2012 Infiniti G Convertible

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Short Take Road Test: 2009 Infiniti G37 Convertible

This 2009 review is representative of model years 2009 to 2013.
Pros:
  • Perfect for DINKs, quiet interior, Frankenstein effect kept to a minimum.
Cons:
  • Scant trunk space, tight rear seat, weight problem.

If you think we've got a man crush on the BMW 3-series, walk into an Infiniti showroom sometime. Nissan's upmarket brand is practically stalking the 3. Nearly half of Infiniti's floor space is given over to Far East facsimiles of the BMW 3-series family: There's the G37 sedan, the G37 coupe, an EX35 with the X3 on radar lock, and now this G37 hardtop convertible. All Infiniti needs now is a despised former chief designer.

Like the 3-series cabriolet, the new two-door G's top stacks itself into three sections and disappears behind the rear seats (albeit in 30 seconds versus the BMW's 23). Also like the convertible 3, this car weighs two tons. Our scales measured it at 4136 pounds, which is 454 more than a manual coupe and nearly 800 pounds more than the Nissan Z on which both are based.

That extra weight is in the roof's armature and motors, as well as the gussets and braces that backfill some of the torsional stiffness sacrificed to open-air motoring. Other changes from the G37 coupe include an exhaust system that robs the car of five horsepower and a rear suspension whose top mounting points were moved to accommodate the folding roof.

In addition to a lower price, what the G has always offered in response to the 3-series is a certain lightness of control feel and freneticism of powerplant. But the G37's extra weight dulls the eagerness that defines the other Gs. Kick down the 3.7-liter V-6, and the car seems to think hard for an instant before committing its considerable heft forward. Also, the noticeable body flex over broken pavement leaves the impression that the G37 could actually use a few more braces. Infiniti must have decided that enough added weight was enough, lest drivers think that the car was carrying a rhino in its trunk.

But where would it find the room? Once the top is stacked and stowed, well, let's just say that the Large Hadron Collider is hard at work looking for a particle small enough to fit into the trunk; there's a grand total of two cubic feet of cargo space. The G gives up five inches of rear legroom to the 3-series convertible, too.

Front passengers, however, get a sumptuous interior, with well-bolstered seats that offer optional headrest speakers, a now familiar and usable center stack, and aluminum trim with a rough, rice-paper-style finish.

Though the G37 convertible is arguably better looking than a 3-series droptop, we're not ready to break it off with the BMW just yet. Not because the German is lighter or cheaper (it isn't), but because it stays truer to its series' core dynamic values — seamlessness and precision. Plus, it has a more usable trunk, with additional storage space atop its folding rear seat.

With the G37 convertible, Infiniti has figured out how to turn a sports coupe into a grand tourer. Just cut off the top.

Performance data
C/D TEST RESULTS:

Zero to 60 mph: 5.5 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 13.8 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 27.2 sec
Street start, 5-60 mph: 5.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 14.0 sec @ 101 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 149 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 167 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.87 g

FUEL ECONOMY:
EPA city/highway driving: 17/25 mpg
C/D observed: 19 mpg

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BB03 - 9/23/2014 1:37:21 PM