Infiniti G Coupe Drive & NALM Trip Planning

Odometer (ILX):  5,279

Happy hump day to all Drivers to Fivers out there.

Here are a few impromptu evening cell phone pictures of the ILX from last night in the Biltmore area of Phoenix, Arizona:

The ILX is just too photogenic for its own good.

And who doesn’t love a little in-car karaoke?  On my commute home from work this afternoon, the right song came on XM radio and got me pumped up.  It was this song!  Took me back to 1994…

I didn’t care that it was 107 degrees outside and I was stuck in traffic.  All four windows went down, moonroof slid open and I should apologize to anyone who was within earshot on loop 101 southbound in Scottsdale around 5:15 p.m. as I blasted the song at max (level 40) volume.

Having driven a Legend V6 luxury coupe for nearly 10 years before I got my 2013 ILX, I am always interested in seeing what a logical replacement for my 1994 Legend LS coupe would be in 2012 if there was such a thing.

Acura discontinued the CL model in 2003 and hasn’t had a ‘full size’ 2 door since.  I’ve been an Infiniti G coupe fan since my brother Payton had a 2003 6-speed Ivory Pearl G35 with Navigation several years ago.  We entered our coupes in the Hurricane, Utah Easter Car Show in April, 2007.  My Legend had about 280,000 miles it at the time.  Payton and I captured a few pictures of the 6-speed V6 coupes together:

Payton ended up getting first place in the car show that year in the Import class.

Today, the G35 has become the G37 and is powered by a 330 horsepower, 270 lb-ft of torque powerplant.  My friend Matt’s mom picked up 2012 G back in January and I borrowed the car on Monday so I could have “my” tint guy install some 3M window tint for her.

Even though I’m a 3-pedal manual transmission kind of guy, the automatic G is fun and utilizes a 7-speed which I much prefer to the CVTs (continuously variable transmission) that Nissan and Infiniti are now implementing en masse.  I have lots of great things to say about the G.  Tons of torque +rear wheel drive makes for a driving experience much unlike any car I’ve owned.  Detailed specs on the car are here.  Among my “likes”:

  • Bose stereo will rock your ears
  • Power on tap – awesome.  When commanded, this car will rocket you easily past any slow pokes on the highway
  • The exhaust note even in stock configuration is great sounding
  • Handling is great and the car feels ‘substantial’ – hard to describe but it’s not light/cheap feeling
  • I love how Infiniti has retained an analog clock in the dashboard – a ‘signature’ feature for the brand
  • Brushed aluminum finish center console trim looks good
  • Back-up camera much like my ILX has assistance guidelines.  Though, unlike the ILX, these lines also change position depending on how the steering wheel’s turned.  Pretty clever.

And a few shortfalls:

  • The doors are long and the frameless glass windows get in the way for ingress & egress
  • The car felt a little bit tight in leg area.  Seat belt was also a little hard to reach since it was mounted on the pillar behind the driver’s seat.
  • The screen/monitor could use a little higher resolution, and the buttons below the screen are awkwardly angled toward the ceiling.
  • Some of the interior materials (some plastic on the center stack, plastic center of the steering wheel) felt too cheap for this $39,250 “Journey” trim level coupe.
  • This near-white interior is way too susceptible to scuffs.  Even at just 3,275 miles on the odometer the door panels are already showing some wear.
  • It’d be nice to see a third (center) seatbelt in the rear seat.  There’s room for a third passenger in a pinch.

Overall a fun ride and perhaps the car that is now filling the role that the big-body Legend V6 coupe dominated back in 1991-1995.  I have faith that Acura can and will bring back a 2-door that can give this G a run for its money!  It needs to happen!

Mystery Solved

As a side note, remember that “mystery tool” I discovered underneath my driver’s seat the other day, thinking it might be something left there from the Acura production factory in Indiana?  Turns out it belongs to the window tint place.  They asked me if I’d found it, so I returned it to them.  Guess that answers the question!

ILX Sales Picking Up

June 2012 sales figures showed that ILX owners are now in the thousands so I’m glad that other people are enjoying the car as much as I am.  I took this picture a few weeks ago at an open house at the Acura North Scottsdale dealership where the community was invited to come see & experience the new car while enjoying food & live music.  It’s striking how different the ILX looks in completely stock configuration as compared to being fully accessorized in Premium trim like mine is.

The ILX Owners & Enthusiasts page on Facebook also continues to grow.

Upcoming Trips:

Frontier Days – Colorado

It’s a park & fly weekend for me as traveling from Phoenix to Denver for some train-chasing like I did last November.  Each year, Union Pacific steam locomotive #844 travels the 100 or so miles between Denver, Colorado and Cheyenne, Wyoming to attend Cheyenne’s “Frontier Days” celebration.  A concert, rodeo, and chuckwagon dinner are also in store.  Giddy up!  Even though I won’t have the ILX or the Legend it’ll still be a great trip.  Locomotive #844, after all, is called the Living Legend.  It’s been in service for 68 years.  I wonder how many miles it’s traveled?

NALM – Wisconsin

The National Acura Legend Meet (NALM) 8th Annual event awaits on July 26-28.  Since 2005, this is an event I’ve driven my 1994 Legend LS coupe to each summer.  We’ve been to the following destinations:

  • Dallas, Texas (2005)
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma (2006)
  • Las Vegas, Nevada (2007)
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee (2008)
  • Branson, Missouri (2009)
  • Salt Lake City, Utah (2010)
  • Morristown, New Jersey (2011)

And this year I’m off to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I’ve never set foot in Wisconsin before so I’m excited for the opportunity to see some new turf.  The host / ground team in Milwaukee has developed an action-packed schedule of events including scenic drives, tech sessions, performance driving events, photo ops, and of course the best of cuisine the MKE has to offer.  My tentative route looks like this, with the northern leg being my outbound and the southern being the return.

For the first time since NALM’s inception, I won’t be driving my Legend there this year.  Instead, I’ll take the 2013 ILX on its first real cross-country trip and see how it performs over the 3,706 miles round-trip.  I plan on making every attempt to post nightly to Drive to Five with pictures and updates as things move along, similar to what I did last July on the drive to Morristown.  I’ll depart from the Phoenix area next Tuesday, July 24th, after work.

Don’t change that dial!  I’ll take you along for the ride.

4 Responses to “Infiniti G Coupe Drive & NALM Trip Planning”

  1. Awwwwwwwwww… No 500k Legend LS coupe for NALM? Thats like starting off a the Superbowl without the National Anthem !!!!

    • Dave, it’s true. I have mixed emotions about leaving the Legend at home this year but it’s for the greater good! I get to experience this year’s NALM trip in a whole new light, and my Legend is still undergoing paint work anyway so maybe by the time I get back from Wisconsin it’ll be nearly showroom fresh. However, it’s a Legend meet after all, so in 2013 I’ll definitely be taking the 500k miler – reborn with a new coat of paint.

  2. I hear ya. I thought about the new paint after I posted.
    Hey did you get the picture I sent you from the Acura dealership yesterday?

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