2008 Infiniti G35

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Tech Review: 2007 Infiniti G35

This 2007 review is representative of model years 2007 to 2013.
By Doug Newcomb of MSN Autos
Rating: 5

Bottom Line:

The 2007 Infiniti G35 Sport has class-leading performance but perplexing tech.
Pros:
  • Excellent performance
  • Well-placed paddle shifters
  • Exceptional stereo system
Cons:
  • Hard-to-use and counterintuitive controls
  • No ID3 tag info for MP3s
  • Strange auxiliary-input configuration

There's no question that the 2007 G35 Sport sedan is a hot car both inside and out. With its hearty 306-horsepower V6 engine, sporty yet smooth suspension, aerodynamic snout and wash-finish interior aluminum trim, the rear-wheel-drive rocket is a blast on the road and easy on the eyes. The model I drove (with a sticker of $36,800) was coated in traffic-ticket red and rolled on sweet 18-inch seven-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels.

If all I did was drive the G35 Sport without ever turning on the stereo, then I'd probably be thrilled with the car. But unlike most motorheads, I look at a vehicle from a tech perspective and the G's electronic goodies simply didn't sync with the driving experience.

Out of Control
The features geared towards performance were generally excellent. For example, the sleek magnesium paddle shifters allowed me to effortlessly click through the five-speed auto tranny without lifting a hand from the wheel, while the 12-way power driver's seat with manual thigh extension held me tight while jamming through the twisties.

It was when I reached for the controls of the audio system that the trouble began. The iDrive-style controller situated below a 7-inch display at the top-center part of the dash is not only too far away, but angled slightly upwards, making it hard a stretch to access. The steering-wheel audio controls were at hand but not a great help either.

The track up/down toggle on the left side was counterintuitive and operates the opposite way of most such controls: to skip forward one track required pushing down on the control and to skip back required pushing up. The volume up/down just below the track up/down switch was too small and not easy to access without glancing down at the wheel.

One reason I was looking forward to driving the G35 Sport was to check out the new Infiniti Studio on Wheels premium audio system by Bose. I was impressed with the Bose Studio Surround Sound system in a 2006 Infiniti M45 I drove last summer and had high expectations for the Studio on Wheels. While the 10-speaker, 374-watt stereo setup sounds exceptional, it wasn't on par with the best surround-sound offerings I've heard recently, such as the Mark Levinson system in the Lexus LS 460 and the ELS system in the '07 Acura RDX.

Test material I've listened to in hundreds of systems sounded detailed and accurate for the most part, but at times overly processed. Bass impact was excellent and cohesive thanks to 10-inch subwoofers in the front of the car, while the center channel speaker stabilized the stereo imaging. But I was surprised by the stereo system's lack of extensive controls, or even a subwoofer-level adjustment.

Strange Aux In
The in-dash electronics portion of the system consists of a six-disc CD changer with an AM/FM tuner. The sticker also listed a $300 option charge for XM Satellite Radio, but either the service wasn't activated or it was impossible to find in the frustrating controls—and it wasn't for lack of trying. The CD changer also plays MP3 and WMA files, but without ID3 tag info to identify tracks.

In another quirk, when trying to load a disc, a message on the in-dash display would ask me to select the number of the disc slot I wanted to load, and after I did, it would instruct me to "Please Wait." But after waiting and waiting for it to give me the go ahead, I would just insert the disc anyway and it would accept it.

The car also had the strangest auxiliary input configurations I've ever encountered. Instead of a 1/4-inch mini-plug jack like most cars with an aux-in, the center console of the G35 Sport contained a pair of RCA jacks for stereo left and right (red and white) and one for video (yellow). Even using an RCA-to-mini-plug adaptor to plug in an iPod, I couldn't get sound through the system in AUX mode.

I didn't try to plug in an auxiliary video source, such as a portable DVD player, which the aux input seems to be intended for. But I was curious whether a DVD could be played on the dash-mounted screen since the M45 I drove last year had a DVD-Video system that would play on the front screen while the car was parked. With the number of iPods out there and people looking to jack them into a car's audio system, I can't grasp the logic of the G35 Sport's strange aux-in setup.

Perplexing Tech
The Bose Studio on Wheels audio system is part of a $2,350 Premium Package that also includes Bluetooth hands-free phone capability. But unfortunately, my Blackberry wasn't on the extensive list of compatible phones. The car I drove didn't have the navigation system package that also includes Infiniti's Music Box system that allows downloading CDs onto a 9.3 gigabyte hard drive. Nor did it have the $1,100 Technology Package that includes Intelligent Cruise Control, adaptive front lighting and a rearview camera.

Even without all of the bells and whistles, I thoroughly enjoyed my time behind the wheel of the car on empty back roads. And while there's no question that the Infiniti G35 Sport is an awesome and relatively affordable sports sedan, the car's tech is problematic and perplexing.

Doug Newcomb has been writing about car electronics since 1988, as editor of Car Audio and Electronics, Car Stereo Review, Mobile Entertainment, Road & Track Road Gear and as a freelance writer. His new book, Car Audio for Dummies, is available from Wiley Publications. He lives in Hood River, Oregon.

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BB04 - 7/25/2014 6:31:25 PM