Though sport coupes have fallen mostly out of favor with the general buying public, they’re far from dead. Ford will always sell plenty of Mustangs each year leading the pony car charge, and the Dodge Challenger and Chevy Camaro will soon follow. Nevertheless, customers looking for something unique and upscale have few choices.
When Infiniti launched the G35 coupe in tandem with the Nissan 350Z some years ago, it was one of the best-looking cars on the road. A compact shape drawn with sinuous lines reflected the muscle of its nearly 300-horsepower engine under-hood. Fans of the G35 hoped that any future change would not negate its beauty or athleticism.
For 2008, the G35 has grown into the G37. The old version reflected the high-school stud from the affluent family. The latest version is the all-American starting running back at a big name school already looking at seven-figure pro offers. It’s bigger, stronger and faster with all the right moves.
The newest G-coupe is built on a platform that is over one-third stiffer than its predecessor, and the extra stoutness comes through behind the wheel. The lower overall height should result in a slightly lower center of gravity that is contained in wider front and rear track widths. Structurally speaking, it’s designed to handle better and it does not disappoint.
The Sport model test car came standard with sticky, W-speed rated Bridgestone tires that complemented the mildly stiff suspension. Ride quality wasn’t uncomfortable, but the feedback from frost heaves and asphalt patches reminds you of its performance intentions. The high performance tires further cement the sporting message by following road irregularities when cold, enough to demand more attention to the steering wheel. The sensation dissipates after the tires come up to temperature.
Despite its nearly 3700 lbs. of heft, the G37 S is an able handler. It remains nearly neutral at the handling limit with the result being mild understeer when you surpass peak grip. A heavy right foot combined with turning off the traction control boots the rear end into oversteer that is easily controlled.
The G-coupe’s moniker increased two digits thanks to an engine displacement that grew by 200 cubic centimeters. Power increases by 37 horses up to 330. The engine is a rev-happy unit, thanks in part to a sophisticated valvetrain that has helped increase fuel mileage along with power.
That power flows readily, forcing its driver to keep one eye on the tachometer needle to avoid bumping the rev-limiter. The exhaust note seduces you into more speed, enough to require a good radar detector. A six-speed manual transmission makes power management easy with mildly aggressive clutch take-up, but shifts are smooth with short throws. Huge brakes quickly haul you down from suspicious velocities with fantastic feedback.
The G37’s interior design advances along with its shapely sheet metal. Large white-on-black gauges are a definite improvement over the old version while the rest of the interior has a very modern design theme. The driver’s seat is sized generously and has adjustable bolsters on the cushion and backrest for a custom fit to most physiques. Rear seats are child-size only as the rear glass angle keeps headroom to a minimum.
There are few negatives to mention and they are quibbles at worst. Some of the interior switches didn’t feel Infiniti-worthy and the black plastic trim around the exterior mirrors looks discounted as well. The stereo on the test car would intermittently send all the sound to the rear speakers, go to full bass and add static when switching from satellite radio to FM.
G37 S coupes start at $35,800. A rear spoiler ($550) was the only option to adorn the test car and adding $715 for freight raised the final sticker to $37,065. Like the G35 that came before it, the G37 S is a great choice for those seeking the style of an up-level personal coupe that delivers a great driving experience at a reasonable price.