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2004 Infiniti G35 Sedan

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San Francisco:  When you think of a luxury car, what comes to mind?

Most people would envision a huge Cadillac, Lincoln, or Mercedes-Benz that floats down the road like an ocean liner, its geriatric driver pointing his nose at the sky. This stereotypical luxury car is probably something quiet and smooth with snooty styling and a mushy suspension that makes the road feel like polished glass.

Well, Infiniti takes that traditional definition of luxury and throws it out the window with its G35 sedan, a car that is not quiet, not really big, not smooth riding, and certainly not snooty. In fact, it's almost the opposite of what one would expect to find when strolling into a luxury car dealership.

Rather than create a bland highway barge for the masses, Infiniti took a totally different approach - one that defines luxury as visceral excitement, not a lack thereof - to produce a car that is as stimulating as it is comfortable. Put simply, it's a whole lotta fun.

Step behind the wheel of a G35 and you'll find a virtual four-door sports car, one that has ample power on tap and precision handling to match. While most luxury cars are designed to eliminate any road feel with a soft suspension and sloppy steering, this Infiniti tries to amplify the driver's senses - its suspension is stiff, its steering is tight, and its brakes are firm - for a truly thrilling experience.

Some of the greatest thrills come in the form of mechanical music as its 3.5-liter V6 engine winds toward its 6,000-RPM sweet spot, where it makes a pavement-pounding 260 horsepower with a throaty whine. The muscular engine seems to be a great fit for the G35 since it's quick and responsive, yet not excessively loud.

Milking the most out of this fine engine takes a gentle tap on the accelerator and - surprise, surprise – a quick moving hand on the gearshift knob. Yes, this luxury car is available with a six-speed manual transmission that feels solid and a little notchy, perfect for sensing just how hard the V6 is working.

A nice five-speed automatic transmission is available, but we'd definitely opt for the six-speed manual version because it's such a big part of what makes the G35 so much fun to drive.

Of course, it wouldn't be a luxury car without a spacious, gadget packed cabin. The G35 has the roomiest interior of all cars in the entry level luxury class for sale today, and its list of standard features is a long one: an in-dash six disc CD changer, six way adjustable driver's seat, a computer that shows the outside temperature and compass readouts, power windows, locks and mirrors - and that's just the start.

Styling reflects the G35's sporty nature, especially on its front end. Dramatic headlights and mildly flared fenders give it a hint of Porsche 911 in front of the windshield, but the back two-thirds of the car is white bread bland. Its creased trunk gives it a style slightly more sophisticated than, say, a Camry or Accord.

The G35's downsides are the same things that make it fun to drive. While the engine sounds heavenly on Sunday drives in the country, its constant muted drone can get annoying after hours on the highway. Likewise, the car's sport tuned suspension is perfect for imitating an Andretti, but it's not so great when you hit potholes or drive on bumpy roads with a sore back. It's a tradeoff.

All in all, though, the G35 is a nice ride for those who want a little luxury and a lot of fun from their car. And, who knows? Maybe someday it will redefine how we think of luxury transportation.

Why buy it? If your idea of luxury is fast and fun, not soft and quiet, then the G35 is for you. Its ample power and precise handling make it feel almost like a four door sports car, and its roomy cabin makes it practical for a family vehicle. By Derek Price AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo AutoWire.Net
Column Name:  Infiniti G35 sedan puts new spin on luxury
Topic:  2004 Infiniti G35 Sedan
Word Count:   739
Photo Caption:  2004 Infiniti G35 Sedan
Photo Credits:  Infiniti Internet Media
Series #:   2003 - 52

Download the Microsoft Word version here:   2004 Infiniti G35

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