An engaging drive, but likely to be a minority taste until the diesel engine arrives

What is it?

Nissan has given us a spin in a prototype version of next year’s Infiniti G37 saloon, a “European-ised” version of the American-spec G35.

Changes involve a bigger engine, seven-speed automatic transmission in place of the G35’s six-speed slusher and a higher-quality interior. When it goes on sale in the UK in 2009, Infiniti sources say the G37 will be priced close to the BMW 330i saloon, while offering far more kit as standard.

What’s it like?

A tale in several parts. Even behind some mild disguise, there’s no doubting that the saloon’s styling is short on the sort of visual interest that buyers in this segment are likely to expect – which is a shame, as the G37’s coupe sister is an unarguably handsome thing.

Euro-Infiniti is also going to get a higher-quality cabin than it’s American rival: classier leather, better materials and even changes like the arrival of a rotary heated seat switch in terms of the clunky two-position plastic item offered in US-spec cars.

It seems well-finished and comfortable, although the dashboard is cluttered with buttons, and European buyers won’t be spared the cheesy oval clock that sits at its centre.

On the road the G37’s case strengthens. The car is powered by a new, 3.7-litre version of Nissan’s ‘VQ’ V6 motor, producing 316bhp. Performance is lively and, although the software settings of the seven-speed gearbox we sampled weren’t finalised, it seemed to shift sweetly enough in both automatic and manual over-ride modes.

The standard G37 is rear-wheel drive, with the option of four-wheel drive on the “X” model, and the chassis offers well mannered, predictable responses.

Infiniti claims the G37 has been re-engineered around higher European driving speeds, including details like a beefed-up motor for the windscreen wipers. For all that, the prototype suffered from a surprising amount of wind noise from the tops of the doors at speeds above 70mph.

Final details of price and specification haven’t been released, but Infiniti execs confirm that the G37 puts out over 225g/km of CO2, meaning it will suffer from the full weight of Britain’s increasingly punitive environmental taxation.

So, should I buy one?

If you’re a determined early adopter anxious to check out Infiniti’s promised Lexus-beating customer service then it might be worth putting a deposit on one (once Britain’s small group of Infiniti dealerships actually begin to trade.)

But we reckon that, until the promised diesel version comes out in a couple of years, the G37 saloon will remain very much a minority taste.

Mike Duff

Join the debate

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wolseley 6 May 2008

Re: Infiniti G37

I worked in the US three years ago for several months and upgraded my rented Nissan Altima (not a bad tin box) to an Infiniti G35. It was a lovely, effortless, fast drive and as close as you could get to a four-door four-seat 350Z (which it kind of was) but the interior fit and finish wasn't much better than the Nissan, the bumpers were salad-spinner flimsy, the front number plate kept falling off and after three months of enjoyable driving the autoshifter came off in my hand after a possibly over-zealous slide into PARK. It was replaced in turn with a Volvo S60, a bit dull, reliable, white before it was fashionable, and not much fun at all, but solid. So, I'd say the G35 sat alongside a 3-series the way a 350Z sits alongside a Z4 or an SLK - go there if you don't want to be one of the crowd and you don't mind sacrificing quality for a different kind of laugh behind the wheel. One more thing. Over there Infiniti rivals Acura, Honda's upscale brand. Over here they market Acura as Honda (our Accord being their Acura TSX) and don't even sell the Hondas they call Honda, other than down at Civic & Jazz level. Read into that what you like. What I read is that over here we expect better and won't be fooled by posh badges on bog-standard cars (unless they say A3 or TT.)

tommallett 5 May 2008

Re: Infiniti G37

Roy Fullee wrote:

Seems Autocar are determined to make this car a munter before its officially on sale and subjected to a full road test.

I think they are probably just being realistic. The interior is clearly not up to european standards and having the right engines is crucial. Previous reports on brand have actually been quite good and possibly even overplayed the chances of success in the forseeable future.

As proof of the pudding it must be noted that they are actually having a hardish time securing a decent dealer network.

Roy Fullee 5 May 2008

Re: Infiniti G37

Seems Autocar are determined to make this car a munter before its officially on sale and subjected to a full road test.