2012 Infiniti G Review

2012 Infiniti G - IPL helps standout G37 stand apart from the mid-size luxury crowd.


While fast food joints offer super-sized opportunities for just an extra shilling or two, automakers take a slightly more pragmatic approach when spicing up an already tasty morsel.

Several automotive nameplates, especially high-end luxury types, experience  great pleasure in taking a perfectly capable set of wheels and building a limited number of higher-powered  variants,  and envelope them with extra bling; it's the cherry on top of an already decadent delight.

Mercedes-Benz promotes its racing-inspired AMG designation while BMW boasts its high-spirited M subseries.  Both take pride in pumping up horsepower, adding hulky braking and limited-edition badging indicating this particular model delivers cachet.  Through time, the concept has gained more followers including General Motors' Cadillac Division and its upmarket ' V' series found on CTS coupes, sedans and wagons.

Asian automakers are on board too.  Toyota's Lexus luxury division debuted its "F" designation a few years back and in 2011 Nissan's upscale Infiniti line took the wraps off IPL.  Not to be confused with IPOs (Initial Public Offerings), Infiniti's IPL designation denotes  'Infiniti Performance Line.'  Infiniti's first foray was the 2011 mid-size G37 IPL coupe. The sophomore 2012 G37 IPL remains virtually unchanged from its first-year  counterpart.

Infiniti's strictly rear drive G37 IPL coupe comes nicely equipped with no factory options to ponder.   The only decision to be made is choosing between a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission.  Seven-speed automatics generates two miles per gallon better in both city and highway mileage. The manual registers 17 mpg city and 25 highway.  Premium fuel is recommended for the 20 gallons tank.

With IPL, expect such pomp as dual chrome exhausts, rear spoiler, sculpted side sills and nineteen-inch seven-spoke graphite-finish wheels surrounded by low-profile performance tires. When peaking under the hood  an IPL engine cover greets visitors protecting the naturally aspirated 3.7-liter, 24-valve V-6 engine tuned to crank out 348 horsepower, up 18 from G's conventional yet spunky 3.7-liter.

Standard goodies in the G37 IPL coupe includes power sliding glass moon roof, heated outside mirrors, rear underbody air diffusers, dual climate controls, mighty nice Bose stereo and  sports tuned speed sensitive rack-and-pinion steering.  An in-dash, seven-inch touch navigation screen with XM Navtraffic and Navweather (both available with a monthly subscription from...you guessed it, the XM Satellite folks) is also part of the IPL package.  The screen also serves as a rear backup display.

A 2012 IPL G37 coupe with six-speed manual starts at $49,350.  Our tester's bottom line totaled $50,455 with small add ons including trunk net, first aid kit along and $895 destination charge.  With automatic transmission, the IPL coupe lists for $51,250. By contrast, a V-10-powered midsize BMW M sedan stets a checking account back $85,700.

 The IPL G37 is an outgrowth of Infiniti's G line, its most extensive and best selling . Coupe, sedan and hard-top convertible body styles along with two drivetrain choices (rear wheel or all-wheel drive) and two power sources are in the G mix. Most Gs get their power from a 3.7-liter V-6 delivering 330 horsepower.  All three body styles offer the 3.7 engine (thus the G37 label).  Only the sedan offers the smaller 2.5-liter V-6 generating 218 horsepower (labeled G25).   The lowest priced G is the G25 sedan  with  rear drive and seven-speed transmission starting at $32,400. The lowest-priced G37 coupe (rear drive) checks in at $37,600. The entire G lineup undergoes little change from the 2011 model year.   

The largest sedan within Infiniti's showroom is the M, available as a gas-electric M35h hybrid edition, but as of yet no IPL upgrade.

Infiniti's G coupes, including the IPL,  start from a strong platform borrowed from Nissan's nimble 370Z sports car. Superb handling characteristics shine through for both well balanced coupes.

Inside the G37 IPL, the flat instrument panel features thick, easily readable numerals, white backlighting and two large circular gauges with two smaller varieties tucked in the lower corners. Connections for iPods and other portable electronics are found in the arm rest-storage bin between the buckets. Also nearby is a mechanical parking brake lever and dual in-line beverage holders.

At times, the standard push button electronic start button gets hidden behind the power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, so a new location down the road may be in order. The trunk release is on the under dash left of the steering column. Cruise control and secondary audio buttons are found on the leather-wrapped wheel. A distinguished analog clock resides front and center on the dash. Below is a rectangular ventilation system with dials at each end monitoring dual temperature settings.  Two rows of push buttons controlling rear window defrost, fan speed and direction reside mid point. The IPL coupe receives special aluminum trim along the dash, door pull bars and central console mid-section and aluminum pedals and foot rest.  It's a more user-friendly layout than the recently tested 2012 Buick Regal.

Infiniti's G37's seating position is a bit lower than conventional sedans. Leather seating with red stitching comes with every G37 IPL. Both sport-styled front buckets are powered (12-way driver, 8-way passenger) and comfortably supportive.   The second-row backrest folds down as one long unit with trunk access once a pull tab gets summoned in the cargo/trunk region unlocking the cushion.  The G37 coupe is designed as a four seater but as with most mid-size luxury coupes, the back seat is best left for pets or pre-adolescent tykes who've graduated from car seats. Static rear windows are strictly for show and don't power down.  The driveshaft hump runs along the floor limiting leg room. Headroom is average in front and darn tight in back. Power window, door lock and mirror controls reside at a 45-degree angle on the driver's door at knee level.

Exterior wise, two IPL dark hues are available: Malbec Black and Graphite Shadow.  Both side doors are wide and heavy. Cat's eye housing high intensity discharge Xenon headlights  wrap around to side fenders flanking a horizontally slated chrome-like grille with circular Infiniti logo. Heated side mirrors would benefit from secondary blinker bands. In back, LED-style tail lights flank the trunk and spoiler.

Shock-absorber-type hinges reside smartly outside the noticeably shallow and small (7.4 cubic feet) cargo area. While room for large picnic baskets is doubtful, those who partake in 18-hole walks during milder Chicagoland weather, will enjoy a visual placard glued to the inside truck lid guiding optimal placement of dual golf bags.

Advancements in traction control, vehicle dynamic control and anti-lock brakes make G37 IPL and other better-balanced rear-drive vehicles year-round options in four-weather climates like Chicago.  If an unplanned hiccup is encountered, dual front air bags, seat-mounted side air bags and side-curtain air bags remain on call.

 Infiniti's second IPL badged vehicle is the G37 convertible which debuts in the 2013 model year. Think of Infiniti's IPL line as a lower-cost option to European offerings with a strong powertrain warranty.

At A Glance

2012 Infiniti G37 IPL coupe

Price as tested:  $50,445

Length:  185.1 inches

Width:  71.8 inches

Wheelbase: 112.2 inches

Engine:  3.7-liter V-6

Horsepower:  348

Curb weight: 4,656 pounds

Drivetrain warranty:  Six years/70,000 miles

City/Highway economy:  17/25

Assembly: Tochigi, Japan

Dave Boe

Dave Boe, a lifetime Chicago area resident, worked at the Daily Herald, Illinois' third-largest daily newspaper, for 24 years. In 1989, the Daily Herald began a weekly Saturday Auto Section and he was shortly appointed editor. The product quickly grew into one of the largest weekend sections in the paper thanks to his locally-written auto reviews, the introduction of a local automotive question-and-answer column, a new colorful format and news happenings from Chicago area new-car dealerships.

Five years later, a second weekly auto section debuted on Mondays with Boe adding an industry insight column and introducing a "Love Affair with Your Car" column where readers sent in their own automotive memories for publication. During the next 10 years, the number of weekly auto sections Boe edited and coordinated grew to five and featured expanded NASCAR racing coverage, a dealer spotlight/profile feature and a Car Club Calendar where grass-roots automobile clubs could publish upcoming events for free. Boe also introduced more local automotive columnists into the pages of the sections, all of whom were seasoned members of the well respected Midwest Automotive Media Association. In 1997, Boe earned the Employee of the Year award from the Daily Herald.

Boe is a founding member and current president of the Midwest Automotive Media Association. He has degrees in Journalism and Business Administration from Northern Illinois University.