In a move that seems a bit uncharacteristic for Nissan--especially given the company's history of not sending cars like the S15 Silvia and GT-R over to the U.S.--America will be the first market to get the company's all-new Skyline sports coupe. Of course, you must remember that not all Skylines are GT-Rs, and that the new Skyline we're getting is branded as an Infiniti, but hey--we'll take what we can get.
After the successful launch of the all-new G35 sedan, Infiniti is launching a more powerful two-door version of the car and is dubbing it a G37. As you can rightly guess by the two-larger number after the G, this latest recipient of "Skyline" badge swaps is bigger, badder and faster than the car it replaces, and it's sure to be the next hot thing in our scene.
So let's talk about that two-larger number for a minute: the 2008 Infiniti G37 comes powered by an all-new 3.7 liter VQ37VHR engine which, at 330 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, is more powerful (and cleaner) than the still brand spankin' new VQ35HR found in the G35 sedan and '08 350Z. Transmission choices for this car are a slick-shifting six-speed manual and an old man Nads-approved five-speed auto. The new G coupe is built atop Nissan's FM platform--the same platform that underpins cars like the 350Z and, uh, the old G coupe. Like the Super Street staff on a case of Cialis, the new G's chassis enjoys a 45-percent increase in stiffness which, unlike our underperforming, artificially erect selves, actually improves the G's performance.
Covering this new engine and Viagra-stiff chassis is a two-door coupe that looks remarkably similar to the outgoing G--only not as pretty. We know that Infiniti is going for a bit of a "wave" theme here, but the G37 coupe looks like the slightly portlier sister of the slimmer and sexier G35 two door. It's like the G37 is a post Celebrity Fit Club Mia Tyler while the original G35 coupe is Liv. Based on looks alone, which one would you rather take home? Exactly.
The G37's larger-and-more-in-charge size does have a few benefits--namely, normal-sized humans can better fit inside the thing. Though on paper the new G Coupe's exterior and interior dimensions aren't all that different from those of the outgoing car, headroom (for front passengers, at least) has been increased to the point where we can sit comfortably in the driver's seat without the need to tilt our heads sideways.
It's not just the ability to sit upright like a real human being that makes the new G37's cabin a nice place to be. As much as we love the old G's looks, even we have to admit that its interior just wasn't up to snuff. Hard leather and acres of even harder plastic litter the original G's cabin; it's okay for a Nissan, but sub-par for a luxury brand hell-bent on taking on BMW.
With this latest generation of Gs, Infiniti finally has an interior that can legitimately be called "nice." The dash no longer looks brittle and is actually nice to touch; the comfy leather-wrapped seats have deep bolsters and are nicely supportive; the washi paper-inspired metal trim looks great and things overall are put together in such a way that the G's cockpit no longer looks like a Nissan interior wearing a cheap, rented prom tux. We can say with confidence that the G Coupe's interior is every bit as nice as that of the new 3 Series.
It performs just as well as a new 3 Series, too. The 330hp VQ sounds as good as ever, and this revised engine has a nice and flat torque curve. It really isn't necessary to downshift in this car should you want to overtake that geriatric driver (hi, Nads!) that just won't get out of your way--just step on the gas and go. The manual transmission feels a lot better than the sportshift auto--the auto box is too unrefined to really feel sporty. But hey, at least the paddle shifters are mounted to the steering column Ferrari-style. In typical Nissan fashion, the G37's steering is nicely weighted and provides just the right amount of feedback. Best of all, the G37 stays planted in all sorts of driving conditions, despite our typically ham-fisted driving style. It's as if this car can do no wrong.
So while the G37 may never come with a "GT-R" badge from the factory (though it'll only be a matter of days before we see an aftermarket one added...), this coupe definitely lives up to the legendary "Skyline" name. It handles well and is fast as stink right out of the box. The G37 kicks all sorts of 335i ass for thousands of dollars less than a similarly equipped 328. The fact that the G finally got a dose of some much-needed luxury only makes the overall package that much more attractive.
Alphanumeric Soup for the Soul
So just why is the G37's VQ37VHR better than the still-new VQ35HR we see in cars like the '08 350Z? In addition to an increased stroke (from 81.4 to 86 mm) that adds an extra .2 liters of displacement, the VQ37VHR also benefits from a higher compression ratio (11.0:1 vs. the VQ35HR's 10.6:1) and a new variable valve timing system called "V VEL" (Variable Valve Event and Lift).
This 3.7 liter V6 is better than the VQ35HR in just about every conceivable way. Compared to the 3.5L engine, the VQ37VHR gives the G37 30 extra ponies, delivering approximately a 10 percent increase in fuel economy and a 40 percent reduction in hydrocarbon emissions. This is the next-gen engine swap for both the die-hard speed freaks and the environmentally-conscious tuners.