2011 Infiniti G25x
2011 Infiniti G25x. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Greg Wilson

Photo Gallery:
2011 Infiniti G

While the BMW 3 Series, Lexus IS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedans have been available with a number of different engine choices over the years, the Infiniti G has been wedded to a single engine choice: the lovely 3.5-litre V6 and its encore performer, the current 3.7-litre V6. The lack of engine alternatives – in particular a smaller, more fuel-efficient engine – has probably discouraged some purchasers looking for a G sedan priced under $40,000.

That’s been rectified for 2011 with the new Infiniti G25 which starts at $36,390. It features a new 218-hp 2.5-litre V6 engine and standard 7-speed automatic transmission. The rear-wheel drive G25 competes with entry-level import sedans like the $39,250 BMW 323i (w/optional 6-speed automatic), $34,500 Lexus IS 250 (w/optional 6-speed automatic), and $37,400 Mercedes-Benz C250 (w/optional 7-speed automatic).

Curiously, a manual transmission is not available in the G25. That may be an oversight when you consider that the $37,650 323i, $32,900 IS 250 and $35,900 C250 do offer manual transmissions as standard equipment. Infiniti is probably counting on the growing appetite for sophisticated automatic transmissions that can also be shifted manually when desired. The G25’s 7-speed automatic transmission offers a Driver Sport (manual) mode and downshift rev-matching. Still, I’m sure there will be a few enthusiasts who won’t be happy.

2011 Infiniti G25x
2011 Infiniti G25x. Click image to enlarge

Canadian consumers will appreciate that the G25 is available with all-wheel drive which offers significantly better winter traction and stability than rear-wheel drive does. The $40,450 G25x model, this week’s test car, comes with Infiniti’s ATTESA E-TS (Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All Electronic Torque Split) all-wheel drive system. This system adjusts automatically to slippery and dry road surfaces, emphasizing rear-wheel drive characteristics on dry roads, and using a centre clutch, actively managing front to rear torque distribution for maximum traction on slippery surfaces.

The $40,450 G25x goes up against the $38,000 Lexus IS 250 AWD sedan and the $39,900 Mercedes-Benz C250 4Matic sedan. BMW doesn’t offer an xDrive (AWD) version of the 323i.

The G25x is also offered in a $45,540 Sport sedan model that adds larger 18-inch performance tires and alloy wheels, special front fascia, sport seats, aluminum pedals, sport steering wheel and paddle shifters.

Apart from its smaller engine and lower price-tag, the new G25 is basically the same as the G37 which was given a styling update and a technology upgrade last year. The G25 is certainly not a stripped-down G37: its exterior styling, interior styling, and level of standard equipment is almost identical to the G37.

2011 Infiniti G25x
2011 Infiniti G25x
2011 Infiniti G25x. Click image to enlarge

The G25’s 2.5-litre DOHC 24-valve V6 makes 218 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 187 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm, compared to the G37’s 328 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. That doesn’t tell the whole story however. The G25’s six is lively and free-revving, making some delicious sounds as it climbs the rev counter. Though it has over a hundred fewer horsepower than the 3.7-litre engine, I’d venture to say it’s even sportier than the 3.7 because it relies less on torque and more on higher engine revs to do the same work. This is an engine that loves to challenge the redline and makes some great sounds doing it. Still, it’s docile around town, not betraying a hint of its racy potential. And on the highway in seventh gear, the engine motors along serenely at only 2,300 rpm.

The G25’s V6 is not quite as smooth as the IS 250 and 323i’s engines, and not as torque-rich as the C 250’s, but it’s arguably more exciting from the driver’s point of view.

Fuel economy is on par with its competitors: the rear-wheel drive G25 offers 10.3 L/100 km City and 6.8 L/100 km highway (Energuide) while the all-wheel drive G25x offers 10.6 L/100 km City and 7.3 L/100 km Highway, running on Premium gas. The G25 and G25x’s fuel economy is slightly better than the 323i and C 250/C 250 4Matic, and slightly worse than the IS 250/IS 250 AWD. Infiniti estimates the G25’s fuel consumption to be about nine to 11 per cent better than the G37’s.

Some of the credit for the G25’s performance can be given to its new 7-speed automatic transmission that automatically adjusts the timing of shifts to driving style, shifting more aggressively for enthusiasts and less aggressively for mellow drivers. If drivers want to do it themselves, a Driver Sport mode (manual shift mode) offers sequential shifts using the shift lever; the transmission blips the throttle to match engine revs when downshifting, adding to the sporty experience. Magnesium paddle shifters behind the steering wheel are available, but only on the G25x Sport sedan model.

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