Nearly all luxury brands claim a sportier, high-performance sub-brand. For BMW, it’s the M car. Mercedes-Benz has the over-the-top AMG line. Only the hottest Audis wear the RS badge, and even Lexus now has its F performance cars. Athletic, aggressive, and fun, these are the varsity jacket–wearing kids of the automotive world. Now Infiniti, Nissan’s premium brand, has a high-performance addition to the gang: the Infiniti Performance Line, or IPL, on the G37 Coupe.
It’s distinguished by features including unique bumpers, rear spoiler, deeper side sills, chrome exhaust tips, and dark gray 19-inch wheels. The effect is subtle, perhaps too subtle. Unless a standard G37 Coupe happens to be parked alongside, the differences are virtually imperceptible. Inside, the IPL comes with a staggering list of standards, like power everything, leather seats, navigation, and an 11-speaker premium audio system. Basically, if it’s optional on G37s, it’s standard on the IPL.
Mechanically, the IPL receives a re-tuned, higher-revving version of the G37’s basic 3.7-liter V-6, coupled with a free-flowing exhaust. Output rises by 18 horsepower to 348 horsepower, and torque is bumped up by six pound-feet to 276. There might be slightly more power available, but you wouldn’t know it because the IPL feels just as quick as a G37. The revised exhaust barks out a sweet mechanical tune to anyone outside the car, but to the driver the V-6 sounds more like an industrial coffee grinder.
It may be hard on the ears, but the IPL is a delight to drive. Steering feedback is exemplary. The ride is firm but never harsh, and the wide Bridgestone performance rubber
sticks tenaciously to the road. But the IPL, from its chassis tuning to its engine, isn’t so different from what one gets in the wonderful G37 Coupe Sport, a car that costs $5,975 less than the $48,825 IPL. And therein lies the problem: The less-expensive G37 Coupe Sport is so good that it’s hard to justify the IPL price. The Infiniti G37 was worthy of the varsity tag all along.