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Infiniti G35 coupe vs Audi A4 sedan

craigp1craigp1 Posts: 17
edited March 9 in Audi
I have a 2006 A4 2.0T quattro on order (premium, sport suspension, sunroof packages - S-Line at 3K seemed rediculous), but recently drove the 2005 G35 coupe. What a beautiful machine. Anyone else ever compare these two cars? I know their different, but they are basically the same price. While the G35 coupe has the style and horsepower, the A4 is more practical with respect to winter driving. The rear seat in the G35 is surprisingly roomy considering the style of the car.

My heart likes the G35, but my brain says stick with the Audi.
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Comments

  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    The G35 coupe is awesome, and likely my next car!!! :P Go with your heart dude.
  • I actually own one of each (my wife drives the G35) and so have had a chance to drive both cars a lot. The ONLY thing I like better about the G35 is the horsepower. It is much faster than the A4 and that's always fun. But, otherwise the A4 handles better, has better fit and finish and has been rock-solid reliable (the G35 has been okay). The A4 is a better car overall. But, the 298 hp might still sway you.....
  • colonel35colonel35 Posts: 108
    Not to argue with your personal observations, but CR rates the G35 as more reliable than the A4; my 2003 G35 has been extremely reliable, with only the navigation screen flickering in high heat an issue (soon to be resolved, hopefully).

    I've driven the A4 (1.8, with sport) and S4, and while the latter is very impressive, I'd say the G35 Coupe sport easily outhandles the A4. The A4 is a great, comfortable, poised and polished sedan, but it's not nearly as powerful or agile as the G35 Coupe. On the other hand, the interior design and materials of the A4 flat-out embarass the G35 (which feels like a Subaru interior by comparison).
  • craigp1craigp1 Posts: 17
    Thanks for the input. For you guys who have the G35, is it a car that could be used on an almost daily basis? My main concern is gas mileage and driving in the snow. Here in NY we have been having some pretty nasty winters the last few years.

    I do currently own a 2003 A4 1.8T, and it has been a great car, and initially I was simply upgrading to the improved 06 model as they seemed to have fixed all the complaints of earlier models, such as a more powerful engine, and a sixth gear for cruising speeds.

    But seeing the G35 coupe one day, and test driving one, I have to admit it was pretty fun to drive. And id looks damn sexy. I do agree the Audi interior has a much more quality feel to it. For some reason, the Japanese can't seem to build an interior that doesn't use an abundance of cheap looking plastics.

    And then today I saw the 06 IS 350 on the Lexus Web Site. Not out yet, but man what a nice looking car! It's what the new 3-series should have looked like. Such a tough decision!
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    If you go to the dedicated G35 discussion and use the Search This Discussion feature for "snow", you'll get lots of information! :)
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    The interior of the G35 coupe is it's only weakness, but this year's interior is better. However Japanese did a great job with the TL interior, all leather and polished and bushed aluminum.

    However, sports cars like the G35 really don't emphasize a lux interior. I think the sedan should have a better interior however. Audi interiors are fantastic.
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    (x-posted on the "Audi A4 2005+" thread)

    I purchased an A4 2.0T "Frontrak" (not Quattro) after comparing it to the G35 sedan, BMW 325i sedan (outgoing 2005 model), Acura TSX, Acura TL, and Volvo S40 T5. (I did not consider coupes because I require a useable back seat for business.)

    I may provide a more detailed comparison/ review later, but my basic thoughts on the G35 sedan (again, not the coupe):

    -Pros: Nice powerful motor (one of the nicest V6's available), exterior styling (personal taste, I know, but I happen to like it), reliable drivetrain. (I did not compare, but I would bet that the Infiniti automatic transmission is superior to the Audi CVT.) Also, for those of us in warmer climes, rear-wheel drive offers a performance advantage that even the best FWD can't match.

    -Cons: Brake rotors have been a significant problem area, at least on the 2003-4 model years (not sure if this has been completely resolved, I believe that the 05's might have improved somewhat), interiors are not durable or attractive for a car in this price range, depreciation is notably bad (at least in my market). Also: poor fuel economy (although perhaps not unreasonable, considering the power output), finding one with a manual transmission is nearly impossible (I wanted an MT, so this was an issue), lack of maintenance package that is available with European makes. Also, with comparable equipment, the G35 would have cost slightly more (although it does have a larger motor, so an even comparison isn't quite fair.)

    Also, the G35 will be replaced in 2007, so you may be in for a further hit to values. In contrast, I would guess that the Audi makeover in 2008 will be less drastic (in German fashion) and therefore less disadvantageous to residuals.

    I hesitate to report on a car that I have owned for only five weeks and 1,700 miles, but so far, the A4 experience has been excellent. After a proper break-in, the motor is tractable, the manual transmission is almost Honda-smooth (the benchmark for manual transmissions, IMO), and the build quality all around seems to be solid, with the interior being a high point. Ergonomics are very good (better than the comparable BMW), and the performance is quite good, with no discernable turbo lag if you work the gearbox properly. (Judging from the comments on an Audi owner's forum, the MT is notably superior to the CVT for performance and drivability.)

    Passengers uniformly love the car (comfortable leather seats, both front and back, and the design is quite easy on the eyes), the seats are excellent and easily adjustable. I also manage to beat the EPA mileage ratings: at a 72 mph highway cruise, I can get 35 mpg. And I'll be damned if the thing doesn't look great! (The sports package helps, thanks to 45-series tires, nice five-spoke wheels and the car being lowered by 8/10ths of an inch, a subtle improvement.)

    But being a German car, I will be watchful of reliability, despite Consumer Report's positive comments. Also, I don't believe that the standard included free maintenance schedule is sufficient (oil changes every 10k miles after the initial 5k change?), so I will be paying for extra work, despite the service agreement. (Update: Two dealer quotes for additional oil changes: $105-125 each!)

    The latest issue of Road & Track reviews the A4 2.0T quattro 6MT, and compares it to the Volvo S40 T5 AWD. Except for the motor, the Audi won in all categories, although the Volvo performed well and was considered to be a bit better bang for the buck. The article is worth a read if you are in the market.

    Hope that helps.
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    Great and informative post. However I think the comparo is apples and organges. The G35 is all power, and interior quality secondary. The A4 is all quality, and limited power. I think your post points that out nicely. Some sports cars are proud of the Spartan interior and major hp.
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    Thanks for your comments. But to clarify, my issue with the G35 interior is not its spartan appearance -- without wood trim, the Audi interior is itself quite spartan, in good German fashion -- but its apparent lack of durability. G35 interiors do not seem to age well, it seems that the leather turns to vinyl, the dash materials become dingy and interior parts do not hold up well. These kinds of comments are echoed by owners and the press, alike, and I'm going to guess that the rapid depreciation has some relationship to this.

    The character of the cars are different, but being premium sedans, they make for inevitable comparisons. The Audi 2.0 liter turbo is a nice enough and powerful motor, but there is no substitute for cubic inches, and the G35's six-cylinder is one of the best in its class. But driving a G35 with an automatic transmission left me with the impression of being almost American in character, down to the foot-pedal emergency brake and a suspension oriented toward ride rather than handling.

    The non-quattro Audis are FWD, so some torque steer at the limit can't be avoided, but it still feels more nimble (lighter engine) and better suited to vigorous driving beyond a straight line than the Infiniti. I haven't yet put mine through its paces, but a 90 mph cruise is effortless and easy, and seems to offer a better balance between ride and handling than does the G35.
  • craigp1craigp1 Posts: 17
    More great replies and very informative. I'm leaning towards the A4 at this point. As I research cars, it would seem by 2008 there will be a slew of new an exciting cars to choose from, even from GM! It would feel good to buy a great American car once again, although it is getting more difficult to call any car truly American or German or Japanese.

    The A4 seems to be the best when you average out all the pros and cons. It has nice looks, the best gas mileage (in its class), solid handling, great interior, quality fit and finish, finally 200 HP, finally 6 spds, Finally a Premium Package that has all the right options(2006), all for thousands less than the G35 and 3-series! ALL they need to do is ditch Bose and switch to Mark Levinson (found in Lexus). The Bose is no where near $1000 better than the stock system. And since the 2006 is towards the end of a platform design, problems should be few and far between.

    And in Ocean Blue Pearl Effect (now a sold order option only), there will be few on the road (which is always nice). My guess is you will see almost an many 2006 3 series on the road than honda accords. (5 series here are everywhere)

    The G35coupe would surely make a great second car though!
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    Thanks for the input socala4, I have never heard of these problems with the G35 before. When I test drove the G35 I really didn't like the foot-pedal emergency brake. I couldn't tell if it was on or off. My wife didn't like the interior quality of the G35 either, to me, I didn't think it was so bad, but not in the TL class that I bought for her. I thought the Audi 4 was under powered, maybe I should test drive the 6.

    BTW how does leather turns to vinyl? :P
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    Re: G35 problems, the brakes are a problem known to the manufacturer -- for the 2003 and 2004 model years, Infiniti has been replacing rotors as a warranty item. But I believe that owners will be stuck with the repair bills once the warranty period has elapsed. The interiors are a common complaint, although I haven't read the forums here to see whether owners complain about them here, too.

    The TL is a great choice -- well built, should be reliable to a fault, the option packages are easy and unconfusing (transmission and navigation are the only choices) and I don't blame people for liking it. It didn't happen to suit my tastes because the combination of the heavy six-cylinder and FWD made it feel to me like a big, heavy Accord -- not bad, mind you, but a bit sterile. If buying an automatic, I'd probably choose a TL over a 4-cylinder A4 with CVT.

    Re: A4 power, while I haven't driven the 1.8 liter turbo on the outgoing B6 platform (confusingly, both the 2.0 liter and 1.8 liter are labeled as being 2005's), the 2.0 liter is supposed to be much better, lacking the turbo lag of the prior car and delivering much better acceleration. If you believe that the A4 is underpowered, be sure that you are distinguishing between the two cars. (The new B7 model has the more aggressive front grill and Japanese-style taillights as compared to the B6.)

    I should mention that the desire for a manual transmission had a lot to do with my decision. At least in southern California, it would have been easier to find the Holy Grail than to locate a 3-series BMW or G35 with a manual (particularly surprising that a BMW can't be found with the transmission that it is begging to have.) Also, BMW option packages are a joke, the cars are either stripped or loaded with stuff that I wouldn't possibly want -- even a basic feature such as a folding rear seat an option (and not an easy to find one at that) and the Premium package is both costly and loaded with items that are, IMO, a waste of cash. (Do you real need an OnStar-type system when you have a mobile phone and road service?) And good luck trying to find a leather interior without paying for this costly, fairly needless Premium package -- the leather itself is an expensive option, but without it, you'll get the pleasure of "leatherette" (read: plastic) on your seats.

    Although Audi doesn't make it as easy as does Acura, the option packages make more sense than BMW's, and you can get by nicely with just a few well-chosen option packages. In my mind, Premium is a must -- it bundles a moonroof with a leather interior, power front passenger seat and a computer that is more useful than I would have thought. I also opted for the Sport package, which is actually good value if you want the lowered suspension, sport wheels and lower-profile tires, you'd pay more in the aftermarket for the same things and the wheels look great, IMO. The Bose is a toss-up: the sound is just decent, not fantastic, but it does include satellite radio (either XM or Sirius come pre-installed, so be sure that you get the provider you prefer, you can't switch on the lot) and it is superior to the stock radio (a bit more wattage and better quality speakers), so I chose it anyway. Finding an MT was easy, and it is not difficult around here to find a car that had the features I wanted and excuded those things that I didn't want.

    As for reliability, the A4 may be a bit of a bet. Anecdotally, there seem to be three basic kinds of A4's: those that are rock solid, those with minor faults (not drivetrain-related, but mostly little stuff, like interior trim, bulbs, locks, etc.) and complete clunkers. Because I have a turbo, I am taking the extra precaution of letting the car idle for a minute or two after prolonged and/or hard driving, to allow oil and coolant to cool the turbo prior to shutdown. Previous 1.8 liter A4's had issues with this, hence the 6-quart crankcase in the new car, but these issues are not uncommon to turbo cars that are driven hard and put away wet, that's as much owner abuse as it is a manufacturer's defect.

    Vinyl leather comes from plastic cows, I thought everyone knew that...
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    Great and informative post! Because of your post, I am not going to buy a G35 now. I am going to test drive some Audis that I have ignored like the A6. I generally prefer Japanese cars over German cars due to reliability and even styling. But whenever I see an Audi, I think wow, nice car. My wife has a TL, so at least her car will be running, while my German car is in the shop. :P
  • colonel35colonel35 Posts: 108
    My issue with the G35 interior is...its apparent lack of durability. G35 interiors do not seem to age well, it seems that the leather turns to vinyl, the dash materials become dingy and interior parts do not hold up well.

    I'm not sure where you're getting this from. I have an '03 G35 Coupe with 47k miles on it already, and when cleaned the interior and exterior look as good as new. Granted, the interior design leaves something to be desired compared to the A4, but I would--and Consumer Reports' surveys would agree--put up the reliability of G35 against the A4 anyday.

    I'm going to guess that the rapid depreciation has some relationship to this.

    Huh? The G35 is superior to the A4 in this regard, actually. See http://www.cars.com/go/crp/buyingGuides/articles/2005luxuryResidual.jsp.
  • edwardsfedwardsf Posts: 187
    SoCal,

    Super posts. We must have a very similar preference and feel for cars as your impressions are the same as mine after test drives of both cars. (Or we are just right ;)

    The G35 does feel like an American car. It has the strong, high displacement feeling of driving a 1971 GTO or Torino. But back then, I sold my Camaro and bought a Mercury Capri because it was lighter and more nimble. That is how the Audi feels next to the G35; less HP but quicker in midspeed acceleration and with more responsive steering on tight turns. Some commenters rightly point out the advantage of rear wheel drive and they are right. RWD sticks to the pavement in a much more predictable and balanced way than FWD cars. But the G35 simply does not make you want to scorch around a corner anyway as the car does not feel "tossable."

    As far as the interiors, I think the Colonel got the only good one. I have looked at several used G35s and their interiors looked in the condition of say, a .... 1971 Torino. Wait, the vinyl would have been better! One note for someone thinking of buying a used G35 or dealing with an aging interior; you can go to speciality places and have gorgeous brick colored interior put in for $1000-2000. That gray/beige is way ugly to begin with.

    One final point, because of its huge gas mileage advantage, the A4 pollutes a lot less.

    My question for you SoCal is why did you go FWD and not AWD? So many on this forum swear that handling is much better on the latter, But these AWD fans do tend to equivocate when one asks them whether handling is any better on dry California roads. I do go up to far Norcal to camp and to Tahoe 2-3 times a winter.

    Also the salesman said resale and especially residual is higher for AWD.

    Thanks for your posts and any response.
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    Nothing beats a '71 Goat LOL :P
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    I'm glad you've good luck with yours, but I have to say that I've heard complaints about it from owners, and was not impressed by the used ones that I saw at Infiniti dealer lots. (Hint to new car buyers: It's a good idea to go shopping for 2-3 year old versions of your preferred cars to see how well they seem to age.) On the whole, Nissan/ Infiniti reliability is high, but seems to be declining somewhat -- perhaps the company can't keep with its growing sales numbers, and rankings put them below Toyota/ Lexus and Honda/ Acura.

    This issue with the interiors first came to my attention when I was reading the various car magazines -- I'll link a relevant article when I find it. The complaints about the interiors on enthusiast forums are also common, albeit not universal. (You'll have to search for this information on your own, as providing them here would violate Inside Line's terms of service.)

    I would agree that except for the brake rotors, the G35 is probably a safer bet for reliability, although the car isn't quite to the level of a Lexus.

    As for depreciation, asking prices in Southern California for G35's are fairly well below that of A4's, even on dealer lots. Intellichoice also gives an "average" score to the G35's (depreciation is one of its main measures), whereas the A4 received the highest ranking. My guess is that the stronger warranty/ service packages helps the Audi during the first couple of years, while the G35's interior does not allow it to project a premium image.

    Re: reliability, here is an article from AutoWeek that is fairly upbeat about Audi quality improvements. It does read a bit like a Audi of America press release, but the cites from J.D. Power lend it some credibility: Click for article
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    I opted for the FWD version for a few reasons:

    -Car is a bit quicker because it is lighter (the AWD systems add weight)

    -Slightly better fuel economy (again, less weight)

    -Less stuff to break/ maintain (AWD systems are obviously more complex)

    -AWD is not much of an issue in my area (no snow driving in Southern California, at least for now), and if I do relocate to an area with real winters (a possibility in my case), FWD should be good enough. (The RWD versions of the G35 and 3-series BMW are noted for being a handful in the snow.)

    -A bit lower price (even with a mean haggle, I was reaching my self-imposed ceiling for what I was willing to devote to a car purchase)

    Many Audi purists are devoted to quattro systems, and I can understand that, but I'm not a committed Audiphile, so I have nothing to prove. However, I will say that deep down, I really do prefer RWD -- the A4 handles nicely enough and I quite like it, but all things being equal, I wish the thing was RWD. FWD cars are inherently less well-balanced (ideally, a car would have a front-rear weight ratio of about 50-50, but most FWD cars are going to be around 60-40), and even a FWD car with good handling characteristics such as an Audi or Acura is prone to torque steer and the laws of physics. Of course, FWD is better in inclement weather (that front-weighted design keeps the front wheels planted on the pavement, pulling the back end along with it), so in terms of real-world driving, it is not entirely without its virtues.
  • nyrefugeenyrefugee Posts: 35
    "The G35 does feel like an American car. It has the strong, high displacement feeling of driving a 1971 GTO or Torino. But back then, I sold my Camaro and bought a Mercury Capri because it was lighter and more nimble."

    Ok I felt that I had to sign up for the forum just to join this discussion because: I just got the Infinity coupe (manual), and the other car I was debating for was the Audi A4, and on top everything else I used to drive a mercury capri.

    I would agre that the infinity may feel somehow like an american muscle car if you drive it slowly at low RPM because of the low end torque. However, that does not mean that it has the handling characteristics of a muscle car. On the contrary it is a very fast car and it turns like it is on rails. By "on rails" i mean not only that there is no tire slippage, but the car does not even think about leaning towards one side.

    IT is only 300lbs heavier than the A4, and its 100bhp advantage more than make up for it. So do the fat tires on the 19 inch wheels. Even the sport package of the audi comes with 17inch wheels only.

    Also the steering of the manual coupe is very responsive.

    I have to assure anyone that is reading this that the coupe with the manual transmission has all the power and cornering ability one will ever need out of a car, outside of a professional rally race. Currently I am "breaking in" my car so i do not rev it over 4500 rpms (peak power is at 6800). Even with that limitation, the car picks up speed so fast it is downright scary. And the car has always been completely confident on any turn i have had the guts to put it in. I read in the manual that a light is supposed to go on when the automatic nanny goes into action, I have not been able to get that light to turn on yet. So this is no muscle car in the turns.

    Now you may thing that the audi is more flingable, because sometimes a car with less power and less grip is more fun to drive. That is because less power means that you can rev up the to the max power band and keep it there without fearing for your life and taking turns is more challanging. You also get this exhilarating feeling when the tires are screeching below you and you know you are at the edge of your grip on some tight turn. That was definately true of the mercuary capri. But it should not be confused for better driving characteristics as my Capri proved to me one day when it decided to do an impression of Disneyland's tea-cup ride in the middle of a busy three lane road.

    So basicly the infinity g35 manual coupe outdoes the audi in every driving characteristic there is. It turns better accelerates better is more stable on the turns, etc. And in most important characteristics the infinity is far ahead of the audi. So if you want performance that is the car to have.

    However many people want other things, and i have to admit the Audi A4 is a very good looking car both inside and outside. If that and the fuel consumption are important to you, you may as well go for the audi. And the audi is a very good performer as well ... just nowhere nearly as good as the infinity.

    The infinity coupe has a beautiful shape which is somewhat ruined by the generic looking front grille and rear taillights. The audi has a good looking but somewhat generic shape which is made to look excaptional (in my opinion) by the superb design of the lights grille, etc.

    From the inside the Audi just looks great period. It is in no doubt the best interior in its class. The infiniti has some strange choices in the interior (such as the fact that it puts the temperature readout in a heads up display, yet you still have to look down in order to reach the temperature knob, while you get convinient radio buttons on the wheel but the radio readout is not in the heads up display so you have to look down to the console to see what radio station you are on.

    However after the infiniti went with real aluminum this year the interior looks very good as well (but not audi good of course). And the wheel and instrument panel are superb -- the wheel feels great and looks great (even its stitching matches the color of the lights in the instruments) and when the wheel adjusts the console moves with it, so you always have a perfect view of your instruments.

    But in any event if you are a very aesthetic person, the audi will probably be better for you.

    As far dependability, i think it is pretty clear the infinity wins out on this. First of all even if the two brands had equal reputation for dependability the fact that the audi has front wheel drive and a small turbo powered high revving engine means that the components of the audi will get used up much before those of the infinity. And in general infinity has a better reliability reputation than audi.

    I leased my car so I was not especially worried about dependability but I did notice that the residuals of the infinity were higher than those for the audi. I chacked on the web and it seems that the G35 has the best residuals in its class:

    http://www.alg.com/awards.aspx (scrow to the bottom where it says award winners and click on "near luxury")

    Well hope this helps, sorry about the long post but i have a new car and i want to talk about it, you know how it is.
  • If you leased the car why worry about babying it during the break-in period? I thought babying a car was to make it last a long time? Assuming I am right go beat the hell out of that thing! Other than gas mileage what do you have to lose!? Have fun! :)
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