2009 Infiniti G37

Infiniti has replaced the G35, its BMW 3-series-fighting sedan, with the G37. As you'd imagine, the G37 uses the 3.7-liter V-6 from the sexy G37 coupe; in the sedan, it produces 2 hp less due to different exhaust routing. Still, at 328 hp, the new G37 four-door makes 22 hp more than did the G35's V-6, and its power output beats both the BMW 328i and the twin-turbo 335i. Infiniti's VHR (or very high rev) engine takes a page right out of BMW's book by using valve lift to do the job of a conventional throttle, and the resulting fuel economy dividend means that the extra horses are cost-free, at least at the pump: the 2009 G37 should receive the same EPA ratings as last year's G35.

Unless you're talking about the automatic transmission version, that is. Thanks to two additional gear ratios - a seven-speed unit first seen in the FX - the automatic G37's ratings are expected to jump by 1 mpg city and 2 mpg highway, to 18 mpg and 26 mpg, respectively. The new gearbox shifts quickly and smoothly, with beautifully rev-matched downshifts, and is available with steering-column-mounted shift paddles. As an added benefit, the automatic helps damp some of the unpleasant vibrations from the V-6, which has become quite coarse as it's grown in displacement and output.

On the two-door front, the sexy G37 coupe, which was launched last year, not only receives the optional seven-speed automatic, it's available with all-wheel drive, too. The G37x coupe, like the G37x sedan, isn't available with a manual transmission, and both models ride about half an inch higher than their rear-wheel-drive counterparts. Luckily, the added traction comes with no other drawbacks; Infiniti's all-wheel-drive system favors the rear wheels, so neither torque steer nor excessive understeer mar the driving experience.

The addition of the G37x coupe marks the first time that every Infiniti model is available with all-wheel drive. This moment in history, though, will likely last only until the final G derivative, the G37 convertible, hits the market in the middle of next year. Infiniti knows its enemy - BMW - well, and we suspect that the hardtop convertible, just like its 3-series rival, will be available with rear-wheel drive only.

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