By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor - Updated Date: 8/26/2011
Since its inception, Infiniti has been able to manufacture automobiles that effectively competed in every luxury segment, save for one: the premium convertible. In 2009, Infiniti rectified this situation by introducing the G37 Convertible, an elegant, sophisticated open-air coupe complete with a retractable hardtop and a healthy dose of performance capabilities. Competitively priced in its segment, the 2011 G37 Convertible handles nearly as well as a BMW 3 Series, rivals the Audi A5 Cabriolet's interior style and flair, and holds its value as well as the Lexus IS250 C. On the flip side, it can be reasonably argued that the car is a tad overweight, is stiffly sprung, and exhibits more body flex and interior rattles than other convertibles we've tested. With two well-equipped models, one favoring a more luxury-oriented buyer and the other aimed squarely at enthusiast drivers, Infiniti has successfully created a single car capable of competing with numerous competitors across a wid- price spectrum.
If you're looking for an open-air roadster that can convincingly pass for a sporty coupe when its top is in place, the 2011 Infiniti G37 Convertible deserves your full attention. Its low slung body and cozy cockpit are a far cry from larger convertible models that can feel and drive like midsize sedans.
If you expect a premium convertible to be as practical as it is polished, the 2011 Infiniti G37 Convertible's tiny rear seat, shallow trunk, and stiff ride may not live up to your expectations. And those who need the year-round security of all-wheel drive will have to look to the Audi A5 Cabriolet.
For 2011, Infiniti revises the G37 Convertible's front end, moving the fog lights from inside the headlamp casings to the lower fascia. Also new is a Limited Edition model that features such unique offerings as Monaco Red leather seating with red-tone maple accents. The Navigation Package is now standard on the G37 Sport 6MT.
With its rear-drive layout, impressive 325-horsepower engine, and massive 19-inch wheels and tires, the 2011 Infiniti G37's performance credentials are in little doubt. While definitely a great straight line performer, the G37 Convertible is not as light and agile as its cousin, the G37 Coupe. There are two reasons for the performance variation between the coupe and convertible: the retractable hard top adds about 450 pounds to the car's weight, and the removal of the structural roof allows for more body flexing during hard cornering maneuvers. The seven-speed automatic does a masterful job of distributing the 3.7-liter V6 engine's power, but we still prefer the six-speed manual for its precise throws and engaging feel. The G37 Convertible is no Sunday driver, however, and even the base model's firm suspension can translates into a stiff ride. Climb behind the wheel of the Sport 6MT and the ride can become downright jarring, prompting us to advise finding the smoothest pavement possible for drives lasting longer than an hour. Our two cents: If you're looking for a nice balance of ride comfort and handling, the Audi A5 Cabriolet might be a better choice.
Bose Open Air Sound System
One of our favorite features is the Bose Open Air Sound System that features 13 speakers, including two seat-mounted speakers just below ear level, to fill the cabin with rich, high-quality sound. The Bose system monitors ambient sound levels, vehicle speed, and top position, and then adjusts the amplifier's equalization to compensate for conflicting outside noise.
While the ride may be too jarring for some, we love the Sport trim's impressive cornering, excellent braking and precise six-speed manual transmission.
Like its Coupe and Sedan cousins, the 2011 Infiniti G37 Convertible's interior is beautifully crafted, intelligently laid out, and spoiled by soft leather and a choice of aluminum or wood inlays. While the Infiniti G37 Convertible has the same types of high-tech features found on many of its competitors (advanced audio, Bluetooth, navigation, etc.), operation of said systems seems less complex in this car, with intuitive controls and logically-arranged menus that can be easily operated while in motion. We love the G37's seats, which offer plenty of lateral support during sporting drives while simultaneously providing plenty of lateral space for full-size adults. And, although we hope you'll never need them, the Infiniti G37 Convertible features two pop-up roll bars that deploy from behind the rear seats, protecting occupants in the event of a rollover-type accident.
The 2011 Infiniti G37 Convertible doesn't much look like an open air coupe, at least when its retractable hardtop is in place. Unlike most soft-top convertibles, the Infiniti G37 Convertible has no rear quarter blind spot, offering instead an expansive amount of side glass and rear windows that can be fully lowered with the top up. Lowering the top requires only that the driver push a button, and takes about 25 seconds from start to finish. The retractable hardtop stows itself in the trunk (which greatly reduces cargo space) and is then covered by a body-colored tonneau cover creating a clean, unbroken profile. The G37's low stance, wide 18- and 19-inch wheels and tires, and alluringly contoured sheet metal make for a rather youthful look that is both elegant and exotic.
The 2011 Infiniti G37 Convertible's standard equipment roster includes a 325-horsepower , 3.7-liter V6 engine, seven-speed automatic transmission with steerin- wheel-shift paddles, Intelligent Key with push button start and Adaptive dual-zone climate control. The G37's heated front seats are power adjustable in eight directions and are leather clad. Other standard features of note include a RearView monitor, six-disc CD changer, XM Satellite Radio, cruise control, HID headlamps, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, electronic traction and stability controls, and four-wheel anti-lock (ABS) disc brakes. Standard safety equipment includes Active Head Restraints, dual rear pop-up roll bars, front side-impact airbags and door-mounted side-curtain airbags.
The 2011 Infiniti G37 Convertible offers a number of high-tech features, most bundled into individual packages. The Technology Package includes Intelligent Cruise Control that keeps a safe distance between the car and traffic ahead, as well as rain-sensing wipers and the Advanced Climate Control System. The Premium Package brings the Bose Open Air audio system, climate-controlled front seats, rear sonar backup detection system, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, and power adjustable driver's lumbar support; the Navigation Package adds a voice-activated hard drive navigation unit complete with XM NavTraffic, NavWeather, Bluetooth and a 9.3GB hard drive music storage system. Driving enthusiasts can opt for the Sport Package (standard on the Sport 6MT trim) which includes staggered-width 19-inch wheels and summer tires, upgraded front and rear brakes, sport-tuned steering gear, a sport front fascia, and aluminum pedals.
Sharing its engine with a number of Infiniti products, the 2011 G37 Convertible relies on the company's renowned VQ engine as its sole powerplant. Among its many technology highlights, the 3.7-liter V6 employs variable valve control which helps increase power, reduces emissions and improves fuel economy. The result is a V6 engine that produces V8-like power without the latter engine's fuel economy penalty.
325 horsepower @ 7000 rpm
267 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 (automatic), 16/24 (manual)
The 2011 Infiniti G37 Convertible has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just shy of $47,000. The Sport 6MT pushes the price just over $51,000, while a fully-loaded Limited Edition tops out around $60,000. A comparably-equipped BMW 328i or Audi A5 Cabriolet cost slightly more than the G37 Convertible, while the Lexus IS250 C runs a few thousand dollars less. If you want the performance and open-air driving experience afforded by the Infiniti G37 Convertible, but don't care so much about the luxury features, you can save about $10,000 or more by shopping the Nissan 370Z Convertible, Ford Mustang GT Convertible or Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible. Before you buy, be sure to check our Fair Purchase Price, which reflects real world transaction prices being paid for the G37 Convertible right now. As for resale, we expect the 2011 G37 Convertible to hold strong five year values, on par with the BMW 328i, Lexus IS250 C and Audi A5 Cabriolet, and should perform better than the Mercedes-Benz SLK and Volvo C70, and far better than the Saab 9-3 Convertible.