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2006 Infiniti G35

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San Francisco: A few days before our family vacation in Arkansas, debate rocked the Price household. I knew I'd have the keys that week to an Infiniti G35 Coupe, a fun little car that would be perfect for zipping through the hilly roads around Hot Springs. That's what I wanted to take.

My wife, on the other hand, wanted to be reasonable. She preferred her old Nissan Altima, which is roomy enough to haul our kids and our luggage but is about as fun to drive as a John Deere tractor.

So which side won out? Practicality or fun? Turns out the G35 could provide both. The Infiniti G35 Coupe is essentially a stretched version of Nissan's 350Z sports car, and you can tell from its muscular lines that it's a fast and classy ride.

After carefully measuring our luggage, testing how baby seats fit and how much knee room would be left for us adults during the four-hour drive, we ended up taking the Infiniti and absolutely loving it. It satisfied Mom's need for a comfortable ride and Dad's need for something worthy of blasting through the mountains.

Several things make this two-door car good enough for transporting a family - although not ideal. For one, both front seats come with a nifty button that makes it easier to climb in and out of the car. Press it one way and the front seat motors forward, creating a bigger opening for your hind end to plop into place in the back of the car. Press it the other way and the front seat scoots back where it was before. It's simple but ingenious.

Luxurious gizmos are also abundant in this car. While the driving feel is stiff and sporty, exactly the opposite of a traditional luxury car, goodies like a satellite navigation system, a terrific Bose stereo system and dual-zone climate control make it a comfortable and fun place to spend hours on the highway. And with how great this car drives, you won't mind spending a lot of time behind the wheel.

At the heart of this sporty cruiser is a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 280 horsepower while trumpeting a gorgeous, melodic tone through its exhaust pipes. This engine sounds like it's singing, especially when you roll down the windows and watch the country scenery go by.

After a while, though, you'll notice the G35 sounds quite a bit louder than its competition at Lexus, the new IS. The Infiniti is a car that gives you a much more exciting sensory experience than the Lexus, but it's not nearly as relaxing for those times you want to wind down.

Another downside in the G35 is the layout of some controls in its cabin. Most cars put the power-seat controls on the outside edge of the seats where they're within easy reach, but this Infiniti puts them next to the center console where they're awkward to adjust. Other switches on the dash are in hard-to-reach places, and many of the buttons around the radio, navigation and climate control systems look alike and can be hard to adjust at a glance. You have to take your eyes off the road longer than you'd like to.

Any weaknesses in the cabin are redeemed by the G35's outstanding suspension, which keeps body roll to a minimum but still feels comfortable over bumps. It stays almost perfectly flat in high-speed corners, giving you plenty of confidence and ample feedback as you push the car closer to its limits, but it's not violently rough like a true sports car.

The body on this car is also a big plus, with muscular lines that draw second glances and a sloping roofline that suggests speed and elegance. It's classy, sexy, sporty and fun.

What was tested? The 2006 Infiniti G35 Coupe with a base price of $31,450. Options: Premium package ($3,350), navigation system ($1,800), sport-tuned suspension package ($750), sunroof ($1,000), 17-inch chrome wheels ($1,610). Price as tested (including $650 destination charge): $40,610.

Why buy it? It's terrific fun to drive and surprisingly practical for a two-door car. It comes with one of the best engines in the world and plenty of luxury goodies, not to mention a good-looking body. And, assuming you don't have to load the kids in it every day, it can be surprisingly practical for a family of four.   By Derek Price  AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo AutoWire.Net
Column Name:  The Infiniti G35 Coupe is classy, sexy, sporty and fun
Topic: The 2006 Infiniti G35 Coupe
Word Count:  802
Photo Caption:  The 2006 Infiniti G35 Coupe
Photo Credits:  Infiniti Internet Media
Series #:   2006 - 36
 

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