In a land of V8s where Holdens are aplenty, it isn't difficult for the rare sleek JDM coupe to catch the eye of many.
When I was in Australia recently for the World Time Attack Challenge, I had the privilege of having an Infiniti G37S as my ride. The Infiniti G series is a range of compact executive cars by Nissan's luxury brand Infiniti, the equivalent to Toyota's upmarket sister brand Lexus. Previous generations of the Infiniti were based on the Nissan Primera, but the latest one is derived from the Nissan Skyline models.
This pretty red one that I spent some time with down under is owned by a Singaporean couple based in Melbourne for more than a decade already. The husband, Henry Lim, runs a tuning company called Cosmic Performance that provides tuning services, engine building, import and distribution of parts and also production of his own in-house products. He scoots around in his modified Subaru WRX STi daily, but when it was time to get his wife Chrystal a car, it had to be something comfortable and luxurious yet sporty.
Spending some time going around looking for "a unique car in Australia", Henry and Chrystal told me that could have gone for a BMW or a Merdeces-Benz but they really wanted something special hence making the time and effort to find it. With a budget of about AUD 60,000, other cars in their contemplation included the BMW 335ci, Nissan 370Z (quite a closely related one to the G37S!) and the Lexus SC430.
Finally, they stumbled across the Infiniti G37S at World Time Attack Challenge and after trying it, the decision was unanimous — the G37S is the one. With a price tag of AUD 48,000, Henry and Chrystal purchased it in August last year and at that time; there were less than 30 of it running around in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth as the Australian rule of bringing the car in just got released.
"It is a rather 'rare' car and not commonly seen on the roads, probably about 15 of them running around in Melbourne now. It is also a refreshing change from all the other cars that we have in Australia. The G37S is a luxury sports coupe that is tame on cruising but can get wild when you gas it. Nissan and Infiniti have done an awesome job in designing the car under the CKV36 Skyline chassis. It is truly a driver's car — it can be taken occasionally to the race track for some fun, it is a weekend car to take out for dinners and it makes good companion for cruising down the Great Ocean Road," Henry said.
Housing a VQ37VHR 3.7-litre engine, the stock G37S has 330bhp and is capable of going from zero to 100km/h in less than six seconds, with a top speed of 260km/h. However, knowing Henry's background, the G37S didn't stay stock for long. He added Cosmic Performance coilovers (part of his in-house product range), a Fujitsubo catback, twin ram Takeda intake, Volk GT30 19-inch rims, a JDM front lip extension and applied Cobb Tuning solutions to it. Next, Henry is intending to add a Nismo handling kit to it.
The car was indeed very comfortable to drive in and other drivers did turn their heads to look when driving past. Part of the attention can also be attributed to this particular G37S' number plate that says 'OFFDAY'. In Australia where personalised plates are allowed, motorists can choose six characters of combined letters or numbers, or purely letters. Chrystal enjoys driving the car on her days off, especially over the weekend, when she can take the G for long drives, thus the choice of this number plate.
Although it is a coupe, the G37S can be called a true 2+2 as the back seats are big enough to hold adults. I wouldn't want to sit there for a drive from Sydney to Melbourne of course, but it was pretty alright for daily driving around the city. Proof that it is a JDM import, the buttons and controls had Japanese characters on it and the language of the menu is still in Japanese. It also has the usual modern-day technologies like paddle shifts, cruise control and an auxiliary jack for your personal selection of tunes to cruise along with.
This is one car that I would like to see more in this side of the world, especially in Singapore and Malaysia. I didn't have the opportunity to take it to the tracks and only got to experience it on the highways and in normal traffic, so maybe that can be a story for another time.
Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. More of her at www.cheryl-tay.com.