Lexus, 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.
The 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.
The 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.
Low 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…
Yes, 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.