2011 Infiniti IPL G Coupe
Limited production G Coupe launches Infiniti’s performance line
BMW and Mercedes-Benz have led the way with their M and AMG performance brands. Lexus has followed with its F Series, and Nissan has added NISMO. Now Nissan’s luxury brand, Infiniti, is following suit. With the release of the 2011 IPL (Infiniti Performance Line) G37 coupe, Infiniti gets its own performance sub-brand. Given the G37’s impressive bones, that should stir the passions of Infiniti fans, but does the IPL G37 coupe have what it takes to compete with the likes of the BMW M3 or the Mercedes C63 AMG?
Before we even get into the review, we should say that’s not really the point. The IPL G37 coupe adds some speed equipment, but it’s not a full-on performance model like those two vaunted German competitors. Instead, it’s a tidy little performance package that makes a good car even better.
IPL Styling and Dynamics
The 2011 Infiniti IPL G37 coupe includes the Sport package equipment, plus some cool extras. Sport package items include larger brakes, a limited-slip differential, front sport seats, and P225/45R19 front and P245/40R19 rear summer tires on unique alloy wheels.
Over and above that, the IPL adds sportier suspension, red accent stitching on the upholstery and steering wheel, and an aerodynamics package that consists of more aggressive front and rear spoilers and sculpted side sills. The front spring rates are 20 percent stiffer than the base setup and the rear springs are 10 percent stiffer. The shocks are also firmer. Under the hood, it gets a tweaked version of Infiniti’s 3.7-liter V6. Thanks to a larger dual exhaust and more aggressive computer controls, it makes 18 more horsepower and four more pound-feet of torque. Total output is 348 horses and 276 pound-feet of torque.
But the 2011 Infiniti IPL G37 coupe isn’t just about performance. It also delivers loads of features and plenty of luxury. It is equipped like a G37 Journey model with Infiniti’s Premium and Navigation packages. That means it comes with such equipment as leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bose audio system with 9.3-gigbyte Music Box hard drive, XM satellite radio, navigation system, rearview camera, Bluetooth cell phone connectivity, and a universal garage door opener. Pricing is $47,950 with six-speed manual transmission and $49,850 with the seven-speed automatic.
Performance and Handling
On the road, the IPL G37 coupe builds upon the G37’s already sporty character. We found the ride and handling balance to be impressive. Though notably firmer, the suspension doesn’t pound over bumps. It soaks up minor road imperfections and only jars over the worst potholes. Still, the ride does get busy over broken pavement and some Rust Belt customers will find the ride a little too firm for pockmarked streets. Cold climate buyers should also swap out the summer performance tires for now tires or all-seasons.
All the performance features make the IPL G37 quite nimble. It attacks turns willingly, turning in immediately, leaning little, and staying stable and predictable. The steering is unchanged from base models, but that’s fine because the G37 has excellent steering with quick responses, a nice weighty feel and lots of feedback. The stiff suspension helps the IPL G37 react more readily to quick changes of direction and feel a little sharper than a G37 coupe with the Sport package. Only the brakes keep the IPL G37 coupe from being a track car. They’re plenty big for the street, but they can’t dissipate heat well enough for track duty.
The 3.7-liter V6 engine would do well on a track, but some might find to too high-strung for the street. The exhaust drones at lower rpms and sings at high rpms, and the engine makes its best power above 4000 rpm, so some cautious drivers will never find its true potential.
Mash the throttle and the V6 pulls hard from a stop and keeps pushing hard up to a rather high 7500 rpm redline. Zero to 60 mph times haven’t been published, but it’s probably at or below 5.0 seconds, which is V8 muscle car territory. Fuel economy is unchanged from other G37 coupes at 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy with the automatic and 17/25 with the manual.
The manual shifter has short throws and nice mechanical action. The clutch also has a natural feel, but the clutch in Infiniti’s test car wouldn’t fully engage second gear during aggressive driving, causing some gear grinding. It makes me worry about long-term reliability. The automatic transmission is quite good. It was responsive to our power requests, especially in Sport mode. It also has a wonderful pair of steering column-mounted magnesium shift paddles that are easy to reach and use during aggressive driving.
Inside, the Infiniti IPL G37 coupe amounts to a loaded version of the G37 coupe with a couple of sporty touches. The notable differences are the red accent stitching on the seats and steering wheel, the available Monaco Red upholstery, and the aluminum pedals, which come with the Sport package as well.
The cabin is sporty and has a quality feel, befitting the IPL coupe’s performance character. Attractive Silk-Obi aluminum trim compliments the dashboard’s quality soft-touch materials, and the leather is quite attractive. The front bucket seats are supportive, and they have enough bolstering to keep occupants in place when the driver can’t help but take a corner at 50 mph. The seating position is comfortable, too, though tall drivers might want for more headroom.
Comfort and Luxury
Back seat passengers won’t be so happy, as the coupe body style lacks both head and legroom. The front seats power forward to allow access, but it still requires a few contortions to get back there. The rear seat is our biggest complaint against the G37 coupe, as the first-generation G35 coupe was much more accommodating.
The trunk is also rather small, at 7.4 cubic feet. That’s about what you’d expect in a convertible, not a coupe. It’s shallow, too, but the rear seat folds down to allow some longer items to fit.
But coupes really aren’t about passenger comfort and cargo space. They’re about style and performance, and the 2011 Infiniti IPL G37 coupe adds healthy measures of both. Buyers hoping for a car that can stand toe-to-toe with a BMW M3 will be disappointed, but the IPL G37 coupe costs much less than that iconic car. Given its combination of power, handling and luxury, the IPL G37 coupe makes us look forward to other IPL offerings. (www.infinitiusa.com/ipl_g_coupe)
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