NA IS300 5MT or NA G35 Coupe 6MT (Daily driver/track build) - Lexus IS Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-31-2018, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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NA IS300 5MT or NA G35 Coupe 6MT (Daily driver/track build)

Greetings everyone. I have been plagued by a dilemma and require your expertise and opinion to resolve. Before you flame me, I will remind you that I've invested countless hours learning all that I could to help me figure out a final solution - I am here to purely seek out your opinion and guidance as to what you all think my final move shall be.

Brief background and ask:

I'm an avid car enthusiast with much of my car ownership history being tied to Japanese cars (95 Nissan 240sx, 01 Lexus is300 (auto) 03 Nissan Maxima 5MT, 99 Acura 1.6EL w/ b16 swap, 00 Acura Integra GS-R, 92 Lexus SC400 and finally my 08 Lexus ISF, now sold).

I'm itching to build a car that is both streetable and also a weekend track warrior. The car will spend the majority of its time being a street car however I'll be taking it to Toronto's Mosport at least 5-6 times a year. Having owned an 01 IS300, Auto with LSD, I fell in love with the relative lightness of the chassis and the pure silkiness that is the 2JZ GE.

I've seen countless NA-T and GTE swap builds however I want to remain NA for as long as possible if I go the IS300 route. I know the car can handle its own with proper suspension and tire set up along with improving throttle response by completing a few mods (clutch damper delete, throttle body mod among others). The car is also practical with 4 doors and proven reliability. That said, out of the box the car isn't the most powerful. Staying NA will obviously limit the overall power I can extract from the car however I want to maintain a budget and also reliability, thus wanting to adhere to NA only. Although the IS300 is still a contender for me with this power constraint, I have been toying with another option as well.

This brings me to the Infiniti G35 Coupe 6MT. The only Nissan product I've owned is an 03 Nissan Maxima 5MT - great car with the awesome VQ motor. Pros: Power, torque, looks great and is relatively problem free. The 03-04 came with brembo and didnt have too many oil burning issues as the rev up motors did which would be what I would look for.

Cons: heavier, and even though 03-04 did not have too many reported oil burning examples, it is still a possibility. Not sure how the engine and tranny will stand up to track use under full load for 15+ min runs at a time. I know the build quality is nothing like lexus and I say this having owned the IS300 and my ISF with MILEAGE on them. you can feel the quality of those cars by simply closing the door and hearing that solid thunk. This isn't to say Nissan/infiniti does not make good cars.

The G would be newer in year (slightly), with better looks (IMO), and most importantly, will provide a heck of a lot more HP and TQ along with a 6MT gear box vs 5MT for Is300.

In your opinion (as unbias as you can make it), what would your opinions be towards building a street/track car between the two options?

I appreciate any and all feedback!

2001 Lexus IS300
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-01-2018, 02:28 AM
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In that age range the E46 BMW isn't a bad choice too as long as you don't mind working on them. You'd have to have the rear diff cradle reinforced to keep the chassis sheet metal from tearing. I can honestly say my E36 M3 was in the top two track cars I've owned. Cheap to track and capable out of the box.

I've not tracked the G35 but have seen a couple 350z's on track and they did well. You can get brembo's to bolt on pretty cheap. I'd probably G35 over of the IS because the stock engine on the IS is a bit of a dog. Heavy and not particularly good HP for the weight. IS is an expensive car to mod too.

https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/...472881664.html

https://baltimore.craigslist.org/cto...464258420.html

I've toyed with the idea of tracking a 128i. It's about as close to an E36 M3 as you can get in a modernish BMW
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-01-2018, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your reply!!

I've always loved the E46 BMW, especially the M3 and did consider this option. Ended up taking it off the list due to wanting a relatively problem free build and general reliability when at the track. Since I won't be tracking all that often during the year, not too keen on having a break down while I am there.. I'm somewhat mechanically inclined however, any major overhaul or repair I wouldn't comfortable addressing just yet. The rear subframe crack issue is also another issue.

I've seen the Z really prove itself, great chassis and you're right, a lot of easy bolt ons including the brembo's. I really do admire the power out of the box with this option even though its a little heavier than the IS. I do agree the IS300 out of the box isn't all that powerful or track worthy.. its a tough one.

BMW's are probably out of the question for me at this point but never say never.

Anyone else with any IS300 track experience?
s/

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-01-2018, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Anyone else with any IS300 track experience?
I'm coming from the perspective of an experience tracker too. I had 4-5 track cars before I decided to try the IS. In comparison to the other track cars, the IS was wanting but for a new track person, it's probably not a bad choice.

Even with good track pads, the front brakes weren't confidence inspiring. At the very least, I'd want to upgrade the front brakes before I tried tracking it again. I probably won't try again till I LS swap it which might not happen before next winter.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-01-2018, 02:54 PM
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I don't have any track experience, but of the two cars, I'd pick the IS300 for daily reliability. My brother had a G35 while I had my IS300, and it seemed like he was having electrical problems a lot of the time, and the interior was falling apart in places. But the G35 was definitely faster. Can't really compare the two cars though, but I'm sure that either option will work out for you in the end.
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