Seattle is known for rain and coffee, but the city gets its share of beautiful days complemented by a scenic backdrop of mountains, trees, and water. Infiniti picked this town for a media introduction of the latest G37 coupe. We were lucky enough to miss a ten-day rain trend and drove Infiniti’s new G37 coupe through a perfect day of high 70s, clear skies, and dry roads. We reported on the Coupe Concept from the 2006 North American International Auto Show that gave us our first hint of the new generation and the formal production reveal at the 2007 New York Auto Show; now we bring you our first driving impressions.
The G37 takes the same second-generation FM rear-drive platform of the G35 sedan and that the next-generation Nissan Z and GTR will take. This is a bit backward compared with the first-generation launch schedule, when the boy-racer 350Z launched a couple of months before the G Coupe. The G coupe also introduces a new-generation of VQ engine. Larger displacement, larger bore, and variable valve timing and lift are among key elements for wringing 330HP from a 3.7L DOHC 24v V6 that betters its predecessor’s fuel economy for a 18/24 city/highway rating.
The engine drives the rear wheels through an all-new five speed automatic or a revised six-speed manual transmission. Bringing 30HP more to the table, the new engine moves the G37 along with strength and grace. Despite an industry trend of more gears for automatics, Infiniti stays with five gears. The first three gears have wide ratios for maximum acceleration and response and fourth and fifth are dialed in for overall fuel economy.
The result is a very nice coupe, particularly the Sport ordered with its $1300 four-wheel active steering system. This is not at all the same as a four-wheel-drive system, which uses engine braking, traction control, ABS, and brakes to ensure traction in inclement weather or inconsistent surfaces. The sedan is offered with optional all-wheel drive, but not the coupe, and the M sedan offers rear-wheel active steering. The coupe’s four-wheel-active steer improves handling, balance, and stability but does not address the issue of torque and which wheel gets more or less at any given point like AWD systems. Does 4WAS, in Infiniti speak, work? Is it worth the cost? After twenty miles of curves, we say yes and yes. The system is subtle and responsive. Diving into corners and twists can be done with a supreme confidence, and with it you could gain speeding tickets quickly.