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2009 Infiniti G37 Sedan first take

CNET Car Tech takes a look at the cabin tech and adaptive cruise control in the 2009 Infiniti G37 Sedan.

2009 Infiniti G37 Sedan
Corinne Schulze/CNET

Currently, Infiniti offers some of the best cabin tech in the automotive world, and the 2009 Infiniti G37 Sedan exemplifies a balance of modern convenience and sport driving prowess. Although we recently reviewed the 2009 Infiniti G37 Coupe with all-wheel-drive, we took a look at the G37 Sedan to test out Infiniti's new adaptive cruise control system.

Where the Coupe shows off a sports car look with its quick drop from the roof line towards the trunk, the Sedan has that bubble design for the cabin common among modern cars. Of course, the extra doors and higher roof mean a much more usable back seat and make the car useful as a family hauler for the driver who also wants some power.

Cabin tech between the Sedan and Coupe is identical, with both featuring a hard drive-based navigation system that operates quickly and shows live traffic. The navigation system also does text-to-speech, reading out the names of upcoming streets.

Traffic on G37 navigation system
The G37's navigation system points out bad traffic areas. Corinne Schulze/CNET

The audio system has a ridiculous number of digital audio sources, too, which includes iPod integration, satellite radio, a Compact Flash slot, auxiliary in, MP3-capable CD player, and the ability to rip CDs to the car's own hard drive. The audio quality is very good with the premium sound system, although not the best we've heard.

The Bluetooth system in these cars is also pretty good, although we ran into a problem due to the fact that you have to push contacts from a paired cell phone to the car. Our paired iPhone lacked the capability to populate the car's phone book in that manner, so we would have had to make entries manually.

For cabin tech, the Lincoln MKS edges out the G37 Sedan slightly, due to the excellent capabilities of Ford Sync and the THX sound system, but the G37 has the edge in performance.

You can feel the power surge when you hit the gas pedal, tapping the 328 horsepower from the 3.7-liter V-6 engine. The G37 has responsive acceleration, along a new seven-speed automatic transmission. The Sport mode on this transmission shifts properly when you drive aggressively. If you go at moderate speed into a turn and give it a little brake, the transmission assumes you aren't serious and stays in its current gear. It's only when you hammer the throttle until the last minute, then use heavy braking, that the transmission kicks down, giving good power to accelerate out of the turn.

Infiniti's steering column-mounted paddle shifters show the car means business. Getting into manual mode and using the paddles, we found that downshifts were pleasingly fast, but upshifts seemed much slower, which could have just been the car's way of saying it wanted to stay in the heavy power band, economy be damned.

Dynamic cruise control display
Dynamic cruise control information displays on the instrument panel. CNET

The new feature, adaptive cruise control, is more suited to those long freeway trips with moderate to light traffic. Set the car's speed at 80 mph, then watch as it slows down for slower traffic ahead. Don't worry, it will slow down. With the following distance set at its shortest among the three options, we were on the edge of the seat as the car sped towards a slower car up ahead. Under these circumstances, the car hit its brakes surprisingly hard before matching speed with the slowpoke in our lane.

Passing cars with this cruise control system can be a little scary, depending on conditions. We moved a lane to the left, and the G37 took a moment to decide it was okay to get up to speed, a good safety feature, but bad if someone is coming up fast in the lane you just moved into. When it decided the lane was clear, the G37 roared up to our set speed.

The 2009 Infiniti G37 Sedan makes an excellent all-around car. You get the practicality of four doors and useful cabin electronics, but you can also stretch its legs out on winding mountain roads. At our test car's $43,288 price tag, it doesn't seem like a budget automobile, but when compared to competitors from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, it starts to look like a bargain.