Nissan is a marque familiar with avid car modders. Whether it’s an old Nissan (even Datsuns) or even the latest 400Z, car enthusiasts love them. In fact, 350Zs are still popular cars in the modification scene. While some enthusiasts love their Infiniti G35 modified, it’s nowhere near the extent of the 350Z market.
They were made to appeal to the young demographic. The recipe is simple, put a big engine into a coupe with a sleek body style. Since Nissan had V6 engines readily available during the period that the 350Z was conceived, that’s what they went with.
And for the most part, Nissan did a really great job attempting to recreate the original Z. The 350Z had just enough credentials to make it a proper sports car. The straightforward naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter engine mustered enough grunt to propel the vehicle, and it sounded great doing so.
People also liked the way it handles, if not a tad firm. But then again it’s a car targeted at the younger audience. For those who want a 350Z with less edge, they produced it under the Infiniti brand, debuting as the Infiniti G35.
Essentially, the G35 is a posher, more luxurious 350Z designed to appeal to a broader audience. It offered a ride quality better adapted towards rough roads and was available in a 2+2 configuration. But it shared the same FM platform as the 350Z.
- The Venerated VQ35
- Modifying the Infiniti G35’s VQ35
- Tweaking the Infiniti G35’s Chassis
- Total Body Conversion: The Vaydor G35
Debuting back in the early 2000s, the Infiniti G35 is a car based on Nissan’s FM chassis, shared by numerous Nissan vehicles, notably the 350Z. The idea is that the 350Z is sharper and more unforgiving. While the G35 is more akin to a cruiser with comfort in mind.
This is plainly reflected in the styling for both cars as well. The 350Z has clearly defined lines with a straightforward coupe design. Its distinct outline with broad fender lines defines its purpose as a sportscar.
On the other hand, the Infiniti G35 is designed to be a suave, long-distance cruiser. This is reflected in its bulbous design and rounded-off elements. It’s quite an understated car, and that’s what buyers want in a luxury cruiser.
It’s also worth noting that, unlike the Nissan 350Z, the Infiniti G35 is sold in a sedan body style. The sedan shares the same underpinnings as the coupe counterpart, so essentially it’s a toned-down 4-door 350Z.
Despite how it looks and how much it weighs (approximately 3,400 lbs), drivers often remarked on the handling of the Infiniti G35. Highlights include its surefootedness and outstanding cornering balance, undoubtedly thanks to its near 50/50 weight distribution.
That said, compared to some of its peers (such as the Acura RSX and Toyota MR-2 Spyder), the 350Z is not exactly nimble. It differentiated itself from the rest of the market for its big and potent powertrain though.
This is the primary reason why people love these cars. And it’s also why you often see Infiniti G35 modified with an exhaust. Powering the Nissan 350Z and thus the Infiniti G35 is the venerated VQ35DE 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6 engine.
And despite the decision not to use any power adders, the VQ35DE is a highly-rated engine due to its state-of-the-art construction and engineering practices.
For one, it’s a fully aluminum, double overhead cam engine with forged rotating assemblies. This meant that the rotational weight is reduced, contributing to the engine’s responsiveness. Additionally, it’s a very oversquare engine with a short stroke and large bore.
This means that naturally, the VQ35DE is a very enthusiast-centric engine. It’s built for people who are particular about the engines in their cars. A straightforward, big displacement V6 engine that makes an exotic noise and puts out sufficient power for its purpose.
The additional benefit to the VQ35DE is that it has now lived for long enough to boast a rather impressive catalog of aftermarket modifications. In fact, we’ve seen it all. From high power, all motor builds through to drag-spec forced induction monsters.
Stock, the 2003-2004 3rd generation Infiniti G35 puts out 260 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque initially. Later 2005-2006 models with the 6-speed manual enjoyed a rather sizable increment in power. These VQ35DEs were known as the Rev-Up variants with 300 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Automatic models made 280 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque in contrast.
Noteworthy is the fact that for the 4th generation Infiniti G35s (as well as for the late model year 350Zs), Nissan has introduced a facelifted VQ35 as well.
Known as the VQ35HR (high revolution), this is the engine to have if you’re keeping it simple. It makes even more power than the VQ35 featuring numerous refinements and rehashes to improve the revving capability and strength of the engine.
In fact, the VQ35HR will wail all the way to 7,600 rpm, and make its full power at nearly 7,000 rpm. This is compared to the original VQ35DE, which would only rev up to 7,000 rpm stock. It’s not a stretch to say that the VQ35HR has become a crowd favorite.
Infiniti G35 Modified: Engine
When it comes to Infiniti G35 modifications, owners most often start at the engine. And you’ll be glad to see that there are dozens of places that sell thousands of modification parts for the VQ35 engines.
Infiniti G35 Modified: Engine Intake
From the factory, the Infiniti G35 isn’t restricted by its intake. In fact, it’s not an understatement to say that Nissan already has the stock intake system sorted out pretty well. This is especially true if you have the VQ35HR.
There’s a big discrepancy between the VQ35DE and HR though. The HR variant touts an impressive dual-throttle, dual-intake setup. The VQ35DE unfortunately makes do with a single intake feeding all 6 cylinders.
The separate intake paths allow for a smoother airflow path. However, due to the dual-intake (and thus dual MAF sensor – you can learn more in our guide on what is a MAF sensor) setup, it’s quite complicated to perform a dual-intake conversion. And the results are often disappointing.
Therefore, I would recommend you keep it simple. If all you want is more intake noise, then the popular choice amongst G35 enthusiasts is the JWT Pop Charger intake. It’s a simple cone intake with a heat shield that’s affordable and promotes an aggressive intake noise.
JWT manufactures a dual Pop Charger intake for the HR variant as well. Otherwise, Injen and Stillen manufacture an intake kit that relocates the filter housing all the way to the bumper. This helps to keep the intake away from the heat, which should prove beneficial for extended periods of spirited driving.
Infiniti G35 Modified: Exhaust
While I believe that the G35 has enough exhaust volume from factory, some might long for more. With that said, do keep in mind that most Infiniti G35 modified with aftermarket exhausts sound incredibly raspy. It also provokes a lot of exhaust drone that gets unpleasant on the highways.
For long distances, it eventually gets tiring. Which is why it’s recommended that you keep the resonator and even go for an X-pipe setup. It helps to cut down on the drone and raspiness, leaving a pleasing wail that the G35 should have.
If you’re still keen on modifying your G35’s exhaust, you should know that it’s dependent on personal preference. There are hundreds if not thousands of exhaust manufactured for the VQ35. Motordyne and HKS seem to be the two marques that most people favor.
However, if you just want to improve upon the flow, then getting rid of the catalytic converter or ditching it in favor of the Berk or AAM high-flow catalytic converters (for more insight, check out our guide on the S2000 catalytic converter and the high flow catalytic converter Magnaflow or Evan Fischer catalytic converters) might work better for you. It’s a delicate balance between volume, tone, and drone with modified exhausts.
Infiniti G35 Modified: Power Adders
If you want more poke out of the VQ35 engine, realistically your best option would be a retune. Supporting mods beforehand include the cold air intake kit, exhaust, and importantly a plenum spacer.
The idea behind a plenum spacer is that it’s a quick and simple way to increase the air volume of your intake plenum. Keep in mind that this is only applicable for the VQ35DE engine with a single intake.
For the VQ35DE, a plenum spacer works to great effect due to the VQ35DE’s stock plenum design. Due to the strut bar running across the two suspension towers, the stock plenum has a slope towards the front to provide clearance.
As a result, the stock plenum strangles the two front intake runners. The spacing between the upper and lower plenum on the front intake runners is way too tight and proves to be a massive air restriction.
Again, Motordyne provides a plenum spacer that’s ubiquitous amongst VQ35DE engines. It also makes an improved lower intake plenum that has been optimized for greater airflow.
All of those basic mods combined with an UpRev Osiris tuner allow you to perform quick reflashes on your Infiniti G35 at home. You can expect as much as 30-40 horsepower as well as ~20 lb-ft of torque in gains.
Finally, for more perceivable gains, you’d be looking at a set of camshafts. JWT manufactures cams for both DE and HR engines. More aggressive camshafts help to improve mid to top-end power and make your G35 more rev-happy.
All of those mods will net a massive bump in power and torque which results in improved drivability. Beyond this point, it’s going to be a lot more expensive and time-consuming to harness more power out of the VQ35.
From here, you have various pathways to tackle your build. Do you want to commit to natural aspiration, or convert to a forced induction setup? Obviously, forced induction will yield a lot more power for each buck spent. In fact, we’ve seen VQ35s putting out over 1,000 horsepower nowadays.
However, it’s not unusual to see owners going for the naturally-aspirated route. Some just love the noise and simplicity of a properly sorted-out NA car.
Naturally-Aspirated (Also Nitrous)
You’d be relieved to know that there’s a surprising amount of precedent for high-output NA builds on the VQ35 platform. In fact, some have even extracted 100 horsepower per liter out of this engine. That is a respectable amount by any metric.
However, it’s not quite as easy as slapping on a set of individual throttle bodies and a large cam. It’s a complete engine rebuild to manage this amount of power. You need all of the basic mods that I mentioned beforehand.
Bottom-end work is the usual, high compression pistons and lightweight connecting rods. Back then, you used to need high compression VQ35 pistons custom-made. Now, you can pick up a set of 11.0:1 pistons from Manley and Carillo Pistons (CP). Wossner also makes 12.0:1 pistons for this engine.
For connecting rods, you can hardly go wrong by sticking with any of the name brands. However, budget builders recommend the Eagle H-Beam known to handle a lot of power under turbocharged applications.
Making power on naturally-aspirated engines is all about airflow. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that your head is properly ported. Mild street cams won’t cut it anymore so you’d need proper race cams with 300 degrees duration.
With a prepped naturally-aspirated engine and E85, you should be looking at close to 350 horsepower and over 280 lb-ft of torque. Need more oomph? Then a nitrous kit should pique your interest. A straightforward 50 or 100-shot nitrous kit will provide a substantial bump in instantaneous torque.
However, those keen to go for over 500 horsepower should instead look for a turbocharger. There are primarily two turbocharger setups for the VQ35, either a large single or smaller twins.
If all you need is a good boost in output and you intend to maintain the streetability, then a small twin turbo setup should fit your needs better.
JWT makes a comprehensive turbo kit for the VQ35DE engine, and this is what most people recommend if you’re going for a kit. A modest street setup should yield over 500 horsepower on the twin turbos, with the capability of 700 horsepower.
There are also various twin turbo kits available for the HR engine. However, if you need more power (over 700), then a single turbo kit is the way to go. It simplifies the setup and frees up more space to fit in a larger turbocharger. VQ35s are known to put out 1,000 horsepower with a large single turbo setup.
Superchargers are also a popular option with VQ35s. Centrifugal and Roots-style superchargers are available for the VQ35. However, due to packaging concerns and the low-slung hood, centrifugal superchargers are by far the most popular option.
If you’re looking for a “daily plus” build, where you prefer a linear hike in power and torque rather than a turbo ‘punch’, then superchargers are the way to go. Centrifugal superchargers introduce a linear powerband that improves with RPM. While Roots-style superchargers provide a flat boost in power everywhere throughout.
Stillen, Vortech, and HKS are all manufacturers that produce a centrifugal supercharger kit for the G35. Stillen is one of the few that makes a Roots-style supercharger for the Infiniti G35.
Centrifugal supercharger setups are generally less complex, and it’s easier to manage heat on centrifugal setups. They make power as you rev higher. While Roots and twin-screw superchargers will make power immediately.
Infiniti G35 Modified: Chassis
It shouldn’t need saying, but if you intend to radically modify the engine, you should modify the suspension of your Infiniti G35 too. Fortunately, there are plenty of Nissan 350Zs and even some Infiniti G35 modified to clock quick lap times around a track. That sets a good precedent for aspiring G35 owners.
1. Basic Suspension Mods
You can vastly improve the driving experience of your Infiniti G35 with some basic modifications. The biggest palpable upgrades one can make are better tires.
Tire options are not specific to the make of the car. In general, stick with high-performance summer tires and you’ll be fine. Some of the most popular include Michelin Pilot Sport(s), Continental SportContact, and Bridgestone Potenza Sport.
If you need something more affordable, then the Hankook Ventus Evos would work well. Toyo makes the Extensa H/P2, which is a performance-oriented all-season tire that would not break the bank. Perfect for places where it often rains or in cold climates.
Moving from tires, you’d want to focus on the bushings on your 15-year-old sports car. The absorbers should have been replaced prior, but most of the suspension bushings on your G35 are likely tired and worn out.
If you intend to improve the performance of your G35 (while compromising some passenger comfort), then take the opportunity to replace the stock bushings with polyurethane ones. Poly bushings will severely limit the pliability between individual suspension components and the subframe.
This helps to cut down on vagueness and improve the response of your G35. Whiteline and Energy Suspension makes a polyurethane bushing kit for the G35. While the bushings are relatively affordable, the installation process is quite labor-intensive.
For spirited drives, the stock brake pads will wear out quickly and won’t hold up well to heat. Hence, it’d be a good idea to replace the stock brake pads with higher-performance pads.
When we mention brake pads for any car, there is a brand that everyone recommends: EBC. EBC Greenstuff and Red Stuff are perfect for street use applications. You may find better results in Yellow Stuff and Blue Stuff for a weekend use case.
Another popular make amongst G35 enthusiasts is the HAWK HP lineup of pads. These offer a fine balance between track and road use. If you need a more aggressive bite and don’t mind the noise or aggressive disc wear, then Hawk’s DTC lineup of pads are great options.
2. The Next Step
Beyond the simple mods, you’re looking to spend quite a bit more money. You’re looking at a set of quality coilovers, uprated brakes, and adjustable suspension components.
Due to the G35’s intended purpose, the original suspension may be too soft for enthusiast drivers. This is where spending money on a set of adjustable coilovers will be worthwhile. There’s also the benefit of lowering the car for better fitment.
If you’re on a tight budget but intend to stick with a well-known make, then you’ll be glad to know that TEIN makes the Street Basis Z for 600$. It’s barebones, only offering adjustable height. However, it’s the ideal OEM+ kit to improve the cornering behavior that doesn’t ruin the ride quality or your wallet.
If you have more budget to spare, then the Tanabe Sustec Pro Five coilover is also well-received. Owners love it for its improved cornering capabilities, and the Tanabe features more adjustability. Tanabe also sells the TEAS that complements the Sustec Five. It’s a speed-programmable electronic dampening controller.
Adjustable coilovers will include a pillow ball mount most of the time. Those will quite perceivable alter the car’s road behavior. You’ll be feeling more of the road, which will affect the NVH.
Big Brake Kit
Running considerably more power than stock? Intend to track your car often? Then you need bigger brakes. The earlier batch of G35s actually had optional 4-piston front Brembos and 2-piston rears. If you can source a set, those would be straightforward upgrades with a rebuild kit.
Otherwise, early 03-04 non-Brembo models should switch to later 07 G35 brakes. Those are generally well-regarded for occasional track use. A few brake manufacturers like Akebono and Stoptech also produce big brake kits for the G35.
Particular about tracking your G35? Then you’ll need a set of adjustable suspension components to increase the flexibility. Multiple fabricators make adjustable suspension parts for the G35 like Cusco, SPC, Kinetix, and Stance.
However, if you just need a kit, then Z1 Motorsports sell a completely adjustable suspension package for the G35. Adjustable suspension components are generally polyurethane, which means less rubber deflection as well.
Infiniti G35 Modified: Looks and Styling
Plenty of exterior mods are available for the G35. It’s highly subjective, but there’s a kit in particular that I feel needs to be covered.
The Vaydor G35
Vaydor Bodykits is a relatively well-known purveyor of total conversion kits. It primarily converts 3rd-generation Infiniti G35s into something drastically distinctive. It even got featured in the film Suicide Squad for its unique styling cues.
Carolina Vaydor is the current official dealer of Vaydor bodykits. The DIY bodykit sells at $16,000, but customization options like personalized interior upholstery can cost $2,000. They also sell completed Vaydor conversions that are available for $70,000.
Vaydor G35s are unique and the taste is an acquired one. If you’re looking to turn heads wherever you go through, these Vaydor kit cars may pique more interest than a typical Lamborghini. Given that you don’t skimp on craftsmanship.
How Much Is An Infiniti G35
The good thing is that Infiniti G35s are still relatively affordable. Early ’03 ’04 models can be found from around $4,000 to $5,000, while you can find nice examples of later ’07 models from $7,000 to $8,000.
How Much Horsepower Does An Infiniti G35 Have
Early ’03, as well as ’05 and ’06 automatic models, made 280 horsepower, while later ’05 and ’06 manuals with the Rev-Up engines made 298 horsepower. Fourth-gen models with HR engines made 306 horsepower.
How Much Is A Vaydor G35
DIY kits sell for $16,000, and optional extras like a custom dashboard are upwards of $5,000.
How To Make A G35 Faster
For a basic upgrade, simple engine bolt-ons will do. Any more, and you’d be looking at forced induction and upgraded suspension.