2003-2007 Infiniti G35 Coupe - Used Car Review
The 2003-2007 Infiniti G35 Coupe rides atop a shortened version of the company's well-regarded G35 Sedan platform. Built to do battle with BMW's 3 Series, the low-slung G35 Coupe will also likely be cross-shopped against iconic vehicles like the Audi TT, Porsche Cayman and Saab 9-3 Turbo. Powered by Nissan's reliable VQ 3.5-liter V6 engine, the Infiniti G35 Coupe is more than capable of keeping pace with the competition, but it's the G35's impressive list of luxury equipment coupled with its excellent fit and finish and nearly flawless service history that propels this two-door premium performance coupe to the front of the pack.
Why You Want It
The 2003-2007 Infiniti G35 Coupe is desirable on a number of levels. The car's Infiniti pedigree ensures the sleek G35 Coupe will be admired by the well-to-do, and it suffers no deficit of technological or luxury trappings. With the G35's rear-wheel drive layout, 280-horsepower V6 engine, and available six-speed close-ratio manual transmission signal, this is no Sunday driver; it's a bona fide performance coupe with enthusiast aspirations. Lastly, the G35 is a very livable coupe, with a small rear seat and modest trunk that allow it to serve as a comfortable daily driver or short distance commuter car. And, drivers of all sizes will love that the G35's instruments adjust up and down with the tilt wheel, meaning the steering wheel's rim won't interfere with one's ability to see the gauge cluster. About the only shortcoming we can foresee involves the G35's ride, which can be a bit stiff at times, especially when equipped with the Performance Tire & Wheel package that includes 19-inch wheels and a performance brake upgrade kit.
Notable Features & Options
For most of its five year run, the G35 Coupe's standard equipment list remained pretty much unchanged. As one would expect, the G35 Coupe comes with power windows, locks and mirrors, as well as air conditioning, cruise control, bi-xenon headlamps (standard after 2006) and an AM/FM stereo with cassette and six-disc CD changer. The standard wheels are 17-inch alloys, with available 18- and 19-inch alloy wheels on certain models. The G35 Coupe features a five-speed automatic transmission with downshift rev matching and a manual shift mode, while Sport 6MT models feature a six-speed manual transmission. Among the G35 Coupe's more impressive features are an available Bose audio system, GPS navigation, a power moonroof, heated leather front seats with memory feature, power tilt/telescopic steering column, automatic climate control, a limited-slip rear differential and, after 2006, Active Rear Steering and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity. All G35's regardless of year feature four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, electronic traction and stability control (called VDC by Infiniti) and six airbags including front-side and side-curtain airbags.
2004: The G35 Coupe gains a tire pressure monitoring system, and improved six-disc CD changer and, on models equipped with a manual transmission, a new center console.
2005: The 6MT model has its horsepower bumped to 298 (18 more horses than the base car) and the CD player gains MP3 playback ability. A Sport Tuned Suspension package is offered on the G35 automatic trim; the package includes 19-inch alloy wheels, sport tuned suspension, a limited-slip rear differential and a sport steering wheel.
2006: Rear Active Steering is made available, as is Bluetooth connectivity. Bi-xenon headlamps are now standard on all models.
2007: G35 models with an automatic transmission are fitted with Infiniti's Intelligent Key system that features a push button starter. Intelligent Key allows the vehicle's doors to be unlocked and the car started without the use of a key, so long as the transmitter key fob is somewhere on your person.
Engines and Performance
In the tradition of all great driving cars, the G35 routes its impressive horsepower to the rear wheels, a design which frees the front wheels to do one thing and one thing only: steer. The near perfect front/rear balance of the chassis is achieved by placing the V6 engine behind the front axle, a design known at Infiniti as a front-midship platform. This design, along with an adept steering setup, allows the G35 Coupe to tear through twisting roads and dart past slower moving obstacles with the grace and poise of a veteran wide receiver. The G35's 3.5-liter V6 is a masterpiece of engineering, delivering up power and torque consistently throughout the rpm band, all while emitting a lovely, throaty growl through its exhaust. The VQ engine delivers up 280 horsepower (298 on 6MT trims after 2005) and up to 268 lbs.-ft. of torque at a low 4,800 rpm. Most owners will find the five-speed automatic with downshift rev matching works well in this car, but hardcore driving fanatics will be satisfied with nothing less than the six-speed manual transmission. Stick-shift models also feature a sport-tuned suspension that, while quite efficient at leveling out body sway and boosting grip, delivers a rather firm ride capable of becoming unpleasant when the pavement gets rough.
Recalls, Safety Ratings and Warranties
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, has issued the following recalls for the 2003-2007 Infiniti G35 Coupe.
2003: Recalls were issued for a possible defective fuel hose that can crack and leak fuel, a possible poorly fitting fuel line at the fuel pump that could come loose and leak fuel, a possible malfunctioning brake light switch, and an improperly soldered cam sensor circuit board that could result in an inability to start the engine.
2004: A recall was issued for a possible defective fuel hose that can crack and leak fuel.
2005-2007: A recall was issued for a possible defective airbag sensor in the passenger seat that could result in the airbag's failure to deploy.
2006-2007: A recall was issued for possible improper headlight alignment. On certain cars the headlamps fail to meet the government's 'vertical gradient' standard.
Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
As for safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2003-2007 Infiniti G35 Sedan its highest rating of GOOD in the offset crash test and ACCEPTABLE in the side-impact crash test. There is no mention of the Coupe being tested, so we can only hypothesize that the results would be similar. Even more perplexing, the NHTSA did not test either the G35 Sedan or Coupe for the entire 2003-2007 model run.
The 2003-2007 Infiniti G35 Coupe carries a 4-year/60,000 mile basic warranty and 6-year/70,000 mile powertrain warranty. Infiniti also offers extended warranties that must be purchased when the car is new, but that are fully transferable, so be sure to check if the car you're buying has such a warranty. If you buy your G35 through Infiniti's Certified Pre-Owned program, the basic warranty period is extended to 72-months/100,000 from the vehicles in service date; you can also purchase an additional year of coverage through the CPO program.
Word on the Web
As with most Infiniti products, consumer ratings sites such as Consumer Reports and J.D. Power and Associates give the 2003-2007 Infiniti G35 Coupe high scores in the areas of customer satisfaction and reliability. Consumer Reports gives the 2003-2004 G35 Coupe only average marks, with poor marks in the areas of brakes and transmission; 2005-2007 models perform much better, consistently improving over time. Enthusiast sites such as G35driver.com and 6MT.net show an overwhelmingly positive view of the G35 Coupe, with the only large number of complaints coming from those who experienced unusually high oil consumption. While consumption of one quart every 3000 miles is not uncommon in high-performance engines, some G35 V6 engines experienced excessive consumption. Infiniti acknowledged the problem and advised dealers to perform an oil consumption test. If the car failed, Infiniti paid the cost to replace the engine. Chances are most of these engines were caught early while still with the original owner, but you should have an authorized Infiniti dealer check out your prospective purchase before you buy, just to be safe.
The 2003-2007 Infiniti G35 Coupe has only a handful of competitors. In the same year range, you could look to the BMW 325/328i Coupe or the Porsche Cayman, both of which offer exhilarating performance, but have only average repair and reliability records, and can be quite pricey to maintain. You could forego the luxury aspect and shoot for the G35's kissing cousin, the Nissan 350Z, or maybe go American and pick up a Ford Mustang GT; either of these two choices will probably knock about $10,000 off your purchase price.
While the gearhead in us loves the G35 6MT, the more practical side thinks the best G35 Coupe is the 5AT/Leather model fully loaded. The ride is more compliant, yet the handling, braking and acceleration are still thoroughly enjoyable. We like the 2006-2007 models best due to their better reliability and repair ratings, as well as newer features such as Bluetooth and CD/MP3 compatibility.