Hey, it's spring, so even though it was cloudy and only 53 degrees this morning, I lowered the G37's fully automatic hard top and drove the six miles to work al fresco. It takes about 20 or 25 seconds to put down the top and about the same to bring it back up, using a well-marked button on the center console. The seat heater worked quickly, and with the two front side windows up, I was quite comfortable. Once I reached town and 35-mph speeds, I lowered all of the windows. I had no problems hearing the Diane Rehm Show, and then I switched to WKAR Classical from Michigan State University, and it was coming through nicely, too, despite the loss of a predictable acoustic environment.
As Automobile Magazine's West Coast editor, Jason Cammisa, noted after he drove the G37 droptop on the media launch event in Beverly Hills, the automatic transmission does wonders to smooth out the roughness of Infiniti's 3.7-liter V-6. I zoomed up to 100 mph and, although the G37 feels pretty heavy (it weighs 4095 pounds), this powertrain provides plenty of performance for most sun worshippers. You can bump the gearshift lever to the left to select manual mode and then shift using the steering wheel-mounted paddles, but that can get old quickly--as it does for me in pretty much any paddleshift car. I prefer standard automatic mode, which works really well here. I did my standard 100-mph acceleration run on a secluded freeway on-ramp, one that requires some quick braking before a gradual corner, and the brakes seemed well up to the task, with good pedal response.
The G37 convertible feels pretty tight and rigid, although neither door closes with a particularly good-sounding "thump"; it's more of a hollow crunch. The G37 sure does look good, in any case, and that's the main concern of convertible buyers, no?
Joe DeMatio, Executive Editor
Unlike Joe DeMatio, I was surprised by the amount of body motion in the G37 and how much it creaked and rattled over the smallest imperfections and even around slow corners. I also noticed that the satisfyingly solid "thump" the door of an Infiniti usually makes when closed was absent. It was more of a metallic "clunk," almost as if the door was out of alignment. Once I dropped the top, though, the creaking ceased and the door was cured. A couple days later, after driving with the top up for a while, the creaking returned and the door had lost its thump again. From what Jason Cammisa concluded in his first drive of the G37 convertible, I have to assume that these issues are confined to this specific vehicle and aren't a model-wide affliction. I'd love to get seat time in another G37 convertible soon to see if this is true.
Otherwise, the G37 convertible is a joy to drive. The view out the rear glass is as good as or better than that of its coupe sibling, which is an achievement for a convertible, and the lack of a B-pillar allows for an unhindered side view, giving the topless G a much less claustrophobic feeling than the coupe. Unfortunately, as with many convertibles, storage space is lacking, and with the top down the trunk is merely for show. It's wide enough but only inches deep, and the small opening left when the top is stowed is mail-slot narrow--a small price to pay, I suppose, for the quiet and security afforded by a hardtop.
At backroad speeds with the windows up, the wind barely entered the cabin, making a leisurely, top-down drive on a sunny, 50-degree day a pleasure. I didn't even have to put my hair in a ponytail or cover it with a hat. The headrest-mounted speakers make it possible to leave the stereo at a normal volume with the top down, so conversations with a passenger don't become a shouting match.
Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor
I'm pretty sure the problems Jennifer Misaros pointed out are due to this car being a pre-production example. We will certainly need to test another example, hopefully that will happen when it's warm enough to leave the top down the entire time.
I drove this a car only a few miles to go to lunch, but I'll echo the comments you've already read. It drives like any other G37 and looks pretty good. The folding hard top actually gives more headroom than a G37 coupe with a sunroof, so I fit much better in this car than the regular coupe. I love the seven-speed automatic, if only for the ability to dampen the VQ's terminal harshness. Power is nice, shifts are smooth, looks are great. What else do you want in a convertible?
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor
I've already driven the G37 in coupe and sedan variants, so late-spring snow flurries be damned, I lowered the roof for a spring cruise. "Wishful thinking?" asked one woman walking past the car. No, ma'am. Just a devotion to my editorial duties.
Shivers notwithstanding, the topless experience was quite fabulous. Some while back, West Coast editor Jason Cammisa lamented that the G37 coupe sounded better from the outside than in the drivers seat. Problem solved. The VQ's exhaust note is intoxicating, and it's nice to have that sound fill the cabin. And it looks great.
I was concerned about what might happen if the snow flurries intensified or worse, turned to rain. The G37's roof takes its sweet time going through the motions.
I wasn't able to push the car much, given the cold, damp roads, but in normal driving it felt very much like every other G37 I've driven. As much as we've whined about manual-gearbox G37s in the past, I'd probably still take my hardtop with three pedals, if only to distinguish myself from all the fashionistas who will surely be buying these.
David Zenlea, Assistant Editor
Unfortunately, it rained during my brief drive in the G37, so I can't comment on the top-down experience, which is, of course, the whole point of this car. (I am obviously not as devoted to my editorial duties - nor as willing to risk my health or dirty the interior of the car - as is young Mr. Zenlea.) What I can say is that I prefer this seven-speed automatic to Infiniti's six-speed manual - as found in our departed Four Seasons G37 coupe - because it makes the car much easier to drive smoothly. Other than that, the G37 convertible seems pretty much identical to the coupe, which is to say that it has a very nicely styled interior, handles quite well, and is fun to drive.
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor
My colleagues have ignored the best quality of four-seat convertibles---with the top down, it's much easier to install a baby-seat base than it is in a four-seat coupe or a top-up convertible. Just lower the roof, step into the car, and wrangle the car seat from a relatively comfortable standing or crouched position. Given the G37's tiny back seats, installing my daughter's seat with the car's roof raised would have been a huge challenge. That said, I was able to sit behind myself; I am only five-foot-six, though.
The G's trunk, on the other hand, is comically tiny. Case in point: one of our gophers left a button-up shirt in the trunk, and it took up pretty much all of the space when the top was down. Jennifer Misaros's mail-slot reference is perfectly apt.
I drove with the top down only for a few sub-40-degree miles, but I definitely concur with others' comments about the 3.7-liter V-6's excellent exhaust note and the G37's cozy heated seats and admirable wind management. I also agree that the seven-speed automatic works best with this coarse engine; the Infiniti's GT-R-like paddles could also help a stick-shift fan to save face somewhat.
The G37 droptop is beautiful and pretty well-wrought, but if it were my money, I'd think I'd rather save about $10,000 (or more) and buy a 2010 Ford Mustang GT convertible. I know the Ford is more common and not as beautiful, but there's nothing quite like a droptop with a burbling American V-8 and a masculine five-speed manual. And saving lots of dough in a recession.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
Unless clinical depression has invaded your frame of mind, Infiniti's new convertible is guaranteed to stretch a reflexive smile across your face. The yowl of the V-6, the joy of clicking shift paddles, the agile maneuverability, and the alluring exterior lines are what jumps us car people out of the rack every day to hit the road. Add in the mechanical symphony of the folding roof and a chassis that's only a little less stiff than the donor coupe, and you've got a fine ride. Top-down turbulence is under control and the back seat is roomy enough to carry two adults without complaint. Like a Jeep CJ, a year in the Army, a college degree, and a one memorable drunken weekend, a convertible - any convertible - is a right of passage not to be missed.
Don Sherman, Technical Editor
2010 Infiniti G37 Convertible
|Base price (with destination):||not available|
|Price as tested:||not available|
|Fuel economy:||18 / 26 / 22 mpg (city/hwy/combined)|
|Horsepower:||325 hp @ 7000 rpm|
|Torque:||267 lb-ft @5200 rpm|
|Wheels/Tires:||19 x 8.5 aluminum alloy|
|225/45R19 front, 245/40R19 rear|