With more than 18,000 miles on the clock, you’d be annoyed if a sub-£10,000 supermini showed signs of wear and tear. But a £45,000 premium sports car?
Although it would be taking it too far to say our Infiniti G37 is falling to bits, this month its build quality has been brought into question. Three large pieces of trim have come loose within the space of a few weeks.
Fortunately, none of them is vital, but it’s a disappointing state of affairs nonetheless and something Infiniti needs to address urgently if it wants to match Lexus’ customer satisfaction in the UK.
First to break away was a fairly substantial piece that covers the sensor for the automatic headlights and wipers. It simply bounced off the dash and fell into the passenger footwell one day as I was pulling into the Auto Express car park, leaving the unsightly electrical components exposed underneath.
Next to go was the button for the storage bin in the centre console. The mechanism still works fine, so I can get inside and plug in my iPod, but the exposed spring and jagged plastic are ugly to look at and impossible to miss, as they’re slap bang in the middle of the car.
Car group tests
Finally, a red plastic finisher in the rear – designed to blend in with the bright red leather and seatbelt – has worked loose, exposing the foam underneath. In this case, the piece can easily be pushed back into its slot, but the fact that it fell out in the first place still plays on my mind.
And it’s not just shoddy trim that’s reared its ugly head, either: an annoying squeak has developed in the passenger-side C-pillar. It sounds as though there’s a squirrel trapped in there that’s trying to get out. Fold the roof and the problem disappears, but with the torrential rain we’ve had recently, I haven’t been doing much open-top driving.
Quality issues aside, the Infiniti has been living up to its all-weather sports car billing well. With the roof up, you’re as well insulated from the elements as you would be in a G37 Coupe. The cosy interior, with its great sat-nav, crisp sound system and soft leather seats, is the perfect place to relax.
The 3.7-litre V6 engine is feeling stronger than ever and even the initially poor average fuel consumption has improved slightly – although a return of 22.5mpg is still nothing to write home about.
While gears can be shifted manually with the steering wheel paddles and there’s a more aggressive Sport mode, the car feels most at home when you leave the gearlever in D, let the transmission do the hard work and settle into a relaxed cruise.
Infiniti is carving a niche for itself in the UK as a sportier choice than Lexus and a more interesting alternative to BMW and Audi. But before it can become a true competitor, build quality and fuel consumption need improving.
“It’s difficult to understand who the G37 is aimed at. It’s not the sleekest design, while a short drive in any of its rivals makes the Infiniti feel out of date.”James Disdale, Road test editor
“This is obviously a car designed for the US market. We’re a bit more discerning in the UK: We prefer our luxury cars to be made in Germany”redheadedstepchild, via www.autoexpress.co.uk