Here is a widely accepted automotive concept: whenever a coupe gets turned into a convertible things go haywire. A car’s main line for structural integrity is its roof and once that piece gets replaced with a soft top or even a retractable ‘hard top’, that integrity almost always gets dimensioned. Engineers must fight to get that strength back and do it with chassis braces and reinforcements which add weight. Weight is a major culprit in damaging dynamic performance, efficiency and fun. Even though history usually always repeats itself, modern-day convertibles are finding ways to shorten the gap between their hard top brothers. In order to determine just how different things become when a coupe becomes not a coupe, the Infiniti G37 Convertible will attempt to proof that being pretty and seductive is no longer synonymous with apathetic.
Just like the G37S Coupe we tested earlier in the year, the Convertible version rides on Nissan’s widely used FM platform. Most all of the company’s midsized rear wheel drive vehicles share this architecture, including the 370z, M sedan and FX/EX crossovers. When it losses its top, the G37 aims its sights directly at the convertible versions of the BMW 3-Series, Audi A5 and Lexus IS350. They all share a similar philosophy: two doors, alluring body lines, high output six cylinder engines and luxurious interiors. The hard top Infiniti is a rambunctious child wrapped up in a sophisticated and mature suit, making it a fantastic choice for an entertaining but comfortable grand touring car. Bathed in the most beautiful Moonlight White, our convertible tester adds one more adjective to the G’s vocabulary: irresistible.
In coupe interpretation, the Infiniti G is an obviously pretty car but when the word convertible is used, it becomes downright foxy. A lot of vehicles look unfinished and or not properly thought-out when their tops come down but not the G37. When the retractable hard top is up, it simply looks like a coupe with the same fluid and mellifluous front end as all the other Gs. The cleaner-then-clean profile leads to the tear drop rear end that has made all sporting Nissan two doors so memorable. Unlike its wild and crazy brother, the 370Z roadster, the G37 Convertible doesn’t look odd when the roof disappears. If anything, the vert looks so much nicer as the profile gives the illusion of continuing for miles. This is the top model of the Nissan world stretching out in relaxation.
Being pretty is one thing but living with ravishing splendor can be sketchy. To show that being attractive doesn’t have to bad off paper, our tester came equipped with standard features such as power heated seats, keyless entry with push button start, bluetooth hands free phone pairing and a seven inch media control screen. Base MSRP for our seven speed automatic is $45,000. Added to that price is the $3,050 Premium Package that gives the Bose supplied Open Air stereo with headrest mounted speakers. Also optioned is the $1,850 Navigation Package, $650 Performance Wheel/Tire Package and the $600 Interior Accent Package. Total MSRP is $52,025 with destination charge. That’s a rather large jump compared our similarly equipped G37S Coupe’s as tested price of $46,975 and a huge leap from its base price of $37,650. It would appear that pretty comes at a cost.
Now comes the time to answer the question: does the Infiniti G37 lose its precision in convertible form? The answer: no and yes. Compared it is drop top rivals, it is a rather stout performer. Propelled by the 325 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque version of the 3.7 liter DOHC VQ37 V6 and Nissan’s new seven speed automatic, the Infiniti out horsepowers the majority of its competition. If price and size were the only variables, then the G would only be beat by the V8 American convertibles: the Camaro SS and Mustang GT. But those cars do not seem to carry with them the same level of class held by the Infiniti. With the ability to cruise around in comfort and underrated style, drivers don’t have to worry if their prerogative is luxury filled transportation. The Bose Open Air stereo actually works: never letting top down wind interrupt the fantastic sound that is synonymous with Bose. No G car should leave the showroom floor without the optional navigation as it is easily one of the best and easiest to use systems on the market today. The dial control smashes anything from Germany and the touchscreen is only rivaled by Chrysler’s Uconnect. As a technologic performance vehicle, the G37 Convertible is right on par with its rivals. The disappointment, though small, comes when compared to its hard top brother.
Weight is the biggest culprit behind the dynamic difference in the Coupe and Convertible. Tipping the scales at a monstrous 4,162 lbs, the vert weighs more than 400 lbs when compared to the coupe. The Infiniti is heavier than the IS350C, BMW 328i and Audi A5 convertibles. It even weighs more than the larger-than life Camaro SS Convertible we tested. Over two tons and performance usually do not mix well but despite that, the Infiniti manages. Turn in is still quick and road grip is high, making it an excellent candidate for tackling freeway on ramps. Straight line thrust is still there, as the VQ revs fast and hard all while singing one truly enchanting song. Nissan could still do some work on its refinement as the V6 is noisy and at times, loud. It does sound fantastic, but not every trip to the store contains a flat-out blast in a tunnel and sometimes, we’d like the engine note to calm down. Another thing that doesn’t seem to calm down is chassis flex. Even though Infiniti engineers added braces to compensate for the dimensioned rigidity, the convertible still quivers and shakes noticable more than the coupe. The hard top is as solid as an ox, but the vert is actually affected by imperfections in the road. Try as the might have, the G37 Convertible simply falls short when compared to the coupe.
Being a drop top can be a hard life. History has proven that they are heavier, slower and less dynamically precise as their hard top siblings. And only on a rare occasion do they manage to look better than the continuously flowing lines of the coupes. Every so often, a manufacture figures out a way to tighten the gap between the two variants and a quality convertible is born. The Infiniti G37 vert may not perform as hard and fast the coupe, but is still and endearing car. It’s fast, comfortable, loaded with luxury and relatively entertaining. Not to mention it actually looks significantly better than the hard top at every angle. The VQ engine is excellent, managing to properly cope with the car’s horrendous curb weight. There is a reason this block has won multiple Ward’s Best Engine awards. In the end, the 2011 Infiniti G37 Convertible doesn’t fall so back from the coupe that it becomes a bad car. It may not be as accurate as the hard top, but it will still manage to stay strong, willing and pretty for years to come.
Photos: © Copyright 2011 Ossamah Shabbir