2011 Infiniti G37 Convertible Review
When it comes to sporty luxury drop-tops, Infiniti’s G37 Convertible is a strong value proposition
Infiniti makes a lot of excellent cars, and the G37 Convertible is one of them. It will hold its own in price, performance, handling, appearance, and luxury, when going against the European competition ranging from the Audi TT, to the BMW 335i Convertible or the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet.
1. Power comes from Infiniti’s excellent-sounding 325-hp 3.7L V6.
2. For 2011 the G37 Convertible gets a slight price bump to $44,500.
3. A Sport package includes 19-inch wheels, high performance summer tires, larger brakes, aluminum pedals and tighter, more responsive steering for just $1,350.
4. Standard features include 18-inch wheels, 8-way power leather seats, a push-button ignition with Infiniti Intelligent Key and a backup camera.
During our recent test of the vehicle it became apparent that any excuse to get out and experience what the G has to offer was a good one. After clocking up 600 miles on the odometer, we were impressed with just about every aspect of the car.
INFINITI’S VENERABLE V6 GETS BETTER WITH AGE
The engine is a powerful 3.7-liter V6 that uses aluminum-alloy for the block and heads, and comes with low-friction coated pistons. It makes 325 horsepower at 7000 rpm and it likes to rev all the way up to its 7500 rpm redline. Max torque of 267 ft-lbs comes on at 5200 rpm, so the motor always has a lot of pulling power to make spirited jaunts on back roads a pleasure. And the 17-mpg city and 25-mpg highway fuel economy ratings aren’t bad either.
The power on our test car was put to the rear wheels by a 7-speed manumatic with Adaptive Shift Control, and Downshift Rev Matching, which makes the manual downshifts smooth and keeps you in the powerband when pulling out to make a pass on a two lane road. A 6-speed manual is available on the Sport model, if using a clutch pedal is your thing.
The speed sensitive, variable assist power rack and pinion steering is quick and helps the car move through the corners quite nicely, although at 4,077 lbs., nearly 500 pounds more than the G37 Coupe, you do feel the heft. Thankfully the added chassis bracing translates into minimal cowl shake, and a solid ride. Cornering is rather flat with little lean.
Optional ($650) 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels, and summer low profile performance tires (225/45/19 in front and a 245/40/19 in back) help deliver added grip, although they also transmit jolts from every expansion joint into the cabin, making the ride seem harsher than it should be. At least it’s up to the owner to decide if he’d rather have the bias towards comfort, or cornering performance.
FOLDING HARDTOP PRIORITIZES FORM OVER FUNCTION
Most retractable hardtops upset the styling of the car, but this one seems to work even better than the coupe. And since this car was designed to be a convertible, everything aft of the A-pillar is unique, so the result is a handsome, aggressive shape that works from all angles.
The cabin is also handsome, and is more inviting than the European competition. It is well thought out, with easy-to-use controls and oozes luxury. With the top closed, the G is as quiet as any coupe. Dropping the clamshell top is a 28 second operation that will draw crowds with a complex reorganization of metal and glass panels. Riding with all the windows down is a pleasure, and if you raise the windows, it’s like sitting in a cone of silence. Rear seat room is slightly better than most of the cars in this class, but it still means that adults will only tolerate sitting behind a short driver, and for a limited period of time. Trunk space with the top up is minimal and with the top down it’s nearly non-existent - wearing a jacket with large pockets will double your storage capacity.
OPTION PACKAGES ARE A GOOD VALUE
The test car came with the $3,050 Premium Package, which includes a Bose Open Air Sound system that puts speakers on each side of the driver and passenger headrests – perfect for top-down motoring. Also included is a power tilt and telescopic steering wheel that’s connected with the gauges so the whole unit moves together. The comfortable leather seats are upgraded to include electric lumbar support and add fan cooling through the perforated leather on the seat bottoms and backs – easily the best such system on the market. Rear Sonar System is also part of the package.
The Technology Package ($1,150) includes rain-sensing wipers, Advanced Dual Climate Controls and Intelligent Cruise Control, which is one of the best technological innovations of the last five years. It allows the driver to set the desired speed and following distance, and should you come up on a slower car in your lane, or have one cut in front of you, the car will automatically brake so that the following distance you’ve set is maintained. Then when the lane in front of you clears, the car will automatically resume the speed you’ve set. That means you can drive on the highway for over an hour, without ever having to touch the brake pedal or speed control to adjust to traffic.
The test car also had the Navigation Package for a reasonable $1,850. The large Nav screen is touch sensitive and easy to use and program. It features weather and traffic alerts, Bluetooth, and Intelligent Voice Recognition, and an upgraded music storage capacity to 9.3 GB. The system will also play DVDs and includes a rearview camera. The storage in the center console is fairly large, and is equipped with a power outlet and an iPod USB port.
The G37 Convertible starts at $44,500, and the Sport model with the 6-speed manual and some other performance goodies starts at $48,950. Our test car’s bottom line stickered for $52,465. That’s a strong number, but it includes a lot of content, and will still be thousands less than a similarly equipped BMW.
The G37 is an excellent car for those looking for a luxury sporty convertible. It handles and performs well, and it pampers the driver in luxurious surroundings. It can be a nice stylish boulevard cruiser, yet still acquit itself nicely when the road gets twisty.