2008 Infiniti G35 x AWD Sedan Review

By Brendan Moore

09.24.2008

Maybe I should have reviewed this G-Series sedan before I drove the G37 coupe around on roads for a week and then on a track for half a day. Because the sojourn I had with the somewhat frumpy sedan with the older 3.5 liter engine seems like a letdown compared to the torrid affair I had with the redesigned coupe.

Oh, the Infiniti G35 is a nice enough car, of course. But again, to exercise the relationship analogy a little more, that statement is akin to the assessment delivered after a so-so date: “So, what did you think of Barney?” To which the woman replies, “Barney? Oh, yeah, he seems nice.” Not exactly a ringing testimonial, right? This is what is commonly referred to as “damning with faint praise”.

Let’s start with the looks first.

Whereas the G37 coupe is one of those cars that actually looks better in the metal than in photographs, the G35 sedan is in the opposite situation. The car isn’t ugly, it’s just not pretty like the coupe.

Inside, the G35 sedan does not measure up to the coupe’s redesign. You’re not slumming it by any means, but it suffers in comparison.

The driving experience is demonstrably different. The changes made when the coupe was redesigned covered the engine, suspension, brakes, etc. and it (the difference, that is) shows up immediately. To be fair, when the G35 Sedan is transformed into the G37 sedan in the 2009 model year, all of these improvements will follow the sedan; the coupe just got it all early, that’s all. But, I drove the 2008 G35 sedan, not the 2009 G37 sedan, so I have to report on what I drove, not the solid promise of the future.

All the comparing to its stable mate aside, if I hadn’t had the coupe first, the Infiniti G35 sedan would have still been a very nice car to spend time in, and indeed, compared to its sedan competition in the segment, it holds up pretty well. The sedan has plenty of horsepower, handles and brakes well, is an accomplished long-distance touring car, is well equipped inside and has some very nice luxury touches.

The features of the G35 Sedan are:

MSRP: $34,750 USD

Performance
306-hp 3.5-liter 24-valve V6 engine
Close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission with short-throw shifter or
5-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode and Downshift Rev Matching
4-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS, Electronic Brake force Distribution and Brake Assist
Independent aluminum-alloy front and rear suspension
Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control System (CVTCS)

Interior
Infiniti Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition
Automatic Temperature Control system with microfiltration
Rear-seat heater ducts under front seats
Power windows with illuminated switches and front-window one-touch auto-up/down and safety auto-reverse feature
Remote power door locks, trunk release and window opening via Infiniti Intelligent Key
Retained accessory power for windows and moonroof (if equipped)
Illuminated entry system with delayed fade-out
Front sun visors with extensions and illuminated vanity mirrors
Overhead sunglasses storage
Dual overhead front map lights, rear-seat reading lights
Front seatback map pockets
Dual front and rear cup holders and front door bottle holders
Front armrest with storage compartment, 12-volt power outlet and audio auxiliary input jack
Fold-down rear-center armrest with locking trunk pass-through
Front and rear carpeted floor mats
Cargo net tie-down anchors in trunk

Seating and Trim
Leather-appointed, 8-way power driver’s seat with adjustable lumbar support and 4-way power passenger’s seat
Washi-finish aluminum interior trim
Leather-wrapped 3-spoke steering wheel with cruise control and audio system controls
Aluminum and leather-appointed shift knob

Audio System
6-speaker audio system with AM/FM radio, CD player, MP3 playback capability and audio auxiliary input jack
Dual in-glass diversity antennas. The radio tuner compares the signal strength of both antennas, and automatically selects the strongest signal
XM® Satellite Radio

Instrumentation and Driver Controls
Fine Vision electroluminescent instrumentation
Manual tilt and telescoping steering column synchronizes gauge cluster with column for improved vision
Infiniti Controller with 7-inch display for audio, climate control, fuel economy, maintenance and comfort and convenience systems
Multi-function trip computer with fuel mileage range and outside temperature display
Cruise control with steering wheel-mounted switches
Steering wheel-mounted audio controls
Infiniti analog clock

Exterior
Comprehensive airflow management for low 0.29 coefficient of drag (Cd) and zero-lift front aerodynamics (zero-lift front and rear aerodynamics with optional rear spoiler)
Aluminum hood with gas struts to hold hood open
High Intensity Discharge (HID) bi-xenon headlights
LED taillights and center high-mounted stoplight (CHMSL)
Integrated front fog lights
Speed-sensing flat-blade wipers increase intermittent wipes as vehicle speed increases
UV-reducing tinted glass reduces transmission of radiant heat to vehicle’s interior
Dual power outside mirrors
Aluminum door-sill plates
Rear doors open a full 80° for easier rear-seat entry and exit
Rear window defroster with timer
Dual chrome exhaust finishers

Safety – Accident Avoidance
Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD)
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
Brake Assist(BA)
4-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
Infiniti Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC)
Traction Control System (TCS)

Safety – Occupant Protection
The Infiniti Advanced Air Bag System (AABS)[1] includes dual-stage supplemental front air bags with seat belt sensors and an occupant-classification sensor. When deployed, the inflation rate of these dual-stage air bags adjusts depending on crash severity and seat belt usage. If the front-passenger’s seat is empty, a sensor will deactivate the air bag.
Front seat-mounted supplemental side-impact air bags
Roof-mounted curtain supplemental air bags for side-impact protection for front and outboard rear passengers
Front- and rear-seat head restraints for all occupant positions
Front-seat Active Head Restraints (AHR)
3-point height-adjustable front seat belts with pretensioners and load limiters
3-point seat belts with ELR and ALR (driver ELR only)
LATCH System (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren)
Emergency inside trunk release
First-aid kit in rear center armrest
Snug Kids offers recommendations for choosing and installing child restraint seats.

Security
Remote keyless entry system with selective unlocking of driver’s door or all doors with emergency backup key integrated into Intelligent Key
Infiniti Intelligent Key backup slot to start vehicle if keyfob battery fails
Infiniti Vehicle Immobilizer System with an encoded transponder chip embedded into the electronic key
Vehicle Security System
Battery saver helps prevent accidental discharge if electrical accessories are left on

The x AWD package adds:

Auto-on/off headlights
8-way power passenger’s seat
Dual Zone Automatic Temperature Control system
Rear air conditioning vents
In-dash single-feed 6-disc CD changer with MP3 playback capability
Intelligent All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
Heated front seats
Heated outside mirrors

It’s a better piece of work than its Japanese rivals, but falls down from an overall perspective when it goes up against the German sedans. This should be remedied when the conversion to the G37 model takes place if the same pattern is followed as happened with the coupe. Regular readers will recall that we heaped praise on the new G37 Coupe, saying it was second only to the segment-leading BMW 335 Coupe, and that, my friend, was an extremely close second place.

I think the summing up here is this: the 2008 G35 sedan is a good car, but it will be a decidedly better car when it morphs into the 2009 G37 sedan shortly. Unless the deal (pricing) on a 2008 G35 is so compelling that you can’t walk away from it, I think the enthusiast buyer will be happier with the future G37.

COPYRIGHT Autosavant – All Rights Reserved

Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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1 Comment

  1. I just don’t see how there can be that much difference between the two cars. Everything’s the same except for an increase in engine size from 3.5 to 3.7, and I’m just not seeing how .2 liters of engine size can be that big a deal.

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