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First Look: Infiniti Performance Line

Luxury maker gets into performance game with IPL; and more to come.

by on Aug.16, 2010

Infiniti has finally come out with a performance lineup of its cars, starting with the IPL G-Coupe.

Perhaps the most significant question asked during the news conference called to preview the new Infiniti Performance Line was, “Why so long?”

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These days, it’s hard to think of a brand that doesn’t have a uniquely branded line of performance models, from Chrysler’s SRT to BMW’s M-Series.  But only now is Infiniti getting into the muscle car game with the debut of the first IPL model, based on its popular G-Series Coupe.

The good news, said Ben Poore, the Nissan subsidiary’s general manager, is “More to come.  You’ll see IPL (variants) across the Infiniti line-up…where appropriate.”

The 2011 Infiniti IPL G-Coupe starts out as a conventional G37 2-door, but it gets significant updates to both appearance and performance.

The 2011 Infiniti IPL G-Coupe comes in limited color combinations including black with an interior featuring red leather seats.

The changes includes a more aggressive front fascia with integrated fog lamps and sportier side sills, as well as a distinctive rear spoiler and chrome exhaust tips.  The 2011 IPL also rides on 19-inch split 7-spoke graphite-finish wheels, shod with Bridgestone Potenza tires.

A small and subtle red and purple IPL badge rides the left side of the trunklid, and there’s a distinctive IPL engine cover.

Meanwhile, color combinations are kept to a minimum, including the black body with red interior shown here.

Inside, there are red-stitched sport front seats and steering wheel.  And the 2011 IPL uses aluminum pedals and footrest.  The G-Coupe is loaded with features that include the Infiniti-Bose Studio on Wheels audio system, a large harddrive storage system and navigation with real-time traffic and weather.  There are both a rear view sonar system and rear camera, and a moonroof also comes standard.

Changes to the G-Coupe's rear end include a distinctive spoiler and chrome exhaust tips.

On the performance side, the 2011 Infiniti IPL G-Coupe’s 3.7-liter VQ V6 makes 348 horsepower, 18 more than the stock 2-door, and 276 lb-ft of torque.  The engine was tuned to deliver a linear acceleration curve – as well as a solid launch feel and more aggressive exhaust note, according to Infiniti.

Among the steps taken to improve performance, the 2011 IPL gets a tuned, high-flow full dual exhaust system, with independent, large diameter pipes.  The maker claims that yields a 30% improvement in exhaust pressure.

The front suspension of the IPL G-Coupe was tuned to improve stiffness while minimizing vibration, according to Poore.  Front spring rates are up 20%, rear by 10%.  The first IPL model gets a sport-tuned steering gear, larger 4-wheel sport brakes and a viscous limited-slip differential.

The IPL logo - Infiniti Performance Line - will adorn the brand's high-performance models.

What’s next for the new Infiniti Performance Line?  “We haven’t decided,” cautions Shiro Nakamura, the chief of design for both Infiniti and its parent, Nissan.  But he hints the next step might be the G-Series convertible.  And Poore suggests the IPL strategy will be a broad one, and could take in virtually all of the Japanese luxury maker’s line-up, from its smallest coupe to even the big QX56 sport-utility vehicle.

Significantly, Infiniti plans to hold down pricing, rather than try to position the IPL as far up as some competitive performance sub-brands, like Mercedes-Benz’s AMG.  “It gets us into the performance market,” says Poore, “without being so high up it’s inaccessible.”

Think under $50,000 for the 2011 Infiniti IPL G-Coupe.

Infiniti also debuted its new G25 Sedan at Pebble Beach. The new model will come with a 2.5-liter V-6.

Company officials aren’t talking volume for the new Performance Line, though it’s likely to start out small.  But “It has a lot of potential” the Infiniti general manager argues.

At the same time it launches the new Infiniti Performance Line, the Japanese marque is taking the wraps off yet another G-Series variant.  The G25 introduces an all-new second engine to the line-up, which Poore says will “allow us to participate in a much larger segment” of the entry-luxury market, where it will go up against the likes of the BMW 328 and Mercedes C300.

Priced at $30,950, the Infiniti G25 will offer an otherwise identical body and content package to the larger G sedan.  The new 2.5-liter V-6 is rated at 218 hp and 187 lb-ft.

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