Driving luxury in the Infiniti G37X Coupe

A friend—OK, it was I—once bought a pair of shoes because he liked the style; however, they were a half-size too small.

Because I liked them, I tried stretching them with larger shoe trees and wearing them with only the thinnest of socks. It didn’t work. It’s hard to walk many miles in someone else’s shoes.

Fortunately, it was only a pair of shoes. What if it had been a car?

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Over the years, I’ve test-driven a couple of cars I was considering buying, the original Saturn SC1 coupe and the Honda Prelude.

Neither fit me.

I’m not a giant—barely 6 feet tall. But I have a long torso and there wasn’t enough head room in either vehicle. Having learned a lesson with the shoes, I concluded that if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit yourself well and not buy that car. There’s no expanding an automobile unless you own a body shop.

That brings us to today’s test car, a 2012 Infiniti G37XS sport coupe.

When I first got into this ultrasmart sedan, my head was wedged against the roof. Fortunately, the front seats (you can forget ever using the rear seats, except for a child) are eight-way power adjustable.

Lowering the driver’s seat all the way and reclining the seatback a bit from the upright driving position I normally prefer combined to provide the headroom I needed.

Because the test coupe was loaded with extra packages, it had sport seats that had extra power and manual adjustments. Extra leg support can be had by manually extending a section of the seat-front forward. A pair of additional power adjustments is available, one that snugs (or loosens) your torso on the seatback and the other that does the same with your thighs on the seat bottom.

Happy to report, after a long, traffic-filled Memorial Day Weekend getaway drive, I exited the Infiniti feeling fine. The seats had done their job.

The rest of the car? Simply fantastic. We’d traveled in style. The G coupe melds exhilarating performance with head-turning styling and a luxury interior. While the base G starts at $38,695 (including $895 destination), our G37X started at $41,795 (including destination) and had a bottom line of $50,145 after adding premium ($3,100), sport ($1,950), technology ($1,250), and navigation ($1,850) packages and a $200 trunk carpet and net accessory.

The styling exudes class, starting with the signature Infiniti doublearched grille and a front fascia with built-in fog lights. Flowing front fenders surround large wheel openings and the rounded hood leads back to a sloping roofline and muscular haunches with large LED taillights.

Power comes from a 3.7-liter V-6 that’s rated at 330 horsepower and 270 lb.-ft. of torque. That flows to all four wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission and an allwheel- drive system that can switch up to 50 percent of the power to the front wheels. The EPA rating is 18 miles per gallon in city driving and 25 on the highway.

The G37x has a pleasing exhaust note when you push the engine and a pair of large exhaust outlets that tells other drivers this Infiniti means business. Indeed, while the Infiniti name is synonymous with luxury (and signature analog clocks) in the United States, that’s not the case overseas.

There, reigning Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel is pushing the performance portion of the company’s product equation in an advertising campaign promoting the refreshed FX SUV.

Ride and handling, especially with the sportier feel from the G37X’s Sport package, make an ideal combination of highway refinement and back road cruising. The G37X really shone on a 25-mile stretch of curvy, less-traveled Connecticut back roads.

The interior was the “double-wave” cockpit style Infiniti has used in recent years. A passenger (that’s Mrs. G) rides in leather luxury enjoying a wonderful sound system. For the driver, easy-on-the-eyes gauges were electroluminescent with white-themed illumination.

The available rearview monitor is displayed on the seven-inch color navigation monitor; however, several times I found myself hooking my right arm behind the driver’s seat and looking through the back window in reverse, realizing in the process that rear visibility was better than expected.

Mrs. G was a happy passenger, finding the seats (and sound system) a restful combination for our journey.

All this comfort comes with a trade-off. The rear seat, despite sophisticated frontseat releases for access, offers precious little space for human cargo. The trunk has a large opening but isn’t very deep. A pair of medium- sized suitcases and two tote bags pretty much filled it. In a pinch, the rear seats can fold forward for extra carrying capacity.

But a light load—or a pair of golf bags—is what this coupe is designed to carry. And it does that with aplomb.