2003 Infiniti G35 Sedan
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Mon, Aug 5, 2002
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
ALL NEW 2003 INFINITI G35: Hot New Sedan Offers More Power & Performance
By HARVEY SCHWARTZ All Photos & © by Harvey Schwartz
After taking delivery of the all-new, 2003 Infiniti G35, I was so struck by the higher levels of power, performance and fun-to-drive excitement that I changed my intended plans and drove the all-new G35 the 650 miles to Monument Valley, Utah - one of the eight wonders of the natural world. The all-new G35 offers more power, performance, ride quality and comfort, and leaves the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, Lexus IS300 and Mercedes C-Class in the dust.
The reason that the new G35 is so performance oriented is that under the G35's skin is the same engine, transmission, and suspension that will be found in the all-new 2003 Nissan 350Z and quite possibly the Nissan Skyline GT-R (if Nissan doesn't go for a V8 in the latter). The 3.5 liter DOHC V6 in the G35 is tuned to 260hp/260lb.ft. of torque - far exceeding the aforementioned competition. Torque is delivered to the rear wheels via a 5-speed automatic/OD transmission that has an easy-to-use manual mode. Just push the leather-topped shifter to the right and then push-up or down to change gears on the fly. Hard-nosed enthusiasts will enjoy using the 6-speed manual that will be available in the late summer/early fall after the 350Z appears first with the 6-speed manual.
An aggressive level of sporty handling is provided by the new 4-wheel independent multi-link suspension. The G35's front suspension design maximizes alignment changes through use of two separate lower links and a long upper link. The rear design separates the shock absorbers and springs, locating the rear shock absorber inline with the wheel center to help reduce suspension friction and reduce the wind-up which reduces unsprung weight, and incorporates 'ripple control' shock absorbers with damping control lips for suppressing high-frequency, micro-amplitude vibrations. As a result, tiny ripples in the road surface are absorbed to deliver a smooth, comfortable ride like no other premium, compact sport sedan. The G35 begs to be driven fast and for long periods of time. I had to test it out on a long road trip and the 650mi. to Monument Valley, Utah would do fine. The four-lane Interstate Freeway #40 in California and Arizona offers several 10-15mi. straight-aways in the deserts with open visibility to check for other vehicles way up ahead. I took the G35 up to 140mph and it could easily have gone faster. At these speeds the G35 remained rock solid with hardly any vibrations or wind noise. That's because of the new 'front mid-ship setting of the V6 engine, a fabulous 'sport-tuned' suspension, and a new frame design. The G35 adopts a new generation platform specifically designed for mounting a V6 engine behind the front axle in the so-called 'front mid-ship' position. The positioning of the engine is a key to the G35's high level of driving performance, providing an optimized front-to-rear weight balance and also allowing the designers to push the wheels out to the car's corners for even better handling and interior space utilization.
Attention to body and structural stiffness includes adoption of a dual bulkhead engine compartment construction that functions as a body stabilizer for damping vibrations (in addition to isolating noise and heat). The G35's roof panel and body-side panels are laser-welded to enhance body rigidity and to enable the entire body to damp vibrations. The increased stiffness and solidity improve all driving dynamics. Every G35 comes equipped with Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) enhancing vehicle stability under a variety of driving conditions-similar to that offered in the 2002 Infiniti Q45 and I35. The G35's advanced braking system utilizes power-assisted 4-wheel vented disc brakes-11.7in. front/11.5in. rear-plus 4-sensor ABS, electronic brake force distribution, which distributes brake force depending on load condition (passenger/cargo), and brake assist, which senses hard or panic pedal application and helps provide maximum braking capacity. Enhancing handling and comfort even more are big, P215/55R17 high-performance tires that come wrapped around beautiful 17X7in. aluminum alloy wheels. The G35's bold new styling takes full advantage of the vehicle's all-new FM platform, which features a long wheelbase, (112.2in.) and short front/rear overhangs-providing a large interior for its highly manageable overall length (186.2in.) A wide front and rear track adds to the overall handling stability and further enhances interior and trunk volume. Mounting the large 20-gallon fuel tank under the rear seat (forward of the rear wheels) also helps maximize cargo capacity. The location of the G35's compact V6 behind the front axle allows the use of a low, aggressive hoodline which flows into the sharply angled windshield and contributes to the G35's sporty, powerful silhouette. The front fascia features an Infiniti-style, fine-quality horizontal crosspiece grille, a low-postured front bumper and bold, vertically stacked headlight assembly with integrated fog lights and turn signals. The smooth visual line flowing from the front fenders through the side profile cuts off at the rear expressing a balance between sportiness and function. The C-pillar and rear fenders accentuate the spaciousness of the cabin, while the large greenhouse provides good visibility from all seating positions. The rear fascia is highlighted by large, combination lamps, with LED taillights. The LED lights provide maintenance-free operation and bright visual recognition for following drivers during braking. Peering under the left side of the rear bumper are 2-2in. round, polished SS exhaust tips. The FM platform design, derived from racing technology, also places a strong emphasis on aerodynamics, especially on the control of airflow under the body. The extensive use of diffusers and deflectors help the G35 achieve zero degrees of front lift (0.0elf), reducing drag and noise at speed, and contributing to vehicle stability. With the optional rear spoiler affixed on the sport model, zero degrees of rear lift is also achieved. The G35 has an exceptional coefficient of drag of just 0.27, and 0.26 with the rear spoiler, for reduced wind noise and increased fuel economy. The new G35 also utilizes aluminum for the hood to reduce weight and further enhance fuel economy. That is why I had to make a long road trip; it is so quiet, roomy and comfortable inside the G35. At Monument Valley I shot the G35 along the 30mi. dirt road loop of the 'Valley of the God's' which is one of the most intense parts of Monument Valley. The suspension and tires absorbed most of the shocks on the dirt road and the cabin remained cool and quiet, even with temperatures approaching 110F. The G35 handled like a rally car on the road.
In creating the new G35's interior, the designers and engineers set three goals: premium space, premium comfort and premium utility. Taking full advantage of the FM platform's long wheelbase and wide track, the G35 offers 101.4cu.ft. Of interior space and 14.5cu.ft. Of trunk space more than any premium sedan in it's class. The innovative packaging provides ample space where it is needed most for driver and passenger comfort-head, leg, shoulder and hip room. An example is the use of a newly developed center positioned A/C design, which increases front passenger foot space. For the rear passengers, use of a hidden front seat rail widens the available foot room. Special attention to comfort required a rethinking of the seat design from 'one-seat-fits-all' to unique front driver and passenger's seats. The 8-way powered and leather trimmed driver's seat uses a special center mound shape with high damping urethane foam and a special spring design to support the driver during sporty driving times. The leather trimmed front passenger seat has a flatter-shaped lower cushion and the seat is shaped to provide a relaxed posture, even when folding or stretching his or her legs. In the rear the G35 offers a choice of wide bucket-shaped seats or optional rear reclining seats, with ample knee room and a full-length, pass-through, center armrest containing pop-out dual-upholders and a first aid kit. The beefy, 3-spoke, leather wrapped and tilting steering wheel feels perfect in your hands and the power-assisted, rack & pinion steering gives you great feel for the road It is very precise and was developed especially for the new suspension geometry.
The easy to see and understand instrument panel moves up or down with the tilt wheel. The speedo reads 160mph and the tach redlines at 8000rpm. The interior's T-shaped structure, with its flowing design theme from the center instrument cluster to the floor console, emphasizes ergonomics and convenient storage. There are numerous pockets, holders and straps located throughout for easy access and use. I would like to see larger buttons on the center console for easier and more precise use. The 200-watt 7-speaker Bose premium audio system has an AM-FM/cassette-tape-player, and in-dash 6-CD player. All buttons and switches are within easy reach but I would like to see the seat controls moved from the right side of the seat bottom to the left side or the door panel, for easier use. The G35's trunk space is enhanced by the use of items such as a four-link hinge design, with combination lights and under floor storage compartments near the spare tire. From a safety standpoint, every G35 comes with standard dual-stage airbags, side-impact supplemental airbags and roof-mounted side-impact curtain airbags for front/rear seat occupant head protection. Also standard are seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters. Child seat anchors and tether system is also included. The FM platform also provides a number of innovative safety features, such as a mechanism for releasing the engine downward (rather than straight back toward the passenger compartment) in a collision; brake pedal construction that prevents rearward pedal movement and breakaway propeller shaft construction. The all new, 2003 Infiniti gives the consumer more for the money in the very hotly contested, compact performance-luxury sedan segment with prices starting at only $27,645.00.