Comfort and safety tech
As it turns out, the G Sedan isn't a bad place to take it easy. With standard leather trim, automatic temperature control, and a spacious cabin that envelops up to five adults (four comfortably) with enough sound deadening to permit low-volume music and conversation without shouting in the middle of a rainstorm, I was more than happy to adjust the driver's seat to a more relaxed position and cruise. The wide tires and stiff suspension transmit a noticeable amount of road noise into the cabin at highway speeds, but not an unforgivable amount. Again, if a quiet ride is what you're after, you'll want to test-drive a G37 Journey sans Sport package.
Cabin comfort options start with the standard 7-inch information display mounted at the top of the center stack. This gives drivers access to the climate control systems, audio controls for the standard USB/iPod connection, XM Satellite Radio tuner, single-slot CD player, and Bluetooth hands-free phone system. This screen is also where the drive can display the view from the rearview camera, which is also standard.
Stepping up to the $2,150 Premium package adds a beeping sonar proximity detector to the rear camera system, power adjustment to the steering wheel, driver memory settings for the standard power seats, a power moonroof, and a 2.0GB Music Box audio storage system that curiously only lists 800MB of available space. We're not sure what happened to the other gigabyte of free space, but that only leaves room for about 250 songs. Most importantly, the Premium trim level replaces the standard six-speaker audio system with the rather loftily named Infiniti Studio on Wheels premium audio system by Bose. This 10-speaker rig performed, to my ear, about like any other Bose-branded audio system that we've tested. It would seem that Bose has tuned much of the boominess out of its car audio systems, as the G Sedan's setup produced a very balanced sound. However, strong bass is just two ticks of the bass level away and sound remains essentially distortion-free at most volumes as long as you don't get too far from center with the EQ's settings.
Our vehicle was also equipped with a $600 Interior Accents package that adds high-gloss Maple trim to the cabin.
Checking the box next to the $1,850 Navigation package unlocks the next level of tech. The 7-inch information display becomes a touch screen and is now backed up by a HDD-based navigation system, a DVD player, and Infiniti's voice recognition system. In the presence of the navigation system the standard XM Satellite Radio receiver begins to download XM NavTraffic and XM NavWeather data and advisories. The navigation system's larger 9.3GB hard drive also features more space for audio storage. Maps show 3D buildings and landmarks and are attractive and easy to read. However, Infiniti's system does look a bit Fisher-Price when compared with the advanced graphics of BMW's and Audi's navigation systems.
Because of the way Infiniti has tiered its packaging, the options must be added in a specific order. So if you're not interested in the Sport package, you'll want to stop here, because that's the next package. Unfortunately, skipping the Sport package means that you'll be locked out of selecting the Technology package. Even odder, selecting the Sport package automatically specs the Tech package, which causes me to question why they're even separate packages to begin with.
Our tester, at any rate, was equipped with both the $2,150 Sport and the $1,200 Technology packages. The latter option adds automatic windshield wipers, an upgraded climate control system, and Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), which uses forward-facing radar to automatically maintain a set distance between the front bumper and the vehicle ahead. Interestingly, Infiniti used a similar active cruise control system on the FX50S that we tested a few years ago that would slow the vehicle all the way down to stop-and-go speeds if necessary. The ICC system in the newer G Sedan deactivates below about 35 mph. Additionally, the ICC can't be set while the automatic windshield wipers are active. This is presumably for safety. However, if you set the ICC first, activating the wipers will not then disable the cruise control.
Speaking of safety, the ICC's forward-facing sensor also acts as a crash-detection sensor that can trigger pretensioning of the seatbelts and preloading of the braking system in the event of an impending collision. As much of our testing was conducted in the rain, we did not put this system to the test.
All in all, with an $875 destination charge, our 2011 G37 Sedan Journey came to an as-tested price of $44,245. That's not a bad price relative to a similarly equipped BMW 335i sedan. The Bimmer would yield a more satisfying driving experience than the Infiniti, but at almost $10,000 more, it had better!
However, it can be difficult to optimize the G Journey Sedan to your needs because of the way Infiniti sets up its packaging. We'd recommend that the driver wanting to maximize comfort and safety tech stop checking option boxes at the Premium and Navigation packages and roll off of the lot with a $41,695 car. Performance drivers are probably looking at the G Coupe, but those who need four doors will want to test-drive the G37 Sport 6MT Sedan, which is an all-or-nothing affair that combines the options of the Premium, Navigation, and Sport packages with the addition of a six-speed manual gearbox for $41,495. Neither scenario features the option to spec the Technology package and its ICC system, but I'm not so sure that's a deal breaker for many.
|Model||2011 Infiniti G37 Sedan|
|Power train||3.7-liter V-6, 7-speed automatic transmission, RWD|
|EPA fuel economy||19 city, 27 highway mpg|
|Observed fuel economy||20.8 mpg|
|Navigation||available HDD-based navigation with XM traffic and weather|
|Bluetooth phone support||voice command, phone book sync, audio streaming available|
|Disc player||single-slot CD, optional DVD video|
|MP3 player support||analog 3.5mm auxiliary input, standard USB/iPod connection|
|Other digital audio||standard XM Satellite Radio|
|Audio system||6-speaker basic, optional 10-speaker Bose|
|Driver aids||standard rearview camera, optional rear sonar proximity, Intelligent Cruise Control with precrash warning|
|Price as tested||$44,245|