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Coloring Outside the Lines: 2003 Crossover Buyer's Guide
by Steve Siler

Infiniti G35 Sedan/Coupe
2003 Infiniti G35 Coupe

Let's just start this review by saying that we like this car. We really like this car. Our more savvy readers will recall that the new Infiniti G35 Sedan bested every other sedan on the market in the Sedan Category of the 2003 Road and Travel Top 10 Car of the Year Awards. Its blend of contemporary styling, sports-car-like performance and a surprisingly low price clearly impressed our judges, and looking now at Infiniti's soaring sales figures, it seems to be impressing buyers as well.

The G35 is available as either the aforementioned sport sedan or a drop-dead gorgeous sport coupe. Both have clean styling that is delightfully free of any sort of extraneous luxury-car gobbledygook. Rather, the G35 makes its luxury statement through the strength of its pure form instead of some shameless smattering of body jewelry. And while the G35 Sedan is sexy, the G35 Coupe is a bombshell: flared fenders, a slim windows and fat dual exhaust tips blur the lines between luxury coupe and sports car.

Speaking of sports cars, this is a good place to mention that the G35 and the phenomenal Nissan 350Z (another '03 RTM award winner) are kissing cousins in terms of basic mechanical bits. Hence, every G35 feeds its rear wheels with a 3.5-liter V-6 (260 hp in the Sedan, 280-hp in the Coupe) that empowers it with effortless forward thrust. You can choose between a five-speed automatic with manual control or a true six-speed manual (either are thoroughly entertaining). Brakes, steering and suspension are simply outstanding. In spite of that high-performance hardware, ride quality is quite good, even if not as smooth as, say, the Lexus ES300.

The G35 certainly has guts under the hood, but let's just say that inside, it knows how to treat a lady. The interior of the G35 is as fresh and modern as the exterior with room to spare in front and back seats, albeit headroom is bit tight in the low-roofed Coupe. Automatic climate control, a 6-disc in-dash CD changer and stability control are all standard, while a full gamut of options can be added upon request, including Infiniti's terrific navigation system with its "BirdView" map display.