn the car off and it automatically docks back into the dash; if you haven’t closed it with the button, it’ll pop up again when you start the engine.
The instrument cluster is straightforward, as are the climate control buttons. On the downside, the mirror control, stability control button and dash light rheostat are grouped together way down on the side of the instrument panel, and are difficult to access. The vents are cleverly integrated into the curve of the dash and spin up and down on it. All controls are backlit, and fit and finish are very good; an information centre set into the top of the dash incorporates an analog clock that looks more like a fine wristwatch.
Legroom is ample up front, although very tall drivers may feel hemmed in by the sharply sloping A-pillars; rear-seat legroom is equally generous, and the reclining rear seat simply adds to the comfort. The back seat folds on the coupe; it’s fixed on the sedan, but there’s a pass-through for such long cargo as skis. The 99 cm trunk has a low liftover, making it easy to load.
The big deal at Infiniti is the new M35, and it’s worthy of the attention, but it’s also almost $15,000 more than the G35. The G is understated and it can be easy to pass it by, but don’t. Nissan went through hard times a little while ago; it’s cars like this that brought it back.
Technical Data: 2005 Infiniti G35 M6 Sedan
|Options||$8,200 (Premium Package $2,900; Aero Package $1,900; Navigation Package $3,400)|
|Price as tested||$49,564|
|Type||4-door, 5-passenger midsize sedan|
|Layout||longitudinal front engine/rear-wheel-drive|
|Engine||3.5-litre V6, DOHC, 24 valves|
|Horsepower||298 @ 6200 rpm|
|Torque||260 @ 4800 rpm|
|Tires||P235/45WR18 Bridgestone all-season|
|Curb weight||1594 kg (3516 lbs.)|
|Wheelbase||2850 mm (112.2 in.)|
|Length||4747 mm (186.9 in.)|
|Width||1753 mm (69.0 in.)|
|Height||1466 mm (57.7 in.)|
|Cargo capacity||419 litres (14.8 cu. ft.)|
|Fuel consumption||City: 12.1 L/100 km (23 mpg Imperial)|
|Hwy: 8.2 L/100 km (34 mpg Imperial)|
|Warranty||4 yrs/100,000 km|
|Powertrain Warranty||6 yrs/110,000 km|