Manufactured by Nissan’s luxury vehicle division, the Infinity I35 was a luxury sedan aimed at buyers looking for a high-performing yet comfortable sedan. Its history can be traced back to the second-generation Nissan Cefiro, which was sold in the US as I30 in 1996. Over the years, the I30 received several upgrades, with the aim of beating Acura and Lexus in terms of sales during the mid-nineties. Despite having short production years (from late 2001 to 2004), the Infinity I35 continues to attract second-hand buyers who prefer an affordable sedan with decent engine performance.
1996: The I35’s predecessor
In 1996, the J30, which was a four-door coupe, was replaced by the Nissan Cefiro. Branded in North America as the Infiniti I30, this model was available in only one engine configuration: a VQ30DE that could produce 190 HP. In 2000, the I30 was given several upgrades, including a more powerful engine that could produce 227 HP.
2002: from I30 to I35
In an effort to boost sales, the I30 was given further upgrades, especially in the form of a more powerful engine: the VQ35DE that could produce 255 hp and 246 lb/ft. of torque. The change to a 3.5-L V6 prompted the change in name from I30 to I35. This new engine was based on the predecessor’s 3-L VQ but was tweaked to accommodate a silent cam chain, structural reinforcements for a quieter and smoother operation, a drive-by-wire throttle assembly, and a continuously variable intake-valve timing system. To appeal to consumers looking for a sporty sedan, the I35 was now equipped with a variable-capacity muffler found in the Nissan Skyline GT-R and brand-new headers. These exhaust system upgrades resulted into a deeper rumble, making the I35 a truly sportier version of its predecessor.
Aside from having a new and more powerful engine, the I35 was also equipped with a face-lifted fascia that included Xenon headlights, a redesigned grille, larger badges, body color-coordinated door handles, and a restyled rear lamp. Although sold as a single model as the I35 Luxury, an optional sport package was also available. This sport package includes a vehicle dynamic control for improved stability, extensions for the side sill, a fine-tuned suspension, and 225/50R-17 V-rated tires. The sportier tires resulted into a more stable handling and improved skidpad grip.
As for the I35’s interior, leather upholstery and wood trims added a plush touch. The simplicity of the layout, along with the non-flashy lights for the remote access fob, makes for an elegant yet practical statement.
In 2004, Nissan decided to discontinue the Infiniti I35 model. This was partly due to the Japanese asset price bubble in 2000, an economic bubble that led to highly inflated stock market and real estate rates. Despite its discontinuation, however, the I35 continues to be a popular option among second-hand car buyers.