Driven: Infiniti G37 saloon
* Car is 90% finished * Our initial thoughts * What needs improving?...
There's now less than a year to go before Infiniti, Nissan's posh brand, comes to the UK with a four-model line-up and we've been in one of the cars that's on the way.
There will be a G37 saloon and coupe, rivals for BMW's 3 Series; a compact 4x4 called theEX37; and a full-sixe 4x4, the FX. All will be powered by a 320bhp 3.7-litre V6 engine, while the FX also offers a 390bhp 5.0 V8.
Engineers at Nissan's European technology centre in the UK are busy tuning the suspension for European tastes.
The model we drove was a G37 saloon that's '90% of the car as it will be sold in the UK'.
Here's what we think:
WRAP IT UP, WE'LL TAKE IT NOW
Smooth, with a strong mid-range and great sound. Drives rear or all four wheels through a seven-speed auto gearbox.
Weighty, beefy steering, taut body control and plenty of grip through 18-inch wheels and tyres make the G37 satisfying to drive on the right roads.
There's a nice metal finish on the dash. The attention to detail is excellent even the switches will be unique to UK cars so they meet buyers' expectations.
The driving position is good and fully adjustable, and the equipment list will leave nothing to be desired, we're promised.
STILL WORK TO BE DONE
Shifts smoothly most of the time in full auto mode, but it's more jerky if you use the manual override. Infiniti engineers agree and say this is one of the things they're still working on.
A bit sharp when pulling away smartly from low revs. Needs to be smoother.
Okay on decent roads at reasonable pace, but tends to pummel you at low speed over the sort of short, sharp ridges you get in towns. This is another feature Infiniti knows it needs to improve.
Access to the rear is awkward and knee space is poor once you finally make it in. No problems up front, though, and headroom is fine all round.
The finished article arrives in the UK round about April next year, and we'd reckon on a start price of less than 30,000, despite the comprehensive specification.
With a 3.7-litre V6 under the bonnet, it's going to be an acquired taste, though, particularly with petrol prices on the wrong side of 5 a gallon.