2013 INFINITI G37 COUPE REVIEW
Vehicle Style: Luxury performance coupe
Price: $83,500 (plus on-roads)
Fuel Economy claimed: 10.5 l/100km | tested: 11.7 l/100km
It’s now six years since the V36 Infiniti G37 was first launched in America and Japan, but it’s only been on Australian soil for six months.
That long gap means that while the G37 is new to us, it’s nearing the end of its model life-cycle.
It also wears the badge of a brand that was last seen in Australia in 1993 - it came and went, but few would have noticed - and is not known here for a performance heritage.
But look under the G37’s swoopy bodywork, and you’ll find the skeleton, heart and legs of a Nissan 370Z - but stretched to accommodate four rather than two seats.
After a week behind the wheel of the range-topping G37 S Premium, we found it to be a surprise package. Superficially this is an old car, but scratch the surface and you’ll find a machine that’s still got plenty of pep.
Quality: The construction of the G37’s interior is difficult to fault; it’s beautifully put-together, but material choices could use some improvement.
The centre stack is dominated by a large, formless slab of machined aluminium, and there’s too much black plastic for what is meant to be a premium model grade.
The large magnesium shift-paddles, on the other hand, are great. None of the G37’s European competitors have paddles that look and feel as good.
However, the switchgear on the centre stack is too similar to that used by the 370Z, Murano and Maxima. It’s all very functional, but you’d perhaps expect Infiniti to put more effort into differentiating its premium products from the Nissan cousins.
Comfort: The leather-upholstered front seats resemble big ol’ armchairs, and they’re as comfy as can be. After hours-long stints behind the wheel, we emerged ache-free every time.
These seats, with a driver’s chair adjustable in 14 directions, are specific to the S Premium model. They could do with a little more bolstering to the squab, but the extendable thigh-cushions are definitely appreciated.
The back seat isn’t too bad for a 2+2 coupe, but headroom isn’t exceptional. You get rear air-outlets as standard though, and the G37’s big doors make it fairly easy getting in and out.
Equipment: One of the most appealing aspects of the G37 S Premium is that it’s so chock-full of luxury that option packages are pretty much unnecessary.
You get keyless-entry and ignition, bi-xenon headlamps, cruise control, speed limiter, glass sunroof, dual-zone climate control, powered and heated front seats, foglamps, dusk-sensing headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, parking sensors and a reversing camera.
There’s also an 11-speaker Bose premium audio system, which comes with 10GB of onboard music storage, USB input and Bluetooth phone and audio streaming - all controllable via the multifunction steering wheel.
Storage: Thanks to the need to accommodate the G37’s sizable rear muffler as well as a space saver spare, the boot area is very shallow.
It’s a tight squeeze for anything more than a weekend’s luggage for two, although Infiniti helpfully (and rather optimistically) provides a diagram showing how to shoehorn two golfbags into the G37’s tiny boot.
ON THE ROAD
Driveability: The G37 Coupe has good genes. And so it should, given it’s a close relation of the Nissan 370Z.
Under the bonnet is the same 3.7 litre naturally-aspirated petrol V6 as in the 370Z, but detuned slightly to 235kW and 360Nm.
That’s 10kW less power and 3Nm less torque in a chassis that’s 180kg heavier, so obviously performance isn’t quite as sprightly as the 370Z. Still, the G37 is certainly not lacking in get-up-and-go.
Peak power arrives at 7000rpm and peak torque only becomes available at 5200rpm, so this is an engine that needs to be worked hard to extract the best performance. Keep it revving high though, and you’re rewarded with a 0-100km/h time of 5.9 seconds.
The G37’s seven-speed automatic gearbox is also shared with the 370Z, although in the Infiniti it seems to be a little slower through the gears.
Nevertheless, it’s a decent performance-oriented gearbox with large column-mounted shift paddles if you want to take manual control of gear selection.
You can also keep the engine pinned against the redline when in manual mode (without being over-ridden by the transmission changing up), which is handy on winding roads.
Downshifts are rev-matched nicely, and the spread of ratios encompasses everything from performance driving to efficient high-speed cruising.
This engine-transmission combo is relaxed and smooth around town, and although peak torque comes on rather high in the rev range, there’s plenty of low-end grunt for effortless commuting.
Refinement: While the 370Z is a noisy, thrashy thing, the G37 is anything but. Much of the G37’s extra weight comes in the form of sound insulation, and the Infiniti’s cabin is well isolated from tyre and wind noise.
The throb of the G37’s V6 is still obvious, but it’s not as loud and harsh as it is in the 370Z. At a cruise, it’s barely audible.
Suspension: Compared to the entry-level G37 GT Premium, the S Premium’s suspension employs more performance-oriented spring and damper settings.
The suspension is firmer overall, but it’s not bone-jarring over harsh bumps nor troubled by larger road imperfections.
On smaller corrugations the ride can feel a tad brittle but the bigger 19-inch alloys of the S Premium are likely at fault here.
With a near 50:50 weight distribution, four-wheel steering as standard, and the grip offered by its double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, the G37 S Premium hooks into low-speed turns beautifully (the rear wheels turn opposite to the front, tightening the turning circle).
It can feel a little sketchy when cornering at high-speed, but is nowhere near as tail-happy as the Nissan 370Z.
But managing this sensitivity is easy, thanks the G37’s outstanding steering feedback. Not only does the steering wheel have the perfect amount of weight as you wind on lock, but it communicates to the driver exactly what is going on under the front wheels.
Braking: The S Premium’s brake package has larger rotors and opposed-piston calipers borrowed from - you guessed it - the 370Z.
The four-piston front and two-piston rear Akebono calipers deliver strong, fade-free performance. Pedal feel is solid, and the brakes respond swiftly to even the softest prod. Top marks.
ANCAP rating: Not rated
Safety features: Standard safety equipment comprises ABS, EBD, brake assist, traction control and stability control. All passengers get three-point seatbelts, and six airbags are fitted to all G37s.
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: 4 years, 100,000km.
Service costs: Service intervals are set for every six months or 10,000km, and under the Infiniti Assure capped-price servicing scheme, the cost of a basic service is $353.
A “B” service will cost you $525, while major services cost $757 and are scheduled every two years or 40,000km, whichever occurs first.
HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY
BMW 335i Coupe High-line ($99,900) - One of the best-handling in its segment but, like the G37, also one of the oldest. Quite a bit more expensive than the Infiniti.
Due to be replaced by the 4 Series soon, the 335i coupe is nevertheless one of the best luxury two-doors around with a silky-smooth 225kW/400Nm 3.0 litre turbo six. (see 3 Series reviews)
Mercedes-Benz C 350 Coupe ($99,900) - The C-Class Coupe looks fresh and modern but is also considerably more expensive than the Infiniti.
The C 350’s 225kW/370Nm 3.5 litre V6 is less powerful - but with more torque - than the G37’s 3.7 litre V6. (see C-Class reviews)
Audi A5 3.0 TFSI quattro ($100,300) - The very handsome A5 is the heaviest, most expensive and least powerful of this bunch.
Its 3.0 litre supercharged V6 does have 400Nm however, and there’s the added security of quattro AWD. It’s not the most exciting car to drive, but is a cracking long-distance grand tourer. (see A5 reviews)
Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Were it not for the sheer comfort of its front seats and generous standard equipment list, the G37 S Premium would have scored lower for its interior.
It’s an ageing car, and this is clearly evident when you open the door. It’s not a bad interior, it’s just starting to look a little dated. Its tiny boot doesn’t help its cause much either.
But the G37 is a car for the keen driver. For its on-road performance, you can forgive its shortcomings in interior design and cubic boot volume.
Next to the expensive BMW 335i, the slightly less-expensive G37 stands as a superb driver’s car. It makes the strongest case for itself when out on a tight, twisting ribbon of bitumen.