Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Another 3-Series Competitor

If you've read any of my posts, it wouldn't take you long to figure out that I'm a BMW fan... and that's putting it mildly.  There is something about driving a Bimmer that just makes me feel good.  It's hard to explain but I'll say it again; in my opinion BMW nailed it when they said it's the ultimate driving machine because it is and as such I always find myself using a BMW as the index whenever I'm test driving a car.  Somehow this comes as second nature to me... I drive a sports car and I think 3-series or M3.  I drive a mid-sized sedan and I instantly compare it to the 5-series and of course when I have the chance to drive a big boy I always think 7-series.  Somehow setting BMW as the index by which I measure other cars makes it easier in ways and harder in others.  It's easier because it becomes more objective.... I can compare feature by feature.  However, it's harder because of my bias towards Bimmers.  It's very difficult to say "this car drives better than that one", especially since I'm not strapping any instruments to these cars... I'm just going off feel and enjoyment.

So with that long-winded intro, let me talk about the car that I had a couple of weeks ago and why I think it's a very good alternative to a Bimmer; particularly to a 3-series.  The guys at eCarOne gave me a 2012 Infiniti G37 Convertible to drive.  I did own an Infiniti before... a 2004 G35 Coupe with the 6-speed manual and Brembo brakes and I truly enjoyed it, however I felt that it lacked the refinement of the 3-series.  Specifically, the fit and finish was not up to par, the cabin was a bit noisy especially at speeds and on wet roads, and the overall driving feel did not inspire confidence like the 3-series.  Since then, I never bothered to look at another Infiniti.  So, when my friends at eCarOne gave me the G37, my expectations were not great.  But then again expectations are usually not correct.  This 2012 G37 Coupe was completely different from the 2004 that I owned.  In fact, I'll have to say that there really was no comparison.  The interior of this car felt like it belonged on a Mercedes or dare I say a Jaguar.  The leather smelled ... like nice leather.  The buttons were soft to the touch, the steering wheel was wrapped beautifully and stitched with great detail, and overall the interior just felt like a luxury sports car should feel... I would even say it was more luxurious than that of a typical 3-series.

How about the rest.... well my expectations were wrong again.  This Infiniti G37 was a joy to drive.  The cabin was quiet.  The acceleration was excellent, the cornering was sharp and even with the top down the wind was not bad at all.  With the top up, most convertibles show their bad side because a convertible top is not structurally rigid, and you will always hear all kinds of creaking and rattles.  That was not the case with the G37, primarily because of the hard retractable roof.  I put the top up, turned off the sound system (which is awesome by the way) and drove over bumpy roads.  I did not hear a thing.  I was very impressed.

All in all, I would have to say that Infiniti did a fantastic job with the G37.  It's all the driving joy of a 3-series plus the reliability you'd expect from an Infiniti.  Price-wise, it's about the same as a 3-series so I would not say that's a factor.  However, price is one thing and cost of ownership is a completely different thing.  For instance, if I gave you a ten million dollar house for free, technically it didn't cost you anything but your cost of ownership would be the taxes and maintenance you'd have to pay and that might make it very difficult for you to own it.  Without going into much detail, I can safely bet that the cost of ownership for an Infiniti G37 would be significantly less than that of a 3-Series Bimmer, especially after the warranty period expires.

Although I'm a Bimmer guy, I would highly recommend a G37 for someone smarter than me.  Take care and happy driving.

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