- The Washington Times - Friday, March 28, 2003

"The premium sport sedan built from the driver out." That's the way the good folks at Infiniti describe their 2003 G35. Guess what? They are right. In seven days of mixed driving testing the G35, I found it to be comfortable, quiet, a superb handler, and blazing fast.
Shoehorned under the stylish hood of the G35 is Nissan's corporate 3.5-liter, 24-valve V-6, which in this application makes 260 horsepower and 260 foot-pounds of torque. Just plant your right foot as hard as you can, and try and keep the smile on your face from growing too wide. I have always been a big fan of Nissan's six-cylinder motors. From the 2.4 to 2.8-liter inline sixes from the old "Z" cars and Maximas, to the current crop, you will not find better built, better sounding, more reliable power plants. I would buy the G35 based on this super sweet engine alone. But true to form, all recent Infinitis offer so much more. No need to have super acceleration if your brakes are not up to par. G35 delivers with four-piston ventilated front disc brakes.
Anti-lock braking is standard, as is Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Brake Assist, which team up to offer you extra help to slow your rocket down safely, in a hurry. These brakes work extremely well, and function with comforting authority in dry or wet weather. This is a superb braking system.
Handling prowess also raises the "yahoo" factor of the G35. It comes standard with an independent multilink front and rear suspension, traction control, speed-sensitive power steering, and Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), which uses various sensors to keep you pointed in the direction you intend to head in. The system works well. Handling capability of the G35 is far above the limits of 95 percent of drivers.
Translated, this means you'd have to do something pretty dumb to get the G35 out of line. For those of you that are not too bright, the aforementioned systems kick in to keep your bad habits in check. Only once during a heavy rainstorm did I activate VDC and traction control, and a kind warning light (slow down, stupid) illuminated to tell me that a superior mind was now in charge of throttle inputs.
From a styling perspective, I hate to call cars "sexy," as it is an overused cliche. Sorry, but this car is just plain sexy. Kidney-bean-shaped front headlamps wrap around a seriously pretty chrome grille. The side view is lean, and the low roofline and high decklid give the impression the G35 is a much larger vehicle.
From the rear, way cool light-emitting diode brake lamps warn others brightly that your G-ship is slowing down. Paint quality and panel fit are excellent, and nary a squeak or rattle was heard.
Inside, things were mostly good. I loved the supportive eight-way adjustable leather seats. The audio system (an optional Bose system) was simply off the hook, and the electronic analog gauges were easy to read, an important point considering the athletic prowess of the G35. I did not like the "signature" Infiniti clock, as it is, while pretty, too hard to read day or night.
The "Titanium" tinted interior trim looks like it is very easy to scratch. There were sharp edges on some interior trim panels, one of which scratched my arm.
Finally, the words "SRS Airbag" were stamped into the passenger side dash with what appeared to be a bent coat hanger. These kinds of irritating details can push a prospective buyer over to another dealership.
Overall, I would rate the G35 a solid 9 out of 10. It combines safety, stellar performance, and a high level of comfort. My test car was equipped with several significant options that turned the base $28,950 G35 into a $34,220 car. Shop wisely when selecting options. You can keep the price under $30,000, and you'll still have one heck of a car.

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