2011 Infiniti IPL G37 Coupe — Review
This 2011 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2013.
By Kirk Bell of MSN Autos
BMW has M, Mercedes has AMG, Lexus has its F series and Nissan has Nismo. These performance-oriented subbrands set enthusiasts' hearts aflutter with expectations of increased power and improved handling. Until now, Infiniti has gone without a performance arm, even though cars such as the G sedan and coupe and M sedan are plenty sporty. Recently, Nissan's luxury brand announced that it, too, would offer a performance line: the Infiniti Performance Line, or IPL, to be exact. Its first creation is the IPL G37 coupe. Although it's packed with features as well as performance, the IPL coupe isn't as hot as a BMW M3 or Mercedes C63 AMG, but it's tons of fun nonetheless and costs less than its German competitors.
Over and above the Sport package features, the IPL comes with a sportier suspension, red accent stitching on the upholstery and steering wheel, and an aerodynamics package that consists of more aggressive front and rear spoilers and sculpted side sills.
Safety equipment includes dual front airbags, front side airbags, curtain side airbags, tire-pressure monitor, active front head restraints, anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, traction control and electronic stability control.
Under the Hood
The IPL coupe is offered with a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed automatic with manual shift capability. The automatic also has Adaptive Shift Control, which adjusts shift points based on the driver's driving style. EPA fuel-economy ratings are 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway with the automatic and 17/25 with the manual.
The interior ambience is sporty, with a quality feel. The leather-wrapped steering wheel feels good, and the leather upholstery has an upscale look and feel. Attractive Silk-Obi aluminum trim complements the dashboard's quality soft-touch materials. All of the controls move with precision, and they are placed in a simple, easy-to-reach layout on the center stack. The environment isn't quite as luxurious as a Lexus IS, but the look fits the price.
The front bucket seats fit the car's sporty character. The driver's seat is supportive, and has enough bolstering to keep drivers planted during aggressive driving. Multiple seat adjustments team with the standard power tilt/telescoping steering wheel to make just about any driver comfortable. Very tall drivers will have an issue with headroom, though.
The back seat is rather inhospitable, lacking headroom and legroom. The front seats power forward to allow access, but a few acrobatic moves are required to get back there. The lack of space is disappointing, because the back seat was far more accommodating in the first-generation G35 coupe.
The trunk is also rather small, at 7.4 cubic feet. That's about what you would expect in a convertible, not a coupe. It's shallow, too, but the rear seat folds down to allow some longer items to fit.
On the Road
Infiniti didn't make any changes to the steering, but they weren't needed. All G37 coupes have direct steering with lots of road feel and quick, precise responses. It's a pleasure to turn any G coupe into a corner, and the IPL trim's tighter suspension makes it react even quicker. The brakes are the same as those from the Sport package. They are plenty large enough for the street, but Infiniti has yet to offer brakes strong enough for track driving.
On the street or track, the IPL G37 is sporty and nimble. It attacks turns with verve, turning in quickly, leaning very little and tracking nicely through to the exit. Thanks to the stiffer shocks and springs, it reacts a little quicker and feels a little sharper than a G37 coupe with the Sport package. We wouldn't call it track-ready as we might a BMW M3, but it's certainly plenty sporty for on-road driving.
We found the ride and handling balance to be impressive. Though notably firmer, the sport-tuned suspension does not react harshly to bumps. It soaks up minor bumps nicely and only jars over the worst potholes. Still, the ride does get busy over broken pavement, and buyers in bad climates might find the ride a little too firm.
Some will also find the tuned 3.7-liter V6 engine to be a bit too high-strung. The aggressive exhaust tuning makes the engine note a constant companion. It drones at lower rpms and sings at high rpms.
Speaking of the engine, the 3.7-liter V6 pulls hard from a stop and keeps delivering thrust up to its 7500 rpm redline. Nissan isn't giving zero-to-60 mph times, but they should be in the low five-second range, which is V8 territory.
The 6-speed manual transmission has a slick shifter with short throws, and nice mechanical action. The clutch also has a natural feel. However, the clutch in our test car wouldn't fully engage during aggressive driving, causing some grinding when shifting into second gear. It makes us worry about its long-term durability, especially given this car's performance character.
The 7-speed automatic is almost as fun to operate as the manual. It has a wonderful pair of magnesium, leather-trimmed shift paddles mounted on the steering column. They're easy to use during performance driving, and the transmission doesn't have to be in Sport mode to trigger manual shifts. The transmission also learns your driving style, so it can hold shifts longer when you drive aggressively. This can lead to some engine whine when you just want it to kick down a notch for cruising. We found the transmission to be responsive to our power needs, especially in Sport mode.
Right for You?
(As part of an automaker-sponsored press event, Infiniti provided MSN with travel and accommodations tofacilitate this report.)
Kirk Bell has served as the associate publisher for Consumer Guide Automotive and editor of Scale Auto Enthusiast magazine. A Midwest native, Bell brings 18 years of automotive journalism experience to MSN, andcurrently contributes to JDPower.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.