Sedans shouldn't be this fast. Especially sedans that carmakers and editors like to label as "compact executive vehicles" or "entry-level luxury cars." Sedans like Infiniti's G35. When you take the wheel of an Acura TL, for instance, or a Mercedes Benz C350, or a Volvo S60, you aren't exactly entering tire-smoldering, torque-steer territory. No, cars like these generally place a significant emphasis on other quasi-important things like hand-polished Burl wood trim, climate-controlled seats, and carpeting that's plusher than your living room's. It wouldn't be fair to say things like power output and torque production aren't considered here, but they're also not numbers likely to bolster your ego at the next bench race.
The G35 isn't much different. Off the Infiniti lot, early sedans make a somewhat well-regarded 260 hp and 260 lb-ft torque to the flywheel (this is often disputed; many stock G35s make this power to the wheels), but when you consider the four door's portly curb-weight, it really isn't all that impressive. Bolt a turbocharger kit like Turbonetics offers to the G35's VQ35DE six-cylinder and it's a different story. A story that concludes with one afterthought: Sedans shouldn't be this fast.
Nissan's 3.5L V-6 is popular. Wait. That is such an understatement. The VQ35DE is so popular in fact, Nissan's whored it out to more than twelve different chassis, and that's just here in the U.S. You can find it in one form or another under a Pathfinder's hood, inside the frame of a Maxima, or bolted to a gearbox on a Murano. The powerplant varies across the board, but its core remains the same. It begins with the same engine block as the older VQ30DE but with differences in engine geometry resulting in the extra half liter. The all-aluminum 3.5L also has smart things like variable valve timing, forged connecting rods and a couple of DOHC heads with four valves per cylinder. The ingredients for lots of horsepower are there. The VQ just needs some persuading.
Cooking up scary horsepower in the G35 is easy. It begins with a Turbonetics 60-1 turbocharger, which is really the heart of the company's 350Z/G35 kit. Yes, the kit is the same for the 350Z, which has already been covered in the pages of Turbo, as well as the G35 coupe and the G35 sedan; but when it comes to the four door, there are a few discrepancies. Unlike other vehicles that achieve family car status merely by stretching a coupe's chassis to accommodate two or three kids and some sacks of groceries in the back, the differences between the G35 sedan and two-door are more complicated and, as such, affect how the turbo kit ultimately fits. For one, the sedan's front shock towers are located closer to the front of the vehicle when compared to the coupe. The AC lines exclusive to the sedan are also routed differently, and the slightly different front bumper support makes the cramped quarters under the hood a bit worse. All this means is that the aluminum AC lines on the driver side need to be persuaded away from the turbo components, and then wrapped with some sort of heat shield. The four-door's bumper support also needs to be notched a bit to clear the air filter. Prepare the air grinder. Stop cringing at the thought of cutting up your newly purchased Infinity though, the cut is minor and is made below the driver side headlight area where you'll never even notice it. In short, these are pretty easy modifications considering the differences between the two vehicles. But skip these two steps and you'll end up with an R-134 mess, and a smashed intake that can't be good for performance. We should mention that the only option Turbonetics offers with their kit is a catalytic converter. Either way, the factory cat needs to be removed for the crossover pipe to work properly, so an aftermarket one needs to be positioned after the turbo. Turbonetics offers a three-inch cat that hooks up right to the three-inch downpipe. Convenient.
Before we went for a drive in our test G35, we took a few minutes to ponder things under the hood. This really didn't take all that long. What isn't masked off by the molded-plastic engine covers is tucked away, out of sight, down in the depths of the engine bay. What is clear is the shiny Turbonetics 60-1 Stage V turbo positioned just behind the driver-side headlight though. The 60-1 uses a T4 turbine that houses a Big Shaft turbine wheel and a ceramic ball bearing center section to build the 10 psi of boost the G35 regularly sees. A Turbonetics Raptor blow-off valve is used for relieving pressure in between shifting the six-speed, and an Evolution wastegate is used to regulate all that boost to a reasonable level. We also came to appreciate the black chrome intercooler piping. It's not as bling bling as more conventional polished chrome piping, and that's exactly what we liked about it. G35s-especially this one-aren't exactly bling-bling types of cars.
Like other Turbonetics kits, this one's complete. But it is missing one thing. Two things, actually. Exhaust manifolds. Turbonetics wanted to simplify the installation process and keep costs down. To do this, they fabricated a crossover pipe that connects the passenger-side manifold with the driver-side manifold and then to the turbine housing. Genious. At least we thought so. Single turbocharging any V-engine is not for the lighthearted since a rather complex set of manifolds is almost always necessary to tie both heads' exhaust ports into the turbo. And when you're all done, the turbos are almost always placed down low, where you'll never see them. The Turbonetics kit sticks the 60-1 right in your face, as soon as you pop the hood. Besides all that, the kit comes with all of the usual suspects: larger fuel injectors, a higher volume fuel pump, a front-mount intercooler, piping, clamps, couplers, oil and so on. And like all Turbonetics kits, the list is exhausting, which means it comes with everything you need down to the last bolt.
The result: It's fast. And we're not talking shrug-your-shoulders, pretty-fast-for-a-four-door fast. No, this four door is fast. Period. The VQ35DE acts as if it's aching for boost-as soon as you step on the throttle. Stab the throttle on a RWD model when cornering and you'd better know how to react. Or else. There's enough power here to force the G35's ass-end out from underneath you faster than you can watch the boost gauge go from 0 to 10. And the semi-unbolstered leather bucket seats don't help. Our test drive through a remote Southern California section of winding road had us slip-sliding across the Infiniti's seats every time the car accelerated, came to a stop, or turned. Approaching 100 mph in the turbo'd G35 is easy. But scary on a two-lane rural road that's in need of repair. And even scarier when somebody else is driving. It's excusable though. Plant your foot to the turbocharged G35's gas pedal and the magnetic foot-to-pedal draw feels inescapable, as it's exponentially more difficult to pull it away as boost rises and speeds increase. You're sucked in. 100 mph in a residential zone can become easily unavoidable as the pressure increases and traction ensues. Four doors, two doors, who cares? Boost is boost, 100 mph is what it is, and horsepower doesn't lie. Sedans shouldn't be this fast, but it sure is fun when they are.
The Turbonetics 350Z/G35 turbo kit is good for 390 hp on the 3.5L. Getting more is easy though. The 60-1 is good for upwards of 600 hp at just the turn of a boost controller and some stronger engine internals.