You want style, you want finesse, you want class. Typically you'd turn to Europe but now it comes just as easily from the East (or the West, I guess, if you live in California).
Infiniti's all-new 2008 G37 Coupe seemingly has it all, but would it stand up to a week's test?
I'd love to tell you, but the wife wrestled the keys from me the second I walked through the door, and I didn't see it again for five days. She loved ripping it along the straighter stretches of the PCH on her commute to Newport Beach. Her colleagues drooled over it. Her bosses, who own a Boxster and Bimmer M3 respectively, had to scrape their jaws from the floor.
It's that impacting, that good, that gloriously smooth through the six-speed manual box, that powerful through its 55hp increase to 330 hp from its 3.7 liter V6 engine displacement, and that stiff and sprung through its 36 per cent more rigid front midship platform and four-wheel independent suspension.
You may well also discover the joys of its advanced four-wheel steering system.
Having won the keys back from the wife, by predicting – hah! - the rejuvenated Lakers would skelp the Phoenix Suns (and they did it again, just for good measure), first things I noticed were the sculpted, more muscular but less complicated shell, and an upscale all-leather interior that lets you know you've put down near 40Gs all in for a model with all the sports and premium dibbings. It's so tight, you can almost hear it squeak.
Nice touches include the textured surfaces of the dash and gorgeous split-tone black and auburn leather seating, all heated and powered in a cabin space that is bigger than your average coupe. And its Bose soundsystem is fully iPod compatible, and comes with more than 9 Gig storage space for tunes you want to download to the car.
Next thing you'll notice is the almost-roadster hood that curves around the seemingly impossibly sunken 19-inch rims at the front – 2” bigger than those on the Hummer H2 I've got this week – that lend the feeling you're in a low-slung two-seater rather than a coupe. And yes, those lines extending from the pert back-end look gorgeously flared as they sweep round to the front.
Apart from a gruntish roar if you sink the power pedal, you'll barely know that you've hit the ignition. Pull away and you'll soon be in automotive heaven. There's a reason that BMW is seriously worried about its competition and the sales that may soon ebb away in the all-important US and in particular California market.
So different from its stablemate Altima coupe I tested a couple months back, the G37 torquey low-down power flows through all four wheels, optimizing whichever wheel needs it most, which results in handling that is right up there with Bimmer and Audi. One thing though: As in many of these electronically-governed sportsters, it won't let you undertake significantly ridiculous maneuvers. Not that you should anyway, but, well, sometimes in these supermachines, it's just too tempting to see what it can do (safely, of course).
If you want an in-depth explanation of exactly how the all new racing-enhanced variable valve timing and variable valve lift engine systems work you'd probably be better turning to the pages of Popular Mechanics, but rest assured I've put a good few BMW valvetronics through performance testing and this one is right up there, and boasts fewer moving parts. It also emits less pollution.
Gas is reasonable at 17 and 26 mpg town and highway respectively; safety is good for its class. The sports package gives you slip differential, 10-spoke 19-inch duds, tuned suspension and paddle shifters for $1850 extra. The upscale premium package will give you sliding moonroof, said Bose soundsystem and Bluetooth.
Which all comes it at pretty near $40,000 MSRP, and don't expect to knock a whole lot off that price at your friendly neighborhood dealer. There are a lot of wives out there who will want – no, demand - one.
Published on Dec 31, 1969