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Review: 2014 Infiniti QX80 AWD

Thursday July 31st, 2014 at 4:77 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2014 Infiniti QX80 AWD

By David Colman

Hypes: Big As Texas, Rich Furnishings
Gripes: High Step-In, Pedestrian Looks

When a friend recently bought a Chevy Suburban, I asked him why he chose such a large SUV. With a slightly baffled look, he replied: “Because I want as much real estate as I can afford.” Even more than the Suburban, Infiniti’s newly renamed QX80 is the king of road real estate. It’s simply gargantuan – in size, weight, appearance, horsepower and cost. Let’s start with the last item first. Unless you’ve got an SUV slush fund with eighty grand in the kitty, you’ll have to content yourself with a little less acreage than the QX80′s ranchero. Base price here is $64,450. From that vaunted starting point, the option groups keep coming like tumbleweeds in a dust storm. The $4,650 Deluxe Touring Package consists of a 15 speaker Bose stereo system, climate controlled front seats, semi-aniline leather all around, and richly lustrous Mocha Burl trim. Of course you’ll want your QX to stand Texas tall, so you’ll opt for the outlandishly huge 22 inch, 9 spoke, forged alloy rims with 275/50/R22 Bridgestone Dueler H/T tires at each corner. That bit of bling will set you back $2,250. And if you have some pint sized back seat occupants, parental obligation requires you to order the $3,100 Theater Package to keep them entertained while you fiddle with your $3,250 Technology Package. Bottom line: $79, 096.

2014 Infiniti QX80 AWD

Is it worth that kind of money? If you can afford the buy-in and the gas bills (combined city/highway average of 16MPG), the answer is a resounding yes. The justification the QX80 offers in exchange for its hefty price is its do-it-all capability. Carry 7 adults? No problem. Its triple row seating looks like a small auditorium, with rich furnishings for all 7 occupants: 2 up front, 2 behind, a 3 in the tail. Tow 8,500 pounds of trailer? The QX’s monster 5.6 liter V8 will clean and jerk that much weight without working up a sweat. After all, you’re utilizing 400hp and 413lb.-ft. of torque. And best of all, you never need worry about road conditions, because the Q-ship provides full time all-wheel-drive, with such elaborate options available from the driveline and 7 speed automatic gearbox as High and Low AWD,Tow Mode, Snow Mode, and Hill Start Assist. With its elevated stance and plethora of tinted windows, the QX80 towers over traffic. No one has a better view of the road than you do.

2014 Infiniti QX80 AWD

Thanks to the Technology package, this SUV has more built in cameras than San Quentin. The little nubbins are up front and out back, in the windshield and under the rear view mirrors. You’ll never get away with an errant lane change without having the QX tattle on you with a little blink or chirp. In fact, there’s so much oversight available here that it won’t be long before you start disabling some of the systems to maintain equanimity. For example, you’ve got Blind Spot Warning and Intervention, Lane Change Warning and Intervention, Forward Collision Warning (with Brake Assist), Backup Collision Intervention, and Intelligent Cruise Control. When all these nannies are in full nag mode, you’ll find yourself dealing with an alarm from some source every couple of seconds. At least the system allows you to quell its Cassandra-like paranoia to suit your own level of apprehension. I used the 10 inch wide in-dash monitor to delete most of the technology overload. The best option of all is to delete the Technology group from your vehicle’s build sheet. You’ll not only save $3,250, but preserve you sanity as well.

2014 Infiniti QX80 AWD

Aside from those niggling considerations, the QX80 is a really terrific long haul companion. It maintains surprising composure on back roads despite its ungainly proportions, near 3 ton bulk (curb weight: 5,990lb.) and high center of gravity. And when the big Q sets sail on the freeway, the miles glide by so effortlessly you think you’re commanding a Greyhound Scenicruiser rather than an SUV.

Admittedly, the box on wheels shape of this Infiniti will not quicken your aesthetic pulse. But once you’ve tossed about a dozen steamer trunks in the back, you’ll learn to respect its insatiable 49.5 cubic foot cargo bay. You’ll quickly learn to love the easy QX80 conversion from seats up to seats down. That’s because all 4 rear seats can be dropped electrically with just the push of a button. Even the tailgate is electrically opened and shut. That kind of practical convenience will quickly make you overlook road king’s artistic shortcomings. If you’re looking for maximum road acreage, this Infiniti is just the ticket.

2014 Infiniti QX80 AWD

2014 Infiniti QX80 AWD

  • Engine: 5.6 Liter V-8 with VVEL and DIG
  • Horsepower: 400hp
  • Torque: 413lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 14 MPG City/20 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $79,095
  • Star Rating: 9 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2013 Infiniti FX37

Thursday October 17th, 2013 at 8:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Runs and Handles like a 370Z
Gripes: Sharp-Edged Steering Wheel Pad, Poor Rear Vision

You can call the Infiniti G37 the Special Effects model, because of its special engine, gearbox and suspension. Although the FX37 may look like just another SUV, it’s really a Nissan 370Z twice removed. Why twice? Because Infiniti’s G37 sedan is directly descended from the 370Z, while the FX37 is the SUV version of the G37. The fact that Infiniti has applied the numerical designation “37” to rename what was formerly called the FX35 stresses its 370Z/G37-derived engine displacement of 3.7 liters. Virtually the same V-6 powers all 3 vehicles. In FX37 trim, the engine produces 325hp and 267lb.-ft. of torque driving the rear wheels only through a 7-speed automatic gearbox. This sweet gearbox features automatic engine blipping on downshifts to synch rpm with road speed. Although our test FX37 was not equipped with magnesium paddles for steering wheel shifting, they are included in the $2,866 optional “Sport Package” which also provides adjustable shock damping and sport-styled seats.

Even without the fingertip convenience of alloy paddles, the FX37 is still a pleasure to operate in sporting style. The engine is extremely responsive. The gearbox ratios are perfectly calibrated to keep the V-6 in its ample powerband. The suspension and steering remain taut and informative. Helping perfect the responsiveness are a set of 20 inch alloys mounting 265/50VR20 Bridgestone Dueler radials calibrated to maximize traction on pavement. This alloy wheel upgrade is part of a $3,300 optional “Touring Package” that also includes nifty looking quilted leather front and rear seats that are heated and ventilated, plus maple interior trim and aluminum pedals.

One addition you can do without is the $2,950 “Technology Package” which burdens the FX with an annoying set of nanny alerts like “Lane Departure Warning and Prevention” and “Forward Collision Warning” that chirp a concerto of beeps that will drive you to distraction. The problem with the FX37 is that rear vision is abysmally poor thanks to its sloping roof, minuscule rear window, and huge rear C-pillars, and no amount of technology will ever overcome that genetic malady. So do yourself a favor, pass on the Technology package, and vow to turn your head and check your mirrors every time you make a lane change. Luckily, a “Rear View Monitor” is standard fitment, so you can always check the dash displayed image when reversing the FX.

The lines of the FX37 aren’t so much handsome as bulbous. If SUVs could bench press barbells, the FX would be good for 300 pounds easy. Its mega-chrome grill confronts slower traffic like a schoolyard bully. Every stylistic sweep is calculated to emphasize aggression and road dominance. I was amazed at the number of people who meekly surrendered lane position when they saw the FX looming in their mirror. While this Infiniti isn’t quite as intimidating as a police cruiser, its stance renders other motorists submissive.

Once you’re ensconced in its finely detailed cabin, however, you’re hardly aware of that bully pulpit profile. Rather, your every travel need is catered to by this well mannered concierge of the highway. Those box-quilted front seats fit like a throne, while the button festooned dashboard offers so many comfort and entertainment preferences that you’ll spend hours poring over the owner’s manual to learn them all. Of course, the addition of the $4,300 optional “Premium Package” to our test FX’s window sticker added a lot of extra content to an already well-equipped vehicle. This grouping includes an upsized 8 inch VGA color screen on the dash, Hard-Drive Navigation, Voice Recognition, Streaming Audio via Bluetooth, in-dash single CD/DVD player, and slick looking aluminum roof rails. About the only thing not included in the Premium Package is a graduate level seminar in how to make all this technology work for you.

2013 Infiniti FX37

  • Engine: 3.7 liter DOHC, 24 Valve V-6
  • Horsepower: 325hp
  • Torque: 267lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 17 MPG City/24 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $55,800
  • Star Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2013 Infiniti JX35 AWD

Saturday October 5th, 2013 at 8:1010 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Up-market Interior, Command Seating Position, Go Anywhere Traction
Gripes: Lumbering Demeanor

Infiniti’s JX35 AWD is the kind of travel partner that grows on you. It isn’t particularly fast or surpassingly handsome. It doesn’t boast sports SUV handling agility. But just let it start raining hard, and you’ll quickly make best friends with this exceptionally competent people mover. When the weather turned vile due to a spate of late winter storms, the JX35 AWD proved to be the hot ticket for slaloming around fallen branches, zipping through ankle deep puddles, and enabling me to reach distant destinations without fuss or anxiety.

The JX35 comes by its all weather prowess honestly, since it’s based on Nissan’s new Pathfinder unibody chassis and transverse mounted 3.5 liter V-6. Infiniti tuning bumps the engine output from the Pathfinder’s 260hp to 265hp. In both applications, the V-6 powers a CVT transmission. Although I’ve never been a fan of continuously variable gearboxes, the JX35 installation works really well. The engine’s ample torque output of 248lb.-ft. eliminates gear hunting. This in turn reduces gear whine, which is a primary CVT annoyance. In addition, Infiniti has perfected a manual shift mode that allows you to mimic the stepped ratios of a normal automatic. Steering wheel proximate paddles, however, are missing, so you’ll need to bump the floor stick for shifts.

Another reason the JX proves to be a tidy package in a storm is its marvelous “Intelligent” all wheel drive system, which allows you to select exactly what manner of traction you need (Standard, Sport, Snow, Eco). The “Standard” default setting worked exceptionally well in even monsoon conditions, and when the skies cleared we flipped the selector to “Sport” for stiffer shock damping and more resistance to pitch. Infiniti fits the base level JX35 with 18 inch, 5-spoke alloy wheels shod with 235/65R18 rubber. But thanks to a $2,550 “Deluxe Touring Package,” our test JX stood tall on honkin’ Bridgestone Dueler 235/55R20 Mud & Snow rubber gracing pewter 10-spoke alloys. Although you’d pay close to $2,550 just for those wheels and tires at your local shop, Infiniti also throws in a few other deluxe package goodies: upgraded Bose “Cabin Surround” sound, Advanced Climate Control, Climate-controlled front seats, Heated second row seats, 2nd and 3rd row power moonroof, Rain-sensing wipers, and Maple interior accents. The rain-sensing wipers were perfectly suited to the intermittent nature of our recent storms and removed one more annoyance from the chore of wet weather driving. The standard rear wiper kept aft vision reassuringly clear.

At first, you will be hesitant about backing this lengthy (196.4 inch) bus out of parking spaces. But a Rear View Monitor is standard equipment on the JX, and the image it displays on the 7 inch color dash screen provides more than adequate rear vision aid. If you feel less than secure about the positioning of your Infiniti, you can always opt for the $3,100 “Technology Package” which offers Back-Up Collision Intervention (BCI). This device will brake your JX to a stop if it detects an obstacle in your path while reversing. The package also includes brake assist with forward collision warning, lane departure warning and prevention, intelligent cruise control with distance assist, and a heated steering wheel. The beauty of this package is that you can manually decommission any or all of these assistants, and once you’ve deselected them, they stay deselected the next time you start your JX. So if you want to retain Back-Up Collision Intervention while deleting Lane Departure Prevention, you can do so on a permanent basis.

The JX35 AWD carries a base MSRP of $41,550, compared to the front-wheel-drive version’s base price of $40,650. The extra $900 you spend for AWD will reward you many times over on the next rainy day.

2013 Infiniti JX35 AWD

  • Engine: 3.5 liter DOHC, 24 Valve V-6
  • Horsepower: 265hp
  • Torque: 248 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 18 City MPG/23 Highway MPG
  • Price as Tested: $55,170
  • Star Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2013 Infiniti QX56 4WD

Friday July 19th, 2013 at 2:77 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Great Visibility, Spacious Living Area, V8 Oomph
Gripes: Space Grabbing 2nd Row Console, Jerky Radar Cruise Control

Painted “Black Obsidian” the QX56 looks as menacing as a nuclear submarine. This is no pretty plaything. Bereft of deft sculptural touches, the chunky QX56 depends on brutality for its brand of beauty. Up front, the immense chromed grill, guarded by slit headlights, makes the hulk look like a Brahma bull. Optional ($2,450) 22” wheels and ultra-wide 275/50HR22 Bridgestone Dueler tires stand so tall they force you to do the Texas two-step when climbing up into the cabin. Standard running boards are essential for short folks. Once ensconced in this plush expanse of Wheat Semi-Aniline Leather and Tuscan Burl Trim, you’ll enjoy a commanding view of the road in all directions. Unlike so many taper-tailed SUVs that trade vision for styling, the boxy QX56 offers excellent sight lines. Even though you’re far removed from pavement height, you can still park this mammoth craft with surprising accuracy thanks to unimpeded vision. Additionally, a standard “AroundView” monitor offers sonar detection of moving objects both front and rear.

Although Infiniti offers a 2WD version of the Q ship for a base price of $60,650, the $3,100 extra you spend on the 4WD version (base price: $63,750) is money well spent if it rains or snows where you live. Moreover, the earth mover size Bridgestone tires, being mud and snow rated, are just itching to strut their stuff in the sloppy outback. Infiniti provides a comforting control knob on the center console with settings for Snow, Tow or Go. The trailer setting allows you to haul a whopping 8,500 pounds behind the Q. The computer-controlled transfer case offers low and high ranges of 4WD. During our dry and sunny week with the Q, we left the controller in 4WD High range and found the big beast to be marvelously effective at conquering any paved terrain we chose to tackle. On twisty backroads, the Q defies its size and near 6 ton weight by blasting through turns with aplomb. Out on the Interstate, it mimics a palatial living room on wheels, especially when equipped with the optional ($4,650) Deluxe Touring Package, which exchanges the standard 13 speaker Bose Premium Sound System for a 15 speaker installation with Surround Sound and digital 5.1 decoding. This unit is really adept at thumping out tunes sourced from XM Satellite radio, MP3 playback, USB Ipod interface, or streaming Bluetooth – all of which are included in the entertainment package.

Precise control of front, side and rear micro-climates keeps all passengers happily pampered in their own comfort zones. In view of the fact that this mother ship can safely carry as many as 8 adults, specific zones for air conditioning and heat are important to group satisfaction. If you choose to fold one or both of the rearmost bench seats, you can easily do so via (slow) electric controls for each side. The second row seats also collapse and fold forward against the backs of the front seats. But if you plan on carrying bulk loads inside your QX56, you’ll want to order your Infiniti with a second row bench seat rather than the pair of captain’s chairs of our test vehicle. A second row bench folds flat whereas the console dividing the captain’s chairs remains a standing impediment even when the chairs are flipped forward.

The QX56 relies on a thirsty but powerful 5.6 liter V-8 which produces a startling wallop when the throttle is floored. The 7-speed automatic transmission features downshift rev blipping and manual gear selection in addition to very savvy Adaptive Shift Control automation. With 400hp and 413 lb.-ft. of torque on hand, you’ll never encounter a situation that taxes the power limit of this SUV. But you will pay for the privilege because the QX manages just 16 MPG in overall driving. But if you can afford the gas, as well as the pricey buy-in, the QX56 is the stoutest, sturdiest piece of equipment a large family could ever need.

2013 Infiniti QX56 4WD

  • Engine: 5.6 liter V-8
  • Horsepower: 400hp
  • Torque: 413 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 14 MPG City/20 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $78,140
  • Star Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2013 Infiniti FX37

Tuesday May 14th, 2013 at 4:55 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Runs and Handles like a 370Z
Gripes: Sharp-Edged Steering Wheel Pad, Poor Rear Vision

You can call the Infiniti G37 the Special Effects model, because of its special engine, gearbox and suspension. Although the FX37 may look like just another SUV, it’s really a Nissan 370Z twice removed. Why twice? Because Infiniti’s G37 sedan is directly descended from the 370Z, while the FX37 is the SUV version of the G37. The fact that Infiniti has applied the numerical designation “37” to rename what was formerly called the FX35 stresses its 370Z/G37-derived engine displacement of 3.7 liters. Virtually the same V-6 powers all 3 vehicles. In FX37 trim, the engine produces 325hp and 267lb.-ft. of torque driving the rear wheels only through a 7-speed automatic gearbox. This sweet gearbox features automatic engine blipping on downshifts to synch rpm with road speed. Although our test FX37 was not equipped with magnesium paddles for steering wheel shifting, they are included in the $2,866 optional “Sport Package” which also provides adjustable shock damping and sport-styled seats.

Even without the fingertip convenience of alloy paddles, the FX37 is still a pleasure to operate in sporting style. The engine is extremely responsive. The gearbox ratios are perfectly calibrated to keep the V-6 in its ample powerband. The suspension and steering remain taut and informative. Helping perfect the responsiveness are a set of 20 inch alloys mounting 265/50VR20 Bridgestone Dueler radials calibrated to maximize traction on pavement. This alloy wheel upgrade is part of a $3,300 optional “Touring Package” that also includes nifty looking quilted leather front and rear seats that are heated and ventilated, plus maple interior trim and aluminum pedals.

One addition you can do without is the $2,950 “Technology Package” which burdens the FX with an annoying set of nanny alerts like “Lane Departure Warning and Prevention” and “Forward Collision Warning” that chirp a concerto of beeps that will drive you to distraction. The problem with the FX37 is that rear vision is abysmally poor thanks to its sloping roof, minuscule rear window, and huge rear C-pillars, and no amount of technology will ever overcome that genetic malady. So do yourself a favor, pass on the Technology package, and vow to turn your head and check your mirrors every time you make a lane change. Luckily, a “Rear View Monitor” is standard fitment, so you can always check the dash displayed image when reversing the FX.

The lines of the FX37 aren’t so much handsome as bulbous. If SUVs could bench press barbells, the FX would be good for 300 pounds easy. Its mega-chrome grill confronts slower traffic like a schoolyard bully. Every stylistic sweep is calculated to emphasize aggression and road dominance. I was amazed at the number of people who meekly surrendered lane position when they saw the FX looming in their mirror. While this Infiniti isn’t quite as intimidating as a police cruiser, its stance renders other motorists submissive.

Once you’re ensconced in its finely detailed cabin, however, you’re hardly aware of that bully pulpit profile. Rather, your every travel need is catered to by this well mannered concierge of the highway. Those box-quilted front seats fit like a throne, while the button festooned dashboard offers so many comfort and entertainment preferences that you’ll spend hours poring over the owner’s manual to learn them all. Of course, the addition of the $4,300 optional “Premium Package” to our test FX’s window sticker added a lot of extra content to an already well-equipped vehicle. This grouping includes an upsized 8 inch VGA color screen on the dash, Hard-Drive Navigation, Voice Recognition, Streaming Audio via Bluetooth, in-dash single CD/DVD player, and slick looking aluminum roof rails. About the only thing not included in the Premium Package is a graduate level seminar in how to make all this technology work for you.

2013 Infiniti FX37

  • Engine: 3.7 liter DOHC, 24 Valve V-6
  • Horsepower: 325hp
  • Torque: 267lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 17 MPG City/24 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $55,800
  • Star Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Stars

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2013 Infiniti FX37 AWD Review

Tuesday January 15th, 2013 at 11:11 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

For: Precision Responsiveness, Fiery Acceleration
Against: Choppy ride, Awkward Reach to Rearview Mirror Button

The FX37 is the latest evolution of the FX35, gaining a bit of punch, more fuel economy with little additional cost. It is an enigma however as it is a a very sporty car that is fast and firm like a Z car. Look for the comfort mode and you’ll find none. So read on and see if this is the right vehicle for you.

Having just spent the prior week driving a storied sports sedan, I was prepared to be under whelmed by the performance of this tall, rather ungainly looking sports utility.

But beauty is as beauty does, and what the FX37 does best is cover ground fast. Faster, in most instances than that storied sports sedan I thought I’d be missing so much. To the everlasting credit of Infiniti engineers, they have produced a lithe and agile package that belies its looks, its weight and its perceived station in life. If there’s a sporting award for SUVs, the FX37 is a clear first place winner.

Its efficient 3.7 liter V6 proves you don’t need a V8 to wring top drawer performance from such a sizeable vehicle. Despite the Infiniti’s curb weight of 4,156 lb., the 325hp motor is adequate to any acceleration need, and will also tow 3,500 lb. Just floor the throttle, or select the appropriate gear of the 7 available, and the FX flies into action like a Special Forces commando truck. Although you can also order a 390hp V8 version of the FX designated FX50, you’ll sacrifice the decent (17/24 MPG) gas mileage of the V6 for the voracious appetite (14/20 MPG) of the 5.0 liter V8. Thanks to the responsiveness of the V6, the V8 is more motor than you need.

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2013 Infiniti G Coupe IPL Review

Sunday January 13th, 2013 at 8:11 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Bahnstormer for the Mature
Gripes: Cheesy Belt Retractors, Shift Lever Jiggles At Idle

Let’s say you’re a born again racer who’s outgrown the trappings of the street pose down. You still like to drive hard and fast, but you no longer need to let the world in on your little secret. So you start scanning test reports with an eye for the understated rather than the obvious performance package. You’ve got some serious cash to spend on your acquisition, but you’re not quite ready for a full scale German pocket vacuuming. Well, in that case, I’ve got the perfect sports coupe for you. At a base price of $50,500, the Infiniti G Coupe undercuts the price of most anything from Bavaria, and better yet, outperforms many BMWs, Audis and Porsches costing up to twice as much.

The reason for this apparent discrepancy in the price/performance ratio? The G is really a revamped Nissan 370Z, devoid of the Z’s boy racer proclivity to overstate its case. You won’t find any of the Z’s rough edges, harsh ride, or buzzy exhaust in the grown up version Infiniti sells. But by the same token, you’ll give nothing away to the Z in terms of raw performance. If anything, the G Coupe in IPL trim, is easier to drive hard than the Z because it’s smoother, quieter and less demanding on you.

The IPL specification is a must if your G Coupe is going to compete with the best from Europe in handling dexterity and straight line acceleration. IPL tweaks output of the standard G37’s 3.7 liter V-6 from 330hp to 348hp. The package also includes a close ratio 6-speed transmission which feeds power to the rear wheels through a standard Viscous Limited Slip Differential (VLSD). The VSLD insures that power is meted to the rear wheel with the best grip, so you never experience power loss through wheelspin. Infiniti beefs up the brakes on IPL cars with sport calibrated 4-piston front and 2-piston rear calipers on oversized discs. Finally, the steering ratio is quicker than that of a stock G37 at 14.7:1. There’s never a need to crank the steering wheel from lock to lock in this coupe because the quicker steering ratio requires less lock for directional change.

The G Coupe’s planted stance is due to Infiniti’s choice of premium rubber at each corner. The standard graphite finished 7-spoke aluminum alloy wheels mount Bridgestone Potenza RE 050A tires measuring 225/45R19 front and 245/40R19 rear. Combined with IPL sports tuned shocks and springs, the G Coupe carves corners like a 370Z on steroids.

Yet none of the borderline cheap looking 370Z interior appointments are evident in this Infiniti. The interior is plush, padded and perfectly inviting. The driver’s seat is 12-way adjustable, with lovely under-thigh support that extends and retracts, coupled to fat side bolsters that can be configured as tightly or loosely as needed. The passenger’s seat is somewhat less adjustable, but both feature heating and nifty embroidered “IPL” logos in their headrests. The back seat is suitable only for small children, and its accessibility is suspect thanks to small doors openings and seatbelt interference.

This Infiniti is solidly constructed, with a smattering of real brushed aluminum trim across the dash and center console. There isn’t an abundance of room in the cockpit, but you do at least enjoy a usable glove box plus small storage pockets in both doors. The cumbersome front seat belt valets are molded in ivory to match the color of the headliner. But they look cheap and out-of-place in this otherwise simple Zen interior.

For the money, it’s hard to match this sports sedan in terms of finish, performance or luxury. In fact, the G Coupe in IPL trim is one of the best driving cars on the market regardless of price.

2013 Infiniti G Coupe IPL

  • Engine: 3.7 Liter DOHC 24 Valve V-6
  • Horsepower: 348hp
  • Torque: 276 lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 17 MPG City/25 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $51,395
  • Star Rating: 9 out of 10 Stars

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2013 Infiniti IPL G Coupe Review

Friday September 21st, 2012 at 2:99 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

For: Agile, Quick, Understated
Against: Harsh Ride, Tight Cabin, Shoulder Belt Difficult to Access

In order to keep pace with the high performance niche market created by BMW (M brand) and Mercedes-Benz (AMG brand), Infiniti introduced their own line of tweaked models (IPL brand) last year. IPL is shorthand for Infiniti Performance Line, and like its competitors from M and AMG, IPL means more power, better handling, and more driving fun. It also means more expensive. While you can buy a base Infiniti G37 Coupe for $37,150, the IPL G Coupe will run you $51,250.

But if you’re interested in agile handling, quick acceleration, and a distinctively mature appearance, the IPL is the perfect velvet hammer. Although it will seat 4 in a pinch, the Coupe is really a two seater with overdraft protection. The rear seat entry drill becomes tiresome after one try thanks to small doors, fat front seats, and shoulder harness entanglements. But the G makes up for its inhospitable back seat by paying extra special attention to the lucky twosome occupying the front seats. These overstuffed, richly upholstered thrones feature 12 modes of adjustment for the driver and 8 for the passenger. If all that rearrangement proves insufficient, there’s also a manual thigh extender on the driver’s side to help prop your legs on long freeway runs.

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2013 Infiniti JX35 AWD Review

Friday August 24th, 2012 at 11:88 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

Hypes: Up-market Interior, Command Seating Position
Gripes: Whiny CVT Transmission, Erratic Cruise Control

You could buy a brand new Hyundai Accent for $12,445. Or, you could spend the same amount of money just to add 4 accessory packages to the Infiniti JX35. When you opt for the Technology Package ($3,100), the Theater Package ($1,700), the Deluxe Touring Package ($2,550) and the Premium Package ($4,950), then throw in a pair of Roof Rails ($370), you’ve added a whopping $12,670 to the $41,550 base price of the JX35. Are all these additions really worth the price of a new Hyundai?

Far from it. In fact, some, like the Technology Package, are enough to drive you to distraction. If you’re unable to turn your head, look in the rear view mirror, or pay attention to traffic, you might want to consider investing in this option. But if you have enough breath to fog a mirror, forget it. Does anyone really need “Backup Collision Intervention,” “Distance Control Assist” or “Lane Departure Warning and Intervention”? The latter “feature” is remarkably intrusive and annoying, issuing a constant flurry of beeps every time you change lanes. Despite the fact that the Owner’s Manual suggests the possibility of over-riding Lane Departure Warning, we were unable to accomplish the reprogramming needed for this task.

All these preventative devices conspire to saddle the JX with the jerkiest cruise control imaginable. I always thought that my Uncle Joe, who lived in NYC, was the worst driver in the world, stopping and starting so often that you wanted to upchuck after 2 blocks in the passenger seat. Well, the JX’ “Intelligent Cruise Control” is so dumb that it puts Uncle Joe to shame. Set your desired speed, and the JX35 accelerates and brakes with mind-numbing frequency. After a few minutes of this bizarre ritual, we deselected cruise control and took care of the throttle our self.

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2012 Infiniti QX56 4WD Review

Friday May 11th, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

For: Whopper V8, Airy Cabin, Finely Crafted Finish
Against: High Climb-In, Small Sunroof

Only ex-tank commanders or moonlighting semi drivers will find this QX to be beautiful. But if beauty is as beauty does, then a lot of potential buyers who need to tow trailers or haul lots of people will also discern the inner beauty of the QX. Let’s start with trailer towing, a task for which this Infiniti is ideally suited. Since it’s based on Nissan’s rugged Titan truck platform, and powered by a 5.6 liter V8, you’ve got enough horsepower (400hp) and torque (413 lb.-ft.) to pull 8,500 pounds of deadweight. Infiniti assists this task by including an integral Class IV tow hitch, and 7-pin wiring harness (with cover) in the basic specification of the QX. Standard self-leveling rear suspension also aids the drayage process. The 7 speed automatic gearbox keeps the engine working at top efficiency, with manual override and rev matching available via the console mounted stick. Normal dry weather operation calls for 2WD selection, with 4WD offered for extra traction in inclement conditions. The 4WD setting consists of both high and low range all-wheel-drive.

YouTube Preview Image2011 Infiniti QX56 – Drive Time Review. This video is brought to you by Steve Hammes

If it’s human haulage you’re after, you couldn’t do better than the QX without buying a school bus. Like many other SUVs, this one has 3 rows of seats (accomodating 8) , but unlike most others, all 3 rows are eminently accessible and comfortable. Order the optional ($2,900) Theater Package and you’ll turn your QX into a mobile entertainment center that offers 2nd row occupants a pair of 7 inch DVD screens, and wireless headphones with which to follow the action. Best of all, the Theater Package also includes remote tip-up controls for the 2nd row seats to ease entry for passengers in the 3rd row. Of course no one boarding this magic bus has it any better than the 2 front seat riders. The QX features standard 10 way front seat adjustment for the driver, 8-way ditto for the passenger, and 2-way lumbar support for both front seats. In addition, the combination leather/wood steering wheel rim is heated, and the wheel itself tilts and slides at the push of a button. The driver’s command position offers excellent forward, side and rear vision.

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