Infiniti G37 xAWD

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Keywords: Infiniti G37 xAWD
Description: Do you pass up the expensive steak house restaurant to buy your meat at Costco and grill the perfect steak at home? Do you purchase your clothing at an outlet mall to avoid the huge mark-up

Do you pass up the expensive steak house restaurant to buy your meat at Costco and grill the perfect steak at home?  Do you purchase your clothing at an outlet mall to avoid the huge mark-up employed by brand-name stores in a mall?  Is hiring a handyman/contractor a last resort when your house needs some work? If so, a gently used Infiniti G37 may be the vehicle for you.

As people go, I tend to fall more on the practical end of the spectrum.  When I purchase a product, I like to get good value for my dollar, but I also like high-quality products. Sports sedans have always called to me for that reason.  They are not too ostentatious or gaudy, but definitely hint that there is some performance underneath the conservative sheet metal—the E39 BMW 5-series would be my prototypical specimen.  So why not buy a used E39, you ask?  Well, I want a product that will last without numerous trips to the mechanic and intimidating repair bills.  I also require some of the creature comforts only found in newer models (decent audio system, Bluetooth, up-to-date safety features, etc.).  Looking at sports sedans circa 2010, the Infiniti G37 stands out as being both dynamic and reliable.  Consequently, last year, I purchased a 2010 Infiniti G37x sedan with about 25,000 miles on the clock.

Why might you not want to get this car?  Well, the gas mileage is poor compared to some newer models—I get 19 mpg with a majority of city driving.  The cup holders also stink.  Two soda cans fit well, but try getting two large McDonald’s cups in there during a road trip and you’re just asking for a spill.  But, these aren’t factors that should keep you away from the G37.

The ride, handling, and driving feel in a practical package are the reasons to purchase this car.  In my non-sport trim, the ride is firm, but forgiving.  Uneven road surfaces are felt, but are tolerable.  Driving on the twisty roads in the Hocking Hills of Southeastern Ohio is enjoyable, but there is some body roll, reminding you that you are not in a full -on sports car.  The G37 still employs hydraulic power steering, so steering feel is great compared to newer vehicles with electric power steering.  It feels a bit heavy while navigating parking lots at slow speeds and firms up nicely at higher speeds for confident handling.  For a daily driver, it offers a great compromise between a firm sporty suspension and a comfortable commuter.  Road noise is noticeable, but not so bad that you will hate yourself after a long road trip.  Much of the noise comes from the coarse, throaty engine note, which adds to the sporting nature of the car.

And about that engine… This was a pleasant surprise for me after owning the car for a while.  The engine note is almost more muscle car than sports sedan.  I’ve never really been attracted to muscle cars, but the sensation of all of that power is growing on me.  Acceleration in city driving is great and a blast when in sport/manual shift mode.  At highway speeds, it seems to be a little out of the torque curve and it can take some minimal effort to pass.  The automatic transmission has been a bit of a disappointment with this car.  There are seven gears, but the shifts can be a little rough, especially when coasting to a stop.  Even though my car is not a sport model, I have also read online that it should still be prewired for the shift paddles that come on the sport model.  It looks like it is a reasonably easy self-install after buying a kit and it is on my list of things to do this summer.

My prior car was a 2004 Subaru Legacy sedan and there is a noticeable difference between Subaru’s symmetrical all wheel drive and the AWD system on the G37x.  For those that don’t know, the Subaru system sends power to all four wheels all of the time.  The G37’s AWD powers only the rear wheels until they slip and then power is sent to the front as well.  This is great, in that it maintains the RWD feel of the car.  Still, compared to the Subaru, it is disconcerting to feel the back of the car start to slip before the AWD kicks in.  At low speeds, the car can be locked in AWD with the “Snow Mode” button, but this deactivates at higher speeds.  In all fairness, I only really notice problems while trying to drive on unplowed roads with more than two inches of snow on the ground.  In light snow or plowed streets, the G37’s AWD is great for winter driving.  I haven’t noticed any difference driving in simply wet conditions.

I admit, the interior of the car is starting to look a little dated.  I prefer a more classic look, so this works for me.  Infiniti’s center screen with dial and keypad below looks premium and is simple to use.  It may not be cutting edge, but it works well and minimizes distraction from driving.  The screen also works as a touchscreen in cars equipped with navigation.  The voice commands work well for making phone calls and using the navigation system.  Bluetooth audio streaming comes with models with navigation and works well 95% of the time with a few glitches.  Curiously, there is no auxiliary jack, so Bluetooth is the only connectivity option for playing music from your own device.  There is a hard drive that can rip CDs—I know, terrible outdated.  The Bose sound system is pretty decent, although I am not a hardcore audiophile and I don’t expect my subwoofer to rattle my neighbors’ windows as I cruise by.  It seems a step above the Bose system in the 2014 Mazda6.

I prefer lighter vehicle interiors rather than an expanse of black plastic and leather and went with the Stone interior and aluminum trim.  It’s a little different than a typical beige car interior and may strike some as too bland.  Aluminum also helps to make the interior look a little more contemporary compared to the optional wood trim.  The non-sport front seats are very comfortable and tend to be on the firm side.  No problems after a seven-hour road trip.  They do allow some room for sliding around during hard cornering, though.  The seat heaters are excellent and the climate control is very quick to heat or cool.

The rear seat room is another plus of this car.  Compared to a 2010 BMW 3 series, Audi A4, or Lexus IS there is considerably more room for two adults to comfortably sit in the back.  I am six feet tall and can sit comfortably behind my drivers seat position.  The center armrest is chunky and padded, adding to the comfort and coziness of the back seat.  I have not tested this personally, but several online reviews show that rear-facing infant and child seats can also fit in the backseat without ruining the front seat legroom.  This was a big factor in the practical nature of this car, as it truly can be a family vehicle.

Visibility is quite good and a back-up camera is standard even though it’s really not necessary.  There are also rear backup radar sensors to help with parking and pulling out of parking spots.  The trunk is so-so.  The opening is probably too small, but there is room for several roller bags for airport runs and the like—approximately 13.5 cubic feet.  The rear seats do not fold down, though, so you’ll have to take your SUV when making hardware store runs for longer objects.  There is a small pass-through for skis.  Overall, I found this interior more comfortable, practical, and better looking than the comparable BMW.

Infiniti’s exterior styling seems to be pretty polarizing.  Compared to other models, they showed some more restraint with the G37.  The front end is beautiful with the swooping sleek HID headlights and aggressive fender flairs.  These are the best headlights I have experienced in a car—very bright with a large area of coverage.  Of note, there are no daytime running lights.  The back end of the car does not work as well.  The G sedan has had the same basic taillight design for a while now and it looks old.  It is unique, though, in an age where many cars seem to have the same basic rear end design.  The rear end just looks frumpy compared to the curvaceous front end.  And I am not a fan of the chrome trim on the spoiler either.

The excellent reliability record according to Consumer Reports and True Delta along with the reasonable price, driving dynamics, and interior amenities made this purchase a no brainer.  You can get more for more money with a newer model, but this value is hard to beat.  BMW—and with recent models, maybe now Cadillac—may be the Ultimate Driving Machine. but the Infiniti G37 is the Ultimate Used Sports Sedan .  If you are a practical guy or gal on a budget looking for a sophisticated, fun ride, definitely check one out.

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