(Photo courtesy of Infiniti)

It took a while to learn the difference between immediate gratification and genuine joy. Immediate gratification involves lots of frantic “getting over” — aiming for pleasure regardless of cost to self, partners and relationships.

You do enough damage in that mode and you’ll eventually wise up and turn away from it. You want something better, genuine joy, which requires patience, thought, caring and more than a little bit of love.

What has this to do with cars? It encompasses everything.

When I had a younger man’s mind, all I cared about was conventional acceleration. Get behind the wheel. Shove the gas pedal. Zoom and whoopee! If the exhaust note was loud and growly, that was even better. It mentally corresponded to screams in other endeavors. Once the drive was over, that was that. The search began anew for another fast, growly automobile.

Thoughts about how a family would fit into a car mattered little. “Family” meant responsibility, which seemed in inherent conflict with the need for speed. It mattered not that boisterous tailpipe noises bothered neighbors. Immaturity, particularly the male variety, embraces narcissism. Varoom! I thought the neighbors were in awe of me.

Time and love changed all of that. Experience taught me that tailpipe din disturbs neighbors, most of whom are not the least bit amused by what I once presumed to be a sports car’s loud, throaty, masculine notes. Love taught me that there was no need to show off like that in the first place.

Love is patient, persistent . . . and passionate. In a car, such as this week’s test model, the 2012 Infiniti G37x coupe, it builds to what Infiniti’s engineers call “acceleration swell.” Speed builds slowly, surely. There is no rush to peak with an equally quick and often unsatisfying denouement.

In the G37x, tumescent tension builds in tandem with the car’s smooth, steady, strong climb in engine revolutions. It is released slowly, joyfully, with always enough remaining, at cruising speeds.

That is why so many people love the Infiniti G cars in general, and the Infiniti G37 models in particular. Driving the G cars — which are available as sedan, coupe, convertible and all-wheel-drive models — is like loving and being loved back.

There is a distinct difference in feel, for example, between driving a G37 car and a comparable BMW 3-series model. The 3-Series is delightful, but you have to dominate it to get the best out of it. Even the electronic infotainment system in 3-Series cars is challenging — unnecessarily so.

By comparison, the tested G37x coupe is more of a friend. It invites you along for the ride. It has one of the most attractive and ergonomically sensible interiors and infotainment control panels of any car in its class. Short and tall people can find comfort in its confines. It’s also a coupe with a conscious. Child safety-seat anchors are easily reachable and usable in the rear cabin.

The G37x won’t beat a BMW 3-Series in handling ability. Nor will it top a Mercedes-Benz C-Class or Porsche Boxster coupe in prestige. But it arguably comes with one of the best-engineered V-6 engines in the business: a 3.7-liter, 24-valve model delivering 330 horsepower and 270 foot-pounds of torque. That torque, engine twisting power, is delivered smoothly and consistently from the lowest to the highest engine revolutions. As Nissan/Infiniti’s engineers so aptly describe it, “it swells.” And the exhaust note? It’s a nice, round baritone — pleasant to the ears and acceptable in all neighborhoods.

The G37x’s drive feel is spectacular, memorable and addictive. It is a beautiful sports coupe inside and out, loaded with standard amenities including a rearview camera and Bluetooth phone connectivity. It doesn’t beat you up. Nor does it require that you have racetrack certification for operation. Like most coupes, it primarily is a “me” car with discernible scrimping on rear-seat space. But there is enough room back there to safely and comfortably accommodate smaller people in the family.

It is the sports coupe with practically everything. I love it.