To Infiniti... for less

BY Clare Dear. Oct 22 10:38 am

Napa, Calif. — Infiniti is expanding its 2011 luxury sedan offerings with an addition to its G series, the G25, which will become the entry model for the brand’s best-selling line.

Until now, Infiniti has been forced to face the competition with just one engine in its stable, but this new four-door model, expected to be in showrooms by the end of the year, gives Infiniti buyers a choice between the higher-performance 3.7-litre V6 that powers the popular G37 sedan and a smaller, more fuel-efficient 2.5L V6.

The G25 will also be about $3,000 less expensive than its sibling. Although pricing has not been finalized, it’s expected the car will start at around $35,000 and a well-equipped model will likely still come in under the $40,000 mark.

The G25 will make the Infiniti brand more attainable for consumers looking to move into the luxury segment of the market without having to make the price leap to the G37, which starts at around $40,000 and goes up from there. With that lower price point, Infiniti expects it will be able to challenge other entry-level luxury models such as the Lexus IS 250 and the C-Class from Mercedes-Benz.

Although the G25 is less expensive, Infiniti says it makes few compromises in its level of comfort, technology and amenities compared with the G37. It shares the same chassis, as well as its exterior styling and interior design, which were freshened last year.

The key difference between the two is under the hood. The G25 gets a smooth DOHC V6 that generates 218 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 187 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm, compared with the G37’s 328 ponies and 269 lb-ft of torque. Like the G37, the 25 is fitted with a seven-speed transmission, although the manual six-speed offered in the G37 Sport will not be available. However, buyers will have the choice of rear-wheel drive or Infiniti’s intelligent AWD system.

Fuel efficiency for the G25 is expected to be about 10 per cent better than the G37, depending on the model, with expected consumption ratings of 10.3 litres per 100 kilometres in city use and 6.8 L/100 km on the highway.

It was difficult to find fault with the G25’s performance or dynamics during a test drive on a variety of roads winding through the wine country of Napa Valley. The engine is smooth and quiet and its response is decent — certainly not a road rocket but more than adequate.

The suspension is surprisingly compliant, soaking up rough patches without a fuss while still holding a firm stance through the twisty bits. The steering feels precise, with good feedback — providing an overall sense of confidence with no surprises. The brakes, too, have good bite and are quite linear as the pedal is pressed.

There is some small degree of tire noise that tends to infiltrate the roomy cabin, but it didn’t reach an annoying level. Otherwise, the interior is impressively quiet, including a complete absence of wind noise.

The cabin is spacious and nicely appointed, including a splash of Shodo aluminum trim as an accent on the instrument panel, centre console and door panels. The materials used throughout seem to be of good quality and the fit is at a level expected of the luxury segment. The large pad atop the instrument panel does seem to be a bit imposing and feels somewhat firm to the touch, but this is nitpicking. Overall, the interior appointments are first class.

The G25 will be offered in both Luxury and G25x Luxury trim levels, with additional available packages such as Touring, Sport, Premium and Navigation.


— Postmedia News

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