Infiniti G37 Convertible offers luxury, performance and lots of fun

By Lary

So there I was, behind the wheel of the new Infiniti G37 convertible, cruising down the sunny Pacific Coast Highway with the top down just north of Malibu, after descending from an exhilarating ride through the legendary hills and canyons to the northeast, that began in Beverly Hills. With the Stones, “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” blasting crystal clear from the premium, 13-speaker Bose Open Air audio system, I’m smiling, thinking to myself, “Life is good — but could be a whole lot better if I actually owned one of these.”

I could stop here, because that says way more about this car than almost anything else I’m going to write. But since I have to fill up the rest of this page, I might as well supply some details.

Offered in two models, the G37 Convertible 7AT, and Sport 6MT, several option packages can totally personalize your G37. A limited edition Bloomingdale’s Premier Edition was marketed through Bloomie’s 2008 Holiday Catalog. Only 200 will be produced — and all were snapped up immediately — with a waiting list.

Walkaround: Unlike other cars in this segment, this G37 was designed specifically as a convertible — not as a G coupe with a mechanical top. Everything from the windshield back is new, including a revised rear suspension system, and special body reinforcements that deliver a tight, vibration-free ride at any speed.

Infiniti’s design priority was to retain the coupe profile with the top up. While the roofline is different from the fastback look of the coupe, it’s still attractive and done better than most rivals. Infiniti designers also kept the coupe’s proportions, not lengthening the rear deck to accommodate the 3-piece folding top. The rear fascia and wraparound taillights are also exclusive to the convertible.

The flowing front fender curves, double-arch grille, wave-style aluminum hood, and L-shaped High-Intensity Discharge (HID) bi-functional xenon headlights mirror the coupe. Also offered is Infiniti’s “self-healing” Scratch Shield paint in eight colors. In short — top up or down — the G37 is pretty hot looking.

Interior: The driver-oriented cockpit is a combination of craftsmanship and sophistication, featuring a one-piece steering wheel and gauge setup that moves as a unit so the electroluminescent white-and-violet instrumentation is always situated for maximum visibility no matter what the wheel position. The double hand-stitched leather-covered steering wheel features standard audio and cruise controls, with magnesium paddle shifters available on the 7-speed automatic transmission (G37 Convertible with Sport Package only).

Special Japanese-inspired Silk Obi aluminum trim is featured, with genuine African Rosewood also a choice. Leather-appointed, heated 8-way power driver/passenger seats are standard, with Climate-Controlled Seats (heating and cooling functions) available with the Premium Package. Also standard is Infiniti’s Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, and an Adaptive Dual Zone Climate Control System. The advanced A/C system automatically adjusts to provide maximum comfort with the top up or down.

There’s two audio systems available. Standard is a 6-speaker AM/FM/6CD with MP3 playback capability, Radio Data System (RDS) and optional XM® Satellite Radio.

The other is the killer 13-speaker Bose® Open Air Sound system, featuring microphones that automatically optimize EQ settings for open/closed top positions. The system’s special Bose® front seat personal speakers, mounted in the head restraints, deliver superior front audio quality regardless of the top position. An iPod interface is also included.

A Bluetooth hands-free Phone System is also available along with and a 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive with CompactFlash® slot.

A standard 7-inch multi-function color computer display, controls the available backup camera, voice-recognition navigation, XM NavTraffic® with Real-Time Traffic information (XM® subscription required, sold separately) as well as the climate controls and all other functions and settings. It tops the center stack above Infiniti’s signature analog clock.

Under The Hood: The G Convertible features Infiniti’s outstanding 3.7-liter, 325-horse, V6 powerplant with VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift), rated at 267 lb-ft of torque.

The VVEL system combines hydraulic-controlled variable valve timing and electronically controlled variable valve lift to improve not only performance, but also fuel efficiency, with cleaner emissions.

The V6 is married to either an electronically controlled 7-speed automatic transmission with manual mode, downshift rev matching, Drive Sport (DS) mode and Adaptive Shift Control (ASC), with available magnesium paddle shifters; or a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission on the Sport 6MT. I drove both, and unusual for me, preferred the automatic.

Behind The Wheel: The Infiniti G37 convertible is a blast to drive — top up or down. Built on Infiniti’s FM (Front Mid-ship) platform, the exceptional front/rear weight balance creates a rigid, stable foundation for the 4-wheel independent suspension. Ride and handling are exceptional — especially for a convertible, since the usual body twist and vibration are missing. Steering is responsive courtesy of the power speed-sensing system. Sport-tuned steering is offered on the Sport 6MT and G37 Convertible with Sport Package. Standard on all G Convertibles is Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with cancel switch and Traction Control System (TCS).

Acceleration is exceptional under all conditions, with braking provided by standard 4-wheel vented discs with 4-channel, 4-sensor ABS, Electronic Brake force Distribution, and Brake Assist.

Also available is Infiniti’s Intelligent Cruise Control with Preview Braking, which assists in maintaining a consistent following distance from the vehicle ahead. It also identifies sudden braking situations with laser sensors that determine distance and relative speed of the vehicle ahead and “pre-pressurizes” the Brake Assist system before the driver steps on the brake pedal. I’m not a fan of these systems in general, but this one works better than most.

Whines: A center-mounted armrest would be perfect.

Bottom Line: This is an exceptional, well-though out, high-quality automobile in absolutely every respect. It’s beautiful, fast, luxurious and comfortable. If you love convertib
les like I do. Drive the Infiniti G37, and you’ll want one.