PH FLEET: INFINITI G37 S COUPE
Our car park welcomes a new arrival in the form of a Japanese luxury car that isn't a Lexus. Must be an Infiniti, then...
Which, in a roundabout way, is how an Infiniti G37 S coupe, the newest member of the PH Fleet, has arrived in our car park; I want to find out whether the underdog of the premium segment can cut it, but I'm also one of those people who want to run it in large part because it isn't another Audi, Mercedes or BMW.
But people who think like that are by definition a minority market and so it's been a bit of a slow start thus far for the Infiniti brand in the UK. There are still only a handful of dealers set up - although more are on the way - and despite the coupe having been on sale for two years now, Infiniti has only shifted around 100 two-door G37s in that time. But then the number of brand new BMW 335i coupes and Audi S5s that found homes last year has got to be pretty small too... so perhaps it isn't that bad.
Its on-paper specification certainly ticks all the right boxes for a luxury GT with a sporting edge. The 3.7-litre V6 produces an eminently respectable 321bhp, which propels the car to 62mph via the rear wheels in 5.9secs and on to 155mph. There's also a limited-slip diff as standard, clever four-wheel steering, and a seven-speed auto with steering column-mounted titanium paddles.
It's priced well, too, with even a top-spec G37S Premium like ours coming in at £41.5k. That's more than £2.5k less than an Audi S5 and, although a top-spec BMW 335i auto will set you back a little less (£40,800), it won't be quite as well specified (and people will think you've got a 320d...).
Age has not wearied our Infiniti, either, with no more than a few extra creases on the driver's seat bolster giving away the car's used nature.
So it looks right, it goes right, and the price is right, but this is only the beginning of the story. Can it really convince as a premium proposition?
Other members of the PH team are yet to be convinced, however, citing dull looks, some flimsy interior fitments and a slightly gruff engine as signs of it being little more than a poshed-up Nissan - although I reckon they're slightly blinded by a spot of badge snobbery. Either way, over the next few months the Infiniti may have its work cut out changing hearts and minds, but it's already halfway there for me.