'Aw man, we shoulda waited!' is the phrase that ran through my mind the first time I saw the 2009 Infiniti G37 Convertible. (Yes, it happens to us too...) I was referring, of course, to the On Wheels long term G37 S coupe, a car we love dearly, but once I saw it in convertible form suspected we would love even more.
After spending a day driving the sleek, wedge-shaped car in and around Beverly Hills, Malibu, Santa Monica, and on the Mullholland Highway, I can affirm we’d definitely be loving it even more if it were the convertible. Infiniti’s first convertible since 1992’s M30, the G37 Convertible is a worthy addition to the Infiniti G line of cars.
The hardtop stacks itself into three sections before lowering and stowing itself beneath the trunk lid in approximately 30 seconds. Infiniti’s engineers went with this method to avoid raising the rear deck lid of the car the way so many other engineers have done with hardtop convertibles. This keeps the rear of the car nicely balanced with the front and gives the G37 Convertible a sleek and purposeful appearance.
In fact, from the windshield frame back (the A-pillar) the entire car was redesigned to make the proportions come out right. If you look at the coupe and the convertible side-by-side, you’ll note the rear overhang of the convertible is diminished and the rear track is wider, as is the overall width. Additionally, the rear suspension was redesigned to accommodate the folding roof.
The convertible is powered by a 325-horsepower version of Nissan’s VQ-series V6 engine that makes 267 ft-lbs of torque. Power is transferred to the rear wheels via either a six-speed manual, or a seven-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode that matches revs on downshifts.
Three models are available, G37 Convertible, the more aggressive G37S Convertible Sport 6MT and the luxurious G Convertible Premier Edition. Only 200 of the latter were built and are sold exclusively through Bloomingdale’s Holiday Catalog.
As you probably guessed, the most interesting driver of the three is the G37S, which comes with 19-inch wheels (as opposed to the standard 18’s), sport tuned steering, a firmer suspension setup, a limited-slip differential and a six-speed manual transmission. I spent most of my introductory drive day in this model and am happy to report that it, in large measure, drives similarly to the On Wheels long term G37 S Coupe.
The convertible picks up some 400 pounds and gives up 12 horsepower compared to its fixed-roof sibling. You don't need to be an MIT graduate to know this is going to cost performance wise. And indeed, in back to back comparisons with the coupe, it does feel less crisp. However, the delightful balance we’ve come to expect from Nissan’s front-midship platform is strongly in evidence and the open G acquits itself with remarkable ferocity attacking the varied twists and turns of Mullholland. Even with the top folded and stacked out back, balance and agility are still quite good. If you drove the convertible without having ever experienced the coupe you’d be quite satisfied with the G37 Convertible’s handling and performance.
Interior-wise, comfort and convenience abounds.
Leather upholstery for the seats is standard. A power walk-in feature moves the heated eight-way adjustable front seats out of the way so passengers can access the rear of the cabin at a touch of a button (a cooling function is also available as an option). Not a lot of room back there though, so keep four-person drives brief.
The interior can be trimmed in your choice of a special Silk Obi aluminum trim, treated to look like fine silk or African Rosewood. If you are of a mind to acquire one of the 200 Bloomie’s Premier models, you’ll get red leather complimented by red-tone Maple wood (an absolutely stunning combination).
The list of comfort and convenience items is suitably lengthy and includes smart A/C that considers the ambient temperature, the position of the roof, and how fast the car is moving, before adjusting the airflow accordingly. The usual suspects like keyless entry and start, steering wheel mounted audio and cruise controls are standard as well. An available 13-speaker Bose Open Air Sound system incorporates speakers in the headrests as well as an iPod interface system. Other options include Active Cruise Control, Bluetooth, XM RealTime Traffic Navigation, a rear backup camera, and a nine-gig Music Box Hard Drive with a CompactFlash slot.
While it may have taken Infiniti 17 years to bring a convertible back to North America, one drive will reveal that time was put to good use. The G37 Convertible is fast, agile, good looking, well equipped and very comfortable. And, while it is a bit slower and less agile than the coupe we love so dearly, we'd gladly make room for the convertible in our dream garage.
Base Price: Est. $45,000
Engine: 3.7-liter V6
Horsepower: 325 @ 7000 rpm
Torque: 267 @ 5200
Transmission(s): Six-speed manual/ Seven-speed automatic
Drivetrain: Front engine/rear drive
Fuel Economy: Est. 17-city/25-highway