Infiniti G37 S

Nissan’s luxury badge offers something different to the norm.

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

Infiniti has modest aims for the UK and expects to sell a few hundred cars when it launches the range next year. The rare and unusual badge will reel in some buyers, but thirsty engines and the threat of poor residuals will deter many.A 3.0-litre V6 diesel is expected in 2010, but only for the EX and FX SUVs. Infiniti will probably meet its realistic targets, but the brand isn’t yet honed enough for European buyers.

Meet Infiniti’s answer to the BMW 3-Series. Nissan’s luxury brandlaunches next spring, and the G37 is being billed as an alternativesaloon for buyers wanting something distinctive on their drive.

Allmodels in the Infiniti range use a 3.7-litre V6 engine with a choice ofsix-speed manual or seven-speed auto gearboxes, as well as four-wheeldrive and four-wheel steering. Standard equipment is generous, too,with only top-end goodies such as intelligent cruise control, brakeassist and a Bose stereo system as options.

Infiniti has beenfirmly established in the US since 1989, and with its wide grille,odd-shaped lights and jutting rear bumper, the G37’s American influenceis clear to see. Inside, the cabin is well built, but the dash andsteering wheel plastics feel cheap and can’t match the standards ofrivals. Another niggle is with the boot. There’s plenty of spaceinside, but there’s no external release on the bootlid – you have topush a button on the dash even if the whole car is unlocked.

Fiddlytechnology aside, the G37 delivers some old-school fun. With its 316bhppetrol V6, it is certainly big on power. Blip the throttle and the twinoval tailpipes emit a growl which is more to the tune of a V8 than a six. On smooth roads, the G37 is a superb cruiser, and overtaking is instant, thanks to the 360Nm of torque on offer.

Meatysteering, wide tyres and the four-wheel-steer system on our test carmade for a grippy and engaging drive. However, the suspension is toofirm for anything other than motorways, and the ride is harsh,considering this is supposed to be a luxury car. It might be generouslyspecced, but the Infiniti can’t match the likes of BMW in terms ofride, economy or practicality.

If you want to stand out from the crowd and enjoy gutsy, big-car thrills, though, then the G37 could well be worth a look.

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