Infiniti’s G sedan has catapulted the brand into legitimacy over the last 8 years. It offered a solid sport/luxury sedan package (based on the Nissan Z) at a price that has made it continually one of the best bargains around. The G was so well placed in the market that it never needed more than one model, and it solid in vast quantities. Because of this I was a bit skeptical when Infiniti announced they were brining out a lower model, the G25, for the G lineup. My question going into this test drive was, is the G25 a legitimate consideration in its market or should people just forget it even exists and spend a little extra for a G37?
For starters it should be said that both cars look identical and have the same suspension, transmission, etc all of which is very good to drive. Both cars have a nicely balanced, sporting feel to the way they handle on the road. The steering is quite responsive and offers a lot of road feel to the driver. The 7 speed automatic transmission is among the best autos I have ever driven, shifts are quick and it doesn’t take forever to respond to inputs. So, both versions of the G offer solid sport sedan qualities to the driver.
The differences lie on the options list and in the engine. Infiniti has pretty much disallowed most options for the G25. My salesman informed me that the only add on for the G25x was the sunroof and that the G25 could not be had with navigation, high end audio, or a sport package like its big brother can. So, if you want all the bells and whistles you need to spring for the G37. With that said though, the G25 was far from basic. I was very pleased with what it did offer when I first sat down in the car. There is soft leather everywhere, all the materials are high quality and well designed, and the normal speakers are just fine. The G25 still suites itself as a proper luxury car even without the options list, and if you are like me, a smart phone will suffice as a GPS.
The G25 is powered by a 2.5L V6, a motor which is also used in the current Skyline 250GT in the Japanese market. It produces 218hp, 110hp less than the G37’s 328hp 3.5L V6. Despite the vast power difference between the two models, I would certainly not say the G25 is a slouch, it picks up well enough for most folks, and even by my standards it was “decently quick”. The G25 does seem to rely on its variable valve timing though, because there is a noticeable change in acceleration when you cross 4000rpm, and you aren’t going anywhere too fast before that point. Still though, in the G25 is a very competent performing car and would have no trouble merging on to the highway. The G37 on the other hand I would go as far as to call “properly fast” by normal standards, if you floor it in a low gear you will get a hard kick up your rear as the car pounces forward. The G37 also seems to have more low-end grunt so you don’t have to get the revs up real high if you want to pick up speed, it’s a much smoother performing car. So, overall the story is that the G25 is good, and the G37 is exceptional in the way it picks up.
Having driven them both now, it is time to answer my original question. Driving wise I was a lot more impressed than I expected to be. I thought it would be watered down throughout, but it was only in the engine and optional amenities, things that many people can live without. This brings us to the market placing of the G25. In all cases the G25 is below the price of even the most basic G37 and the price gap for similar features between the two varies between $3-10k. There is a few grand to be saved here, and as I said before the G25 would be satisfying enough for most people on all fronts. When there was only one G model customers didn’t have a choice to forgo the gratuitous horsepower, but I would venture to say that a good percentage of them would have chosen the lesser model if given the option back then. Most people don’t need the extra 110hp.
The options limitations are something of a concern though. Infiniti seems to think customers demanding the options will just buy a G37, but I would disagree and say that they would be more likely to go for a competitor from another make that doesn’t have such limitations. I think Infiniti needs to reconsider the options list for the G25, but instead of offering big packages like on the G37, they should let people pick specific items individually, that way the price stays down and people get only what they want.
In its market segment the G25, starting at $32k, undercuts much of its hard competition including the Audi A4 2.0T, Mercedes C300, BMW 328i, and Lexus IS 250. The G25 is only more expensive than the Acura TSX and the Buick Regal Turbo, both of which cannot compete with the G25’s better driving dynamics though. There is clearly a market place for the G25 because until now Infiniti had no competition for all of the entry-level luxury models. As far as how it fares, I would recommend anyone looking in this range to give the G25 a try. If I were me buying, I would have it any day over the Acura, Buick, and Lexus because it is a better overall car. The Europeans offer tougher competition in a car vs. car face off, but you need to remember how much higher the running costs are for such cars as well as how quickly their (usually vast) options lists can add up. So, while the G25 may not be quite the car that the BMW 328i is, it also will cost you less, both up front and in the long run, so it’s a better value. Also, don’t get me wrong; the G25 is certainly stiff competition for the European cars, its just that they are known for offering the most brilliant driving feel around. The G is in the same league though.
My question has been answered; the Infiniti G25 is a solid addition to the lineup. It is very relevant in the market, and offers the best balance between the feel of the European cars and the affordability of the Japanese/American cars. It also fits nicely underneath the G37, which continues to wreak havoc on the upper level European models. If you are in the market for a car in this segment you should absolutely put the Infiniti G on your list. As for choosing between two models, look at the price difference and then ask yourself if you think it’s worth having an extra 110hp and navigation. If you have a smart phone, then it should really just be about the extra power. Most people don’t need that kind of performance, so it is good to finally have a solid entry-level model in the Infiniti lineup. A big thumbs up for the G lineup as a whole.
WoM Score: Infiniti G25
Primary Function: Luxury: 1…… lacking available features
Secondary Functions: Performance(1), MPG(1), Practicality(2): 1.5
Visual Appeal: 1
Build Quality: 2
Value for Money: 1
Final Score: 6.5/10
WoM Score: Infiniti G35
Primary Function: Luxury: 2
Secondary Functions: Performance(2), MPG(1), Practicality(2): 2
Visual Appeal: 1
Build Quality: 2
Value for Money: 2
Final Score: 9/10