Infiniti I30

Infiniti released the original I30 in 1996 as a stand-in for their aging J30 sedan, which was a rear-wheel drive car. The Infiniti I30 was notably sportier than the J30 had been, and sported a more aggressive look than the J30. However, it was never considered a true sports-sedan. Although the overseas Nissan Primera based G20 was technically Infiniti's least expensive model, the I30 was often considered to be the company's entry-level luxury car. Nevertheless, Infiniti often claimed that the car was aimed at buyers who would otherwise be considering the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the BMW 5 Series and the Saab 9-5. The 1996 I30 used a 3.0L VQ30DE V6 engine that was shared with the Maxima, as it was Infiniti's first rebadged North American Nissan. The inexpensive "near-luxury" I30 was Infiniti's top seller. All Infiniti I30s, and I35s, were built in Oppama, Japan, which was ironically the former home of the Maxima. The very first I30 was built on June 27, 1995 and remained Infiniti's entry-level car for until 1998, at which point, the G20 returned and took over from the Infiniti I30 as Infiniti's entry-level car. Infiniti made several revisions to the Infiniti I30 throughout the mid and late 1990s, including a fairly momentous styling update for 1998, which included improvements to the Bose audio system and the addition of side impact airbags. The I30 was again redesigned for 2000 along with the Maxima. Engine power was up to 227 hp but the manual transmission was no longer offered. Then in late 2001 the model got its most significant host of upgrades, including minor revisions to the interior, new optional equipment, larger brakes, a re-tuned suspension system and standard stability control. At this point the car was renamed I35 to reflect an engine-displacement increase from 3.0 to 3.5 L.