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Published on Sat, Aug 23, 2003

By: The LACar Editorial Staff



By HARVEY SCHWARTZ All Photos & © by Harvey Schwartz

The all-new Infiniti G-Series sedan and coupe make a great 1-2 punch in the 2003 model year with both winning winning the accolades of automotive journalists around the country.

Opting for either the 4-door sedan to comfortably seat 5-adults, or the sportier looking 2-door coupe that is just right for 2-adults, both give the consumer an affordable alternative to the more expensive performance luxury cars from Germany. Sharing all the mechanicals as the 4-door sedan, the coupe is more performance oriented with sleek and sexy styling. There are several models that you can order: a five speed automatic with manual shift gate, a 6-speed manual, cloth seats or leather seats, the aero package with a rear spoiler, underbody, side, and rear aerodynamics pieces that give the G35 a 0.28cd. The model that I tested was the 6-speed manual with the Performance Wheel/Tire package that includes Brembo brakes. While the G35 sedan stands alone, the G35 is based on the all-new 350Z but with a slightly softer ride and more luxury touches. All three cars share the same engineering under the skin. It is the skin that catches your eyes when looking at the G35 coupe for the first time. It is like the body was carved from a solid piece of metal. The lines are soft, sleek and sexy. The rake of the windshield is steep up through the top of the roof and then it gently slopes down to the high-mounted trunk lid. The power-remote controlled side mirrors are aerodynamically designed and the lower rocker panels are mounted flush to the bottom. Without the aero package the G35 coupe has a cd. of 0.29. On the road there is little wind noise to speak of.

The flared fender wells are nicely stuffed with big Michelin 225/45R18in. Pilot low-profile performance tires wrapping around 18X8in.7-spoke lightweight alloy wheels. The unique front fascia features flush-mounted HID headlamps/high-beams/turn-signals behind clear lenses. In between is the signature Infiniti grille letting fresh air into the engine. The lower front bumper features 2-wide air-intakes behind plastic mesh to further increase the airflow into the engine. The rear fascia is flat, angled in and features large LED brake/tail lamps, and 2-round backup lamps. Just below the rear bumper are nicely spread-out 2-3in. round polished stainless steel exhaust tips. Under the G35’s bulging hood is the award winning VQ35DE V6 engine. This all-alloy 3.5liter DODC beauty comes with many performance-enhancing goodies including a variable intake system, continuously variable valve timing, sequential multi-port electronic fuel injection, and electronic throttle. With a freer-flowing manifold, the V6 in the coupe pumps out a generous 280hp, 20-more than the sedan, while torque is 270lb.ft., 10-more than the sedan. The 6-speed manual that I used was a perfect match for this high-revving engine and it was placed in the correct position so I didn’t have to reach for it. The progressive clutch has just the right amount of push to satisfy my liking and the short throw shifter was smooth and quick up and down the gears. While the V6 needs to spool up to 3,000rpm for you to feel serious acceleration, there is enough down-low torque in 6th gear to travel 60mph at 1,200rpm on level ground. From a standstill the G35 coupe reaches 60mph in a quick 5.9sec., covering the 1/4mi. in just 14.2sec. at 99.4mph, very good numbers indeed. The performance wheel/tire package also comes with a limited slip differential.

Like the G35 sedan, the G35 coupe features Nissan’s new FM (front mid-ship) rear wheel drive platform. Also found in the 350Z, the modular design uses a deep engine setback to assure exceptional balance and mixes a strong steel central unibody frame with a 4-wheel suspension system using lots of aluminum to keep the weight down. At all 4-wheels are aluminum multi-link arms, coil springs and unique ripple control gas-charged shocks that help smooth out small road imperfections. Front and rear stabilizer bars further keep body role in check. The G35 coupe’s suspension is more ‘sport-tuned’ than the G35 sedan but if you crave more road feel with less damping, I would suggest the 350Z. On the freeways at high-speed, the G35 coupe feels like it is riding on rails. When you want to quicken your heartbeat during high-speed cornering, the G35 coupe tracks solidly near the limit. If you decide to push it further in the curves, the rear end will slightly push out and slip but this can quickly corrected by slightly taking your foot off the throttle. You can of course turn off both the traction control and stability control functions. On the 600ft. slalom the G35 coupe gets through at 66.1mph. Quickly slowing the G35 coupe down from speed are the great Brembo brakes-12.8in. vented rotors up front with 4-piston calipers painted gold, and 12.7in. vented rotors in back clamped with a single piston caliper. The brakes also feature 4-channel ABS, Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Force Distribution to increase the brake pressure under severe situations and to keep you in control of the direction the G35 takes as it stops. From 60mph to 0mph takes only 112ft.

While you enjoy all the fun of driving a performance machine, the G35 coupe comes with all the comfort, luxury and safety featured associated with the Infiniti brand of luxury cars. All versions come standard with electronic climate control, power windows/door locks, Infiniti signature analog clock, power seats, tilting leather wrapped 3-spoke steering wheel, cruise control, keyless remote entry, a security system, a 160watt AM-FM/cassette/6-CD player with 7-powerful stereo speakers, vario-speed wipers/washers, and front seats that move forward electronically when the seat backs are pushed forward. Order the leather seat option and you also get heated seats, a Bose stereo, a moonroof, auto on/off headlamps, Homelink universal transceiver, self-dimming rear view mirror and dual-zone climate control with rear ducts for the rear passengers. The front high-backed bucket seats are very comfortable and supportive but I don’t like the power controls for the seats located at the edge of the seat bottom. I found that it cut into my bottom and left a mark every time I got out of the car. The G35 coupe and sedan share the same interior with the instrument panel moving up or down with the steering column. The instrument cluster is big and easy to see and understand with a 160mph speedo/8,000rpm tach plus smaller gauges for fuel and coolant temperature. All buttons, levers and switches are within easy reach but I found the buttons to be a little too small for easy use when driving. As expected, the sweeping roofline leads to a rear seat that is scaled to younger or shorter passengers. If you flip down the rear seat it does create a flat floor for storing long items and 7.8cu.ft. of trunk storage space. Occupant safety is highlighted with front and rear crush zones, side-impact steel beams in each door, 3-point safety belts for all seats with pretentioner and load-limiters up front, front 2-stage air bags, side airbags and side-curtain airbags for the rear passengers.

The G35 was designed to be a high-performance sport coupe with enough luxury and comfort to help melt away the long miles on your drive. It’s unique good looks, high-performance powertrain and suspension make the G35 a great alternative to the more expensive sport/luxury coupes from BMW, Audi and Mercedes. COPYRIGHT: 2003 HARVEY SCHWARTZ Find more information on the Infiniti G35 Coupe at More photos from Harvey Schwartz can be found at SPECIFICATIONS

Price: base-$29,645.00, as tested-$35,450.00 Engine type: 3.5liter DOHC 24-valve V6 with aluminum alloy block/heads Horsepower: 280 at 6,000rpm Torque: 270lb.ft. at 4,800rpm Drive configuration: front engine/rear drive Transmission type: 6-speed manual, 5-speed automatic with manual shift gate Suspension Front: gas-charged ripple-control shocks, coil springs, aluminum arms, and stabilizer bar Rear: gas-charged ripple-control shocks, coil springs, aluminum arms, and stabilizer bar Tires/wheels: 225/45R18in. Michelin Pilot tires, 18X8in. light alloy 7-spoke wheels Brakes: Front: 12.8in. Brembo vented rotors, 4-piston caliper Rear: 12.7in. Brembo vented rotors, single piston caliper Electronic Brake Force Distribution, ABS, Brake Assist Overall length: 182.2in. Overall width: Overall height: 54.8in. Curb weight: 3,416lbs. EPA: 19mpg/city, 26mpg/highway 0-60: 5.9sec.

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