2003 All-Star: Coupe

2003 All-Star Coupe: Infiniti G35

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Sure, we were smitten with the taut reflexes and feisty moves of Nissan's 350Z, but the arrival of a fraternal twin - Infiniti's G35 Sport Coupe - was last fall's stunner: practically the same powertrain and chassis energy wrapped in a sexier yet more practical envelope. Stretching the wheelbase 7.9 inches and piling on 170 pounds sapped the 0-to-60-mph sprint by half a second, but the third iteration of Nissan's FM platform is truly charmed. You can attribute that to chief engineer Kazutoshi Mizuno, who shifted the driving position rearward while lengthening the wheelbase to avoid dulling the fine sense of balance and control he embedded in the Z-car. While the G-coupe's moves are slightly more deliberate, its steering and ride are both firm and communicative but not as jarring on spoiled roads as a track-packed 350Z. Toss it into a bend, leg the throttle, and the car obediently follows your lead with ample warning before the prodigious grip is finally exhausted. Body roll is held in check, and the endgame - front scrub or rear drift - is your call. In addition to a toggle-switch shifter, the interior sports wraparound front bucket seats, temporary perches for two in back, and an instrument cluster that pivots with the steering column. The real clincher is price: A muscled-up G35 Sport Coupe costs about $33,000. Overcoming Bimmer withdrawal has never been easier.

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