Viewed from just about every angle, the 2009 Infiniti G37 Coupe is quite the looker. Smooth lines and sports car proportions combine with optional 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels to create one of the most attractive cars on the road today. Look beneath the G37 Coupe's sheet-metal skin and you'll find a potent 330 horsepower V-6 engine creating one of the best exhaust notes in the business as it feeds power to all four wheels.
Infiniti also gave the G37 Coupe brains to go along with its brawn, making a suite of cabin tech available that includes hard-drive-based navigation with space for music storage, voice command, and iPod integration, among other features.
On the road
The 2009 Infiniti G37 Coupe comes to us from the same people who crafted the 2009 Nissan 370Z; and while the vehicles share the same heart--Nissan's VQ-series 3.7-liter V-6 engine--their execution couldn't be more different. The Z is a vehicle with a purity of purpose targeted directly at performance driving. Meanwhile, the G37 makes a few sacrifices to performance in the name of comfort and style.
Think of the Z Coupe as an athlete wearing running shoes and track pants and the G37 Coupe as that same athlete in a chic business suit. What you shouldn't do is assume that the athlete can't run because she is suited up. Make no mistake, the G37 Coupe can hustle, even loaded down with power everything and the latest in cabin tech.
For our testing, we primarily left the transmission in Sport mode. Acceleration from a stop comes on strong, pressing the leather seats into the small of your back. The automatic transmission holds the revs almost to the redline when in sport mode, taking full advantage of the 330 horsepower available near the top of the power band.
Braking hard for a turn, the transmission blips the throttle and downshifts. This is an automatic transmission that's smart enough to shift before cornering? We like this even more.
Apex. Throttle. The rear-biased all-wheel drive system allows a little slip and we're able to tuck the nose in as we prepare to exit the turn. If you get too happy with the gas midturn, a little AWD light blinks from the instrument cluster letting you know that the G37's electronic nannies have saved your butt yet again. Let out on the steering and rocket out of the turn, and the V-6 sings through the tuned dual exhaust.
Take the G37 for a freeway ride and it transforms into a grand tourer. Settling onto suspension, the G37 soaks up bumps and expansion joints without losing its composure, transferring a minimal amount of harshness into the cabin. Road noise is also kept to a low din, easily overcome by the Bose audio system. The great exhaust notes become nearly silent, unlike the rather annoying drone of the 370Z at speed.
Indeed, though the Infiniti G37 Coupe and Nissan 370Z Coupe share quite a bit of DNA, they diverge when it comes to purpose. While we don't think the G37 would be at home on a racetrack, it's a quite capable back-road carver with the bonus of being comfortable for the long ride home.
In the cabin
Trimmed in leather and wood, the fit and finish of our G37's cabin rivaled that of BMW 3-series. Every surface we came in contact with felt solid. Optional illuminated doors and keyless entry and start helped to create the feeling that we were being catered to by the vehicle.
Even with the height-adjustable seats set to their lowest position, our taller editors complained of the G37 Coupe's lack of headroom. We all liked the generous amount of shoulder and hip space the wide coupe provided.
Just behind the power-tilt and telescoping steering wheel is an electroluminescent instrument cluster, featuring a monochromatic LCD information display between a large speedometer and tachometer. Like its cousin the Z Coupe, the G37's entire instrument cluster moves with the steering wheel, a boon for tall or short drivers because the steering wheel never blocks the gauges.
The voice command system is rather simple, but it works well enough. For example, when navigating, we could invoke the command for displaying nearby restaurants and then choose from a list of the five closest places, but we could not search for a specific restaurant by name without stopping and using the touch screen.
The navigation system that forms the heart of the tech package is similar to what we've seen in many Infinitis and Nissans before. A rotating knob/directional pad combination works with a touch-screen interface and the voice command system to give drivers many options for executing tasks. The touch screen is well shielded from glare under most conditions, the sole exception being when the power sunroof is open on a bright day.