Japan ’s leading automakers,
Nissan, announced plans to enter the tough and demanding luxury car market, they
were greeted with equal amounts of skepticism. But following their simultaneous,
1989 debuts, Lexus and Infiniti followed decidedly different paths.
Toyota ’s upscale franchise got off to a fast start and
is, today, the number-one seller in the
U.S. luxury market. Infiniti, with
its quirky “rocks and trees” marketing campaign, got plenty of media attention
but relatively few buyers and as the new millennium began, there were some
industry analysts convinced Nissan might cut the brand’s life support.
Things took a sudden turn for the better,
barely four years ago, with the introduction of the G35. As with earlier models,
such as the original Q45 flagship, the G was more than just a German clone.
Based on the FM platform shared with the 350Z, it was pleasing to
look at and lots of fun to drive. And for the first time since Infiniti’s
off-the-mark introduction, buyers flocked to showrooms.
1999 Honda Fuya-Jo concept
To get the new model-year
going, Infiniti is back with a new version of the G35, launching first in sport-sedan
trim, with coupe and convertible versions to follow in quick succession.
TheCarConnection.com has gotten the chance to drive several versions of the
sedan, though for the sake of this review, we’ll focus on the G35S, the
sportiest version – and also the most pricey.