The "G" sedan from Nissan's Infiniti luxury division compares favorably with top sports/luxury sedans.
The 2011 G sedan comes as the G37 with a 3.7-liter V-6 that produces 328 horsepower or as the new G25, which has a 2.5-liter V-6 with 218 horsepower. That engine is from Nissan's Japanese-market Skyline model.
The G25 has the same exterior, interior and chassis as the G37, which means it has the same slick body but low front end that can be damaged by high curbs if a driver isn't
The G25 does 0-60 mph in 7.3 seconds. That's hardly crawling, but is nearly two seconds slower to 60 than the thundering G37, which has a great exhaust sound under full throttle.
The G25 sedan lists from $32,000 to $35,000, while the G37 four-door costs from $35,800 to $44,70. Both are offered with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
Rivals include the Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Cadillac CTS, Lexus IS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class-all heavy hitters.
The G sedan (coupe and convertible "G" models also are offered) has many comfort and convenience features. Safety items include stability control, brake assist features for surer stops and lots of air bags.
The G25 is offered in three trim levels with just one option-a power sliding tinted glass sunroof.
With the G37, you can get seven trim levels: G37Journey, G37x AWD (all-wheel drive), Sport 6 MT (manual transmission), Sport Appearance Edition, G37x AWD Sport Appearance Edition, G37 Limited Edition and G37x AWD Limited Edition.
I tested a G37x AWD Limited Edition, which had everything from an engine start/stop pushbutton and killer sound system to a dash-mounted color monitor display.
Things get a bit snug for a tall passenger behind a driver who slides his seat far back, and the center of the rear seat is too stiff for comfort. Otherwise, the interior is roomy. The trunk has a high opening, but is moderately large.
All G sedans feature a slick-shifting 7-speed automatic transmission-except the $40,200 G37 Sport Sedan. That one has a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission and a sport-tuned suspension, front sport seats and unique cosmetic features. Too bad there's no manual-transmission option for the G25.
However, the 7-speed automatic is the way to go for most G sedan buyers. After all, a G sedan is a luxury/performance sedan. The automatic has an easily used manual shift mode, but there's little need to use it because this transmission shifts so well in fully automatic mode. It also has a sport mode and automatic adaptive shift control for sportier shifts in performance driving situations.
Estimated fuel economy for G25 rear-drive models is 20 mpg city and 29 highway with rear-drive, or 19 and 27 with all-wheel drive.
Figures for the G37 rear-drive sedan are 19 city and 27 highway with the automatic and 17 and 25 with the manual gearbox. Fuel economy for G37 all-wheel-drive models is estimated at 18 city and 25 highway.
My high-quality test car's speed-sensitive power steering was quick, but felt rather stiff. The ride was firm, but supple, although wavy pavement caused mild jounce. Handling was sharp-almost in the sports-car class-and braking was powerful, controlled by a firm pedal.
Large door handles make it easy to slide in and out of the G sedan, and the quiet interior has a definite uptown look. The front console almost seems oversized (as does the rear armrest), but backlit gauges are easy to read, and controls, though rather small, are generally well-placed and fairly easy to use.
Quick moves are needed, though, to stop the power windows from racing up or down after they're activated, but front/rear cupholders are nicely placed, and there are a fair number of interior storage areas.
The hood glides up on twin struts, and fluid filler areas can be easily reached.
The fast, sporty, refined Infiniti G sedan is a solid alternative to better-known rivals.