Advertisement
Find a Car
Go!

Driven: 2009 Infiniti G37S. Great Panache With Drivetrain Lash.


2009 Infiniti G37

2009 Infiniti G37

Enlarge Photo

Ever trying to capture the BMW 3-series magic, for 2009 Infiniti has blessed its G37S with the same hi-po 3.7-liter V-6 found under the hood of the angry Nissan 370Z Coupe. Continuously-variable valve timing and trick VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift, wherein the intake valves self-regulate cylinder breathing) boost power and efficiency for the 2009 G37 sedan. 328 hp, 269 lb-ft, and EPA ratings of 17/25 are yours with a G37 Sport 6-speed manual like the one we drove. Even driving it like we hated it, we averaged right at 20 mpg, a testament to the impressive heights of efficiency Nissan has reached with the latest iteration of its venerable VQ-series V-6.

In terms of raw acceleration, it seems Infiniti has hit the mark. A twin-turbo BMW 335i costs around $40,000 in base form; Car & Driver measured 0-60 mph acceleration of 4.8 seconds. The Infiniti G37 S bases at around $34,000 and manages a 0-60 mph sprint in 5.0 seconds with the new 7-speed automatic by Motor Trend's clock. $6,000 for 2/10ths of a second doesn't really seem like a solid value for most buyers in this segment.

2009 Infiniti G37

2009 Infiniti G37

Enlarge Photo

But how these cars deliver their power is worlds apart. Below 4,000 rpm, the Infiniti engine is certainly smooth and mellifluous, but it just doesn't feel remarkably powerful. Our tester had the close-ratio six-speed manual. In second gear at 3,000 rpm and below, a floored throttle resulted in decent snap but nothing really eye-opening. Try the same thing in the BMW and you'll be positively thrilled. That said, the 4,000 to 7,600 redline rush in the Infiniti is totally manic. That's the range where this engine shines, and it's a thrill ride everytime. But in day-to-day driving, tapping into that region results in inappropriate roadway hoonage that causes dog walkers to shake their fingers and cops to take immediate notice. Simply put, the BMW's power is more readily accessible; even in the slower base 328i (price competitive with the G37S), engine response simply feels more ready, linear, and available.

When you get into the 3.7-liter's sweet spot, at least with the manual transmission, the engine lets you know it's working hard. The shift lever buzzes and vibrates, transmitting every explosion from all six cylinders to your fingertips. On- and off-throttle, the shifter lurches right and left like an old Ford F-150 pickup. And worst of all, the fussy clutch engages near the top of its travel and has a sweet spot so small that smooth launches are nigh impossible and every gear change is felt. Drivetrain lash is so prominent that on- and off-throttle changes are as subtle as a 1988 Honda Civic. Frankly, this lack of drivetrain refinement in a $30,000-plus sport luxury sedan is close to unacceptable and likely a deal-breaker for shift-it-yourself drivers. The BMW's stickshift is beautifully isolated yet perfectly direct; its clutch rewards good operation with perfect launches and imperceptible, creamy shifts every time.

2009 Infiniti G37

2009 Infiniti G37

Enlarge Photo

The G37's drivetrain deficit is a shame, because in so many other areas the Infiniti is fantastic. The cockpit features highly legible gauges, a beautiful ambiance with a serious soft-touch black dashboard, machined aluminum trim, and elegant, soft blue LED ambient lighting. It is within inches of BMW's interior sweet spot, and the nav screen and iPod interface are arguably better than the BMW with a simple twist-and-click controller and extremely elegant primary radio and HVAC controls that do without the German's old-school orange LED display. One quirk: the trademark Infiniti analog clock is not synchronized with the nav/info panel's digital time display and as such demanded two inputs rather than one for the daylight savings switch.


 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (3)
  1. "same complaint for 6 years"

    Reviewers have had the same complaint with the G35 manual since it came out in 2003. I bought 2003 6MT car new and have lived with it as a daily driver since then. Does it transmit vibes through the shifter? you bet. Does the engine sound course at high revs? sure does. While it has never had the polish of the BMW engine that costs 25% more, I find it to be an excellent combo of utility and animal. At low revs, it's torquey and quiet and delivers 22mpg average with little hint of the beast underneath. Drive down the highway and it's smooth, competent and gets 27mpg. When you are feeling naughy, turn off the VDC and go autocross and you can steer with the throttle all day if you want. It's a hoot and is a true dr jekyl and mr hyde kind of vehicle. It has been very reliable with low maintenace costs. When you are an enthusiast and can only have 1 vehicle, the G series manual is a great choice
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  2. "Agreed"

    I absolutely agree with this assessment. My wife and I tested a G37 S sedan with manual and both had the same complaints. Unfortunately for Infiniti, we'd just tested a BMW 3er with a manual and the lack of refinement in the G was glaring. That was the biggest thing, but the car was also a little cramped up front compared to the 3. Funny since it's physically bigger. I would probably recommend most people get the 7 speed automatic if they got the G37.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. Obviously, you should drive an automatic. My manual Stillen G37S will smoke any Beamer out there.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement
Advertisement
Take Us With You!
   
Advertisement

More From High Gear Media


 
 
© 2014 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by Homestar, LLC. Send us feedback.