What is it?
Nissan has given us a spin in a prototype version of next year’s Infiniti G37 saloon, a “European-ised” version of the American-spec G35.
Changes involve a bigger engine, seven-speed automatic transmission in place of the G35’s six-speed slusher and a higher-quality interior. When it goes on sale in the UK in 2009, Infiniti sources say the G37 will be priced close to the BMW 330i saloon, while offering far more kit as standard.
What’s it like?
A tale in several parts. Even behind some mild disguise, there’s no doubting that the saloon’s styling is short on the sort of visual interest that buyers in this segment are likely to expect – which is a shame, as the G37’s coupe sister is an unarguably handsome thing.
Euro-Infiniti is also going to get a higher-quality cabin than it’s American rival: classier leather, better materials and even changes like the arrival of a rotary heated seat switch in terms of the clunky two-position plastic item offered in US-spec cars.
It seems well-finished and comfortable, although the dashboard is cluttered with buttons, and European buyers won’t be spared the cheesy oval clock that sits at its centre.
On the road the G37’s case strengthens. The car is powered by a new, 3.7-litre version of Nissan’s ‘VQ’ V6 motor, producing 316bhp. Performance is lively and, although the software settings of the seven-speed gearbox we sampled weren’t finalised, it seemed to shift sweetly enough in both automatic and manual over-ride modes.
The standard G37 is rear-wheel drive, with the option of four-wheel drive on the “X” model, and the chassis offers well mannered, predictable responses.
Infiniti claims the G37 has been re-engineered around higher European driving speeds, including details like a beefed-up motor for the windscreen wipers. For all that, the prototype suffered from a surprising amount of wind noise from the tops of the doors at speeds above 70mph.
Final details of price and specification haven’t been released, but Infiniti execs confirm that the G37 puts out over 225g/km of CO2, meaning it will suffer from the full weight of Britain’s increasingly punitive environmental taxation.
So, should I buy one?
If you’re a determined early adopter anxious to check out Infiniti’s promised Lexus-beating customer service then it might be worth putting a deposit on one (once Britain’s small group of Infiniti dealerships actually begin to trade.)
But we reckon that, until the promised diesel version comes out in a couple of years, the G37 saloon will remain very much a minority taste.