SNOQUALMIE FALLS, WA - Fans of quirky TV shows may recall this location as the setting for the entertainingly bizarre Twin Peaks of the early '90s. Could it be that the folks at Infiniti are waxing with a bit too much nostalgia about the re-introduction of the G20?
The first G20 bowed as a 1991 - based on the well-regarded European Primera. It was retired after the 1996 season, but has returned with a longer wheelbase, 15-in. wheels, a bigger cabin and the same European counterpart.
The looks are strong and appealing. A new grille puts it in the same "family" with the Q45 and I30. The interior is tastefully comfy, and equally tasteful body molding outside gives G20 a sporty air of distinction. Handling is appropriately tight without hindering ride comfort.
Add some nice leather trim, a rear spoiler and limited slip on the upscale models and one might scamper right down to the nearest Infiniti dealer to snap up one of these jewels before they're all gone.
In fact, Infiniti is limiting first-year G20 sales to a mere 15,000 to 18, 000 units.
That may be wise.
The package is great, but it's underpowered. The European crowd that the G20 wants to hang with includes the Audi A4, its VW Passat platform-mate, BMW 3-Series and soon-in-the-U.S. S40 from Volvo Cars. A sticker that will range between $21,000 and $26,000 leaves G20 competitive on that score. But if savvy buyers are looking for a midsize or near-luxury model - yet expect more than a 140-hp 2L 4-banger - they may not bother to make the trip to an Infiniti showroom.
There's a lot of good product out there, Twin Peaks is no longer on the air, and nostalgia ain't what it used to be.