If you get behind the wheel of an Infiniti G37 IPL coupe expecting the sort of transformation that takes place between a BMW 335i and M3, you’ll be severely disappointed. Infiniti is targeting the BMW 335is with its first IPL offering and thus keeping the price premium for the IPL badge pretty minimal. It’s a good thing that the price increase is minimal because the performance increase is minimal, too. I don’t think I would have guessed I was driving an IPL instead of a regular G37 coupe if I didn’t know before I got behind the wheel. Perhaps a few laps on a road course would help demonstrate the IPL package’s 18 extra hp and 6 additional lb-ft of torque, but the difference is negligible on a commute.
Infiniti is really just testing the performance waters with the IPL sub-brand. If there’s enough consumer interest, it’s very likely there will be more IPL models in the future and the difference between regular Infiniti models and IPL versions will become much more significant. Infiniti has better footing for the IPL sub-brand than Lexus does with its F brand because the base Infiniti vehicles are generally much sportier than those from Lexus. It’s clear there’s still a lot of catching up to do before any of the Japanese carmakers can combine luxury and performance the way the quattro GmbH, M, or AMG divisions do.
For those looking for a car a little more special than a regular G37 coupe and a little less refined than a BMW 335is, the G37 IPL fits the bill. There’s good mechanical feel and noises from the car and it is certainly rewarding to drive. Perhaps the sticker price doesn’t stand up to heavy scrutiny when compared with a G37 Coupe Sport, but there are some buyers who want an exotic badge and don’t care about saving money.
Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor
The Infiniti G37 has always been, in essence, the best BMW 3-Series money can buy, with the possible exception of a BMW 3-series. The IPL version tows the same line, only its target is the $51,100 335is. Like the sporty version the 3-series coupe, the IPL package includes a substantial, if not mind-blowing power gain (18 hp, versus 20 hp in the 335is), and a slightly more sporty suspension (unique to the IPL for Infiniti, shared with an option package on the regular 335i for BMW).
No surprise, the general feel of the IPL relative to the regular G37 is comparable to the difference between the 335is and 335i. The G37 already goes like stink, grips hard in curves, and generally feels like a true sports car, rather than a mere sporty coupe. The IPL isn’t definitively faster so much as it’s sharper. Engine response is bit more immediate, and the steering wheel feels a bit more connected to the front wheels. The BMW box the IPL can’t check is “awesome soundtrack.” The 335is, with its sport exhaust, is roll-down-your-windows good. The IPL’s VQ V-6 makes due with inoffensive – an achievement considering how thrashy it is in other models. Still, it’s hard to complain about the power. We complained endlessly about the manual transmission in our four-seasons G37 coupe, but in this particular example I have only praise for the precise, short shift throws.
I’d need many hours of back-to-back driving to determine whether the IPL actually beats the 335is, but it’s pretty clear that it at the very least comes pretty darn close, to the point that choosing one over the other would require a heavy dose of subjectivity.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
Infiniti’s foray into the performance sub-brand game is pretty underwhelming. While the G37 IPL offers a host of upgrades over the base G37, Infiniti backed itself into a corner with the G37 Sport that’s so similar to the IPL. So instead of a stiffer suspension, opposed-piston brakes, and a limited-slip differential, the only new novelty the IPL brings to the table is 18 hp and 6 lb-ft of torque and some bodywork.
Like Phil Floraday, I don’t discern a significant difference in daily commuting between IPL and G37, save for a slightly choppier ride. Don’t let the modest change taint your impressions though, because the G37 is a great car to begin with. It steers precisely, roars under throttle, and corners flatly. And just like the base G37, the IPL is a hell of a value. Still, the G37 IPL isn’t quite as seductive, smooth, or balanced as the BMW 335is. A new V-6 — a much more refined, freer revving V-6 — would go a long way in delivering the performance the G37 deserves.
Eric Tingwall, Copy Editor
No, this isn’t a wild, hairy beast; the Jekyll to the G37S’s Hyde. But overall, the IPL-spec G37 coupe is a subtle, substantial improvement over an everyday two-door G.
Unlike other premium performance lines (M, V, AMG, et cetera), the IPL abstains from stuffing a brute of an engine under the hood. Instead, the G37 IPL retains the same VQ-series 3.7-liter V-6 found in almost every other G. It does, however, raise the output from 330 to 348 hp, thanks in part to true dual exhaust system (one pipe per cylinder bank) that emits a nice burble at idle. A limited-slip rear differential promises to aid traction, although most of the IPL’s grip can be attributed to a retuned suspension package and unique 19-inch wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza rubber. Inside, new sport seats with enlarged bolsters offer increased lateral support, while the short-throw shifter is both slick and quick.
Do these modifications completely reinvent the G? Hardly, but they do make a good thing even better. Sure, owners could opt instead to add these parts from the aftermarket, but doing so would cost roughly the same (almost $5000 over a normal G37S), and lack the warranty rolled into Infiniti’s package.
Evan McCausland, Associate Web Editor
2011 Infiniti G37 Coupe IPL
Base price (with destination): $48,825
Price as tested: $49,195
3.7-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6 engine
6-speed manual transmission
IPL high-flow exhaust
Viscous limited-slip differential
Traction control system
Tire pressure monitoring system
Vehicle dynamic control
19-inch IPL 7-spoke wheels
Rear sonar system
Bi-Xenon HID headlamps
Heated power front seats
Infiniti hard-drive navigation system with touch screen
DVD video playback
XM satellite radio
Infiniti voice recognition
Premium audio system by Bose
9.3GB music box
Single CD player
USB connection for iPod
Power tilt/sliding glass moonroof
Power tilt/telescoping steering column
Auto-dimming rearview mirror
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Options on this vehicle:
R Spec high friction brake pads — $370
Key options not on vehicle:
7-speed automatic transmission — $1900
17 / 25 / 19 mpg
3.7L DOHC V-6
Horsepower: 348 hp @ 7400 rpm
Torque: 276 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm
Curb weight: 3718 lb
Wheels/tires: 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
225/45R19 Bridgestone Potenza performance tires
Competitor: BMW 335is
What’s new? Infiniti’s performance line, (IPL)