By on March 16, 2009

Imagine you’re looking for a $41k imported sports sedan. You want something fun to drive. Sayonara, Lexus. You were traumatized by an orthodontist. Aloha to Acura’s tin grin TL. You appreciate the difference between having it and flaunting it. Auf wiedersehen, BMW and Mercedes. That leaves the Audi A4 3.2 Audi and Infiniti G37 6MT. Oddly enough, I recently sampled those two exact cars. Funny how these things work out.

The moment Audi introduced the A5 last year, the A4 became a victim of its own dowdiness. Audi saw that one coming; they redesigned the A4 for 2009. It now looks like a four-door A5. (Cynics might see it as Germany’s answer to the Impala/Monte Carlo, but I couldn’t possibly comment.) The A4’s exterior and interior are new; the 2.0-liter turbo and 3.2-liter drivetrains are not, although the 2.0t offers 11 extra ponies and some welcome low-down grunt. As before, customers can purchase the 2.0t with or without quattro, while the 3.2-liter is four wheel-drive only.

In 2007, Nissan redesigned the G series for an even more modern look, then blessed Infiniti’s sedan with the same 3.7-liter V6 engine serving time in the snout of the G37 coupe. The 6MT refers to the standard six-speed manual transmission. The package includes upgrades to the suspension and the brakes. Most of the good stuff is also available as a Sport Package on the “Journey” model, but the shift-it-yourself tranny’s only available on the 6MT.

Both the Audi and the Infiniti show strong family ties to their more expensive siblings. The G37 wears Infiniti’s trademark windswept look well. That said, from some angles, the G37 comes off as an Altima that went to finishing school. The Audi shows up at the ball with the pissed-at-the-world glower previously seen on the R8 and A5. Audi’s LED eyeliner looks overwrought, as if the designers had to figure out how to incorporate BMW’s “angel eyes” into a car without round headlights. More than one person asked me about the row of lights. Other than attracting attention (which they certainly do). I couldn’t provide a single reason for their existence.

Although the A4 and G37 appear to be about the same size, the Infiniti is two inches longer. The A4 has a two-inch advantage in width. Interestingly, the G37 is classified by the EPA as a mid-size while the A4 is considered a compact. With the front seats positioned for my 6′3″ frame, both cars suffer from a severe lack of rear legroom.

When you’re firmly ensconced in the driver’s chairs, concerns about the rear passengers’ discomfort quickly disappear. The G37 features highly-bolstered front seats; the driver’s throne adjusts a dozen ways. The side bolsters on both the back and bottom adjust in and out and there’s an extendible thigh support on both front seats for those long of limb. As a bonus, the instrument cluster moves up and down when you tilt the steering wheel, so everything stays in clear view.

The A4’s seats may not be as Gumbi-fied as the Infiniti’s but they’re still quite comfortable. Since they aren’t as aggressively bolstered, those whose derrieres have been ambushed by gravity may find them a bit more accommodating than the G37’s.

The G37 offers plenty of toys for for your forty large. Unfortunately, the center stack was designed by the same symmetry-OCD-affected engineer that tidied up the Murano. The G’s main controls are located on a shelf in front of the touch screen, an arm’s length away. The system incorporates the readout for the radio and HVAC settings—controlled by buttons and knobs further down the center stack. Thankfully, the radio and sat nav voice control have redundant controls on the steering wheel. Once you learn where everything is and what it does, you’re OK. Until then, not.

Audi doesn’t give you a nav system at this price point. But you do get Audi’s MMI mouse-driven controller, which adjusts everything from the bun warmers and sound system to the sensitivity of the automatic headlights. The basic controls are mounted in the A4’s center stack, but you have to reach past the shifter to get to them. While the MMI is easy to learn, I reckon a car’s primary controls should be mounted on the console where they’re within easy reach and don’t require eye time.

Both the Audi A4 and the Infiniti G37 6MT sport the very latest in recycled beer can aluminum trim technology with the metal applied to the dashboard and the door panels—like every other car with performance pretenses. At least it’s real metal and not silvery plastic.

Unfortunately, both automakers just said no to real-deal cup holders. In the Audi’s case, they’re different sizes. The smaller one won’t hold anything larger than a soft drink can or small bottle of water. The Infiniti’s cup holders hide under a sliding cover. The square indents don’t offer a lot of support for round beverage containers.

Audi and Nissan’s drivetrain engineers have done their level best to make your caffeine-free transportation worthwhile. In the G37’s case, they deployed the same rear-wheel-drive FM platform underpinning the 370Z. Push the G37’s smart key Start button and the 3.7-liter, 328 hp V6 responds with a sinister snarl. Running it up to the redline is both anti-social and aurally gratifying.

The G37’s clutch action is light and precise. Rowing through the gears at speed can propel a G-man or woman from 0-60 in just over five seconds. Driven a bit more conservatively, the G37 delivers a reasonable 17 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway. Nissan says this engine marks the first application of their VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift) system on a production vehicle in the American market. If that’s what makes this engine so sweet, they need to spread the wealth.

The G37 6MT’s standard sport suspension keeps you glued to the road. I may infuriate a few Bowtie Blowhards, but there were times when scurrying around a switchback resulted in flashbacks to my Corvette-driving days.  Just make sure the sprogs are well secured in the back seat; any curve becomes a challenge to better your personal best.

Performance-wise, the Audi A4 is outclassed. Put the key fob in its slot, then push it in another quarter inch and the 3.2L 265 hp V6 purrs to life. Ingolstadt’s engine gives up 60 hp to the G37 AND it has to haul around an extra 240 lb. The Audi takes a full second more to perform the 0 to 60 benchmark. At least the fuel mileage is comparable at 17/26. The six-speed automatic transmission is silky smooth when left to its own devices. However, if you feel compelled to take things into your own hands, paddle shifters are noticeable by their absence.

Audi’s quattro all-wheel-drive system is as seamless as ever. In normal conditions, it sends just over 50 percent of the power to the rear wheels. When traction becomes an issue, the A4 sends the torque to whichever wheels need it. You can’t beat the control and security in inclement weather. The trade-off: in the dry, you never feel quite as one with the road as you do with the rear wheel-drive G37.

The A4 3.2 quattro and G37 6MT both sticker within $500 of our arbitrary $41K price point. For $41.3K, Audi gives you the A4 and not much more. Our test car had but one option: the $425 “Aruba blue pearl effect” paint job. Your forty large buys you rain-sensing wipers, Bluetooth, and HomeLink, but upmarket, mission-critical sat-nav runs an additional $2.5K.

The G37 6MT starts at just over $34K. The $2.5K Premium Package which brings it even with the A4 3.2 toy-wise, includes a sunroof, memory settings and power lumbar support for the chairs, a premium Bose sound system, Bluetooth and other toys. The G37 6MT’s navigation package adds another $2.15K. Tick the boxes for a couple other “gotta-haves”  (e.g., rear spoiler and lighted kick plates) and you’re still $400 below the A4.

Either of these $40K-ish cars will get you from point A to point B rapidly, in comfort and style. If your driving routine includes a lot of snowy or rainy weather, the A4 3.2 quattro is an excellent playmate with a feel-good cabin that makes mincemeat of mondo mileage. However, when the going gets twisty, the twisted get going in a G37 6MT—it’s far and away the better driver’s car of these two. Before you dismiss the G as more performance than you need and less safety than you want, I suggest you take it for a test drive.

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67 Comments on “Comparo – Audi A4 3.2 quattro vs. Infiniti G37 6MT...”


  • avatar
    johnthacker

    The A4’s exterior and interior are new; the 2.0-liter turbo and 3.2-liter drivetrains are not, although the 2.0t offers 11 extra ponies

    The bigger deal is that the 2.0T in the redesign offers 49 more foot-pounds of torque than previously (now 258, more than the 3.2 V6), and over a wider powerband (1500-4200 RPM).

    All that makes the 2.0T not all that much slower than the 3.2 (only .5 sec slower 0-60 by Audi’s numbers) with much better fuel consumption. Of course, the inline 4 doesn’t sound as nice as the V6 if you’re into that.

    The 3.2 V6 is mostly a waste on the current A4. The car’s not going to win any comparisons using that engine. Equipped with the 2.0T, the A4 is very competitive and can win comparisons to the 328i, IS 250, C300, etc. on price, fuel economy, and performance all at once. Infiniti doesn’t make a down-engine G, so there’s no good comparison that way, though.

    The upcoming S4 should be an interesting car as well, with performance and price both slotted between the 335i and the M3, with better fuel economy. But even Audi dealers currently admit that there’s little point in the 3.2 V6 A4 except for the engine note.

  • avatar

    recycled beer can aluminum trim technology

    I agree with this statement completely. Aluminum is crap that scars & wears all to quickly. It may look nice in a pristine showroom state, but it ages horribly. Like, within a week. And don’t get me started on carbon-fiber. That looks like crap too.

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    I’m glad to see the G37 survived the (usually) caustic TTAC review process relatively unscathed. The 6MT is at the top of my ‘next car’ possibilities list, to be purchased after I’ve wrung every ounce of enjoyment out of my 2003 Celica GT-S. By the time that happens, the used market should have some prime cars in it – I refuse to pay $54,000+ Cdn for a new car, no matter how fine. Here, the coupe starts at $44,200, the 6MT is way over at the far end of the price scale. Cripes, that’s more than 50% of what I paid for my HOUSE. And no, I don’t live in a trailer or a dog kennel. Just good timing in a small town…

  • avatar
    eastaboga

    johnthacker

    Agreed, all the way back to the first gen A4, the turbo has been the way to go. Get the factory sport pack, flash the ECU and add an intake & exhaust (if you want to be faster than the 3.2) and put the difference in your pocket (or buy a cheap track toy). I love the A4, but the grab-your-wallet way that Audi prices options and engine packages, you’re much better off with a base 2.0T with ONLY quattro and sport pack.

  • avatar
    shabatski

    I don’t understand why you didn’t get a G37x (with all wheel drive) as a comparison. This is a bit of comparing apples to oranges – IMO.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    2nd the comment re: G37x.

    Also, why no comparable transmissions?

    Those issues aside, I had a G35x loaner for a week, and couldn’t WAIT to get my own car back: Why?

    Overbearing road noise? Check.
    Thrasy engine note? Check.
    Ridiculous throttle tip-in? Check.
    Stupendous driveline wind-up in tighter corners? Check.
    Whole car pitches forward when the throttle is gently released, then backwards again when getting back on the gas? Check.
    Cheesy interior quality? Double-check!

    Oh, it was quick, but felt more on a par with an Altima than it did like a sporty luxury ride.

  • avatar
    John R

    I, also, am a firm believer in the Infiniti G. That car is a riot and a bargain second-hand. I see guys buy 5-6 year old 328i’s for the same price of a 2 year old G and I can’t help but think…s u c k e r….

  • avatar
    danms6

    “I don’t understand why you didn’t get a G37x (with all wheel drive) as a comparison. This is a bit of comparing apples to oranges – IMO.”

    I think the intent was to compare $41k apples to $41k oranges and see what each model has to offer.

    The G37 sedan looks a lot nicer than the previous generation, but I think the coupe took a small step backwards.

  • avatar
    pb35

    There’s no manual tranny available on an AWD G37. I’m pretty sure that’s the reason it wasn’t tested.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    You want something fun to drive. Sayonara Lexus.

    I don’t think that’s entirely fair. The IS is fun to drive—I had a good time in a IS250 with good tires—with it’s only real failing being the lack of a manual to accompany the big engine. It’s not as much fun as the G or 3-Series, but it’s more than a match for the C-Class and better-balanced than the A4 by a longshot.

    That said, the G is a very nice car. I did find the Audi had better seats, but I’m a freak; most people probably wouldn’t notice the difference and the G is just a better car, especially now that it doesn’t have Maxima-grade trim. Probably cheaper, too, if you intend to keep it past the warranty period.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Ridiculous throttle tip-in? Check.

    That’s a Nissan thing, but GM and Chrysler do it to.

    Near as I can figure out, the point is to make the car seem more powerful than it actually is by allowing you to lay a patch at every intersection. You can sort of understand it in a G8 or G37, but every car does this, even appliances and economy cars. Like heavy steering, it’s a way to make a car feel sporty without having to do any actual chassis tuning…

    …which is weird, because the G is a well-suspended car. I can understand the Maxima doing it (especially since every Maxima owner I’ve ever met is a over-hormoned middle-manager), but why the G?

  • avatar
    Ferrygeist

    “but every car does this”

    They do?

    Have you driven a Porsche lately?® Or an S2000? (cue someone’s snarky comment about ‘that’s just because it has no torque…’).

    And for those who like leaving patches at every green light, an S2000 will happily do so.

    Regarding aluminum trim, I think it holds up fine, but I imagine how it holds up depends on where it’s placed and how you live in the car. After 3.5 years of ownership, my Mk 1 R32 hadn’t a single scratch or scuff mark on any of the aluminum trim, nor oxidization or anything like that.

  • avatar

    I’ve had similar impressions to ZCD2.7T, so I can see where he’s coming from. But then part of me likes a car to be a bit rough. Of course this also leads me to prefer the first-gen G to the current one, despite the low-grade cockpit.

    So the clutch is now light and precise? The last time I drove a 6-speed G, the clutch was heavy and grabby. I’ll have to check one out again.

    On the reliability front, both 2008 models are faring well in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey. What we can’t tell yet: whether Audi has turned a corner, or whether recent model years will fare worse when they’re older.

    Detailed reliability info here:

    http://www.truedelta.com/car-reliability.php

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    They do?

    Sorry, I should clarify: every Nissan, Chrysler and GM I’ve ever driven, up to and including cars that have no business doing so, do so. Laying a patch in a Maxima or Grand Prix is pretty much the reason those cars exist, but why should I be able to in an Aveo**or Quest?

    And for those who like leaving patches at every green light, an S2000 will happily do so.

    Again, the problem is that a friggin’ Quest will do it, too. If I had an S2000, I’d damn well be doing all sorts of ill-advised things, but why Nissan feels the need to make otherwise utterly-innocuous cars into raging testosterone spitters is beyond me.

    ** Yes, I tested this. You can get pretty bad wheel hop in an stick-shift Aveo, too.

  • avatar
    johnthacker

    I did find the Audi had better seats, but I’m a freak; most people probably wouldn’t notice the difference and the G is just a better car, especially now that it doesn’t have Maxima-grade trim. Probably cheaper, too, if you intend to keep it past the warranty period.

    Though Audi’s gotten considerably better on that score. Heck, the 2008 A4 is even 5 stars on the ALG depreciation ratings now, and as Michael mentioned, the TrueDelta numbers look good as well. But of course (as the domestics have found out), a reputation (understandably) takes a long time to build and repair.

  • avatar
    johnthacker

    I think the intent was to compare $41k apples to $41k oranges and see what each model has to offer.

    Which is fair enough as it goes, surely, but in that case if you want the best $41K A4, you should get the 2.0T and then throw in Nav. Heck, since the 2.0T is now available with manual for less, for $41K you can go:

    2.0T A4 6MT Premium Plus with Nav, Sports Package (paddle shifters on the autos, more bolstered seats, lowered suspension, etc.), and throw in the wood inlay and it’s still $40.7K. Or the Prestige trim (better B&O sound system, various toys like Lane Assist) with Sports Package but no Nav is still under $41K. It’ll still go 0-60 in 6.7 according to Audi.

    The 3.2 V6 is a waste on the A4. The 2.0T is the best down-engine version in its class, but the 3.2 doesn’t compete.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    On the reliability front, both 2008 models are faring well in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey. What we can’t tell yet: whether Audi has turned a corner, or whether recent model years will fare worse when they’re older.

    That’s the trick, isn’t it? Within the warranty period it’s annoying if your car breaks down, but at least you don’t pay for it. Outside of the warranty? Well, just hope you can find a good mechanic.

    Maybe they’re better, but long-term total cost to own has never, ever been a European car’s strength. You have to be an enthusiast to stomach it.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    I think the stripper 2.0T is a good value, at least for a new car. But going up in price doesn’t translate in more benefits, really.

    One quibble: the 6 displaces 3.1 liters. Otherwise, an excellent comparison!

  • avatar
    ptr2void

    Can anyone explain if this

    “mission-critical sat-nav”

    is meant to be ironic? It could be that my sarcasm meter is out of whack.

  • avatar

    Neither and buy the CTS.

  • avatar

    It’s too bad the Audi doesn’t have a manual available in the 3.2. As for the G37, we test drove one last month and found the clutch/shifter to be greatly lacking in refinement compared to say BMW’s. I just read an article on TCC that said the same thing (without the BMW comparison). That and the slightly cramped interior ruled the G37 out. If you’re not as tall as I am and get the automatic, I think the G37 would be a great car. I’ve never driven an Audi manual, so I can’t compare that one.

    My personal opinion about the G37’s manual transmission aside, this is one of the better comparos I’ve seen on this site. Kudos to Frank!

  • avatar
    Scorched Earth

    Apples to Oranges. Agreed, folks.

    Should’ve been Audi A4 3.2 quattro vs. Infiniti G37x. If you wanted a manual comparison, it could’ve been a spec’d up 2.0T vs. this Infiniti.

    Frank Williams, the Audi’s 6 has 265 hp, not 285.

    SheabornSean, the Audi’s 6 used to be 3123cc, but is now up to 3197cc…good for 3.2L.

    Other than these quibbles, great reviews of the two cars. Frank, you didn’t have any issue with the G37’s NVH?

  • avatar
    qfrog

    The ECU of the A4 has nothing to do with power distribution front to rear and the car does not have a torque vectoring rear diff so the ECU has nothing to do with side to side power application either. The 0B6 possibly KWP code automatic you drove employs a tor(que)sen(sing) center differential. A little widget that works on purely mechanical principles due to worm gears. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torsen The latest variant of this differential has a native rear bias vs the traditional dumb torsen which did not favor one end of the car over the other.

    The ABS of the A4 will however aid in keeping a lid on wheel spin, but if it is likely up to a certain vehicle speed.

    Also the CALA code 3.2L V6 is listed as being 265hp 195kw.

  • avatar

    shabatski
    I don’t understand why you didn’t get a G37x (with all wheel drive) as a comparison. This is a bit of comparing apples to oranges – IMO.

    I reviewed what Audi and Infiniti provided. And TTAC reviewed the G37x in February.

    ZCD2.7T
    Also, why no comparable transmissions?

    Audi doesn’t offer the A4 with a manual transmission except in the FWD 4-cylinder model. And as our own Capt Mike can attest, those are practically nonexistent in the U.S.

    SherbornSean
    One quibble: the 6 displaces 3.1 liters.

    The Moroney, the Audi web site and badges on the car all state it’s 3.2L.

    Scorched Earth
    Should’ve been Audi A4 3.2 quattro vs. Infiniti G37x. If you wanted a manual comparison, it could’ve been a spec’d up 2.0T vs. this Infiniti.

    Then everyone would have screamed about pitting a FWD 4-cylinder against a RWD 6. And good luck finding an 2009 A4 with a manual transmission anywhere.

    the Audi’s 6 has 265 hp, not 285.

    Good catch – guess I didn’t get these new glasses soon enough. Corrected.

    Frank, you didn’t have any issue with the G37’s NVH?

    Nope. Didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.

  • avatar

    qfrog
    The ECU of the A4 has nothing to do with power distribution front to rear and the car does not have a torque vectoring rear diff so the ECU has nothing to do with side to side power application either.

    You are, of course, correct. The reference to the ECU was not in the original manuscript I submitted and has been removed.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Nice comparo but as I see it, both cars aren’t worth the sticker price. The 2.0 Audi is much better value delivering more torque and better fuel economy for significantly less cash. As for the G, I would have to agree with folks who have commented about the road noise and low rent interior but the real deal killer for me are the Infinity resale values.

  • avatar

    ECU. Hands-up: my bad. But Jeez Frank, did you have to rub it in? “Obviously.” Ouch!

  • avatar
    BEAT

    For that price of a car. I would rather buy a 3 family house in Rhode Island. The starting price for a house in RI is about $55,000 that is not a Kennel house or trailer.

    It is a house.

    Why so cheap? pls check the unemployment and forclosure for Rhode Island.

    And Ohhhh.

    The sales tax in Massachusetts is going up 6 percent use to be 5.
    the gas will go up 13 cents and Mass pike another .50 cents. State income tax will also go up. Mmmm probably the Audi dealer on Route 9 are not selling because nobody is buying.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    Frank Williams:

    No, silly – I meant that the cars should have both had *Automatic* transmissions – the way 90+ percent of them will be purchased.

  • avatar
    eastaboga

    Frank Williams

    Audi doesn’t offer the A4 with a manual transmission except in the FWD 4-cylinder model. And as our own Capt Mike can attest, those are practically nonexistent in the U.S.

    OK, you scared me. Granted they’re hard to find, and you may even have to order one, but a 2009 A4 2.0 Quattro 6MT has an MSRP of $33,300 with sports pack, per audiusa.com.

    Now the Audi FWD setup is as smooth and drivable as any out there, but you gotta have the Quattro.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    BEAT> I wonder if most of the nation is like that.

    Here in Chicago our sales tax is at 10.25%, state tax is supposed to jump 50% from 3% to 4.5%,
    the parking meters have been sold to a private company and meter parking is supposed to hit $6/hour, and CHEAP housing within 30 miles of the city that is 3br or greater (wife & I, soon-to-be-kids, office) is $150k for a “handyman special” that needs $30k of work or $200’ish for something livable.

    Blah.

  • avatar

    eastaboga
    Now the Audi FWD setup is as smooth and drivable as any out there, but you gotta have the Quattro.

    I agree, as I have one of each – FWD Cabriolet and quattro Avant (both automatics) – but if I was in the market for a new car right now, I’d be taking a serious look at the G37 6MT (and hoping they offer the 6-speed on the G37 convertible when it hits the market this spring).

  • avatar
    johnthacker

    Audi doesn’t offer the A4 with a manual transmission except in the FWD 4-cylinder model.

    Actually, while that was true at vehicle launch, it’s now offered in the quattro 4-cylinder model as well. It was offered as a option on sold orders first, and now is also available for dealer ordering in general. When it was on sold orders only, it wasn’t even in Audi’s online configuration tool, but now it’s there as well on their website.

    Granted, there’s certainly reason to compare what cars are more likely to be sitting on dealer lots, though I’d think that argues against the Infiniti manual as well, as I don’t see too many of them on lots either.

    Your comparison is still useful, but I think it’s also reasonable to know what’s the best value out there. If I’m spending $40K+ on a car, then I’m willing to take the time to wait and get exactly what I want, but that’s definitely not the case for everyone.

  • avatar

    johnthacker
    I’d think that argues against the Infiniti manual as well, as I don’t see too many of them on lots either.

    One Infiniti dealer in this area has five six-speed G37 sedans and seven six-speed coupes.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Michael Karesh :
    March 16th, 2009 at 9:37 am

    On the reliability front, both 2008 models are faring well in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey.

    Should a 2008 model even have a “reliability” rating? Isn’t that too short of a time span to learn anything?

    Since I do expect a car to last 15 years. I think it’s more appropriate to judge a car’s reliability based on 5~15 year old models. That will be model year 1994~2004 A4’s and G’s.

    The reliability of a car may change. But chances are, the change will be slow, and I will let other users to find out.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Robstar :
    March 16th, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Here in Chicago our sales tax is at 10.25%, state tax is supposed to jump 50% from 3% to 4.5%, the parking meters have been sold to a private company and meter parking is supposed to hit $6/hour, and CHEAP housing within 30 miles of the city that is 3br or greater (wife & I, soon-to-be-kids, office) is $150k for a “handyman special” that needs $30k of work or $200′ish for something livable.

    My city is just a fraction of the size of Chicago with no buildings over 25 floors. The parking meters starts from $6/hour.

    And as for the “CHEAP” housing being expensive. Isn’t that a good thing now that the entire nation is complaining about falling property prices? I mean, the US of A can complain about falling prices, or unaffordable housing, but not both, right?

  • avatar
    Ferrygeist

    “Again, the problem is that a friggin’ Quest will do it, too. If I had an S2000, I’d damn well be doing all sorts of ill-advised things, but why Nissan feels the need to make otherwise utterly-innocuous cars into raging testosterone spitters is beyond me.”

    I’m with you. Funny that, isn’t it? That reminds me of people who get a kick out of second gear scratch in base Saturns, Kias, etc. Strange stuff.

    Pointless aside: some of the aftermarket ECU flash programs allow you to dial in different throttle curves. Depending on the car, and map, you can turn your accelerator pedal into a virtual on/off switch. Or, the most sluggish thing ever. The former does nothing but heighten the illusion of otherwise imaginary power.

  • avatar
    Saracen

    an ’09 A4 Avant (which is only available with 2.0T Quattro w/Tiptronic) was recently clocked hitting 60 in 5.7.

    That is one SERIOUSLY torquey four cylinder.

    If were in the market for the new A4 (I’m not, but I do own an ’05). I would skip the 3.2 for the cheaper, more economical, quicker and torquier 2.0T. With Quattro and manual (which had late availability). And yeah, I’d take it over a G37.

  • avatar
    old-peevish-armed

    i remember when options on most cars were limited to color,radio, heater, cigarette lighter and drivers outside rear view mirror. the review comment on the cup holders is amusing.

  • avatar

    don’t forget – the G comes in AWD too, taking away any “advantage” the Audi may have.

  • avatar
    AllStingNoBling

    Having driven lots of sport sedans because I am in the market for a new car; I have settled on one, and guess what, it’s not either of these cars reviewed.

    Some of you may gwuaf at the grill, but I am going to tell you in all seriousness that the 2009 TL SH-AWD will eat these cars alive in almost every respect but the G37’s 0-60 time.

  • avatar

    Reliability, as mentioned several times, is quite an important factor for anyone who keeps their cars beyond warranty/lease. Another important factor is ease of maintenance – the G requires nothing out of the ordinary, oil and filters; the Audi will require cam belts at regular intervals, usually that’s about 1000$ + to do at a dealer (independent shops might do it for 700, but that doesn’t include replacing the water pump, if it’s still driven off the timing belt like the old Audi motors).

    Suddenly, keeping the Audi for 100000 or more miles gets quite a bit more expensive. Assuming nothing goes wrong. The G isn’t perfect (electrics = nightmares) but the motors and trannies have been bulletproof on our last two VQ-engine’d cars. The Altima did 150K before we sold it, the G35 is up to 110K and counting and still runs as sweet as can be.

  • avatar
    johnthacker

    don’t forget – the G comes in AWD too, taking away any “advantage” the Audi may have.

    Eh, then it’s a different comparison, no? The AWD G is a little more expensive and not a manual. You also lose the sport seats, transmission, etc. by going to the AWD model of the G37, unless you add them back on as an option. You can then fiddle around with the options a bit in order to get it back to around $41K, but with different choices.

    But yeah, that could make it a closer comparison, adding AWD to the G and the nav to the A4.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    Albeit a B7 chassis – I TRADED my 2006 A4 3.2 Quattro (6 MT) with S-line pkg for a 2008 G35xS. I’ve only sat in the new B8 Audi (never driven) but the new A4 definitely looks better in PICTURES than in person. There is no real world comparison on rear leg room. The new A4 still has none and the G has usable space – even with two 6’2″ guys – with a little cooperation from the front passenger. There is no comparison NVH between the older B7 chassis and the G…The G is much BETTER…and I have to imagine better than a 2.0T A4 (driven a lot of GTIs with this 2.0T and smooth it ain’t)…Point being – the G trumps the A4 in most categories – and with the improvement to the Gen II G interior, it is far more functional in daily driving than the A4.

  • avatar

    johnthehacker

    Particularly since the AWD G37 will erase part of the weight advantage the RWD car had over the A4 Quattro. I dunno what the weight penalty is for Nissan’s AWD setup, but I think it’s probably 150-180 pounds.

  • avatar
    Tummy

    It doesn’t appear like you get very much for $41k.

    For that much, I would rather buy something slightly used, like a certified low mileage 07 MB E550 4Matic, 06 E55 AMG, 07 Audi S4, or save some money and get a $30k certified BMW 335xi.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    “Nice comparo but as I see it, both cars aren’t worth the sticker price.”

    I can’t think of one car that is worth what the sticker shows. I really like the G8 GT, but a car sticker priced at $32k shouldn’t be selling used for $10k less. Shows that sticker price is as real as the buyer thinks it is.

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Frank – G37 question for you…
    We are all aware about Car and Driver’s rather over the top love affair with anything BMW and because of that, I get the impression that cars in that class that aren’t BMWs tend to get reviews that aren’t exactly fair.
    While driving for this review, is it fair or not to agree with Car and Driver in saying that the G35/37 has a rather unrefined engine and transmission combo? All they do is harp on it…

    I’ve driven a 2007 G35 with an automatic and wound it out on some good country roads. The only fault I found was that it was near impossible to start smoothly with that tap of the gas = neck snapping motion forward and that got old quickly. I did not think the Infiniti felt unrefined at higher RPMs.

    I understand the throttle tip-in has been worked on for the past two model years and has gotten much better now.

    So, what’s your opinion on the matter?

  • avatar
    rpn453

    psarhjinian : Laying a patch in a Maxima or Grand Prix is pretty much the reason those cars exist, but why should I be able to in an Aveo**or Quest?

    Hey, I used to lay patches with the ex’s 1.0L 5-Speed Firefly, and that thing had a cable throttle so tip-in was good. With $25 tires, how could one resist?

    But I agree with you that the electronic throttles on many newer vehicles are too touchy.

  • avatar

    theflyersfan
    Frank – G37 question for you…
    While driving for this review, is it fair or not to agree with Car and Driver in saying that the G35/37 has a rather unrefined engine and transmission combo? All they do is harp on it…

    I understand the throttle tip-in has been worked on for the past two model years and has gotten much better now.

    So, what’s your opinion on the matter?

    I don’t have access to the variety of cars that C/D does, nor do I have the number of cars to choose from at one time as they do, so I don’t have as broad a basis of comparison. However, I didn’t notice any problems with tip-in in the G37 I drove. Keep in mind, though, that I was driving a manual and I could have been using the clutch in such a way as to mask problems that may have shown up in an automatic.

    As far as overall refinement, I had no complaints. No, it wasn’t as “refined” as the Audi, but it wasn’t as boring either. And it was a helluva lot more fun to drive.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    I’m gonna hafta go ahead and offer a gentlest possible ding to Mr. Williams. Don’t take it wrong; I am passionate Audi person as well as TTAC fan.

    Good article for its purpose, etc. and keep up the good work.

    Ahem. You tested the wrong Audi.

    Testing the A4 with that v6 is what car testers should do when they are testing for the general public who are presumed (correctly) to dumbly want the biggest-motor-with-an-automatic. Which is the stuff of Car and Driver and similar ilk. “Plenty of passing speed on the highway.” Or, of factory sponsored tests where you don’t get to ask, you take what they give you and to signal deep knowingness, lament getting the wrong package.

    A4 v6 is well known to be the wrong engine/car package among those who study Audi, well maybe except for Audi execs it might seem.

    Also, it could probably be better said that, a b8 A5 is a b8 A4 packaged as a coupe and introduced first to North America, before the sedan, as part of Audi USA’s brand-excitement-management process. Rather than, Audi noticed that the b8 A5 was prettier than b7 A4, so they also introduced b8 A4.

    To continue, the entire b8 generation is new here; body shell and 2.0. The 2.0 is not a simple continuance of old motor. Old motor is delegated to VW in North America to maintain brand and price point differentiation.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    Cup holder note on the G – since cup holders are now part of car reviews:

    The crappy G cup holders applies only to the 6 MT…The AT has a more “dedicated” cup holder area with “auto” adjustment for cup size…one of the better cup holders out there.

    Another thing I noticed on the B7 vs B8 Audi chassis…Audi did step it up on the quality/engineering of the interior hinges (both the center console armrest cover and glove box hinges both cracked in my B7 A4 within the first 25K miles – with “gentle” use)…No such issues with the G – almost every component is built like a friggin’ tank…

    Not to mention the electrical gremlins that STILL exist in all German cars (probably planted the seeds as the Allies rolled towards Berlin)…Fortunately I had a VAG-COM cable so I could reset the codes (all false alarms)…

    I had more of this crap in 20K miles with a 2006 A4 than I did in 100K miles with 2004 Honda Pilot. Remember: Anything electronic is best left to the Japanese. It should be a LAW, not just a RULE…

  • avatar
    klossfam

    DISPLACEMENT CONFUSION: The older 3.2s from Audi were 3123cc (or closer to a true 3.1L – which doesn’t sound near as cool as 3.2)…BUT just verified:

    From a displacement of 3,197 cc, the 3.2 FSI develops 265 hp and delivers its maximum torque of 243.40 lb-ft all the way from 3,000 to 5,000 rpm. Compared with the previous model, which had a power output of 255 hp.

    # Frank Williams :
    March 16th, 2009 at 11:15 am

    SherbornSean
    One quibble: the 6 displaces 3.1 liters.

    The Moroney, the Audi web site and badges on the car all state it’s 3.2L.

  • avatar

    Good comparo, Frank. Yeah, it is a bit of Apples & Oranges, but Apples & Oranges were all you were given.

    For all you Audi lovers, don’t fret if you cannot find a A4 2.0T Quattro Manual on your dealers lots. It is your chance to try out Audi’s European Delivery.

    Alas, the list of appealing vehicles that allow us to shift our own gears is getting every shorter…

  • avatar
    SWA737

    I’d like to see how these 2 measure up to the 6 speed TL when it comes out. Aside from the stupid Acura front end ‘style’ that is.

  • avatar
    Ach

    theflyersfan :
    We are all aware about Car and Driver’s rather over the top love affair with anything BMW and because of that, I get the impression that cars in that class that aren’t BMWs tend to get reviews that aren’t exactly fair.

    Not a fair statement. The current 5 series has lost two C/D comparos to the Infiniti M. As a matter of fact, the 3er is the only BMW that C/D really favors at this point. 5, 6, 7, M5 and M6, and X5 have all “lost” C/D comparos in the past year or two, sometimes finishing well down the rankings or in last place. So to the extent that you make a case for bias, it has to be limited to the 3-series.

    The G is a compelling product, but not so far superior to the 3er that reasonable minds can’t differ.

  • avatar

    johnny ro

    Ahem. You tested the wrong Audi.

    I tested the Audi that Audi provided. If you can convince them to provide me a 2.0t quattro (preferably a 6-speed manual) I’ll be more than happy to review it. Of course, then I’ll have to bitch about that annoying turbo lag…

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    Ach – when I re-read my comment, I realized I did forget to limit it to the 3-series as there hasn’t been universal love for the 5-series and the monster called the X6.
    My bad.
    Also, some of the negative comments from the auto rags towards the G37 have been directed towards the 6MT model saying that at higher RPMs, it sounds unrefined and there are vibrations in the stick shift and clutch. Hate to break the news to them, but that’s true in most cars including BMWs. I guess they don’t like the tone but a larger V6 like Nissan/Infiniti uses will have a different tone than a smaller V6 or I6.
    Of course in these eyes, the strangest manual transmission behavior had to be inside a last-gen Camaro Z28. At higher revs…and I’ll put this as clean as I can…let’s just say that the stick shift looked like something that probably should be sold in an adult catalog!

  • avatar
    theflyersfan

    SWA737 – I’m waiting for the “crowbar” option for the 2010 TL. I think a big gaping hole has to look better than whatever they fused to the front end.

    Last BMW thing – I’m not anti-BMW, but I don’t understand the excuses a lot of the press gives them. I’ve read long-term tests where severe mechanical and electrical failures happened at any given time under 40,000 miles and that just should not be in 2009. I don’t think they realize that people who actually pay cash for that car don’t have a wall filled with keys for other cars to drive when the BMW is in the shop!

    I have friends with VWs and Audis and they all have electrical problems crop up well before 50,000 miles.

    It’s because of that, combined with the value per dollar that I’m more of an Infiniti fan although if an M3 were to appear for my taking, I wouldn’t complain! Gobs of horsepower do cover up sins! I’ll just keep my current car as the “just in case” car!

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    I’m not too sure about the G37’s V6 being […both anti-social and aurally gratifying…]. Well, anti-social in upper rev range yes (if the previous 3.5 engine was any indication) but aurally gratifying?…why yes, if you keep the revs below 4000 rpm.

    I too would pick the G37 6MT over the Audi. I prefer a more sporting machine, plus I can live without right sized cup holders and a shelf for a center console. Besides, having 3 pedals and 6 speeds to play with is just icing on the cake.

    I’d recommend the A4 to my sister. She likes the pretty headlights.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Anyways Robstar, you’re funny.

    I prefer the Infiniti G35 I feel younger when driving it. I wish Audi will change it looks. it seem that they always look the same. except for the new one that came out with LED Eyebrows on the headlight (you know what I’m talking about).

    Infiniti G35 LOVE YOU

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    Frank Williams,

    I think I was overly negative. I would like to retract the “ding”.

    I suppose it makes sense for manufacturer to give out to reviewer the loaded version if that is what they want people to buy.

    My local dealer says that Audi prefers to sell cars elsewhere than USA because of low prices here. They ship him plenty A4s but fewer and fewer as you go up the line, those go elsewhere. And USA is only 10% of Audi’s market. Not sure how this relates to the editorial up today on their down selling.

  • avatar
    davey49

    Anybody can “lay a patch” in a FWD car, big deal.
    I like the idea of the G, RWD and big beefy engine.
    I wouldn’t buy one, dealer is too far away.

  • avatar

    That said, from some angles, the G37 comes off as an Altima that went to finishing school.

    There is something about the design of the G cars that comes off too Nissan-like. Bulbous acres of sheet metal wafting off into the distance with no real destination. IMO, Nissan has lost its design mojo from a few years ago, and is starting to be a bad influence on Infiniti.

  • avatar
    monaco

    Speaking of 2009 A4 6MT- the A4 6MT sedan is arriving at dealers right now. I actually stopped at the Audi dealer on Avery exit in the O.C yesterday to see one was there. The annoying salesman said no way- and proceeded to tell me:

    “Germany doesn’t make manuals much anymore… only on the S5. With automatics around why would anyone get a stick? It’s like getting an old cassette tape player in your car.”

    my inner monologue: “Please just… go away.”

    But I recall the repulsive dealer experience was already covered in a different recent post on TTAC. :)

    As noted above, the 2.0T is more exciting than their V6 in every way except exhaust note. Also as noted above the 2.0T 6MT comparably equipped with Nav would be around the same 41K as the G, but 120hp down on the G, but only about 10 lb-ft of torque lower. If one were to chip the boost up a bit I’d bet the fun-to-drive factor would be similar. APR is already working on an initial 234hp/333lb-ft tq chip (93 octane #s though):
    http://forums.fourtitude.com/zerothread?id=4242961

    GBG wrote:
    There is something about the design of the G cars that comes off too Nissan-like. Bulbous acres of sheet metal wafting off into the distance with no real destination. IMO, Nissan has lost its design mojo from a few years ago, and is starting to be a bad influence on Infiniti.

    agree! If the G was a bit prettier and less boat shaped I’d be more interested. Plus the video game style “WENNNHHHH” exhaust note commenters have humorously noted in previous G reviews doesn’t help.

  • avatar
    umlaut

    I’ve got an ’06 3.2 with a 6 speed MANUAL. You can keep the 2.0T. Yeah, yeah, you can chip it and tune it. And yeah, it’s great on gas. But I wouldn’t switch. And hey, no turbo to burn out!
    Recall the 3.2 went into the A6 as well…not the 2.0T. Why? Smoother. More refined. You get what you pay for.


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