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Infiniti G35x -- Gunning for the BMW 3?

By Jim Bray

Monday, April 30, 2007

The car that finally put Infiniti on the automotive map is reborn for 2007, with new power, a new interior, and plenty of new stuff to excite the driver.

The G35 has been a huge hit for Infiniti and you can hardly drive anywhere these days without seeing them. I never drove the "first generation G" (there was a G20 back in Infiniti's early days, but Infiniti doesn't consider it a "G35" generation), but I thought it was a great looking car and the reviews generally placed it as close to the BMW 3 series as any Japanese sedan had come.

Full disclosure: I own an Infiniti, a first generation Q45 I rescued it from a life of neglect. It's a great car, now that its timing chain guides have been replaced (an issue with early Q's that could virtually terminate their usefulness), and I love driving it. It still goes like heck and handles better than some newer big sedans. 

Infiniti M35x – "M" is for Magnificent

By Jim Bray

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Infiniti’s new M series is a spectacular vehicle. It’s attractive, fast, loaded with luxury and technology, and a real blast to drive.

For what more could anyone ask?

I fell under its spell within minutes of having picked up my tester, even though I figured I’d be disappointed because it was the "lower" model of the M series; and therefore saddled with a V6, instead of the 4.5 litre V8 of the M45.

As it turned out, however, Infiniti’s V6 M35x blew me away.

But before I go any farther, some full disclosure: I am an Infiniti owner. I have a 1991 Q45 that I love despite its age and previous owners’ neglect. It guzzles gas and is bigger than I usually like in a car, but it’s wonderful -- fast and with very nice handling for a big car.

Needless to say, I was dying to see how the new M would stack up against my old Q. And now I have.

Can I swap them straight across?

The new M is a handsome set of wheels. It doesn’t look like a rolling brick and that alone is a huge improvement over the last M. It bears a family resemblance to its little brother, the G35, though it’s more muscular; and that’s not a bad thing.

The four door sedan seats four in supreme comfort, and five in comfort, and it boasts so much high tech stuff crammed into it you might think it would be intimidating -- but it isn’t. Infiniti has done a marvelous job of making this state-of-the-art sedan as user friendly as possible, with easy-to-fathom controls and interfaces that are so well thought out it only takes a few seconds to get up to speed. And though you shouldn’t, you could even tweak its "cursor control" interface when you’re up to speed on the road. It’s that intuitive.

The M is based on parent company Nissan's FM (front mid-ship) platform that first came to market as the 350Z sports car. This gene splicing of sporty and luxury DNA makes for a very satisfying ride, whether you want to be stroked, or you’re interested in exploiting some finely engineered bore and stroke.

The M35x shares its 3.5 liter V6 with the Infiniti G and the Z. Here, it’s rated at 280 stallions @ 6200 rpm and 270 lb-ft of torque @ 4800 rpm. It seems like more than that, though, when you spur it onward. The M also emits a delightful sound through its quad tail pipes, a serious growl that sounds a lot like a sweet V8 even though it ain’t.

The M also features the best automatic transmission I’ve tried to date. It’s an electronically controlled 5-speed tranny with a manual shift mode that offers Downshift Rev Matching. You can wind this baby up to its peak power easily and the M seems more than happy about it. Pull out to pass and drop it a gear or two and it leaps forward with glee. This is no slushbox. It was enough to convince me to live with an automatic, in this particular car anyway.

Infiniti also adds electronically controlled all-wheel drive to the mix, with a snow setting I didn’t get to try. If it works as well as the one in the Lexus GS 300 AWD, however, it’s just dandy.

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