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G37 goes to Infiniti, and beyond …

It’s not an autobahn-destroying speed machine, but the IPL-equiped Infiniti G37 brings a touch of high performance to the luxury line. Courtesy photo

2013 IPL Coupe.

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From page A11 | October 05, 2012 | Leave Comment

If you have always wanted a more exclusive and faster version of the Infiniti G37 Coupe, you are in luck. Infiniti now offers the G37 Coupe with the Infiniti Performance Line package. This is similar to what BMW and Audi offer with their M and S series cars, but those cars are much more modified over the standard cars. In contrast, the IPL is a slightly tuned version of the G37 Coupe.

The IPL starts off on the foundation of the second generation G Coupe Journey. Along the way the IPL receives a unique exterior design with front and rear bumper covers with integrated fog lights and black accents, side skirts, a small rear spoiler and big round chrome exhaust tips. The exterior is different but most people would not notice the difference unless you put the regular G37 next to the IPL. The difference is very subtle, but you probably do not expect any aggressive-looking body panels from Infiniti.

All IPL G Coupe interiors include red-stitched leather-appointed front sport seats with manual thigh extension and driver’s power torso and thigh support adjustment, red-stitched steering wheel, aluminum trim, aluminum pedals and footrest. The 12-way power driver and eight-way front passenger seats feature two-way adjustable head restraints and a unique rear-seat access system (the front seats move forward automatically at the touch of a button to allow passengers into the rear seats).

The driver seat was very nice, indeed, with aggressive side bolsters that really hold you in. The downside is that the seat controls are in two places. The primary controls are on the side of the seat where most manufacturers place their controls — there’s not much room for your hand to fit with the door closed.The secondary controls are on the front edge of the seat cushion and are a little easier to access. These control the side bolsters and other secondary functions.

The hand-stitched leather-covered steering wheel is designed for maximum comfort and usability, with standard wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. It feels grippy and is just the right thickness to get the job done. Solid magnesium paddle shifters are standard with the seven-speed automatic transmission.

Proving that IPL is not just a trim package, there are also engine enhancements included. Infiniti says the engine performance modifications were selected not only for increased horsepower and torque levels, but also for acceleration feel and exhaust sound without compromising fuel economy or noise standards. What that means is that the modifications are mild.

The IPL G Coupe’s VQ37HR 3.7-liter V6 engine management system has been recalibrated through air-fuel mixture and ignition timing optimization, raising the maximum horsepower output point to 7,400 rpm (from 7,000). To obtain a natural acceleration feel, the torque curve from low revs to the maximum torque point (5,200 rpm) was tuned for linearity. Infiniti then adds a high-flow  exhaust with independent left and right large diameter pipes.

The muffler’s inner structure and materials have been maximized to reduce pressure and provide an appropriate performance exhaust note. The result is a 30-percent reduction in exhaust pressure versus a base G Coupe’s Y-pipe exhaust system design. As a result, the IPL G Coupe generates 348 horsepower — an increase of 18 horsepower over the non-IPL models — and 276 pound-feet of torque.

The suspension also has received some messaging in the IPL. Front spring rates have been increased by 20% and rear springs are 10% stiffer. Dampers have also been retuned to match the new spring rates. Finally, the IPL receives large 4 piston 14 inch front brakes with two piston 13.8 inch rear rotors with aluminum calipers. The IPL also receives a viscous limited slip differential to put the power down.

The combination works very well resulting a car that responds well to a driver’s inputs. Unfortunately, it is not as driver oriented as we were hoping. The suspension is firm but could be firmer and the interior is very nice but not racecar-like.

Our car’s automatic transmission was especially disappointing with very slow responses. Put the transmission in manual mode and upshift with the paddles and what you will notice is that there is a delay between the time that you tell the car to shift and the time that the shift actually occurs. Furthermore, if you hit the redline the transmission will shift whether you asked for a shift or not. At least the transmission will rev match downshifts for you which is nice. Fortunately, Infiniti is nice enough to offer a real manual transmission in the IPL for $2000 less money.

Speaking of money, the standard G Coupe starts out at $39,800. The IPL Coupe with a manual transmission will cost you $50,500. That is a big jump but the IPL also includes many of standard features that are options on the standard Coupe. Order the automatic transmission and you will need to shell out $52,400.

The IPL is a very smooth driving coupe and feels fast and is a joy to drive. It is a step up from the standard coupe but it is just an upgraded G Coupe rather than a race car for the street that we were hoping. For that Infiniti would need to give us another 150 hp and a much more aggressive suspension. The G is solid enough that it could easily handle such a transformation. Infiniti would just need to be convinced that there is a market for such a car. Until then, we will enjoy driving the IPL.

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