Infiniti's Simple, Sophisticated iPod Interface

Infiniti1

Last week, I was impressed with the lowly Chevy Cobalt’s new USB input and interface for MP3 players. This week, I was reminded just how well other companies manage similar tasks. Now, there’s a big difference between a $17,000 Cobalt and a $44,000 Infiniti G37 coupe — well more than one big difference — but the interface in the G37 has been around for a few years not only in the Infiniti lineup, but in a few Nissans, too. And it is really a terrific way to play your music.

Infinitiswitch

I’ll forgo describing the 11-speaker Bose sound system because it isn’t available in all models.(Briefly, though, I’ll just say it’s responsible for one of the few times I haven’t wanted to get out of the car and head into work. Well, one of the few times I’ve felt that way because of how good my music sounded.)

But I digress. When the car is moving, the iPod interface really shines. Despite having more than 550 artists stored on my 120GB iPod classic, the Infiniti’s steering wheel switch lets me scroll through them all, either one at a time, slowly, or by leaping through dozens at a time by holding the switch up or down for a few seconds. Found the artist you wanted? Press the same switch. Yep, it depresses, similar to how Audi’s steering-wheel controls work. All the confirm or enter commands work that way.

Infiniti2

There’s also a nice big display showing artist, song and album title, along with the song’s duration in very big numerals. The touch-screen also works, so if your passengers want to take control they can.

The optional system also comes with a compact flash drive, which still baffles me. Mercedes and Audi have slots for SD memory cards, which are much more common and less expensive than compact flash. Still, it’s an added option. If you order the nav system, you also get a 9.3GB hard drive for music, and you can rip CDs directly to it. While this was once a neat trick, in today’s all-too-portable times, who wants to bother ripping CDs in their car?

Infiniticonnector

Unfortunately, you can’t get the iPod interface without getting the premium sound system, which is wrapped up in a $3,200 Premium Package, which also includes a moonroof and heated seats. That's a bit more than GM's $100 option isn't it? The navigation system is another $2,200. Even without nav, though, you still get the nice big LCD screen.

There isn’t much more you could ask for in an entertainment system if you’re a digital music lover. Except maybe that SD card slot.  

Comments 

Original sheth

"Unfortunately, you can’t get the iPod interface without getting the premium sound system, which is wrapped up in a $3,200 Premium Package, which also includes a moonroof and heated seats. "

And that right there is the most important part of the review. Nissan is notorious for bundling options into expensive packages and not allowing you to get stand alone features. Heated seats and a moonroof have nothing to do with an ipod interface. At least on German cars you can pay $400 and get the interface alone.

Although I'd guess it's an extremely popular package though for this type of vehicle, especially since it includes the bose stereo. But yes, there doesn't seem to be much reason NOT to offer just the ipod interface on its own. Or just include it standard on a $37,000 car.

Bernie

The German cars are already 5-7k more to begin with so your point is mute.

broq

Maybe that SD slot allows you to look at pictures or something, the way you can on a Ford Sync system (Not sure if sync comes with an sd slot though). It may also be an old through back to pre i-pod times. I used to copy music files on to a card so that I could use my PDA to listen to music way back in the day.

Broq

Broq,
You're right, I was saying an SD card slot is a great idea like in the Mercedes and Audi, but infiniti uses Compact Flash which are larger cards used in high end cameras and cost a lot more than SD cards. You can get SD cards super cheap now. Like 8 GB for $10.

Broq

Oh, yeah. good point Dave.

Broq

f

Points are moot, sound systems are mute.

Original sheth

"Or just include it standard on a $37,000 car. "

Now there is an idea that makes a lot of sense. Basically packaging the interface means that lots of dealers are going to stock cars with the $3200 package since they know many buyers will want iPod connectivity. Its a great way to increase profits. I hate Nissan's packaging logic. The Altima is the same way. To get BOSE you have to get three other things in a technology package that will cost you $3000 or whatever.

cody

ah dave t., here it is. couldn't resist it could you? ensuring to kick the cobalt interface while reviewing and INFINITI. I guess you did point out the price difference in the very last paragraph. you forgot to include the 1000x zoomed-in picture of the usb port though.

BTW, which nissans come with this exact ipod interface (big video screen, same steering wheel controls, high end stereo)?

cody

does it come in the sentra?

Cody,
I had actually taken all the photos and done this post before the comments on the Cobalt post came in. It would be pretty hard to get a camera at that angle but I can try again. Certainly in a well covered console, appearances don't matter nearly as much as in a head unit. You'd have to agree with that right?

In the first paragraph above I clearly state that these are two very different vehicles. I'm just writing posts on MP3 player interfaces and will continue to do so. It has nothing to do with the vehicles they're in for the most part.

If you are trying to "support" GM in some way I think you've really beaten down all the good praise I gave it to the point where people reading YOUR comments will change their mind about the post I wrote. Don't think it has much to do with me.

Nissan sports the same type of system in the Murano, 370Z and Maxima. No, not the low end cars like Sentra. I don't believe Sentra even offers iPod integration. I can't find any on their site.

Lee

What the CF Slot allows you to do though is to buy an adapter that allows you to use your memory card of choice.

Lee

What INFINITI need to do though is add a USB port so you can transfer files directly to the hard drive. They should also make it so you can just plug in a flash drive and do away with the CF slot altogether. Having to rip cd's is ridiculous.

But who wouldn't wanna rip CDs at 4x while they sit in traffic? It's like a dream come true!

Original sheth

I didn't even notice that the HD was for CDs. I was thinking you could copy files from your portable player to the HD. Coupling popular inexpensive features like a USB port to navigation or a moonroof is just ridiculous. In a luxury car it should be standard. This is like offering bluetooth with navigation- utterly pointless because most people chose cars without navigation.

cody

dave t.,

i disagree.

i don't think me pointing out that you continuously seek to point out negatives with regard to domestics has caused people to think less of domestic vehicles...it's your unnecessary negative comments that do that.

"the lowly Cobalt's new USB input" necessary to this article??? probably not.

i do agree about the picture. i was just giving you a hard time. my point was that super close pictures of anything don't come out too well.

you identified three nissans that have this 'type' of radio, the murano, 350Z, and maxima. well, the 350Z and maxima are both extremely expensive cars (over $30K), so comparing their optional stereo with the optional stereo in the cobalt hardly seems appropriate (or does it?).

however, the murano can be had for a paultry $27,680 (base), so it's perfect (buy two cobalts or one murano)....wait, you can only get an ipod interface on the LE, so the starting price is actually $37,260 (buy three cobalts if there are good rebates out there..we all know these deals are out there...you love to point out how bad they're doing).

you missed the point i made on the first post on the cobalt's (uhum GM's) ugly ipod interface and you just missed it again...and you've missed it before when i've pointed out you making unnecessary disparaging comments about domestic cars (like the article you did on the solara convertible when you felt compelled to point out that the g6 convertible and sebring convertible were crap).

there was no need to point out that you felt that GM's ipod interface was ugly and provide a hyperlink in this article about Infiniti’s ipod interface...but you put it anyway. i don't know what praise you're talking about, but it's wrapped in an insult just as i pointed out before.

broq nailed it in his comment on the cobalt article when he said that the title and tone would be completed different if you were talking about an import. you just proved him right.

cody

the title of the article on gm's solution for ipod integration into their ENTRY level cars should have been:

'gm's simple, inexpensive solution to ipod integration'

oh well, you'll never admit your bias. don't worry about it. there are plenty of people who post here who support your views and probably also don't see any bias in your choice of words.

Cody,
We talk poorly about sub-par cars all the time. As we should They're not great cars. The Cobalt falls into this segment. The entire editorial staff here would likely agree. if we were saying negative things about ALL GM cars you'd have a point. But if you've actually read the blog and our posts about Saturn's lineup, the Chevy Camaro, Malibu, Cadillac CTS etc etc you'd see what I'm talking about.

I said "ugly" because it is unattractive and the word Ugly works great in a headline. It gets attention. That's what they teach you at Journalism school. Tell the truth effectively. "Ugly" four letters. Lots of impact.

Yahiel

I have a 07 G35 and my local stereo shop was able to add an iPod connector for $265. They said the G's are pre-wired so all they had to do was add the connector in the center console and attach some additional wiring harness behind the front dash. It took less than two hours.

cody

yep, missed it entirely. thanks for the response though...

cody

dave t.,

to be fair, i went back and read joe wiesenfelder's review from 2005 when the cobalt came out. he seemed to be quite impressed with the car, both in terms of ride, looks, fit and finish, and interior quality.

wow, imagine that! not that it has anything to do with infiniti's stereo, but since you insist of crapping on the cobalt every chance you get, i decided to give it a look. i guess it became a piece of crap in the past four years...either that or joe just didn't learn how to use words like 'ugly' and 'crap' in journalism school.

http://www.cars.com/go/crp/research.jsp?revid=47197&indcriteria=ASSET_TYPE-Affiliate+Review%2cBuying+Guide%2cVehicle+Profile|M-_9_|D-_7634_|Y-_2005_|resultStructure-combined&makeid=9&modelid=7634&year=2005&myid=&revlogtype=19&section=reviews&mode=&aff=national

Belly

Cody, I really don't see how you could read that review and get the feeling that Joe W. was quite impressed by the Cobalt.

cody

no? he certainly didn't call it a piece of crap or uncompetitive. overall, it seemed like a very positive review, nothing like the constant barrage of insults it gets today from this site. maybe i'm just so used to reading what is typed here today that any positive review seems stellar by comparison. my how things can change in just 4 years.

HKM

Journalism? What a cop out of an answer. Since when did your blog entry titles strive for impact?

"2009 Ford Edge Video"....bam what an impact. Nobody including me is claiming that the Cobalt is a great car, but it certainly is a "good, competitive car" to quote Joe W. and I agree with Cody that you sometimes go out of your way to disparage certain cars when there really is no need.

But I guess they taught you that journalism has to be provocative and edgy and controversial.

Yes, Raving Endorsement here, in 2005 from Joe W.

"How good is the Cobalt? It depends on what's important to you and to what you compare it. Compared to the Cavalier, it's a quantum leap. Compared to the average compact, it may even excel in some ways. But if you'd hoped this new Chevy model would come along and show the class leaders a thing or two, then your hopes will be dashed."

With all the hits you guys give this blog I really wonder why you spend so much time digging up stuff to hit me with when you're so off base.

HKM,
Obviously we do certain headlines for certain reasons. And no, when you do 7-10 a day they can't all be winners. If you guys have legitimate complaints we'll listen but the constant whining is getting tired.

Original sheth

"to be fair, i went back and read joe wiesenfelder's review from 2005 when the cobalt came out. he seemed to be quite impressed with the car, both in terms of ride, looks, fit and finish, and interior quality. "

This is common. C&D reviewed the Cobalt when it was new and LAVISHED praise on the car. In every subsequent comparison or review they have contended the car is piece of crap. In fact, everything they have said since the initial review has contradicted that review. One thing I have learned is that if you dare suggest that the Cobalt may actually be a decent car you will get attacked, criticized and insulted- even if the initial reviews support the view that the car is actually decent. BTW, Joe's quote about the car not teaching the leaders a thing or two doesn't really qualify as calling the car a totally uncompetitive bottom feeder. He is saying it's better than average in some ways but not the hands down class leader. Sounds like a fair opinion to me. The problem with the media and the Cobalt is that they chose to measure it vs the sporty 3 and not the best selling Corolla. The Cobalt is as quiet and capable as the Corolla and that is what Chevy was aiming for.

I do agree that insults directed at the Cobalt are really not necessary in a review of technology in a $37k car.

cody

dave t.,

seriously, be a big boy and read past the first paragraph.

Original sheth

Cody:

In the summary of the test Joe says that the Cobalt would be a contender if it didn't have such conservative styling. He said more daring styling would have been enough to put the car over the top.

Cody,
Did you read the review? Maybe my reading comprehension needs work. It clearly reads as an "about average" type car from Joe's reviews with more cons than pros. He uses words like "Decent" throughout. There is no "lavish" praise in Joe's review that I can tell. Why are we still talking about the Cobalt? NO ONE holds that car with any esteem. It's not like we're going out on a limb here. I can't think of one car in that segment I wouldn't recommend over the Cobalt. Maybe the Kia Spectra which is being replaced this year.

I now understand why TTAC bans people from talking smack about the site itself, even though the site is based on dealing out harsh words to just about everyone in the industry.

When I started Autoblog we got tons of crazy and argumentative comments all the time. But I don't remember any that were direct attacks on me or the staff. We got many errors or mistakes pointed out which is great, but not this stuff. I'm really perplexed. Maybe its because we're one of the few places engaging in the discussion.

Sadly, your comments really mask useful info like Yahiel's explaining how you can get an iPod adapter added cheaply because Infiniti has the outputs ready to go. Thank you Yahiel.

Original sheth

" I can't think of one car in that segment I wouldn't recommend over the Cobalt."

You've made that clear many times. The car is less than a year from replacement so I think its logical to expect others in the class to be superior in 2009. The point is that when the car was new it got favorable reviews but after a couple of years everyone's memory got hazy and suddenly the Cobalt was no better than the Cavalier. The compact class is full of mediocre cars. The 3 is one of the few exceptions. Corolla, Sentra, Elantra, etc. all represent medicrity in different wrappers.

Last time I checked TTAC was a hotbed for GM bashing bloggers and their rabid fans. I don't think that is a site you want to emulate since they don't even pretend to be objective. There is a reason nothing they say is ever quoted or taken seriously.

OS,
That was kind of my point about their comment policy. They can dish it out but can't take it. I don't want to emulate it at all, I'm just saying I understand it.

OS also makes a good point. The Cruze will be here in a year. The Cobalt is at the end of its life, those types of vehicles, including the Spectra, should be at the bottom of the segment. This is just one of those times when it is really hard to argue the merits of the vehicle in question.

Now, you could argue Kelsey saying the interior of the new Mustang is better than the Camaro. That I would think should get the juices flowing.

cody

feelings hurt dave? i wasn't 'attacking' you. i don't think any of my comments constitute an 'attack' on you.

i just questioned the necessity of your comment pointing out the cobalt in an infiniti post. you continue to try to make this about me instead of just admitting that maybe the comment was unnecessary. oh well.

in a previous post, you challenged me to do the research, so i did. i read your site's review of the car when it came out. they didn't say it was total crap, suprisingly, so i decided to point that out.

i guess if it'll make you feel better.... you're right. i'm wrong. you should crap on the cobalt every chance you get in every article regardless of how little the topic actually has to do with the cobalt.

oh, and you should put a hyperlink each time that takes the reader to a picture of a cobalt with a big flaming pile of crap on it. that would be outstanding journalism.

cody

oh, and an ipod adapter that hooks up to your factory stereo can be had for just about any car these days. go to crutchfield.com, put in your car info, scroll down to "ipod/mp3 in my car", and check to see what's available. you will end up spending between $50-$250 depending on your car and its stereo.

oh yeah, the cobalt is a bad car with an interior made out of PLASTIC and an ugly yet surprisingly useful IPOD interface! there, i contributed to the discussion.

Cody,
Now, was that so hard?

cody

did i forget to put (sarcasm) after a few key sentences???

cody

it's impressive how resistant you are to even admit that i might be right.

No No, my comment had the sarcasm.

And you can ask my wife or my boss, I do not admit when I'm wrong. It just doesn't happen.

cody

You never addressed the 'issue' here.

Are you just unable to read those sentences that point out that you go out of your way to bash certain vehicles, or do you just not feel you have to justify those types of comments with a direct response?

Original sheth

"And you can ask my wife or my boss, I do not admit when I'm wrong. It just doesn't happen"

now that I agree with.

You also stated that its hard to argue that the Cobalt has any merit at this stage. I disagree since I dont believe the average compact car buyer is primarily concerned about softness of plastics. The Cobalt is a)cheap b)fast for its clss c)efficient considering its class leading hp d)blessed with a supple ride. It always amazes me how price and cost to own are WAY down on the list of things reviewed in cars these days. I think edmunds.com was the first to elevate the fine art of plastic evaluation to a fine art and it spread like wildfire from there. No one I know cares about interior plastics when evaluating a car they might buy. I agree the Chevy has tons of hard plastic, but I don't agree that its important.

cody

well, thanks for admitting it. i guess i'll stop pointing out the obvious. the hardest flaws to see are your own....oh, and the chevy cobalts!

cody

*the "cobalts" should have been "cobalt's"

This is great and cool. I loved it. Thank a lot.

Bosenoise

For years Infiniti has stuck with bose as a "high end" system. I can say that my car's one flaw is the Bose garbage that came with it.

casey

Do you need a special cable to attach the ipod in the console?

Ismail

Hi there. I've looked everywhere and i can't seem to find that exact cable u're using in the car in the picture! please tell me where can i buy it from? do u have a link where i can buy it online? and will it work with an iphone 4 and charge it? thanks

corners

Cobalts suck

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