By on November 16, 2007

infinitig373.jpgLexus, Infiniti, Acura, Cadillac, Lincoln. Any automaker with dreams of glory in the upscale midsize sports sedan market has tried to beat the BMW 3-Series– and lost. Too big, too small, too crude, too expensive, too front-wheel drive, too ugly, no stick. Of all the contenders, only Infiniti has mounted a credible challenge. Some say the last G35 [more or less] usurped the 3-Series’ throne. And then BMW dropped the turbo bomb: the sublime 330-horse 335i. Infiniti has countered, sending us the normally aspirated, equally-horsed G37 coupe. Does the new car hit the G-spot?

You’d be forgiven for not seeing anything new about the new G37. The styling changes are only slightly more evolutionary than what’s happening with your baby toe. The biggest difference: in their Infiniti wisdom, stylists have traded the “you got me by surprise!” vertical headlights for more organic amoeba shaped lamps. Otherwise, we’re looking at the same sleek, low-slung two-door sports car whose side profile is ruined by the inevitable 25-year-old “son of stock broker” with gelled back hair sitting far too low behind the wheel.

infinitig3710.jpgThe big news is inside. Out goes the old blocky JDM interior. In comes the sweeping cabin from the second generation G Sedan. Ignore the feng-shui dashboard and you’ll spot the signs that the G37 means business. The seats are now heavily bolstered and exceptionally comfortable, complete with an extending bottom cushion (just like the 3-Series Sport). The steering wheel is as meaty as the tires below, with two perfectly-shaped curved razors behind its arc for swapping cogs. And while the aluminum pedals are a bit tacky, well, point taken.

The G35 groaned and complained when you hit the gas. Spritz some dino-juice into the G37’s eponymous 3.7-liter V6 and she delivers the best aural sex you can get without dialing a number starting with 1-900. While there’s nothing wrong with the way BMW’s smooth-spinning six signals its intentions to pervert the course of justice, wind-up the Infiniti’s mill to the 7500rpm redline and auditory addiction is yours.  

infinitig3711.jpgThe engine note perfectly mirrors the G37’s intensely aggressive dynamic demeanor. The G37 is well-suited to enthusiasts who like their internal organs thrust rearwards; zero to sixty takes just 5.5 seconds of your time. Yes, the 335i is faster. But the blown Bimmer swooshes you towards triple digits with less drama than an hour of C-Span. A whip-handed G37s whirrs, moans, screams and then jettisons you from any speed to any speed, at speed. 

And just as the G37’s engine's sound and fury signifies a major hydromorphone blood dump, the steering sets your left brain alight. Critics have rightly condemned BMW for the mental disengagement of its active steering system. The old G35's helm was far worse; the words "surgically numb" spring to mind. But the new G37’s tiller tactility trumps them all. It’s as direct as a TTAC editorial, with gobs of feedback and consistent and linear response. It’s point and shoot perfection.

When it comes to handling, there’s not much in it. Both cars are equally capable of annihilating corners without a hint of oversteer or Nanny intrusion. Again, the 3-Series is the more civilized of the pair; it's the luxury sports car that can slalom through sharp curves with one-hand behind its back. The G37 is a sportier sports coupe; the machine that makes you work harder for the same result.

infinitig371.jpgLow profile tires mounted on huge wheels surmounting road imperfections (potholes, speed bumps, loose coins in the street); it's the usual recipe for getting jostled to the point where taping your hands to the steering wheel seems a reasonable option. And yet a G37 with the Sport Package (19” rims and performance tires) rides comfortably over broken surfaces. It’s not cushy like a Lexus, but there’s no reason not to make a G37 a daily driver.

In short, the G37 is less mature than Old Man Bimmer, but more fun for the really determined “hands on” driver. And then there’s the “real” bottom line. Dollar for dollar, the G37 coupe defenestrates the BMW 335i coupe– and nearly all its other natural born competitors. A G37 coupe buyer saves some seven grand over a comparably equipped 3-Series. Lease… and it’s a different ball game. You’re looking at a gap of less than $100/month. Three bucks a day. A cup of Starbucks. And come trade-in time…

infinitig372.jpgYes, but– is the Infiniti G37 better than a 3-Series? That depends on which model you compare it to and your driving style. But one thing’s for sure: the biggest difference between these sports sedans is image. BMW can rely on the 3-Series’ iconic status to protect its sales, but that new kid in town’s back, and he’s badder than ever. 

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71 Comments on “Infiniti G37 Coupe Review...”

  • avatar

    I’m seriously interested in this car. It sounds like exactly what I like to drive.

  • avatar

    Wow! Wish I could afford one.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    I really liked this review. It is very informative and sounds quite fair. And I think I really like this car. Sadly, Nissan has never marketed an Infiniti in Europe; they will start selling them in 08 or 09 though. It will do BMW good to have more competition. Apart from the engine's delivering aural sex: how does it sound? More metallic than the BMW? Is the sound that they use on the ubiquitous ad at accurate?

  • avatar

    WindingRoad has a charming little video up that highlights the sound of the G37… I’ll let someone who has piloted one confirm the truth of the soundtrack…

    Winding Road G37 Video

  • avatar
    Ken Strumpf

    This would be the perfect car for my wife if only it was available in AWD. She works in the buckle of the snow belt in upstate NY and I don’t think RWD would do it for her, even with the snow tires that we always use. Too bad, it looks like a terrific car.

  • avatar

    Oop…I think the BMW 335i is in fact a 300 horse version. Or have they upped the power in recent days?

  • avatar

    I own a 2005 G35 Coupe, not fun in the snow. I am sure the additional 30-40hp the g37 has doesn’t make it any better.

    The sedan does come in AWD.

    Upgrading to the G37 is very tempting.

  • avatar
    bill h.

    There’s bunches of cars out there that are so blandly competent in their excellence, that the joy’s about gone when hitting that apex and gunning it to redline. Yawn.

    It’s nice to read about a car that has just a bit less ultimate refinement, a little more sensual feedback, and ‘makes you work a little bit harder for the same result.’

    It hardly sounds like work to me….

  • avatar

    They sure did a slick massage job on this car but that rear license plate looks just plain wrong. Its almost as though they actually forgot to design for it. How about a bumper recess Infinity?

    As for the comparison, after owning a few turbos, I am firmly partial to the normally aspirated mills and their (generally) smoother delivery.

  • avatar
    Ken Strumpf

    dbraaten says:

    I own a 2005 G35 Coupe, not fun in the snow. I am sure the additional 30-40hp the g37 has doesn’t make it any better.

    The sedan does come in AWD.

    Upgrading to the G37 is very tempting.

    I have a G35x. I’m looking forward (ahem) to my first winter which is just about to start here. I get the snow tires put on Monday. Too bad they don’t offer the coupe in AWD, like BMW does with the 3-series coupe. It’s a deal breaker here in the snow belt.

  • avatar

    Justin – nice review. I drove the ’07 G35 before buying a 335 and found the V6 to be a little “thrummy” just as noted in the later TTAC test. And perhaps it is an unfair comparison, since the I6 in the BMW is perfectly balanced to begin with. From a smoothness standpoint, the direct injection Toyota/Lexus 6 is very close to the BMW, although the IS is not yet a competitor for the 3-series. I’ll be interested to see how the G37 fares on track, since the amazing thing about the 3-series is its ability to do a few track days a year while basically eating only tires and brakes.

    I came away very impressed with the G35, less so with the dealership, yet the huge torque of the blown 335 is absolutely seductive. NOT seductive is the cheap-seeming non-driver-centric dash, the the “bangled” exterior and the idiotic iDrive.
    One way or the other, it is great to see Nissan pushing BMW hard, as the whole ‘sport sedan’ segment just keeps getting better as the bar is raised.

  • avatar

    I currently own a G35 Coupe, and I’ve taken a fully loaded G37 6MT out for an extended drive. A couple of observations:

    A) The car sounds as good in real life as it does in that winding road video

    B) The car is E46 M3 fast. I’ve never owned an M3 but have driven a few and the G37 feels just as quick if not quicker.

    C) I don’t know if it is the re-engineered suspension, or the Active-Steer package, or both but despite the same curb weight as my G35, the G37 feels lighter and more nimble.

    Now, as far how this car is in the winter – well I’m heading into my 3rd Chicago winter with mine. I have a second set of 17″ wheels that just barely clear my Brembos with a great set of snow tires, the stock 18′s get stored. With a good set of winter tires and all the electronic nannies turned on, this car is very stable. Is swapping wheels 2 times a year a hassle? Sure, but it’s a cheaper option than going to buy a dedicate winter beater and storing the G35…and besides, you have to pay if you want to play.

    Overall I love my G35 (even in the snow), and if I wasn’t the type to keep my cars a long time I’d already have a G37 on order.

  • avatar

    Very good review. In the podcast Robert was talking about the Japanese versions of these cars. This is actually a Skyline in Japan, not to be confused with the upcoming GTR thats coming to America for the first time.

  • avatar

    I have said for several years now that the G35 is the best sounding car available for under $150,000. If the exhaust note on the G37 is similar and the video makes it appear that way, I might be tempted to buy one over the 335i.

  • avatar

    Yeah, they do sound amazing. I can always tell a 350Z/G35 from a mile away. Well that and 5.0L Mustangs.

  • avatar

    turkeey – I can tell you from personal experience that the stock 335 does NOT sound like that. It is a reasonably throaty BMW-six sound, but I don’t think even a $1000 exhaust system will get it to wail like the G37.

    Then again, if I bought solely on exhaust note, I’d have to switch to investment banking where I could steal enough to buy a Carrera GT, or at least an F430…

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Sounds like the G37 is the Ultimate one-year-old-used Driving Machine.

  • avatar

    Sounds like the only thing the G37 lacks is the 335′s insane low end punch. But I’m sure the G37′s gearing is short enough to negate that a bit.

    Nice car, its proof that Cadillac needs a CTS coupe with an LS3 under the hood. And Acura, Lexus, Lincoln, etc need to get over their FWD econo-chassis and grow a pair.

  • avatar

    So if you’re *not* a German badge snob, it’s an option. But if you *are*, then the choice is very clear. :)

    Does infinity have anything like the BMW CCA (car club of america?)

  • avatar

    Edmunds seems to think it’s better than the 3-series if you’re comparing automatics, but the stickshift in the Infiniti is bad enough to swap that comparison. It sounds like you drove the automatic.

  • avatar

    Justin:…slalom through sharp curves with one-hand behind its back…WTH is up with that gratuitous hyphen? Please STOP doing that! (And that goes for the rest of you TTAC scribes too.)

    Thank you.

  • avatar

    carlisimo said:
    Edmunds seems to think it’s better than the 3-series if you’re comparing automatics, but the stickshift in the Infiniti is bad enough to swap that comparison. It sounds like you drove the automatic.

    This is a pretty crucial distinction for me, at least… I’m interested in the G37 (and its predecessor – the G35 Coupe), but as a manual GT car – I’m not buying into the flappy-paddles just yet. Can someone vouch for the stick shift in the G37 (or the G35)?

  • avatar

    Not a single complaint in the entire review, yet a 4 star rating… now how does that work? I can understand the logic behind the star ratings for handling/ride/etc (even though it would be nice for the review to explain why exactly interior and ride aren’t up to 5 stars), but what is “desirability” even based on? Is there a survey that reviewers here do among the target market for every vehicle? I don’t know, the G37 seems like a very desirable car, especially since Infiniti’s G-line is very well-established by now and has been for some time

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Infiniti seems to try harder, and it’s paying off!

    I too wonder what is required to earn a 5-star rating.

    Now that the car is almost perfect perhaps Infiniti should work on emulating BMW’s snotty, overpriced service.

  • avatar

    What a fantastic review of the G37! Entertaining, enlightening, and insightful.

    I’ll apologize for a long, rambling post. So, either pop open a cold one and settle back for a loooong read, or skip this rant completely. These are also just my own personal thoughts; there are few absolute “rights” and “wrongs” or “goods” or “bads” with cars, we all just buy what we like and enjoy it.

    I spent a lot of time looking at the 335 and G37 before deciding to buy the latter. I’m a hard core car nut, have owned 96 cars in the past 33 years. I am totally brand agnostic, have no loyalty to any particular one. I have restored, raced, and worked on many cars, and look at them in ways that most people don’t (I also tend to be a perfectionist, and want reliability and fair value as well as being fun to drive). I have owned a couple of BMW’s, and looked long and hard at the 335, but got the feeling it might not be as much fun to own as it is to drive.

    The 335 is an absolute blast to drive, as are most BMW’s. It is a great combination of performance and luxury. The company should also be applauded for offering manual transmissions in many of their models at a time when most companies don’t. However, BMW has also done a fantastic job of marketing itself over the past 20 years. Where do you think the whole “ultimate driving machine” mantra came from? BMW itself, with brilliant, persistent marketing. The company has set standards for skillful product placement. So many movies and television shows over the past two decades have BMW’s in them whenever “upscale, affluent” lifestyles or “beautiful people” are depicted. BMW itself now touts the “BMW lifestyle” in their marketing. Their efforts have been phenomenally successful. Most people think “BMW” when they think “upscale” car, or “upscale” lifestyle. Just like the cigarette advertising of the second half of this century, a whole generation – us – now has BMW successfully branded on our psyches as the “it” car to have. Most people that are – or want to be – “upscale” want to have a BMW (like, it seems, most of the population of Southern California).

    For many years BMW richly deserved that reputation. The 2002, which started the whole legend, was a fun to drive, beautifully engineered, reliable, reasonably priced car. Unfortunately (also IMHO), BMW’s today are morphing into a different animal. After 20 years of aggressive marketing, BMW now seems to be more focused on maximizing profits.

    I took a close, critical, objective look at the 335, and it was apparent to me that the company had gone through it with a fine toothed comb looking for ways to cut costs. I know people in the car business, and they admit that the companies look at things and ask, “will people still buy it for the same price if we do this”? It’s simply business – minimize costs, maximize profits. With the 335, it struck me that BMW applied this with a vengence, with things like flimsy windshield wipers. Some interior control knobs that would shame a Hyundai. No limited slip differential, absolute sacrilege in a car with sporting pretensions (but probably not noticed by most drivers on a profiling trip to the local mall). No spare tire (saves $50, and most people will still buy it and pay the same price as if it had one). It even lacks an oil dipstick (a BMW dealer told me the most accurate way to measure the oil level was to drain it, measure it, and then re-fill it. So, if the electronic oil level readout shows low, there’s no way of knowing if it’s truly low (and therefore you have to get a tow), or just electronics on the fritz). Save $5 here and $10 there, the next thing you know, it’s $1,000 more profit per unit, an impressive accomplishment in the razor-thin margins of the automobile industry.

    More worrisome to me is the overheating problem with the 335, which suggests some serious thermal management issues. First Road & Track experiences an engine overcooking its oil and going into limp mode after a few gentle laps on a track. Then, one sees ominous reports of engines grenading themselves showing up on the BMW forums. BMW seems to have cut the corner a bit too closely on this one, and it’s probably not going to be solved just by adding an oil cooler. The engine seems to already maxed out, stressed to its limits to squeeze out as much power as it is generating from its displacement. It is truly impressive from an efficiency perspective, but worrisome for longevity and reliability.

    The 335 seems to have been designed to make owners dependent on the dealer, and addicted to expensive – and not easily substituted – maintenance. To wit: composite brake rotors, which cannot be turned and must be replaced at every brake job (20,000 miles or so), to the tune of $740. Those windshield wiper refills which you can’t get anywhere else? $48. I got quotes for oil changes from two dealers: $130 and $200. For an oil change!

    BMW’s brilliant marketing also promotes “free maintenance”. Which, of course, it isn’t – the cost is simply built into the price up-front. The “free” maintenance also gets you oil changes every 15,000 miles (= 3 oil changes during the warranty period). Even a company that builds engines as wonderfully as BMW cannot repeal the laws of physics and metallurgy. While synthetic oils certainly last longer than conventional, this is also impacted by the higher operating temperatures that are used to extract better efficiency – and as a result, shorten oil life. This is especially true in a turbo engine like the 335 (turbos actually get red hot in operation). After 6,000-8,000 miles of this kind of thermal stress, even the best synthetic oil may have its shear properties degraded. The number of early engine failures is already suggesting that thermal management is a problem – and oil temps and lubricating properties are critically important. Bottom line, 15,000 mile oil changes will get almost any engine through the warranty period without any problems, but I would hate to see what the bearings look like after 100,000 miles – or own the engine once it’s out of warranty. Some people have even commented that they see the 335 as a “lease and return”, one to have fun with but that you wouldn’t want to own once the warranty has expired.

    Which is the culmination of BMW’s shrewd marketing: lease their cars, and once the warranty and lease are up, lease a new one. Like a smart drug dealer, get the customer hooked, and then keep them addicted and regularly coming back for more. It is a brilliant business strategy to move a product from a periodic capital purchase (buy a car every several years) to a continuous income stream (lease payments for life). It maximizes and stabilizes the company’s cash flow. I take my hat off my (balding) head to BMW for figuring out how to do this. If I worked for them I would try to do the same thing.

    But I don’t. I am a consumer. I am lucky enough (because of years of hard work) to be able to afford any car BMW makes. But I didn’t get here by flushing money down the toilet unnecessarily (well, at least not too often…). I know it’s one of my own pet peeves, but I don’t like being led down the garden path to help line someone else’s pockets. Even the maintenance costs have become a secondary message of BMW’s marketing – the cost of the “BMW lifestyle”. Some people defend BMW’s lack of reliability by saying “you own a BMW for the drive, not the reliability”, and “you shouldn’t buy a BMW if you want a reliable car” – also straight out of BMW marketing. If you built a car that was more expensive but less reliable than the competition, what else would you say to keep the addicts coming back?

    There have been many comparisons between the 335 with the Infiniti G37. IMHO, the performance of the new G37 is not significantly different from the 335. As one magazine review commented, neither car seems to be able to flat out run away from the other in a track. The performance specs seem to be within a few tenths of a second of each other, probably within the range of car-to-car variability and driver skill. A $1000 driving class would no doubt make a bigger difference in who would be faster around a track. What the G37 does seem to have, IMHO, is more robust construction quality, and likely more straightforward maintenance – for thousands of dollars less. While some may sniff about a BMW’s superior “driving dynamics”, the reality is that most people don’t know what they are, and rarely experience “driving dynamics” on the way to a SoCal mall. BMW builds some great cars – the E46 series M3 is an absolute jewel, and a terror on the track. But, IMHO, Infiniti may be the truer successor than the 335 to the BMW legend started by the 2002: a solid, straightforward, reliable, comfortable, high-performance car at a reasonable price, that, more importantly for me as an enthusiast, is more engaging to drive, more involving of the driver. This may be hard for some BMW loyalists to contemplate, but, like the story of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, just because most people think something, doesn’t mean it’s true.

    All car enthusiasts should be saluted for having the passion and cajones to enjoy driving in a society and age that seems to be devolving towards automatic-transmission homogeneity and mediocrity. We live in a free country, and we are all free to buy (or lease) anything we like, as long as we can afford it (or convince a finance manager that we can). Whatever floats your boat, go for it, and enjoy it. I know many people consider it sacrilege for me to not unquestioningly worship at the altar of BMW, and I’ve been lambasted before for some of my blasphemous comments. Some people on other forums have posted less than fanatically religious comments on the 335, and were crucified for their irreverent profanity. But, we are all just expressing our opinions, we’re just talking about cars. Post-purchase cognitive dissonance is a classic human emotional response (that I too am often guilty of): rationalize and justify a decision after the fact, even if it means ignoring objective data.

    While hard to quantify, it seems that the biggest difference between the G37 and 335 may well be how important it is for someone to have the blue and white propeller badge on their car.

  • avatar
    Johnson Schwanz

    ^^^Great counterpoint!

    So a balding head gives you that much wisdom?

    I guess I’ll go back to lusting after that Infiniti!

  • avatar

    As a car fixer, professional grade, I applaud carnicks’ long and thoughtful tirade with both hands.

    Run flat tires are an absolute abortion and so is I-drive.

    The thermal problems with turbos are well known and even the best PAO synthetics are best changed far more frequently than every 15 grand.

    All those people who fear driving a rear wheel only car in the winter need driving lessons. A set of Blizzaks and traction control more than compensate for RWD. And once you get to try it, oversteer can be so much FUN!

  • avatar

    carnick: Some people have even commented that they see the 335 as a “lease and return”, one to have fun with but that you wouldn’t want to own once the warranty has expired.

    And I would agree with that. More to the point, how many German cars (sold in America) do NOT fit that profile? The post-warranty cost of ownership is shockingly high for all of them compared to their American and Japanese counterparts.

    After hearing enough horror stories about VW dealers, Mercedes component failures, BMW I-6s overheating and warping heads and V-10s sucking down oil faster than fuel, I only recommend them as leases or CPO used cars. And that’s fine for most of the people who want these cars.

    If you’re concerned about money, when the German car’s warranty is over, make it a weekend car or sell it. Its worth more in parts by then anyway.

    philbailey: All those people who fear driving a rear wheel only car in the winter need driving lessons. A set of Blizzaks and traction control more than compensate for RWD.

    Don’t forget a couple sandbags in the trunk. Store ‘em with the winter wheel/tire package in the tool shed.

  • avatar

    I find it interesting that AWD is so crucial to so many snow belt drivers. Before the 1980s, front-wheel drive was uncommon, much less AWD, yet people did not spend the winter bunkered in their houses, worrying about how they would get to the market. They simply put snow tires (in the old days, sometimes they were justtractor tires) on the rear wheels of the ol’ Buick and went about their business.

    Before I’m lambasted for not knowing anything about anything, I should note that I lived in Vermont for 4 years, and during all those years I drove a 1983 Oldsmobile Delta 88. Granted, it didn’t even approach the power in a G37, but it didn’t have anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic stability control, or even a limited slip differential, either. The only time I ever got stuck was before I bought my snow tires the first year I was there, and even then, it was only momentary (got some friends out to help push the car past the ice it was sitting on). Truth of the matter is that even for as much as it snows in Vermont, the vast majority of the time I didn’t even need snow tires–all seasons would have been fine–because the roads are clear. The only time there would consistently be snow on the road was when it was actually snowing.

    The lesson here should be just drive what you want. If it snows a lot where you live, then buy snow tires and don’t drive like an idiot: you’ll be fine.

  • avatar

    carnick: It sounds like you have an editorial on your hands.

  • avatar

    carnick – thanks for the ultimate post about the ultimate driving machine. Although I bought the 335, I have no illusions about keeping the car into old age as I have no tolerance for the outrageous maintenance costs and reduced reliability that the BMW offers as standard equipment. And the G35/G37 are damned close to the mark.

    What made the decision for me however, was that I know the 335 will spend 3 or 4 weekends a year at the track at the expense of new rubber and warranteed brake components. It is smaller and easier to park than the G35 yet is still livable for those few times that I want to put four people in the car. It gets amazing fuel mileage for a 300 hp car, returning 20 mpg or so around town and 25-26 on the highway. But it is equally evident that the money BMW puts into their cars is all at the platform level. The interior “design” meets neither the market standard of the Acura, Infiniti or Lexus (although the sport-package seats are perhaps the best in the group), and there is no denying the places where the car was de-contented in order to meet their profit objectives. And in order to survive as an independent manufacturer, they’ve simply got to produce larger profits than Honda, Nissan or Toyota because they are not keeping the lights on with higher volume vehicles. Thus while remaining a wonderful sporting machine, they must also do what Porsche has done so well – to appeal to those who have no clue what the machine is about, but simply want the blue and white roundel on the front of their car.

    I did find it interesting listening to the then CEO of BMW in an interview on NPR. When asked perhaps five years ago about his feelings on the Mercedes foray into their turf with the AMG sub-brand, he said “Mercedes-Benz is not our competition. Toyota is building the finest automobiles on the planet today and we will either find a way to compete with them or we will cease to exist as an independent company.” I don’t think they’re building German Toyotas (thank God!) yet, but I do think they are working very hard to do so and understand the game.

    The tales of overheating 335′s have been all over the forums, yet I have seen any number of them on the track this year (four weekends since March in CCA events) and none has gone into limp mode. For those automatics which were delivered without oil coolers, BMW will install the oil cooler if asked, and I’m sure they figured that the average gold-chainer who parades the car around the mall would never push the car hard enough to need the cooler in a country where “fast” on the freeway is 85 miles an hour. A 335 could likely do this, sans oil cooler, for 200,000 miles and not break a sweat.

    I’ve also seen some Infinitis at the track and they also seem up to the task. As an enthusiast, I wouldn’t take either car off your wish list. And if you plan to keep it for six or ten years, the Infiniti is likely a far better choice. Woe to us that we have such choices; even the new CTS now looks a likely suspect if you’re looking for a manual transmission sport sedan.

    Having said that,

  • avatar

    Great post carnick.

    I didn’t realize that BMW’s “free maintenance” involved oil changes every 15,000 miles. While this seems high and may be related to some of their engine-overheating problems, I’ve got to think the 15,000 mile mark will be fine for the 98% (I’m making numbers up) of drivers who do not take their cars to the track or drive them with consistent excessive aggressiveness.

    I say this because I’ve heard of people changing their synthetics every 15,000 miles on their Porsches, BMW’s, Acura’s etc etc and having the oil sent in for analysis with the results being that the oil was still good. These are of course, under normal driving conditions.

  • avatar


    Bravo, carnick and edgett. As useful as the primary reviews are, detailed and well-thought-out comments like yours are very useful supplements :)

    (Not in the market for a G35/335 now.. but that’s the type of commentary I would most appreciate if I was :)

  • avatar

    I just want to say that Infiniti is a great car for Baby Boomers. I’m sorry it is not really a head turner for Boomerang Gen nor Gen-X.

    It always remind me of my grandpa’s car. Don’t be fool with bhp it doesn’t really make any difference like the BMW’s it just talk to talk and performance is less. Generations now a days love tight grip on turns,Muscle shape cars and small engine with Powerful Bhp.

    I’ll just wait for the 2009 Toyota Corolla Xrs or The Nissan GT-R but an Evo x is not bad too.

    Great review by the way.

  • avatar

    This site has, without question, the most introspective comments of any automotive site online. Thanks for that!

  • avatar

    quote: Then, one sees ominous reports of engines grenading themselves showing up on the BMW forums. BMW seems to have cut the corner a bit too closely on this one, and it’s probably not going to be solved just by adding an oil cooler. The engine seems to already maxed out, stressed to its limits to squeeze out as much power as it is generating from its displacement. It is truly impressive from an efficiency perspective, but worrisome for longevity and reliability.

    335i additional second oil cooler has now been factory stock item for sport package cars 6+ months now. First cars that didn’t have the 2nd oil cooler went into limp mode(restarting the engine solved it) during constant hard track driving – not one engine has been reported blowing up in any BMW forums. Where do you get your info from?

    If you would have been reading bmw forums you would know that the twinturbo engine is not maxed out form the factory – this statement couldn’t be more far from the truth. There are many software upgardes costing from (300-1300 USD) that take the power safely (not one blown up engine reported) to 400hp and ca 450lbft (pump gas). With added freeflow cats and catback exhaust this engine is generating around 450hp and 500lbft. In real life tests with this setup 335i is already faster in straihgt line than the new M3, RS4, CLS55 AMG etc. So much about “stressed out” factory limits. Everyone in the tuning community agrees that 335i is the new Supra twinturbo in the making :)

  • avatar

    And you cannot argue with the 335i-s torque curve – max torque from 1300-5000rpm. Japanese manufacturers need to wipe the dust off their turbo know-how if they want to compete with the 335i in this segment.

  • avatar

    And you cannot argue with the 335i-s torque curve – max torque from 1300-5000rpm. Japanese manufacturers need to wipe the dust off their turbo know-how if they want to compete with the 335i in this segment.


    In the words of the late Enzo Ferrari:

    “Horsepower sells engines. Torque wins races…”

    The engines of turbocharged automobiles from VW/Audi/Bugatti, Porsche, BMW, Volvo, and other European makes are tuned for peak torque early in the rpm range. The only Japanese make that has gotten this concept is Mazda (Mazdaspeed).

  • avatar

    We Americans if we buy a car we usually look at the Exterior and Interior of a car Like Bmw,Lexus,Mazda or Lambo but We forget how a CAR really handles on highways,rain,snow,curve,parallel parking etc.

    Driving a stick shift can really make you wonder how a BMW or Lexus perform on the tracks and racing someone to the Red Light on a busy intersection

    Because for us if its a Lexus or a Beamer it’s a great car, Another misconception for the American consumer. Never judge a Product by the way it’s labeled.

    The Japanese are not really into Turbo. They are more into small engine that can deliver performance and durability with less worries after 10 years. Beamers and Lexus are still show off cars

  • avatar

    A) “Horsepower sells cars, torque wins races.” is also credited to Caroll Shelby. Not sure who’s quote that really is.

    B) “Japanese manufacturers need to wipe the dust off their turbo know-how if they want to compete with the 335i in this segment.”

    Seems to me that they’re competing just fine as it is.

    C) “The Japanese are not really into Turbo. They are more into small engine that can deliver performance and durability with less worries after 10 years. Beamers and Lexus are still show off cars”

    Really confused by this comment(s). First of all, there have been plenty of Japanese turbocharged engines through the years, not to mention the long-running Evo and WRX nameplates. Other “super” cars were turboed, like the Supra, 300Z TT, so on and so forth.

    Oh, and Lexus is Japanese.

  • avatar

    Ofcourse japanese are competing just fine, but 335i’s segment is enthusiasts market. By upping N/A engine size you cannot get the same results/engine characteristics as with the modern twinturbo engine. 335i has clearly proved it.

  • avatar
    Bob Peters

    Great review.

    I’m pretty sure the 335i is still rated at “just” 300 hp though.

    After Acura killed the fun yet forgettable CL Type-S there has been no sporty Japanese luxury coupe. I’m glad to see Infiniti has not messed too much with what made the G35 such a success. I just wish they hadn’t added so much weight to it.

  • avatar

    This car looks much better in real life.
    And it varies a lot with colors.

    But the BMW Coupe is t always a classy car, not matter what the color is.

  • avatar

    Actually Lexus was design in California not Japan.
    And it’s an American Company for American consumer and to compete with Mercedez Benz

    Not all Lancer and Impreza has Turbo only the High end will get you a Turbo and that’s about $35,000 or more

    That’s why I wrote Japanese “are not really into Turbo? but you only name 2 of them which is not plenty.

  • avatar

    European cars are more into Turbo and BMW is the leading car manufacturer that has Turbo in almost every car they built. A well respected German engineering for people who can afford and turbo is “almost” like a Standard option for every class of beamers. My father is re-building his BMW and the tiny turbo in his car is still working GREAT and the car is 15 year old but I’m not SURE about his BMW engine.

    Japanese rarely have turbo in their cars I rarely see a lot of them and my “College Friends” all drives Subaru,Mitsu,Honda,Toyota and Nissan with new, old and very old cars they drive. My friend
    said that putting Turbo in a Stock Japanese car is a pain because you have to change a lot of parts in order for a small engine to take a lot of Air.

    If you want to buy Japs car with turbo. HE SAID (not me)just buy it that’s already built In not customized turbo. I know Lexus is a Jap car but a lot of their cars are design in USA.

    My friend/classmate live just about 5 miles from their testing ground in Cali and he saw this Lexus last year on their testing ground.

  • avatar

    the 335i “only” makes 300 hp, not 330, so the G37 wins on that front – but the 335′s extra torque and lower weight make it faster in a straight line

  • avatar

    Its good to hear Infinity is pushing BMW. I’d love to drive one of these. I have driven the 335i and I was extremely impressed. The performance of the engine is simply amazing. As has been said, its almost too smooth. And I’ve been all over the forums and have not heard of any serious problems with it even amongst the tuners now running 10s 1/4s. Still I wish it were lighter (sad to see Infinity not pushing BMW here), taughter, and with LSD. Of course thats where the 135i comes in…

  • avatar

    “European cars are more into Turbo and BMW is the leading car manufacturer that has Turbo in almost every car they built.”

    Maybe on YOUR planet, but the 335 in the only turbo gas engine BMW is doing right now. They even dropped the SC from the Mini.

    Now if you’re talking turbo diesel, then you might be onto something. But on the other hand, EVERYONE who does diesel is doing a TD. It’s just the most effective way to extract the extra energy from diesel fuel.

  • avatar

    RE… We live in the same Planet for your information

    How about the 1977 BMW 320 Turbo
    and they used turbo on some of their M Series too
    FYI: By the 1970s, BMW was establishing itself as a full-fledged car company. It was a pioneer for many emerging technologies, including turbocharging and advanced vehicle electronics. This was also the period when BMW of North America was established and consumers, who coveted both sports and luxury cars became loyal “Bimmer” owners. The ’70s also saw the birth of BMW’s three-tier sport sedan range consisting of the 3 Series, 5 Series and 7 Series cars and the creation of its performance M division. My Father car is GAS Turbo

    So much for Beamers(new street name) or should say Bimmers (old school name).

    Because it Beam just pass you.

  • avatar

    BMW used to be the company that stressed the fact that they had NO use for forced-induction. BMW engineers used to claim that turbos and superchargers are needed by those companies that do NOT know how to design “real” engines.
    Deal with the reality here, the 335i with twin turbos exist simply because BMW could not extract enough torque (and low end HP)out of its NA 3.0l inline6 to effectively compete with the rest of the competition with their 3.5l V6′s. The last 330i could only muster about 220 lb ft of torque, not enough to motivate 3 and 5 series cars that are now close to or past 4000lbs!
    Of course BMW could have reintroduced the 3.5l inline6 but there goes that famous BMW 50/50 weight distribution.

    The problem facing BMW is that the G37 has further closed the preceived gap between the 3 series coupe and the G coupe. The G37 is a much improved car over the G35. The 335i while faster than the last generation 330i is not much of an improvement in any other way, yet the price keeps rising! Price wise the G37 actually competes with the 328i, a car that the G37 has a whopping 100hp advantage over. Needless to say the G37 will spank the a$$ off of a 328i all day every day!

    The next question is what would Nissan/ Infiniti be able to come up with if they decided to match the price of a 335i? I bet for 50grand we would have a G45 with a v8!

    So were does BMW go from here? It is easily conceivable that the next G can surpass the performance of the 3 series yet still hold the price advantage. The prestige factor for the Nissan/ Infiniti brand will also have been elevated. Nissan now has the rather similar looking GT-R (a car that easily bitch slaps an M3)to use for Halo props. The “Ultimate Driving Machine” tagline wont mean much when the cars are out performed by the likes of some lowly japanese mainstream automaker.

    Or does the 3 series continue its march up-market?

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Re: 335i makes 300 hp.

    This is heavily disputed. BMW reports 300 horses. Several folks have put the 335i on a dyno and found so much power at the rear wheels that they estimate the actual crank horsepower to be well over 300. There is no objective answer to this since the dyno tests have been disputed, too. It may be as much as 350 horsepower, if you believe the more optimistic ones.

    BMW had plenty of incentives to underrate this engine. A big one is that saying the turbo made, say, 350 horses would have killed E46 M3 sales, with the naturally aspirated 333 hp I6 engine (and less torque than the 335i), not to mention the Z4 M models.

  • avatar

    Great review, but I wanted to mention to you that this is not the “upscale midsize sports-sedan market”.

    The G, 3-Series, C-Class, IS, CTS, and TL most usually represent the “entry-level luxury sports-sedan market.”

    The “upscale midsize sports-sedan” market that you are referring to normally represents cars like the M, 5-Series, E-Class, GS, and RL.

    The CTS and G35 are about the same size as the 5-Series, but they are in a different class of cars.

    The next class up is the S-Class, 7-Series, A8, XJ, and LS.

  • avatar
    Joe O

    As a BMWCCA member who owns a 2006 Honda Civic SI and peruses BMW forums on a regular basis, I’ll jump in here :)

    I liked carnick’s response except for alot of misinformation: Engines aren’t grenading. The first several thousand 335′s had a bad batch of fuel pumps, of which many failed. That’s about the only “failure” so far.

    335 automatics did not have an oil cooler. I railed against this obvious oversight by BMW, and I am still angry at them for not extending the warranties on any car so (non) equipped. But it has been rectified. I believe all 335′s are now equipped with that oil cooler….I KNOW all sport package equipped 335s are now so equipped.

    The engine oil temp gauge would get up to the ~300 degree range and the engine would enter limp mode. BMW engineers responded that this was a cutoff to prevent damage, not a sign the engine was being damaged. Oil cooler equipped 335s are now regularly seeing track-day temps of 250-260. Well within an acceptable range.

    Carnick mentions the fact that the 335 does not have a limited slip, and he is absolutely correct. I find it absurd that my 20k Honda Civic and my 1988 ford thunderbird had limited slips, but this performance beast does not.

    That being said, the 3-series has not had a limited slip since the 1987-~1990 325is. Only the M-series cars have been equipped with an LSD. So this is not a new measure of cost-cutting, it is a distinction to help differentiate their track-cars (M3, Z4M, M5, etc.) from their road-going cars. In the same fashion Porsche limits it’s cayman and boxster platform from outshining the 911…so too does BMW.

    Speaking of Porsche, they’ve been recommending 15k oil change intervals on their boxsters since 1997. True, their sump holds 10 quarts. Nonetheless, it is an established oil interval. While I personally would prefer no longer than 7500…or even 10000…on a turbo engine, I imagine BMW did the short and long-term math on this one. BMW has never been a company to make short term gains at the expense of long term pain.

    Composite brakes that need to be replaced at 20,000 miles and can’t be cut? I have no idea where that came from. To my knowledge they are using normal vented rotors, which can be machined (though BMW probably recommends replacement of rotors/pads as a set…as do alot of performance makers due to the loss of heat-capacity in machined rotors). Regardless, BMW replaces your brakes free for the first 4 years, 50,000 miles. So apparently they are willing to do a seriously expensive brake job by your reckoning…

    I’ll touch on one last thing. As a previous poster mentioned, this engine is nowhere near it’s max. BMW moved away from the magnesium-alloy and back to all-aluminum for their twin turbo. It’s a well built engine and can be easily, and cheaply, tuned for produce another 50 crank/brake HP/torque.

    Me personally, I’ll be looking for a 2008-2009-2010 335i 6-speed with the sport package, 2 years old and CPO’d with BMW’s extended maintenance package (6 years, 100,000 miles). Considering that covers everything from brakes, to those windshield wipers, to oil changes, to a new clutch…and it’ll be around 33-34k to buy….well, I think that’s going to be a darn good deal for such a strong performing machine. I’ll probably get 80,000 miles of gas, tires, and go.

    As for the original topic, The G37 is a fantastic looking GT car in real life. It’s very long and low slung looking, and sounds great. Infiniti has done a phenomenal job on this car. They just need to bring their manual transmissions up to par. Are they putting over-strong clutches in them? Maybe they are using non-organic clutch plates?


  • avatar

    Great points regarding the disputed ‘horses’, Justin.


  • avatar

    I am a little confused is it really 330,300 hp or this One

  • avatar

    all that talk about aural aggression… does the engine feel like it will last forever, or is this just making an excuse for a lot of NVH?

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    @David Holzman
    Good question. Actually there is very little in the way of V&H in the car at all. Noise on the other hand, is there. I can’t imagine it would be bothersome for any enthusiast, but I suppose some … more Lexus-fan folks would find it irritating.

  • avatar

    Joe O – You are absolutely correct on ‘grenading’ engines; and I haven’t seen any BMW forum posts which suggest that the fuel pump issue was other than a non-routine service call to the dealer. I did see some whining that people were “only” given a 328 to drive while their 335 was in for the replacement, and there was some period of time when the fuel pumps were short, but anyone who buys a year-one anything should be aware that they may be paying for their impatience with a few problems.

    As to the brake rotors, it is possible that the reference is to the fact that BMW specifically designs the brake system to use up both rotor and pad when used heavily. I have no idea why they do this, but found that after 20,000 miles and lots of hard usage (including four track days), the rotors on my ’01 325 needed replacement by virtue of wear and not due to warping. Given that some of us by these in order to explore performance driving, and are willing to pay for same in replaceable parts like tires, pads and rotors, the replaceable rotor does not seem like a bad idea. I’d guess that the rotors on my 325 would have gone 60,000 miles in normal driving and I’m more than happy to replace at that interval for typical driving. I do know that when I replaced my rotors, they had been “machined” by use and it was my heavy use of brakes that caused the wearing.

    Many cars use harder rotor material, but it has been my experience that these often warp after heavy heat cycling as one does on the track. I’d frankly prefer to have non-warping rotors.

    I remain on the fence as far as 15,000 mile oil changes, but the BMW dealer insists they have 200,000 mile engines out there on which the oil was changed only in accordance with BMW service intervals.

    As I mentioned earlier in this thread, it was nice to read that the G37 is pushing BMW, as it means BMW will push back. I’m guessing the reason we got the 300 hp version was that BMW saw a 300 hp IS350 and G35 and figured they needed the power to be competitive. We all win when competition improves the cars. In the end, it just depends on your planned usage of the car; a 2+2 luxo cruiser is damned well satisfied by the IS250/350, near 5-series sport sedan for under 3-series price by the G35, and a truly nimble (if portly) sport sedan in the form of the 328/335. Add the revamped CTS to the mix and we have arrived in “entry-luxury” heaven.

  • avatar

    Carnick, thanks for that wonderful but sad account of what is happening to BMW. It is really a shame when a company that makes such good cars decides to let quality go to hell by cutting corners all over the place.

    I must say I don’t like the look of the G37 at all. It’s not ugly, it’s just nondescript and a little bit messy, like most of the rest of today’s cars. If I were grading on an absolute level, not a curve, I’d give it a C- or maybe even a D+. On a curve, a C.

  • avatar
    Virtual Insanity

    I like the new G. I liked the old one too. I was seriously into a G35 coupe six speed before I went to the dealership and was treated like crap.

  • avatar

    Heck, I’m just glad both cars (328/335 and G35/37) exist…they are both a lot of fun!
    Carnick – thank you for your honest write-up. I doubt forums at other auto sites don’t have so many educated car buffs at one time – (any Fox news blog/comment section is the polar opposite – if you want a good laugh at those who can’t grasp basic writing, enjoy!)
    It’s just amazing how many auto rags and writers have drunk the BMW Kool-Aid. Well, I think I’m about to violate the TTAC spirit with the following:

    (Taken from Car and Driver’s August 2007 issue that had the BMW 330 sedan long-term wrap-up)

    Poor electronic nanny control of the automatic tint rear view mirror, crummy automatic wiper speeds, and the dynamic cruise control with a HAL 9000 mindset.
    Problems included:
    37,000 miles – grinding noise from the left-rear wheel bearing caused by it failing.
    37,000 (est) files: stuck climate control buttons.
    At least four times the a/c failed. The high-tech solution was to turn off the a/c and wait at lieast 15 minutes.
    38,000 miles – the ignition failed since the slot ofor the key fob broke.
    Possibly flimsy equipment like easy to fall apart mirrors and plastic bits.

    If GM released a car like this, they would be torn a new one. Those kind of problems before 40,000 miles just reeks of dirt poor quality. Failed ignitions and bearings normally involve you waiting in a parking lot or driveway while the flatbed arrives to tow it (once again.) While C&D can live with a piece of junk that they didn’t pay for and have multiple other cars to drive while the BMW gets to know a service bay yet again, for most of us, it is a pain in the butt. Yup, call your boss and say the BMW is dead again. Too many times with that and soon the payments might be too difficult to make since you’ll be w/o a job!

    I miss the old BMW – the one with real steering, non-computer controlled handling and easy to use bbuttons. The game plan seems to have been lost in the quest for gizmos.

    For the life of me, the average person probably would be exploring the Lemon Law if this was their own car. I just cannot believe the rags still suck on the exhaust pipe while they love a shell of a car that was at one time a pure driving machine.

    I did find the G37 to be the better ride.

  • avatar

    I've driven both the 335i and the G37. The G37's handling isn't nearly as communicative or involving, the engine not NEARLY as sensuous as described here, and the accelerative differences were VERY apparent; the Infiniti felt suitably slower in a back to back contest, enough so that it was unsatisfying. The BMW is for the pure enthusiast, the Infiniti is for those trying to get BMW performance but for a bit less dough, and they almost get it. Key word; Almost.

  • avatar
    P.J. McCombs

    If anyone’s still following this long-past train of thought, I can vouch for the G37′s manual transmission. There’s a little more bungee-cord stiffness in its shifter, and a little more shiver in the clutch, but both feel more connected to actual machinery than the Bimmer’s oily, rubbery interfaces.

    I drove the Infiniti back-to-back with a 335i at Willow Springs a couple of weeks ago. Justin’s line about the car making you work just a bit harder for speed, and giving a bit more visceral feedback along the way, hits the nail on the head. The G is a marginally more blunt instrument than the 335i, but it isn’t so effortless to drive that you forget who’s doing the driving.

  • avatar

    Another fantastic review! It seems as though the Infinity G37 may be the best in its class. For the last 20+ years BMW has been the choice for me, but recent changes have me looking at other brands.
    The 335 does not have a limited slip differential! This is preposterous. A 300 hp 3 series driving only 1 wheel? This seriously limits the performance of the car, especially in adverse weather conditions.
    No spare tire. How much can BMW save per unit by not installing a jack and spare? I will never forget the first time I got a flat tire in my M5 and discovered that there was no spare in the trunk. Extremely embarrasing and inconvenient.

  • avatar

    The G35 “groaned and complained when you hit the gas”? Try releasing the emergency brake.

  • avatar

    I wonder if the 335i’s twin turbo bearings are oil-cooled or coolant-cooled? -oil?

    Maybe it’s a capacity issue? 12-row engine oil cooler? Bigger oil Tubes to the turbos?

    -I guess if you spend that much, you shouldn’t have to think of such things.

    I know Redline puts out “Water Wetter” that helps increase coolant efficiency.

  • avatar

    Well I test drive cars for a living. The G37 is a great car. It is fast- you just have to know how to drive it fast. It is a much better track car than the 335. The 335 is too soft compared to the G37. The G37s lack of torque compared to the 335 means that you have to push it a little harder but it is much more predictable in the turns as a result.
    As regards styling- that is all subjective- but I prefer the g37s styling over the 335. The 335 is a bit too “sedanish” and the rear of the car is quite conservative.
    So you might say that you “almost” get the BMWs performance in terms of “straight line acceleration” but the other driving dynamics are in favor of the G37 aside from steering “feel”.
    On that note, A Mustang has great straight line performance too. I say that to acknowledge that there is more to a car than the 1/4 mile results.
    Both cars are great and the more competition that they provide each other the better cars will be produced for consumers like you and me.

  • avatar

    Maybe the more appropriate comparison now is with the 135i instead of the 335i. The 135i looks like it’s the same size and price range as the G37. I’d like to see someone thoroughly test them side by side. Of course everyone will greatly prefer the sleek look of the G37 compared to the sawed-off beemer. But that twin turbo may have found it’s best home yet in the 1. Imagine a tuner getting their hands on that.

  • avatar

    actually, the G37 and 335 coupe are almost exactly the same size; if you are comparing on price, the 135 is more affordable, but it is a smaller car inside and out than the Infiniti.

    Unfortunately for BMW fans, the 135 only weighs a little less (like 150 lbs) than the 335 and is in my view far more “bangled” than the 335 coupe.

    The G37 is the great value here and a damned nice car to boot. I compared the 335 sedan with the latest G35 and decided on the 335, but it wasn’t an easy decision. Infiniti has gotten much closer to BMW responses than the Mercedes “C” class, and promises better reliability than either of the German cars.

    It is interesting to watch, however, as the Japanese get closer to BMW’s driving dynamics and BMW is working equally hard to match Toyota reliability. In the end, a great competition for any of us who love cars…

  • avatar

    Not about Bmw, Infiniti or Lexus its really is about 10k to 15k extra for the same mid-luxury sport cars that we can afford, they are great cars with some minors problem that u can find, cant be perfect. I own a G37 cuz I dont want to pay another 10k-15k for a loaded 335I, Gs350, TT or the new S5, I drove the 328i, Gs350 and the TT before I bought my G37. I’m not sure about the turbo in the 335i but the Gs350 that’s would be my next 4dr. If u really pay attention to the interior, the G37 and Gs350 look alot better and modern than the 335i, TT’s plain look.

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