I have had a 2004 Infiniti G35 Coupe 6MT (what a mouthful) for the last 6 months. I'm currently stationed in Germany and I have been able to run notoriously twisty B-roads and no-speed-limit autobahns, as well as dry, wet, and snow environments. Here's what I've noticed:
This car is really comfortable to drive in. Although it took me a while to figure out how exactly to sit in the seats without my lower back hurting, I now have no pain with hours of driving.
The quality of the materials is pretty good and my only gripe is that some of the plastics scratch easily. A less serious irritation is that I am also not a big fan of the peculiar stereo/HVAC button section, which seems like a sea of buttons (the 350Z’s layout seems simpler.) However, they are logically laid out and easy to operate.
The first thing you will notice is that the clutch is pretty heavy. It will take about three weeks for your left leg to get used to the clutch’s resistance, but once it does you shouldn’t notice it anymore.
Heel-toe shifting is stupidly simple and really fun in this car.
At low speeds (below 70 MPH) the G35 has an incredible amount of grip! Turn-in is pretty good and in dry weather it is really, really hard to get the car to spin uncontrollably. In the wet, however, it is really, really easy to kick the butt out and the VDC should be kept on. The snow isn’t too difficult for the G35 Coupe, but its low ride height makes it easy to get stuck in deep snow. In very deep snow you might find that the VDC is so intrusive that you cannot get the car moving up some uphill sections of road (with your butt constantly trying to shoot out.) But this experience is with ultra high performance all-season tires and dedicated winter tires will probably do better.
The G35 6MT’s less aggressive suspension (when compared to the 350Z Track) makes the car float a bit when executing tight turns on the autobahn at 120+ MPH (while straight-line cruising is rock solid.) But this suspension also makes bad roads more tolerable.
If you are a driving enthusiast then I will have to talk about the VDC, which is overly intrusive when it is turned on, giving you the impression that you are always just seconds away from catastrophe. It seems to predict that you could soon get yourself into trouble and intervene on your behalf by braking and abruptly reducing engine output. This made me think that the car was really unstable when I first drove the car because the VDC reacted so frequently and aggressively in every situation, even those that wouldn’t cause you to be worried. In reality, on a dry surface (and with the VDC off) the G35 is fairly neutral and, depending on how you interact with a corner, can either slightly under- or over-steer.
The 3.5L V6 engine has no problem accelerating the car out of corners with real addictive authority and can easily propel the car up to its electronically-limited top speed of 155 MPH. Fuel economy is pretty bad (18 MPH average in city driving), but that is because of the way I drive (aggressively all the time.) If I’m really good I can get about 20 MPG average on the autobahn (driving at about 90-100 MPH.)
The transmission is also pretty good, with well-chosen gear ratios, but its gates are more resistant than you would expect from a car of this caliber. You almost have to man-handle it sometimes to get the fastest results.
Is it Worth Buying?
I spent $35,500 for my used G35 Coupe 6MT, which is twice as much as I have spent on any car in my life and I do not regret it at all. I still feel like I lucked out and won the lottery. Fun-to-drive is the most important factor that I value in the cars I buy and I still look for excuses to drive this car. I am always looking to do a milk-run or eat out for dinner so that I can experience driving my G35 Coupe. Most importantly, this car still puts a very big grin on my face EVERY TIME I drive it.