Nissan/Infiniti's VQ35 V-6 is a jewel, but reaches a new 280-horsepower high in G35 Sport
Each model gets its own different variation of Infiniti's outstanding VQ35 3.5-liter DOHC all-aluminum V-6, incorporating the company's Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS). The engine is rated at 260 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque in the Sport Sedan and is backed by a five-speed automatic transmission featuring a sequential shift control. A six-speed manual will be available early in 2003. A higher state of tune and a (howling, burbling, awesome-sounding!) full dual-exhaust system give the Sport Coupe's version of the VQ 280 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. Coupe buyers may choose between the same five-speed manumatic or a quick-shifting six-speed manual. These machines are fast: The sedan gets from 0-60 in 6.5 seconds, with the coupe scoring a musclecar-like 5.8.
No automobile can legitimately be dubbed a sport coupe/sedan unless it delivers agile handling, well-damped body control, communicative steering, strong braking, and confident high-speed stability. Both Gs serve up these important traits in spades. The all-steel unit body is structurally stiff, which allows for precise suspension tuning and the taut, communicative feel that results from it. Infiniti has engineered both models with lightweight aluminum independent multilink suspension and an anti-roll bar front and rear.
The power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering--speed sensitive in the coupe--is crisp weighted, and provides good road surface feedback. Infiniti didn't scrimp on the rolling stock either: 16-inch wheels and tires are standard on the sedan, with a performance-oriented 17-inch combo optional as part of a Sport Suspension package, with stiffer shocks, springs, and bushings. The coupe goes a step further, with stiffer suspension and 17s standard and 18-inch wheels/tires. Both of our test cars were Sport Pack-equipped, and our slalom test handling results were impressive: The four-door cleared the cones at 65.6 mph, and the coupe performed the same trick at a Corvette-beating 66.1.
They stop as good as they go, too. Both get four-wheel vented disc brakes with four-channel ABS, the coupe's being supplied by Brembo, the same Italian company that puts brakes on Ferraris. Our sedan stopped from 60 mph in an impressive 114 feet; the coupe at an even more exotic-carlike 112. A good measure of the G35s handling prowess and high speed stability is attributable to the considerable aerodynamic work that went into not only the bodywork, but underneath the car as well. The sedan, for example, has a low 0.27 coefficient of drag with zero-degree front lift; order the optional aero package (rear spoiler and rear-floor side fairing), and the Cd drops to 0.26, with zero lift front and rear. Impressive.