Archive for April, 2011

Malbec Black is what Infiniti calls the color on this car, though it looks more like a midnight purple of sorts that when coupled with the flaming red leather interior would be right at home in Flashdance.

And flash it is. This G37 coupe is nearly the same driving and performance-wise as its Sport package equipped brethren, save for the redone intakes, exhaust, and ECU tune. But it’s got significantly more curb appeal, and even more attention-getting pazaaz when rolling by with its low-drone exhaust note.

The most significant differences are obvious to the eye. The IPL (which stands for Infiniti Performance Line) features the aforementioned exclusive paint and interior leather colors, as well as an revised bumpers and side skirts which brings the lines of the vehicle into a lower, more menacing stance.

Speaking of stance, the IPL also gets exclusive 19″ graphite painted mesh wheels wrapped in high performance summer Potenza RE050A rubber.

The IPL comes with either a six speed manual or a seven speed automatic with solid magnesium paddle shifters. I’m not usually one for the paddles and although the one I drove came equipped with paddles, the ergonomics of the Infiniti paddle shifters are amongst the best out there. They lend themselves to a more natural shifting feel, unlike some which shift quite awkwardly with the manner of an elevator button. The magnesium paddles have a snappy quality where you can feel the snick of the gears as the paddles spring back into place with solid momentum.

The gutteral rumble of the VQ37 powerplant is more obvious on the IPL, which roars into its own when you really mash on the go-juice pedal. The upgraded high performance brake pads on larger 4-piston calipers (front, 2 rear) help bring all that go to a stop rather well.

The IPL which I drove was a tad more willing to let the tail end around than a standard G37 coupe, a nice nod from Infiniti towards those who want more involvement in the ride. The car has plenty enough torque however to kick the car around and really enjoy it. The car was brand new and still was adjusting the computer controlled differential as I drove, but showed desire to let the rear end around with enough right-foot encouragement.

The IPL is a great car, but it’s name is somewhat unbecoming of the car itself. Like many, when I heard the car was being produced I expected a NISMO type package and more engine and suspension bits. After all it’s Infiniti’s first foray into the world of in-house performance branding, is it not? Well, not really. It’s not a car that should be stacked against NISMO, BMW M-division, AMG, or similar in house tuning monikers. The IPL is really more a fully optioned G37 with extra flare and a couple bolt-ons, and that’s why it’s a flash grenade. It’s got a flash-bang quality and is still explosive enough, but not with the fiery and unstoppable force that other more atomic cars from competing in-house performance brands offer.

That’s not to make little of the IPL though. The car is hot, no doubt, it’s just not a one-off special from an in-house tuner. It’s bright, loud, rocketshippy, and all sorts of smoke and shadows. It’s a great car to power through the mountains with and then show up with afterwards at the tapas bar looking hard parked.

Some might criticize it for this, but with that being said it still acheives daily-driver liveability and gas mileage that is really rather compassionate for a high performance touring coupe. And touring it really does provide. All the kit you’d possibly need, from backup cameras, heated seats, GPS nav with voice command, bluetooth, XM radio, and even Zagat restaurant ratings are all there. Standard. The IPL then is a mobile office built for twisties, as well as clubs and sidewalk passer-bys. Perhaps Infiniti has something more going for them in the sub-branding division than we all assumed after all? Flashy and practical? All day long.