NEW YORK – Nissan North America Inc. stages the global debut of the all-new ’07 Infiniti G sedan today at the New York auto show.

Although an immediate hit for the auto maker when it launched in 2002 as an ’03 model, the former G35 has seen sales slide as competitors, such as BMW AG and Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus, have refreshed their entrants in the lower-luxury segment.

Nevertheless, the G35, which also is available as a coupe, accounts for one in three of all Infinitis sold in the U.S., Nissan says.

With this in mind, the auto maker has tread carefully in creating the vehicle’s next-generation, consulting with current G35 owners, as well as purchasers of competitive vehicles, to learn what they want in a sport sedan.

Nissan found buyers want “innovative technology and handcrafted quality” in their vehicles, the auto maker says.

“Infiniti’s unique mixture of vibrant design and dynamic performance really came together with the original G(35) and opened the door to Infiniti for many buyers,” Mark Igo, Infiniti vice president and general manager, says in a statement.

“Now we’re ready to add greater levels of warmth, sophistication and craftsmanship to meet evolving customer desires, while also upping the ante on (the new G’s) powerful driving sensation.”

Nissan is retaining only the “G” from the former G35 moniker, leaving open the possibility of a change to the vehicle’s 3.5L V-6 engine.

In late January, Nissan filed a trademark for the G37 name, as well as the FX37 and M37, per documents posted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s official website, suggesting a 3.7L V-6 engine in the future.

Set to go on sale in the U.S. in November, the new G boasts exterior styling changes and an updated V-6 engine, although Nissan does not specify its displacement. It does, however, say horsepower will be 300-plus and there will be a “powerful torque curve.”

The G35’s current engine tops out at 298 hp (with a 6-speed manual transmission) and 270 lb.-ft. (366 Nm) of torque.

Nissan again will offer a 5-speed automatic transmission with Downshift Rev Matching and Adaptive Shift Control, as well as the 6-speed manual gearbox.

For the fourth-generation VQ series V-6, which has been on Ward's 10 Best Engines list for 12 straight years, Nissan says it redesigned 80% of the powertrain’s major parts, with the exception of bolts, O-rings and clips.

The engine block now has ladderframe construction for greater rigidity, as well as larger crank journal and pin diameters, Nissan says.

The VQ’s block height is increased by 0.3 ins. (0.8 cm) to lessen piston side force and the engine center is lowered 0.6 ins. (1.5 cm), leading to improved dynamic performance, the auto maker says.

Variable exhaust cam timing now is standard; the rev limit has risen from 6,600 rpm to 7,500 rpm; and the compression ratio is higher at 10.6:1 vs. 10.3:1 in the third-generation VQ, Nissan adds.

The G’s front-midship (FM) platform is updated, more closely resembling the chassis of the midsize Infiniti M sedan, Nissan says. Dimensionally, the G’s front track is increased 0.7 ins. (1.8 cm), while the rear track is 0.9 ins. (2.3 cm) wider, adding to the vehicle’s overall handling stability.

The G retains its independent suspension, but Nissan says it has used a lower wishbone and long upper link to minimize front alignment changes.

In the rear, the auto maker says it has separated the shock absorbers and springs, putting the shock absorber in line with the wheel center to cut down on suspension friction and reduce windup motion of the axle during acceleration.

The G’s body stiffness is improved with new structural pieces in the engine compartment and rear floor, and body welds are increased 16%.

The G’s intelligent all-wheel-drive system, called Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All Electronic Torque Split, is retained.

The G again is available with both AWD and rear-wheel drive with standard Vehicle Dynamic Control. A viscous limited slip differential is standard on Sport models.

Four-wheel power-assisted vented disc brakes with a 4-channel, 4-sensor antilock braking system, electronic brake force distribution and brake assist also are featured.

A twin-orifice vehicle-speed-sensing power steering system is new for the ’07 model, providing optimum steering feel at low and high speeds, Nissan says.

While the G retains much of the G35’s design, certain elements are new for ’07, including L-shaped headlights and a grille with horizontal blades inspired by traditional Japanese swords, the auto maker says.

The hood is undulating, with a defined line above the grille where the hood meets the front fascia. The rear features L-shaped taillights, and an integrated spoiler accents the trunk lid.

For Sport models, there is a unique front fascia and side sills, as well as an available full rear spoiler and standard 18-in. wheels (non-Sport models have 17-in. standard wheels).

“The ’07 G sedan is a little leaner and athletic in its proportions, as well as more polished and detailed than the previous version, ” Igo says. “There’s an alluring quality that’s more prominent in this generation; a quality that is equally matched in the refined interior.”

Inside the G, Nissan says it has found a balance between cold machine-like interiors and those that are warm and soft.

The driver’s space has a sculpted form and a simple, intuitive layout, Nissan says. The instrument panel has new Fine Vision gauges, featuring primarily white illumination with violet, a color associated with Japanese royalty, used as an accent.

Red light is used to illuminate the G’s center information display, located between the tachometer and speedometer, which informs the driver of the average fuel consumption, average speed and outside temperature, among other features.

Aluminum-alloy trim pieces, which are textured in the style of Japanese handmade “washi” paper, accent the center console and door panels, as well as span the G’s instrument panel. Rosewood accents are available in place of the textured aluminum, Nissan says.

The leather of the G’s steering wheel now is double-stitched by hand in a process that takes two hours, the auto maker says, allowing for the stitches to be placed away from the driver’s hand for a smoother feel.

The Sport models with automatic transmissions feature lightweight magnesium paddle shifters.

A new audio system is available for the G, dubbed Infiniti Studio on Wheels by Bose. Nissan brags it has the industry’s first 3-way front door speaker setup, using 10-in. (25-cm) woofers with a head unit that incorporates a 24-bit Burr Brown Digital Audio Converter.

Igo says the G’s engineers crafted the car’s front doors around the speakers.

“The sound benchmarks were actually set utilizing a custom home audio stereo system,” he says. “The result is a breakthrough 2-channel car audio system, which accurately reproduces the impact and nuances of live music.”

The optional Infiniti Navigation System has XM NavTraffic, which provides real-time traffic information; standard Infiniti Intelligent Key with push button ignition; available rearview monitor, and a Bluetooth hands-free phone system, Nissan says.

Standard safety features of the ’07 G include Nissan’s Advanced Air Bag System with dual-stage supplemental airbags with seatbelt sensors and occupant classification sensor; front-seat side and front- and rear-seat side curtain airbags; and tire pressure monitor system.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com