Henry Ford didn't feel the need to redesign the Model-T with every passing year. This showed a stubborn faith in his product, an automotive icon to be sure, but when General Motors started making different models for different buyers and regularly updating the look of their cars, Ford had to have a rethink and, sure enough, today we have a multi-model Ford Motor Company with regular updates and tweaks to their line-up.
This is pretty much how it's done these days and I routinely receive press releases about new models and invitations to launches, even if they don't look that much different from the last one. And so it came to pass that I was offered a test drive of the 2010 Infiniti G37, almost a year after I took the 2009 G37 for a spin. I hadn't been invited to any flashy launches for the new G37, so this time I wasn't going to be subjected to a dinner in a grand ballroom where I'd eat too much umm ali and marvel at a car that may or may not be that interesting.
This time, it was just a discreet "Hey, we have a car for you" kind of email. There had been no fanfare and no umm ali. When I had picked up the 2009 model, I was instantly pleasantly surprised by its looks and, even though my first drive of the car was a trip around the block to park it at the office, I was quickly impressed by the fun factor of rear-wheel drive and plenty of poke from the time you put your foot down. I'd love to see this released with a V8, but the V6 held its own smoothly and swiftly and provided me with no shortage of overtaking ability.
None of this has changed, neither has the power, the torque or the excellent seven-speed gearbox, which shifts beautifully when you stick it in drive - not once did I find it in an inappropriate gear. Many a modern automatic transmission, even on high-end models, either hunt for the right gear and make an awful sound in the process or consistently put the car in an inappropriate and often uneconomical gear for the speed. Not so the G37 - it is an automatic transmission to rival Mercedes. And the G37 is plenty of fun when you change gear in the sequential manual mode.
The Maserati-ish paddle shifters are trimmed with leather to remind you that this is Nissan's luxury brand. But you really don't need that much reminding because this time around, the seats are even more comfortable - I had a passenger put the seat back down as if he was flying business class and declared it to be a winner. The cream leather used on the seats of the one I tested was excellent quality. Sometimes, on brands that aren't luscious and Italian, the leather on the seats seems to have come from cows that spent a bit too much time sunbaking. While it wasn't quite the kind of leather that would inspire a reviewer to use the tired old "buttery" cliché, it was very nice all the same. The embroidered Infiniti logo on the seats was a nice touch too.
The dash this time had more wood and less plastic and I am so glad they kept the analogue clock with the little silver hands rather than reverting to boring digital. Underfoot, the carpet was the kind of toe-sinking stuff you'd love to have in your winter residence (because we all have one of those in the Swiss Alps). Indeed, the only problem with the interior was that, no matter how many buttons I pushed, I could not find the outside temperature. Having become accustomed to knowing that information courtesy of every car I drive, even my own five-year-old Pajero, it is amazing how you miss it when it's not there.
The exterior has maintained a strong, handsome look about it, and in the latest incarnation the design language hasn't changed drastically. The tail lights are a tad more angular and the front is more aggressive and mildly less conservative. What is unexpectedly cool are the headlights, which feature a rounded eyeball of a light set in a chunky chrome cylinder. It is these sorts of details that set it apart from being just another Nissan.
Also very pleasing for a car of its size and comfort is the marginally improved fuel economy compared with last year's model. The official stat is 10.6L/100km and that seems pretty close to the mark - the dash features a little moving line to tell you how much fuel you're burning and, even at highway speeds, it seldom hovered above the 10L/100km mark. The Infiniti lineup is an obvious and very able challenger to Lexus, as well as the more expensive European luxury saloons. Next, I'd like to see the G37 enter the UAE market with a hybrid version - Nissan already launched the Infiniti M35 hybrid at the Geneva Motor Show this year so the will is there for the brand to become even greener. Lexus, Mercedes and BMW have already stepped up to this plate and hopefully it is only a matter of time before Infiniti joins them on a mass scale.
The latest incarnation of the Infinity G37 is not a massive departure from last year's model. There is no need for Nissan to throw a soirée in a hotel ballroom to herald its arrival on the UAE market, but it does deserve attention. It is quite simply a very well-built, comfortable machine and, unlike umm ali that has been on the buffet too long, it is getting better with every year. firstname.lastname@example.org