In the past, the title “best bang for the buck” was usually awarded to vehicles that were essentially assembled from components dug up from a 1950s muscle car burial ground and decorated with ill-fitting interior panels made of cheap plastic. Today, however, consumers have begun to realize that they are going to have to live with their sports cars on a daily basis. For those who jump at the chance to spend one night in a cheap motel room with an experienced porn star, there are plenty of inexpensive Mustang GTs out there for you. For those of us who would rather settle down with a beautiful and talented supermodel who can cook and carry on an intelligent conversation, you will probably be better off with the 2008 Infiniti G37S. The G37S offers not only “bang for the buck,” but brilliance, beauty, and bravado as well.
From an engineering standpoint, Infiniti’s new sport coupe is brilliant. With only 3.7 liters to work with, the G's new naturally aspirated VQ V-6 engine can develop a class leading 330 horsepower. The wizardry behind the impressive power output is Infiniti’s new valve train technology, VVEL (Variable Valve Event & Lift). Similar to BMW’s Valvetronic, VVEL controls air and fuel intake by means of valve timing and lift rather than a throttle butterfly. In essence the system cuts out the middle man so that the air and fuel can be mixed directly in the combustion chamber and any losses normally incurred in a throttle body are taken out of the equation. The result is not only impressive and extremely linear power delivery, but improved emission control and fuel economy.
Infiniti suspension tuners did an equally impressive job of giving the G37 a balanced blend of nimble handling and supple ride quality. Given the extra low profile rubber wrapped around 19” ten-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels, you’d think this coupe would be a real rough rider. Instead, you’ll be treated to a taught and stable ride that does a better-than-expected job of soaking up road imperfections. Thanks to much improved noise isolation, the tiring drone of road noise that plagued last year’s model has been successfully filtered out of the new G37.
The steering is a delight as well. While our tester did not come with the fancy four-wheel steering option, the standard power assisted rack & pinion is vehicle speed sensitive and has arguably the best weighting of any vehicle in its class. You never feel like you have to wrestle it into submission while maneuvering through a parking lot and at the same time the steering never feels light and disconnected through hair pin turns in the back country.
The G37S is beautiful both inside and out. While its overall shape has not changed a lot from its previous incarnation, the refinement can be seen in the details. Headlight and taillight fixtures are more sculpted and integrated into the overall fluidity of the G coupe’s sweeping lines.
Inside, the improvements are much more dramatic. A seven-inch color display for audio and climate systems (used also for Bluetooth and Navigation when optionally equipped) is now standard and is interfaced via the Infiniti Controller. Interior lighting now employs a violet color scheme rather than gold. In Japanese culture, violet is said to be stately and royal. The Japanese culture lesson doesn’t end there. The aluminum accent panels and center stack have been finished in a pattern that is meant to imitate Japanes Washi, a hand-made paper used in Japanese art. Cabin ventilation vents have been redesigned and are now more substantial in feel and appearance. The leather-appointed 12-way power driver seat comes standard with adjustable side bolsters on both the bottom cushion and seat back. When properly inflated, the bolsters grip you like an Isotoner glove and prevent you from sliding around during at-the-limit driving.
Now for the bravado. Thanks in part to the slight bump in engine displacement, the G37’s exhaust note has a much more muscular bark than did previous generation G coupes. A zero-to-sixty sprint sent a healthy howl through the dual chrome finished exhaust pipes and the somewhat grabby sport clutch is able to send enough torque to the rear wheels to set off the VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) warning light in second gear. If it weren’t for the high levels of refinement, the new G could pass as a muscle car.
It is difficult to find any significant faults with Infinit’s latest coupe. The only things to put on the wish list for next time would be a relocated key fob slot that is better lit and easier to find at night, a more refined engine note, and a retained accessory power mode for the push-button start system.
All in all, Infiniti has built an impressive G37 for under 37 “G”s. Not only is it the least expensive car in its class, but it boasts the most horsepower and is the only one to offer an optional music server as part of the upgraded audio system. The 2008 G37S will be taking on two of Germany’s best this year as both BMW and Audi throw their coupes into the ring for some good old-fashioned no-holds-bared combat. The only question is, are you going to bet on a charming but temperamental German, or a humble but focused Samurai?
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