2009 Infiniti G37x Sedan

An all-season performer with power to spare

2009 Infiniti G37x Sedan

FAST FACTS

1. New G37 comes with larger 3.7-liter V6 with 332hp and 269 ft-lbs of torque.

2. The 2009 G37 is more fuel efficient with an 18/25 mpg (city/highway) rating, thanks in part to a new 7-speed automatic transmission.

3. The G37x features Nissan’s famous ATTESA E-TS AWD system, which makes the G an all-season performer and helps give it a 0-60 mph time of 5.1 seconds.

While the G37 Sedan has a long list of competitors, the luxury sports sedan is one of fewer options for consumers to choose from in the all-wheel drive category.

What really sets the G37x apart is the incredible power of its new 3.7-liter V6 engine. It pulls like a V8 would and with 328 hp at 7000 rpm and 269 ft-lbs of torque at 5200 rpm, it has numbers like a V8 too. The increase is 22hp and one ft-lb over the old 3.5-liter motor and Infiniti says the engine is not just more powerful, but more fuel-efficient too. EPA rated fuel-economy for the G37x is 18/25 mpg city/highway (18/26 for RWD models), as compared to 17/24 for the old G35x.

A major reason for this improvement, particularly on the highway, is due to Infiniti’s new seven-speed automatic transmission. The extra two gears help keep the engine revving low at highway speeds – the tranny also helps out in the acceleration department (as does the ATTESA E-TS AWD grip) and the G37x can hit 60 mph in an astonishing 5.1 seconds!

NEW LUXURIOUS DESIGN

The new design of the G certainly looks better thought-out than the outgoing model. Whereas the G35 almost looked like two different vehicles, with soft and sharp lines mashed together at spots, the new G is all soft flowing lines over what looks like a bulkier body. That being said, it does appear to be significantly more “luxurious” than “sporty” with Infiniti’s “wave” hood, which really accentuates the front fenders and the overall size of the vehicle. Generally speaking, it has the appearance of being much larger that competitors from BMW and Audi.

No doubt Infiniti buyers, who appreciate the company’s traditionally “blingy” aesthetics, will prefer this design over the outgoing model. While the car does come standard with 17-inch wheels, we would like to see an optional 18-inch package (like the one offered in Canada).

FULL-ON LUXURY INTERIOR, WITH A FEW ISSUES

Infiniti’s affinity for luxury certainly shows through on the interior of the car, where the design and materials put some competitors’ vehicles (we’re looking at you BMW) to shame.

Most noticeable for ’09 is the use of what Infiniti calls “Washi”-style textured aluminum trim – essentially a rough-looking brushed aluminum. It is equally as classy as other brushed aluminum trims and at the same time gives the car a little extra personality – never a bad thing.

Standard equipment includes leather eight-way heated power driver’s and passenger’s seats, heated mirrors, dual-zone climate control, rear vents, Infiniti’s intelligent key with push-button ignition, power windows with one-touch auto up/down front windows, remote power locks, an illuminated entry system, a hand-stitched leather tilt and telescopic steering wheel with audio controls and cruise control, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with auxiliary input and the Infiniti Controller 7-inch LCD screen with audio, climate control, fuel economy, maintenance and other systems. Oh, and the signature Infiniti analog clock. All this for $35,750 ($41,300 CDN).

My tester also included the $2,150 Navigation Package and $2,300 Premium Package. The Navigation system was both difficult to use and read and the myriad of buttons that surround it didn’t make the matter any easier. The whole system is also located a great distance from the driver and required a stretch to reach it (and I have long arms). On top of this, the LCD screen was impossible to read in direct sunlight. On the plus side, however, this package does include a backup camera and the Navigation system comes with XM NavTraffic to give you real-time traffic information – with an XM subscription of course.

As for the Premium Package, it includes a long list of features including a 10-speaker Bose audio system with 10-inch door mounted subwoofers. Also included is an iPod interface system, a power tilt and telescopic steering wheel, Bluetooth, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a memory system for the driver’s seat, steering and mirror. The driver’s seat also features a two-way lumbar support.

Another disparity between U.S. and Canadian models is that in Canada, the AWD models are available with a sport package that includes those 18-inch rims we mentioned and front sport seats with a manual thigh extension and power pneumatic thigh and torso bolsters to keep you in place during spirited driving.

As for my thoughts on the interior, I really liked that Infiniti has upgraded the switchgear on the new models. Two other features really impressed me as well: the fact that the gauges moved with the tilt steering and the ability of the audio system to store AM/FM and XM presets all on the same set of buttons.

As for my dislikes, I found that reaching the seat controls was almost impossible due to the tiny space between the seat and the door. The cockpit also seemed relatively cramped, as I had to put the seat at its lowest setting to avoid hitting the roof with my head. (Driver’s over 6 feet should be aware of this). One other gripe is that while back seat legroom is fine, foot-room is limited as the bulky front seats are so large you can’t slide your toes under them.

LONG LIST OF SAFETY FEATURES

As expected in a car of this class, there is a long list of safety features. It comes with dual-stage front air bags, as well as roof-mounted side air bags for front and rear passengers. Four-wheel ABS disk brakes with EBD and Brake Assist are standard, as is Infiniti’s Vehicle Dynamic Control traction and stability control system. A more impressive braking package is available for RWD models and optional brake-operated pre-crash seatbelts are an option.

THE DRIVE

From behind the wheel the G37x is sporty and luxurious. The front-mid location of the engine helps give the car a balanced feel and despite looking larger than the outgoing model it has almost the exact same dimensions and is still quite tossable – though not nearly as nimble (or nimble feeling) as the competing BMW.

Straight-line power is tremendous and grip is (obviously) superb. One big disappointment, however, is that the new engine doesn’t sound half as good as the old 3.5-liter V6.

The 7-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode is a nice touch, as the ability to shift down on the highway (rather than brake) or ensure you’re in the right gear when merging on the highway, is always welcome.

THE COMPETITION

As already mentioned, Infiniti has it a little easier in the AWD category due to several key competitors not having any real options. Both Lexus’s IS250 AWD model and Mercedes’s C300 AWD model just don’t have the power to compete against the G. Even the signature AWD luxury sports sedan, the Audi A4, is a bit underwhelming in terms of performance in this category, with its 3.2-liter V6 making just 265hp and posting a 0-60 mph time of 6.3 seconds. Still, it has some of the best highway fuel economy with 26 mpg and average city fuel consumption with 17 mpg – compared to a rating of 18/25 (city/highway) for the G37x. The Audi also has an interior on par with the G.

Another alternative is the Acura TSX, which for 2009 comes with AWD for the first time. It’s quite a bit larger of a vehicle, however, with a smaller wheelbase and is more in line with the Audi in terms of performance.

The real competition, as always, is the BMW 335 xDrive with the closest acceleration time of 5.4 seconds. It is significantly smaller, however, with an overall size that is a good 10-inches shorter in length. The choice comes down to whether you prefer the added luxury of the Infiniti or the more simplistic and raw feel of the BMW.

THE VERDICT

For those who prefer their luxury sports sedan to be more on the luxury side, this is definitely the car for you. Without competition form either Mercedes or Lexus in this category, only Audi really has anything to offer on the luxury side. Infiniti made some major interior improvements in terms of material quality for ’09, although a significant amount of work in the ergonomics department still remains to be done.

The design isn’t one that speaks to me particularly, but that’s a subjective matter.

As for straight-line performance, the G37x Sedan leaves all others in its dust. Still, the drive itself wasn’t quite as engaging as many of the G’s rivals and while the 7-speed transmission is welcome, the loss of that signature exhaust note is a huge blow against the car.

POSITVE

Incredible acceleration New 7-speed transmission AWD makes it an all-year, all-climate performer

NEGATIVE

LCD screen hard to see in direct light Large front seats reduce rear leg/foot-room Poor ergonomics with lots of interior buttons hard to reach

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