The new Infiniti G35 was presented yesterday in the New York Auto Show. This was a car highly expected for several reasons. For starters, the previous generation put Infiniti in the map of prestige luxury sedans. It played all the right notes: longotudinal-centrally-mounted engine (an amazing V6) and RWD platform. The right ticket for this class of vehicles. Design of the 4-door was bland but the coupé version was very refined and enjoyed great success. Interiors were the worst part of the car, mainly due to poor-quality plastics. So the new one was expected to raise the bar and pose a real challenge to BMW, Mercedes and Lexus. It features notorious improvements in the interior (although questionable ergonomics of the Sat-Nav interface), and keeps all of the mechanical goods and the optional AWD system. So does the established luxury-trio needs to be worried?
But there are other reasons that make this car interesting... for European consumers. Nissan (and Infiniti) are owned by Renault so in this side of the Atlantic we are very curious about what Renault will make out of it. Bring Infiniti as a prestige brand? Use the prestigious RWD platform and engines in Renault vehicles? There are several possibilities and Renault MUST extract advantages from Infiniti to the European market.
In the end what did we got? Look at the pictures and judge for yourselves. In my opinion BMW, Mercedes and Lexus do not need to be very worried. The engineering of the G35 is great but the design is wrong. In this days, where emotional, even dramatic design is winning in the sales, I find the G35 too bland and soft-looking. Maybe the coupé version will be more appealing?
And what about Europe? Well it is really too boring for us. I think the best option for Renault is to take advantage of Infiniti by the reborn of the Alpine brand. Use the platforms of Infiniti but with European design: start with a Alpine coupé and evolve from there making Alpine the luxurious brand of the Renault group for Europe.