Once upon a time, and I mean June 2017, I proposed that the first generation Lexus IS300 was the perfect car. A regular reader, Mr. Kennedy, proposed a counterpoint that the 4th generation Infiniti G35 Sedan or Coupe is the perfect car. In hindsight, and after several months owning the IS300, I fear he may be right. I actually owned a 2007 G35S sedan — and I can say that regardless of which one is best, it’s still great used car bargain!
But first, a little history. Most enthusiasts know that our Infiniti G is largely the same as the not-for-you Nissan Skyline. It wasn’t always that way, of course. If you know your Skyline lineage, you know that the now-US-import-legal R32 introduced the world (via Gran Turismo) to the GT-R. Sure, there are Skylines that came before 1988’s R32, but this was where it was at: two turbos and a microphone. It’s also likely the one you spent your virtual PlayStation cash to buy back in the day. I know I did. Things progressed in both sedan and coupe form to the R33, and then to Godzilla — the R34 Skyline. Obviously, the story continued on our shores after we were invaded by the R35 GT-R.
Things weren’t always about boost and all-wheel drive, of course. Normal Skylines have always been available around the world as pretty mundane commuter cars with small twin cam 2.0 RB-series engines. But the Skyline still became a legend, and enthusiasts in the States pined for the day when we could put a Skyline in our driveway.
Fifteen years or so ago, we got our wish.
Previewed by the Infiniti XVL Concept in January 2000 in Detroit at the NAIAS, the 11th generation Skyline was dubbed the V35 and shared its platform with the new-to-the-world 350Z “Fairlady” sports car. It was still available as a sedan, which featured the long-standing hallmark of the Skyline, all-wheel drive, and all variants were based on what Nissan dubbed the “FM Platform.” Now, of course we already knew the G-series in the States, as Infiniti arrived at our shores back in 1990 with the G20, which was based on the Nissan Primera. It received fair praise here in the US as an interesting new luxury brand alternative — but it never really brought much in the way of power and performance.
The new G35, which was what our version of the new Skyline was called, was a different car altogether. The VQ35DE engine, which found its way into dozens of Nissan, Infiniti and Renault products, made 260 horsepower in the sedan and 280 hp in the coupe — huge, at the time. By the 2004 model year, you could get a 6-speed manual in both coupe and sedan form, and all came equipped with rear-wheel drive — save for the G35X, which sported AWD.
Various iterations have featured Brembo brakes, limited-slip differentials and even “rear active steering” as options, and the G has continued to increase both options and power over the years. Designs have been evolutionary, with the shape getting more modern and more slippery over the years. Now it’s called the Q50, or Q60, or something, I believe. All cars are Qs at Infiniti. It’s a thing.
So why isn’t this on the average enthusiast’s go-to list?
I actually don’t know. Perhaps you can tell me? When I was looking for a car in the mid- to late-2000s, it was a clear front runner in the luxury sports sedan market. The BMW 3 Series at the time was tight in the back seat region; the 5 Series was too expensive. At Mercedes, it was largely the same: the C-Class was too small, the E-Class too expensive. The A4 had grown a bit in size, but not nearly as much as it had in price. The cars that I once thought were “around $30,000” were more like “around $40,000” — so I went over to take a look at the G35.
Well, I say that, but I actually bought one sight-unseen — negotiating the entire deal via email with the local dealer. He valued both of my trades, a 2002 350Z and a Focus ST, and gave me a sweet deal on a black-on-black 2007 G35S (Sport) sedan with a 6-speed manual. That whole transaction remains one of my best buying experiences ever.
On the topic of the car itself, it was quick, sporting 306 hp from its VQ35HR V6 engine. The 6-speed shifted smoothly and could reach 60 mph in seconds — and even with its size, it could dance through an off-ramp. It wasn’t perfect: the Sport’s suspension was firm and the brakes were apparently so much better than the average car’s that I got rear ended twice. But it remains one of the best daily drivers I have ever owned, perhaps even better than the IS300.
So how much would that car cost today? Well, a 2007 G35 sedan with the Sport package and a manual transmission will run you $7,488 to $13,500 here on Autotrader. That’s a lot of car for not a lot of money. I always preferred the sedan, but if you go for the coupe, you’ll pay a bit less — $6,500 to $12,999. BMW 3 Series coupes and sedans of the era are similarly priced, and also come with a RWD layout and 6-speed transmissions — but they weren’t as roomy inside and didn’t have nearly as much power, and reliability is always a question mark.
So give the Infiniti G35 some respect, and consider it for your next daily driver. Find an Infiniti G35 for sale
Based in Northern Virginia, William is professional writer and editor and acts as the Editor-in-Chief of Right Foot Down. He misspent most of his youth on tracks in the Mid-Atlantic, as well as killing cones in parking lots, and he once taught at a teen performance driving school.