- Excellent handling and poise
- Great steering feel
- Awesome braking
- Road noise
- Ride clearly sacrificed for handling
The 2009 Infiniti G37 is a true sport sedan; it may be a little harsh for poseurs, but true driving enthusiasts will love it.
Infiniti completely redesigned its G35 sport sedan for 2007; now for 2009 the G gets an even more powerful 3.7-liter engine and seven-speed automatic and is appropriately renamed the G37 Sedan.
Appearance-wise, the G Sedan has changed very little for 2009, and that's a good thing. The 2009 Infiniti G37 Sedan has a rakish silhouette that shouts rear-wheel-drive sport sedan, and its styling involves clean expanses of sheetmetal—a nice departure from the excessive body creases in many models' flanks nowadays. It contrasts nicely with crisp contour lines around the headlights and grille, and a trunklid spoiler is subtle. The overall effect is at once tasteful and conservative, yet also aggressive and sporty.
Inside, the G37 has the cockpit feel of a sports coupe in front, with narrow footwells, a rather low seating position, and a prominent center console that wraps back between occupants. Big round dials are set directly in front of the driver, and a strong beltline wraps around to the door panels. A screen mounted top and center accesses audio and climate functions, while supplemental controls are just under the screen.
The new 3.7-liter V-6, which debuted on the G37 Coupe last year, makes 328 horsepower and 269 pound-feet and is mated to an all-new seven-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. All-wheel drive is available, but only with the automatic. Underneath there's a firm, sport-tuned four-wheel independent suspension, and power steering adjusts effort according to vehicle speed.
Despite the bump in power, the new Infiniti G37 Sedan gets better fuel economy than the old G35; with the automatic transmission it now rates at 18 mpg city, 26 highway. TheCarConnection.com failed to meet these estimates, seeing mid-teens around town and 24 mpg over an exceptionally gentle highway run.
The G37 Sedan is one of the most responsive, communicative, and fun-to-drive sport sedans in its class. The larger V-6 feels stronger throughout the rev range and has enough thrust to satisfy most rabid performance enthusiasts, though it's more obtrusive than former 3.5-liter versions of this engine and not as smooth through the rev range as BMW's excellent turbocharged six in the 335i. Its character is a bit raspy, turning raucous when revved upward to its 7,600-rpm redline.
The new seven-speed automatic transmission in the 2009 Infiniti G37 Sedan pulls off snappy and smooth shifts when accelerating hard, but shifts become lumpy when light on the throttle, and it seems indecisive right after making sharp right-hand corners at intersections. The transmission feels more in its element when driving aggressively on a tight, curvy road, as the solid-magnesium steering-wheel paddle shifters (included on G37 Journey and G37x AWD models) command a quick downshift that includes a throttle blip. Those who like a manual transmission will find the six-speed very satisfying.
For those who value steering and handling above all else, the G37 Sedan is TheCarConnection.com's pick of the sport-sedan stable—even, quite possibly, better than the BMW 3-Series. But also be aware that the G37 isn't the right choice for those who expect a lot of refinement and silence in their luxury sport sedan. The G37's ride isn't downright jarring, but it's quite firm, and road noise is more prominent inside than it is in most other sport sedans. That said, the G37 Sedan can bring all the capability and thrills of most top-echelon sport coupes.
Optional on the rear-wheel-drive Sport models is the new Four-Wheel Active Steer system, which helps make quick changes of direction a little crisper and more stable. 2009 Infiniti G37 Sedan Sport models also include a Viscous Limited Slip Differential, in addition to a host of track-worthy upgrades like larger vented disc brakes, sport steering gear, W-rated performance tires, and more aggressively bolstered sport seats with active head restraints and thigh extensions.
The G37 Sedan offers decent space in front; even the standard seats have good support, though others might find it a bit narrow and snug. Headroom is somewhat scarce but good enough for most. The backseat is hardly a place for adults to spend long periods of time. Headroom is OK, but the lower cushions are short, legroom is tight for the tallish, and seatbacks feel more reclined than they should be. Trunk space is a pleasant surprise, but instead of folding forward, the backseats only include a pass-through good for skis and such. The overall look and feel of the G37's cabin is impressive; it's put together tightly and the materials have more in common with those in Infiniti's upscale M. The standard metallic finish has a nice look, but the available African rosewood makes it feel like a warmer luxury sedan.
The 2009 Infiniti G37 is offered in four different models for 2009: Base, Journey, Sport, and the G37x AWD. The Base, Journey, and AWD models are very well equipped, with only slight differences in equipment; Journey models include dual-zone climate control and a six-disc changer, while AWD models get heated seats and mirrors in addition to the Journey upgrades. The Journey isn't that much pricier, but you'll need to step up to it to add any of the G37's impressive options, including a navigation system with XM NavTraffic and a 9.3-gigabyte Music Hard Drive, Adaptive Front Lighting, and Intelligent Cruise Control with a Preview Braking safety feature.
Crash-test ratings for the G37 Sedan have been respectable, with four- and five-star results from the federal government and top "good" scores from the IIHS for frontal and side impact. The only concern is a "marginal" rating from the IIHS in its seat-based rear-impact test. Electronic stability control is standard on the G37, as are anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist, front side airbags, and side-curtain airbags that cover front and rear outboard occupants.