First Drive: 2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe

The wide, summer tires (Bridgestone Potenzas, size 225/45R19 up front, 245/40R19 at the rear) provide plenty of grip, and the firm suspension shrugs off the most tightly coiled canyon road yet still takes the edge off sharp bumps. The quicker-ratio steering -- again from the sport package -- is pleasantly weighted and the deep bucket seats, with adjustable lateral bolsters in the cushion and the seatback, do a great job holding you in place.

The thing is, all that can be said of the regular G37 Sport as well. The real impact of the IPL, then, is visual. The IPL coupe's lower body is ringed with aggressive aerodynamic bits: a redesigned lower fascia, deep side skirts, and a unique lower rear bumper and a rear spoiler. Seven-spoke nineteen-inch wheels get a dark gray finish, while polished dual exhaust tips and a unique engine cover provide an extra bit of eye candy. Inside, there's red stitching for the gray leather interior or a vibrant red interior that is IPL exclusive.

The IPL would be more special if the G37 Sport weren't already so aggressive. But that car's firm suspension, hefty steering, firm clutch, meaty short-throw shifter, and strong V-6 already make the G37 one of the sportiest car in its segment. The IPL might not take things a whole lot further, but it isn't commanding a five-figure premium either. At $48,825, the six-speed coupe is $5550 over a G37 Coupe Sport 6MT. The automatic is another $1900.

This car, though, is just the initial effort. Next will come a convertible (likely with the same modifications) and then, probably, an IPL based on the M56 and the FX50. Infiniti is only starting the sketch. It will be a while before the picture of the Infiniti Performance Line is complete.

2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe
On sale: December 2010
Base price: $48,825/$50,725 (6MT/automatic)

Engine: 24-valve DOHC V-6
Displacement: 3.7 liters
Power: 348 hp @ 7400 rpm
Torque: 276 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual/7-speed automatic
Drive: Rear-wheel

L x W x H: 185.1 x 71.8 x 54.9 in
Wheelbase: 112.2 in
Legroom F/R: 43.8/29.8 in
Headroom F/R: 37.7/34.5 in
Cargo capacity: 7.4 cu ft
Curb weight: 3718/3769 lb (6MT/automatic)
EPA rating (city/highway): 17/25 mpg, 19/27 mpg (6MT, automatic)

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You'd think they'd take more weight out of the equation... And 370+ bhp would really get my attention so it could have 100 bhp per liter. Either way though, I would take an Audi S5 or BMW 335is.

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