Even though I dont like the fact that this car is a little too Maxima-like, there are SOME advantages to it. MOST of the Maxima parts (both factory and aftermarket) fit on the I30. The engine is the same (VQ30) except the logo on the engine. Save some money on repairs/parts and take it to a Nissan dealership instead of an Infiniti one.
This car's full potential can be realized by adding some aftermarket parts. I've spanked some "sport cars" through some canyons (due to size and weight of this car but the lack of serious power medium canyons are best..too tight, small cars take you, too loose, cars with more HP take you.). More below.
In Japan, these are known as Nissan Cefiros. They look a little different in that the front grille and bumper/foglights look different but the headlights and rear-end look just like the I30s. There are some Japanese aftermarket parts for this car but most Maxima aftermarket parts should work fine. The Japanese version also has one piece headlights. Hard to find though.
*** What I do NOT like about the car:
Not enough "Luxury" features. The Maxima SE's interior is almost the same. The radio is also lame. The Bose system they use for the I30 (and the Maxima, and the G20, etc.) suck. My Lexus's Pioneer system was better (the Lexus's Nakamichi system kills this one!) Trunk hinge mechanism is lame. Looks like it came out of a Yugo. The small tention clip is plastic and breaks easily. The trunk's release button is in a dumb place. If you have something in your pocket or something hanging on the left side of your body (like a phone or pager), you can accidentally hit it while your driving. Nissan fixed this on the 2000 model, you have to now pull the lever rather than push it. The gas cap release is in a hard to reach place. This was also fixed on the 2000 model. The lack of a shift indicator on the dash forces you to look down at the shifter to see where you are (automatic). Sounds minor but my Lexus had it and I miss it. This car should have had memory seats. This car should also have automatic down side view mirrors when reversing (it's so easy and cheap to add this feature and it helps!) Car also had some sqeaking in the door panel, Infiniti fixed it free of charge (they have a "fix-it" kit for the dealers for this so this is a know issue, not just my car). Another issue, FAKE WOOD. This is suppose to be Nissan's "Luxury" line...they could at LEAST use real wood like Lexus!
*** What I LIKE about the car:
Styling. I think it looks better than the new one (though I'm starting to like the new one a little more than before). It looks larger than the 2000 model due to the "squarer" style. And it looks better than the newer ES300's...(those are starting to look dated!) I also love the roomy interior. Makes my Lexus ES300 feel like a coupe! Basically, I like the car overall more than my 96 ES300...it just little details that I wish Nissan would have put in the car that bothers me.
*** Driving this vehicle:
Well, within the first month, I had a full suspension modification done to the car so I can't judge how well the car drives stock....I do remember though that this does drive much tighter than the ES300 (but I have the "t" model). I HATE "Cadillac" like rides. That mushy, wobbley, old-granny feel...
*** Who should buy this vehicle:
20-35 year olds. People who want to do some fixing up to it. (Forget fixing up a Integra or a Civic! Performance "Luxury" cars are the way to go!) They look too boring when they're stock. It needs some rims (18" or 19"...if you're going to do less than 18", don't bother!)
*** Some additional info and recommendations:
A good rim size is 18x8 (5 hole, PCD is 114.3...standard Japanese 5 hole configuration). You can fit 18" and 19" wheels on this car. For width and offset, consult a knowledgable shop like Sprewell Racing, F1 Motorpsports, D2 Technik, etc...
You should, at the VERY LEAST, add a strut tower bar to the FRONT and a sway bar ("t" models already have the sway bar) in front. It will DRAMATICALLY improve the handling w/o sacrificing your ride comfort. Step two is to lower and get the rear strut tower bar (the rear sway bar won't make much of difference since it's a solid axel rear.) Step three is to get replacement shocks or the ultimate, coilovers. For coilovers, you may have to the look at a Japanese importer to get you these (and they're around $2000-$3000 for the set).
You should also consider a big brake upgrade if you want some real stopping power. Brembo makes a big brake kit (4 piston) for $2600 (Still also sells the same thing). Adds 13" front rotors for some serious stopping power. Braided brake likes are also recommended. For the rear, you can get replacement discs and some aftermarket pads.
A Stillen supercharger will give you near GS400 performance (but of course, it's still not a Lexus no matter how you cut it!) Around $3000 install...I recommend you do this last (do the suspension first).
If you dont want to go all the way with the Supercharger, you can add a new intake anf exhaust (b-pipe to tip or you can also do the headers)...this should net you about 10HP or so...not huge, but something...
A few venodrs make lower springs for this car...Dont buy the Stillen ones, theyre too overprice (which is what you have to look out for with Stillen, a lot of times, you can get the exact same item for less money...but on some things, theyre the only ones in the game...like the strut tower bars and supercharger) DO NOT BUY INTRASH (Intrax). Their springs SUCK...they sack out after a few thousand miles.
** I no longer own this car and I have since deleted all the information I had on this car. Sorry, but outside of this review, I can not help you out.