Project Infiniti G35 Sedan: The Poor Man's M3

Project Infiniti G35 Sedan: The Poor Man's M3

By Mike Kojima

Not all of the cars in the MotoIQ stable are cutting edge performance machines.  Sometimes we do have to have cars that are practical.  Our current office car is a 2004 Infiniti G35 Sedan.  The G35 is an excellent car for daily driving, it gets reasonable mileage in the low 20 mpg range and has 4 doors and plenty of inside room for taking the staff to lunch or meetings. The automatic transmission for dealing with bumper to bumper daily commuter traffic makes jumping into the G35 to go somewhere a no hassle proposition.

However the G35 has a fun side, it has the multilink suspension from a 350Z although softly calibrated, and also shares the VQ35DE engine with the Z in a slightly milder state of tune.  The car, although no sports car, is pretty zippy and good handling. The brakes are decent and the car can hold its own against any other brand of sports sedan. 

Project Infiniti G35 Sedan: The Poor Man's M3
Lower stance, wider tires and nicer wheels transforms the look of our car.  It's not an aggressive hella flush fitment but there are no hassles with rubbing or curb rash and it would take a big pothole to hurt things, practical for a daily driver.

These characteristics have made the G35 extremely popular, so much so that in our Southern California locale, especially in Orange County, the G35 sedan, especially silver ones like our car, are referred to as the Orange County Taxi.  Sometimes you can pull up to a red light and find no less than 3 other Silver G35 Sedans stopped with you.

We wanted a little more from our G35.  We wanted more performance.  Sometimes as driving school instructors we use the G35 to take students around the track to show them the line.  Sometimes we do lead follows with students.  Under track conditions the G35's shortcomings make themselves known.  The brakes fade in a couple of laps, the car rolls and understeers like any sedan.

We wanted a little more from our car, something to give us more performance, but not ruin the car for daily driving, something like what an M3 is to a BMW or if Nismo commissioned a special G35 model.  We could not accept a rough ride, noisy brakes, too loud of an exhaust or poor fuel economy.  We will be working on enhancing the car for this project, not going for the ultimate in performance or customization.

Project Infiniti G35 Sedan: The Poor Man's M3
At Technosquare, we start work on the G35!


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Tuesday, January 18, 2011 5:25 PM
It does look a little too low on the rear, both the height of the body and profile of the tires. Is it for looks or a result of the body design after applying the bench defined specs?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, January 18, 2011 5:49 PM
It is not too low, this is MotoIQ not Fatlace! :) Actually it's slightly higher in the rear than the bench spec from KW.
Dave Coleman
Dave Colemanlink
Tuesday, January 18, 2011 7:15 PM
Wait a minute... You guys have meetings?
Tuesday, January 18, 2011 7:27 PM
Ooo, interesting project car. I can't wait to see what brake compound you use to reduce the fade while remaining quiet on the street. I think I the missus might leave me over the Carbotech pads.

Really stiff sidewalls is not something that I enjoy in a street driven car. I use Dunlop Direzza Star Specs on street cars, and they ride fantastic and are quiet. They have great treadlife too with 200 treadwear rating, and I bet they are better in the wet than the nittos.

But they are a monster on the track! My Evo IX has done 1:44's with them at Laguna, and using them back to back wider R888's on my miata only decreased lap times about a second. The worlds most perfect tire?
Eric Hsu
Eric Hsulink
Tuesday, January 18, 2011 8:41 PM
When's the turbo going in?
Tuesday, January 18, 2011 9:47 PM
Mike, if I were you I would have chosen 18X9 with a higher offset.
Reason being: The 245 tire width sit better in a 9 inch rim than in a 8 inch.
The 35 series tires you guys picked up would be very harsh for the LA roads, they're rubber band !
Going with a smaller diameter rim (18 inch) and go with a 45 series tires instead would have given you a plusher ride, perfect for a sedan like the G35. Not to mention that tires would be cheaper too.
Just my .02
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 5:50 AM
^^^ I ran 255s on an 8", 245s on a 9" wide wheel is too narrow for me. I run 275s on my current 9" wheels on my S13 (rear).
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 5:52 AM
Read the reasons for going to a narrower rim. The ride is pretty plush. 19x8 is a factory fitment for some G35's as well.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 6:08 AM
I enjoy the combination daily driver / track car articles, as that's the situation I'm in right now. Interesting to see your decision points on how to make it better on the track without killing the car's ability to get you around on the non-track days.

I'm currently wrestling with tire & brake options for dual duty. Seems like street pads are worthless on the track, and vice versa. Tires are a challenge as well. I'm in New England and try to drive my E36 right until the snow starts flying. There don't seem to be any all-seasons that will handle even limited track, and the high-performance street tires don't do so well in the cold. All about compromises (or the need for a dedicated track car)...
saturn racer
saturn racerlink
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 7:51 AM
how much of the rear suspension on this (also the coupes and z's) is compatable with the 02 to 06 altimas? Im primarily talking about the link and bushings. They appear to be nearly identical in design (aside from the alti being fwd and these being rwd) but looks can be decieving.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 7:59 AM
I think its totaly different.
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 8:38 AM
I don't think there's a brake solution that doesn't involve switching out your pads before and after track days. Look on the bright side, though: your street pads will last a long time since you aren't abusing them on the track. But, then again, if your track pads are very aggressive, they might destroy your rotors.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 9:52 AM
Have you guys driven the NT05's in the rain? How are they in the hydroplaining resistance category? Looks like they suck, but maybe those huge grooves are really good at doing their job...

I ask cause I live in washington... and it rains here...
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 10:26 AM
Mike, impecable product taste and write up as usual!

I was wondering two things, though: 1) Is there a coilover that offers that same performance as the VIII without the KW premium? 2)I thought under Mike Kojima Suspension and Handling 101, you would start with anti-sway bars to get the most bang for your buck, before going coilover?

Keep up the good work, I'm very intrigued at your direction for a "cost effective" brake upgrade.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 11:22 AM
There is a reason why KW's work better, it costs more to make a good damper. You get what you pay for. You can get the VII's and have single adjustment and KW quality.

Currently the only company making bars for the G35 sedan is run by the devil and we do not want to sell our souls to get some.

We will be working with one of our partners to develop some alternative bars that will be better, adjustable with sperical rod ends!
Eric Hsu
Eric Hsulink
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 12:30 PM
Blah, blah, suspension, blah, blah, tires, blah, blah.

When's the turbo going in?
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 12:40 PM
After reading this I had to do a search and see who makes swaybars for the devil.

Seems like you need to go down to Georgia with a violin and be done with it like Charlie Daniels. Or did that already happen?
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 1:29 PM
Ouch. Mike is a meanie.

The thing with spherical rod ends, in a kit to a consumer x 8 ends = fairly high cost.

The R35 GT-R bars have the spherical rod ends, but the GT-R customer is a different customer than your typical 240sx, Honda, or in this case G35 customer that wants the best parts, but doesn't want to pay for them.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 1:48 PM
@Dusty -

That's where I think I'll end up on the brake pads. Just hoping I can get a set of rotors that's compatible with both sets of pads. Hoping I can just re-bed whenever I switch over.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 1:50 PM
You are the cool minion of Satan!
Eric Hsu
Eric Hsulink
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 2:47 PM
Sway bars, blah, brakes, blah, blah.

When is Dai's take off HKS/Rotrex supercharger kit going on the car? An additional 50whp is all the car needs to be keeping up with a V8 M3.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 2:51 PM
I think Dai wants to sell it to fund more parts for the 350Z.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011 3:27 PM
Eric, there is more to life than just power.

Anyway, we all know turbo is gooder.
Thursday, January 20, 2011 2:37 AM
I thought this was Mike's dead G35.

I also googled who makes G35 anti-roll bars.
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Thursday, January 20, 2011 2:57 AM
I'm with Eric. I want to see some forced induction on this biznatch.
yo vanilla
yo vanillalink
Thursday, January 20, 2011 3:54 AM
i really like g35's and considered one once. i like the project however i may have picked a different wheel. the look doesn't suit the big 4-door quite right - they look unmistakenly aftermarket.
Thursday, January 20, 2011 6:50 AM
I confused about all this swaybar talk. I also googled it, but I don't get the joke at all... I saw Eibach, Stillen, and Hotchkis as some of the swaybar makers.

I do like the wheels though... yeah, they look aftermarket but they also look sporty and match the car appropriately. As others mentioned, I'd probably choose 18" wheels, if only for cheaper tire prices and potentially lighter wheels, but what do I know? I can't even figure out the stupid swaybar joke.
Thursday, January 20, 2011 8:20 AM
Don't sweat the joke. If we wrote any more detail about who the devil is, it could be troublesome.
Thursday, January 20, 2011 8:31 AM
being a G35x owner... I can already spot the next write up, you guys picked up a bolt-on brembo kit off the G35coupe/350z and ran a 2-peice rotor setup.

Any reason why you went 19's rather then 18's, to follow up your OEM size wheels, 8 inch width at a +30 offset was never offered on the sedans, just the coupes. Since you guys when "baller on a budget" with the brembos, why didn't you guys do it with the wheels, I have 350z track wheels on my sedan. They cost less then $1000, forged wheels made by rays, referred to as "poor mans TE37" they are 18x8/ 8.5 with the +30/33 offsets.

Either way i do look forward to this car and what you guys want to do, hoping to see motordyne items if your keeping NA.
Eric Hsu
Eric Hsulink
Thursday, January 20, 2011 8:35 AM
I think you need to have been in the industry and around Nissans a while to get the joke.
Eric Hsu
Eric Hsulink
Thursday, January 20, 2011 8:36 AM
Mike, I think Dai owes you the HKS supercharger kit for your services. You certainly work above and beyond whatever Falken pays you.
Thursday, January 20, 2011 10:26 AM
Totally feel you on the decision to keep the stock shock mounts. I'm running a Ground Control set-up on a street car. I love the it! Except for the pillow ball mounts in the front camber plates... which I agree are a bit noisy.

Tarik Laaraj
Tarik Laarajlink
Friday, January 21, 2011 6:52 AM
I may just convince my pops to get a g35 for a dd and slap a few things on it.
And sell the good for.nothin pt cruiser we have now.
Friday, January 21, 2011 11:53 AM
I believe cusco still makes sway bars for the Z/G cars...

Also suspension based... I swapped out quite a few worn bushings with whiteline products on my Z with good results.

I'm excited to see what you guys do to the rest of the car.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, January 21, 2011 12:59 PM
The rear of the sedan is a lot different than the coupe due to the exhaust differences, only one company makes sedan bars.
Saturday, February 12, 2011 6:31 PM
I have the poorer mans 05 altima. How much if any of these modifications (or future mods) can I apply to my car?

P.S. Love the website and love all the advice Hsu gives in IT.
Sunday, February 13, 2011 3:38 AM
I should also mention that my altima is the 2.5L auto (not the 3.5 like yours).
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Sunday, February 13, 2011 7:58 AM
None at all although there are a few Altima parts out there. I think Magnaflow makes an exhaust, headers from a Spec-V might fit, AEM and K&N make air intakes and JWT makes cams. Nismo makes a suspension.

The G35 is a completely different car.
Sunday, February 13, 2011 9:30 AM
I am (mildly) more interested in my suspension. I drive it on the highway daily; Probably 100m a day. So I'd like it to look more aggressive but maintain a comfortable ride and the product to last. I have done a ton of searching and have found a lot of results. I wanted to get some professional advice though ( you can't always trust forums). Do you have any other helpful suggestions?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Sunday, February 13, 2011 9:40 AM
Get the Altima SE-R swaybars and the Nismo shocks and springs. Good ride, good handling, especialy with the 2.5 liter engine. It handles better than the V6.
Sunday, February 13, 2011 9:44 AM
I'd also like to upgrade my brakes some (while I think of it). Pads, calipers, rotors, lines? Do you know of any great ccompanies that help out the altimas?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Sunday, February 13, 2011 9:49 AM
Fastbrakes.com, please be on topic and move this to the forums.
Sunday, February 13, 2011 10:30 AM
Thanks for the advice and the hospitality
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