By Zack Klapman.
A 2+2 coupe is basically two-seaters with emergency passenger/luggage compartments. As someone who currently drives a car with only two seats, I’m envious. You don’t often use the tweezers on your Swiss Army Knife, but when you do, aren’t you glad it’s there?
In many cases there’s more room between your fridge and the floor than a coupe’s rear legroom. The BMW 650i, for example, looks roomy but only if your driver is a jockey, or you can put your legs behind your head.
But two cars are decent hosts: The 2013 BMW 135is and the 2013 Infiniti G37 S, 6-cylindered coupes with 3 pedals, a stick in the middle, RWD; There’s few things as good on Earth as a RWD sports coupe.
The 2013 Infiniti G37S, is like a GT car. Embraced by leather seats as thick and comfortable as a Peterbilts’, adjust the electric bolsters, fire the 330HP V6, slide the solid shifter into 1 and find an excuse to drive to Alaska. This car is a freeway genius. It tracks perfect, has excellent steering feel and the steering ratio is perfect. The suspension dulls road imperfections without being numbing and the power-band is broad enough to make passes in 6th. With a slippery shape that can’t be bothered by big crosswinds, it hums down the highway with the confidence of the moon’s orbit.
Inside is a bed of leather, aluminum and smart plastics. The interior is a bit repetitive from years past, but it’s classy-looking and easy to use. You can even turn all interior lights (including gauges) off for night driving, fighter jet/Saab style. As for space, I successfully transported two live humans 110 miles in the back of the G37S, and complaints were minimal.
After 800 miles, I loved it. Its max highway MPG is 25, even at 90MPH. The chassis is taut in the corners, the Achilles heel being tires. Although it’s happy to drift, it doesn’t exude excitement, but it’s not trying to be. More like a Japanese Leer Jet with some F-16 parts. A 2-door 5-series. Need a kidney ran from L.A. to New York? Give me a G37S, happy to do it.
The 2013 BMW 135is is more private stunt plane to the Infiniti’s Leer. It’s the almost-1M. It lacks an LSD and feels a tad soft in the corners, but the engine is exceptional. 320HP says BMW, I say more. Part of the why is that all 317 torques hit at 1,500RPM (to the G’s 270 at 5,200). It also weighs 325lbs less, and powerband feels endless. The NHTSA probably tested the headrest strength with 0-90 pulls. It pops at idle and wails when you hit. Did I mention it’s really fast? Just…wow.
The interior is classic BMW, for better or worse. It’s not flashy, or even special, really. It’s functional. Hey, you want fast and fancy for $44k? Would you like a flying pony too? Exactly. Though I never put anyone in the back of the BMW, it has even more headroom than the G (which has more legroom. Appendage importance is up to you.)
Similar prices (the G37S at $45k) and power, similar speed (135is .3s ahead to 60), similar space. Where does that leave us? There’s something about the 135is that feels…mischievous, slightly adolescent perhaps. The price difference is negligible, but inside and out, it has a bit of rawness to it. It’s clear the point of the car is under the skin. You buy this if the 3-series feels too heavy.
The 135is attends Red Bull Air Races, the G37S is more a cocktail fundraiser kind of guy, but there’s a hidden layer of athleticism that will surprise you. If you have a long commute or frequent 4-digit road trips, this is one of the best 2-doors for that. But I am an adolescent with a thirst for speed and mischief, so I’d buy the BMW.