2013 Infiniti IPL G Coupe

The Infiniti Performance Line debuted for the 2011 model year but only on the G37 Coupe.  Those choices have now expanded to include an IPL G Convertible as well.  This car very much reminded me of the G37 Convertible Anniversary edition I drove a couple of years ago…right down to the exact color scheme, highlighted by the unforgettable Monaco Red leather interior.  But this time I’ve got the coupe and we’ve swapped the 7-speed auto for a 6-speed manual.  And unlike that limited edition model, the IPL Coupe adds some real mechanical benefits for the performance minded driver.  Sticking with the standard 3.7-liter V6 but recalibrating it to increase horsepower to 348 and torque to 276, the IPL treatment is mild by comparison to its in-house tuner rivals.  It does lend to the sensation of greater acceleration and produces a more boisterous exhaust sound, even if the hard numbers don’t really bear it out.  0-to-60mph takes but 5.4-seconds while the engine’s more dynamic operating range produces maximum horsepower at 7,400 RPM.  There’s a lot of engine to play with here with an extra dose of top end.  Those looking for a more guttural, shove you into the seat experience will probably end up elsewhere.  But the IPL G Coupe isn’t trying to be an M or AMG…it’ll likely mature into that, but for now these are baby steps towards the credibility of those other go-faster monikers.  Staying as civilized as possible with a hushed interior, this G Coupe could benefit from an infusion of some of that retuned exhaust sound inside the cabin…an important nuance that’s lacking.  The IPL chassis components consist of firmer spring and damper rates, quicker steering, larger brakes, a limited slip and exclusive 19” graphite finish wheels wearing Bridgestone performance tires.

But the most tangible difference between this IPL Coupe and the Convertible I last drove is the working of the transmission.  The auto in this car is quite brilliant and provides a best of both worlds experience whereas the stick shift with its long-travel, highly sprung clutch with a very small grab point makes the drive more of a chore than I desire on a daily basis.  With it the IPL G Coupe seems a little uneasy unless you’re on the open road and flogging it.  And that’s where the car comes to life.  Confident traction blends with predictable handling and firm body movements to tackle country roads without breaking a sweat and with the traction off it’s your typical rear-drive playtime.  Ride quality is decidedly edgier with lots of small, but quickly controlled motions.

Everyone loves the red interior – why someone would chose the Graphite is beyond me.  The driver’s seat includes extendable thigh support and power torso control to suck you in and the rear seats are actually usable, especially for kids, but even adults shorter than 6’ will keep the rear window out of their hair.  The look and feel of the rest of the cabin is standard Infiniti, centered on a solid navi unit with intuitive controls.  But at $51,395 a step up in some of the touch points would be a welcome change.  Choices are limited to 2 exterior and interior colors and whether you want a stick or automatic.  Another reason the auto looks pretty good is that this stick loses 2mpg by comparison, to 17mpg city/25mpg highway on premium.  The IPL G Coupe paves a racier avenue towards Infiniti’s high performance aspirations.

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