2005 BMW 330i, 2005 Cadillac CTS, and 2005 Infiniti G35

Charlie Magee
Full Driver Side View

Infiniti G35

If you're looking for the best performance bargain in this group, look no further. The G35 has the most horsepower, the quickest acceleration, the shortest stopping distances--and the lowest price.

Center Console View

The G35 is a steal. At $30,750, its base price is about $2400 less than the CTS and $6000 below the 330i. And it needs nothing added. The six-speed version includes the sport-tuned suspension package that costs extra with the automatic.

The G35 driving experience is dominated by its engine. This car is, as the NASCAR folks say, "all ate up with motor." With 298 hp and slightly shorter gearing than the other cars, the G35 is the quickest sprinter; it reaches 60 mph in 5.8 seconds and 100 mph in 14.4. Every squeeze of the throttle brings whipsaw acceleration to the accompaniment of a vocal but mellifluous mechanical chorus.

The G35's clutch and steering are springier than the other cars'. The shifter's throws are super-short. Like the Cadillac, the Infiniti is readily guided by your right foot, the Infiniti more comfortably so because of its quicker steering and superior body control. Still, the G35 transmits bumps through to the steering, and its brakes suffered some fade at the track.

Full Front Grill View

Like too many Nissan products, the G35's interior suffered from some cheap materials and questionable design at its launch; it's been improved somewhat since then, but more still could be done. The driving position is good, and the soft seats feel comfortable at first, but they prove unsupportive in hard driving. The back seat doesn't offer as much space as the Caddy, but adults can be wedged in there, and our car had reclining rear seatbacks, part of the Premium package. Outside, the G35's sharp eighteen-inch wheels and splashes of chrome add just enough flash to the well-proportioned shape. There's little to complain about here and a lot to like, and it all might have been enough to win the day had the 3-series not been so damn good.

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