With Infiniti attempting to expand its portfolio's modest size with recent forays into new territory, such as the decidedly family-friendly JX crossover or more fuel-efficient - but short-lived - G25 sedan, it's nice to know a staple like the G37 coupe is still around and as fun as ever for the 2013 model year.
My tester this week is the "Sport" model. Of the two Sport-designated coupes, mine is the all-wheel drive version, which means it doesn't get a six-speed manual transmission, as that's only available on the rear-wheel drive version. Still, it's tough to complain about the slick 7-speed auto with paddle shifters.
Because manual or not, it's instantly apparent this is a G37x Sport is a driver's vehicle. That is to say, it's fast, loud, and responsive as hell. If you're constantly lugging around groceries or chauffeuring kids to dance recitals, you're better off with a JX, or even a "G" sedan. Yes, the G37 coupe can technically do those things, but it can do other things much, much better.
Those "other things" all involve things best done on a mostly-empty highway or, better yet, a track. Nissan's tried-and-true 3.7-litre V6 is fitted under the hood and provides rousing acceleration to go with its sweet sound. It offers a lot more horsepower than competitors, though torque isn't exactly mind-blowing, and it peaks at a relatively high 5,200 RPM.
That said, I'm really not all about the numbers when it comes to power. At the end of the day (and the beginning, and the middle), the G37 coupe is fast. Power comes on smoothly, and when the RPM do get high enough, this vehicle really takes off. The aforementioned 7-speed is happy to hold gears for a long time under wide open throttle, but if you really want to control upshifts and downshifts, go nuts with those paddle shifters.
Steering and handling, meanwhile, are as sharp as the ride is jittery. To say the G37xS is a finely-honed machine would be an embarrassing understatement. You need only the smallest of steering inputs to get the vehicle to instantly change direction, and it seems nothing can get it out of sorts on the road. It sticks to asphalt like nobody's business.
Of course, the trade-off is that the ride suffers immensely. The Sport model gets a retuned suspension to give it a more - spoiler alert! - sporty feel. You won't be able to adjust it at all, so you're stuck with a butt-numbing experience whether you're traversing a freshly-paved highway or a crumbling city street. More so if it's the latter, which for me, it often was.
Not only that, but a lot of road and wind noise manages to make their way into the cabin.
Seats will fit most occupants like a glove thanks to 12-way adjustments, right down to thigh extensions that can be changed manually, for those with longer legs (mine are really long, so I appreciate this feature whenever a vehicle has it).
Bolsters are befitting of a vehicle with "Sport" in the name, and while a lot of these low-slung coupes are difficult to slide into, that's not the case with the G37.
That is, unless you're banished to the rear seats, because like the Porsche 911 or Mitsubishi Eclipse, the G37xS is a "technically-but-not-really" four seater. Yes, four working seatbelts are included with the MSRP, but the rear buckets are essentially useless for all but the smallest of occupants.
Still, if you need a little extra space for cargo, the rear seats fold down in one piece, offering a small opening out to the trunk. It's not much, but I'm going to hazard a guess that you're not purchasing a vehicle like this for its ability to haul 2x4's.
My only other nitpick with the interior, which is nicely set-up in just about every respect, is the long reach to the central infotainment unit's controls. Most luxury vehicles have some sort of central device located conveniently behind the shifter, but that's not the case with the G37, and it makes controlling the infotainment unit while driving a problem.
The focus with the G37, though, is clearly on the driving experience. You'll want to go fast, while avoiding straight lines more often than not. The other stuff can be forgiven when you have a vehicle as fun as this.
2013 Infiniti G37 coupe
Trim level: AWD Sport
Price as tested (before taxes): $55,550
Options on test vehicle: Hi-Tech Package ($3,750) inc.: Multi-function exterior mirrors with signals and courtesy lamps, rain sensitive wipers, forward collision warning, adaptive speed control, front and rear park assist, blind spot and cross path detection
Configuration: front engine/ all-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 3.7L 6-cylinder / 7-spd automatic with sequential shift
Power/torque: 330 hp/ 270 lb.-ft.
Fuel (capacity): premium (76L)
Fuel economy ratings: 11.8 L/100km city; 7.9 L/100km hwy
Observed fuel economy: 11.3 L/100km over 642 km
Warranties: 3 years/60,000 km (basic); 5 years/100,000 km (powertrain)
Competitors: BMW 328i xDrive; Cadillac CTS Coupe; Mercedes-Benz C350 4MATIC
Strengths: handling; engine; quality
Weaknesses: unforgiving ride; noisy interior