2005 Infiniti G35. Click image to enlarge
Review by Justin Pritchard
Vehicle Type: Sedan
History/Description: So, this classy Japanese rocket-sedan is becoming a bit of a hot buy in the used car market. Turns out the reliable VQ-series engine, available AWD and generally reliable operation of the G35, combined with its largely reliable electronics, make it an appealing alternative to comparable European machinery.
Based on the “FM” platform housing the Nissan 350Z and Infiniti FX35, G35 won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year for 2003, and wound up on Car and Driver’s 10Best lists for 2003 and 2004. Media praised the G35’s bold dynamics and hailed it as a ‘real driver’s car’. It was often said to have the best powertrain, reflexes and performance in its price range.
Engines / Trim: Power came from an overachieving V6 engine that won many awards internationally for smoothness, performance and quality. In sedans, it generated 260 hp, while the G35 Coupe (which we’ll cover in a separate review) got 280 initially. In 2005, Infiniti put the 280-hp engine in every automatic-equipped sedan, while manual-shift models received 287 horsepower. All-wheel drive (AWD) was available in the G35 sedan, facilitating a name change to G35x. No manual transmission and AWD combination was possible, which sucks.
If you’re looking for things like a premium audio system, heated seats, xenon lights, wood trim, automatic climate control, a sunroof and other upscale gadgets, you’ve fallen upon the right car. Up-level G35 models simply included various equipment packages, rather than falling into a grade-level strategy.
What Owners Like: In owner forums and review sites, there’s plenty of love for the Infiniti analog clock, rear seat space and overall handling, performance and refinement. Stopping power and brake feel are commented upon positively, too. The V6 engine is said to feel like a world-class performer, which is backed up by many reviews. Design and styling are also highly rated, as is the exhaust note. Ultimately, as a sports sedan to connect with the driving-enthusiast shopper, the G35 sedan looks like a sure bet.
What Owners Dislike: Gripes include some fussy control locations, motorized seat control placement and an overly intrusive stability control system that many owners disable. The Bose stereo system leaves many drivers wishing for more punch and output, and since it’s integrated on the centre stack with the climate controls, replacing components is very difficult. Heavy fuel consumption is a common complaint, though real-life mileage will largely be a function of maintenance, locale and driving habits.
If this were a German premium car, I’d probably start by advising readers to quadruple-check every part of the car that runs on electricity or is attached to a microchip. Not so much the case, here, and G35 backs up the fact that, as used premium sedans go, the Japanese can handle the wiring just fine. Still, be sure to run through every feature for proper operation as a general rule. The only major issue with the G35 seems to be its navigation system – which would likely have to be replaced upon failure.
Next, move on to some durability checks. Owners have reported issues with premature wear of brakes and tires, so inspect these components (or have them inspected on your behalf by a mechanic). Inspect the driver’s seat leather closely, especially on the outboard portion of the seat that gets the most wear when drivers enter and exit. Many owners have reported faded, cracking or ripping of the leather as the car ages. Further, confirm that the xenon headlamps both function, as replacement ‘bulbs’ can be pricey.