Today’s most stylish sports coupes are increasingly being turned into hardtop convertibles – sport coupes with hard roofs that fold and stow electronically beneath a rear tonneau.
Gone are the days when most convertibles were canvas tops. Electricity is now the chosen power to lower the roof. So long to those clumsy latches with mom and dad folding the car’s top down manually.
Into this new hardtop convertible market roars the Infiniti G37 convertible, a gorgeously styled coupe with a power top that takes all of 15 seconds to lower, at the touch of a button.
Like most performance cars these days, the G37 is a rear-drive sportster with a major league power plant under its hood. Infiniti upgraded the former 3.5-liter to a 3.7-liter V6 with variable valve timing and 325 horsepower. This motor is smooth and racy, and works well with the new seven-speed automatic gearbox. Shifts are nearly seamless, and the car jumps from a stop when you hit the gas. Roaring up to highway speeds is a blast.
This is no little Miata wannabe. It’s a substantial 4,077 pounds and rides on a 112.2-inch wheelbase that gives it stability and presence on the road.
Sticks to the road
Handling is excellent from the rack and pinion, speed-sensitive power steering and four-wheel independent suspension beneath. There are stabilizer bars front and rear, and up front is a double wishbone suspension while in back there’s a multilink setup. The car sticks to the road like it has all-wheel drive and it corners like a much pricier roadster.
Helping that in the silvery blue test car was a performance package ($650) with 19-inch summer performance tires. Having the right tires often ups a car’s performance level substantially.
Ride is good, too – well-controlled but firm enough to feel sporty. Bumps don’t punish, though, because the standard Dual Flow Path shocks do their job well. The four-wheel ventilated disc brakes also are high-grade, excellent performers. Traction and stability control are standard.
Gas mileage is nothing special. I got only 19 mpg in about 60% city driving. The EPA estimates 17 mpg city and 25 highway. Premium gas is preferred.
This is not a real practical drive, either, with the top lowered. Top up, you have a reasonable amount of cargo room in the trunk for a couple of bags. But lower the top, and you’d better be carrying a couple of tiny soft-sided bags. Cargo space is a puny 1.99 cubic feet with the roof down.
But you’re not after a hardtop convertible for practicality. That’s why you’re willing to part with $44,350 for the Infiniti, before options. That’s a good price, considering many other cars in this configuration go for $50,000 or more. Yet this one added a ton of options to push the car to $52,465.
The $1,150 tech package adds intelligent cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, front pre-crash seat belts, and an advanced climate control system. But the $3,050 premium package delivers more electronics, like a Bose Open Air Sound system with front seat speakers that are built into the headrests.
The package includes a 2GB Music Box with 800MB storage for all your tunes, and a power tilt/telescope wheel, although that seems like it should be standard. There’s also climate controlled seats, which mean they’re both heated and cooled. The seats also have a couple of memory settings, and this package adds rear sonar to help you avoid dents and dings as you back up.
Not enough? There’s a navigation package ($1,850) that adds a navigation system with touch screen that includes 3D graphics and that will offer you a bird’s-eye view of the car, plus lane guidance, a speed limit advisory, and streaming audio via Bluetooth, including XM NavTraffic, XM NavWeather, Zagat survey restaurant reviews and voice recognition.
It’s all a bit much to me, considering local radio tells me where the traffic jams are and gives me weather forecasts. It also upgrades the Music Box feature to 9.3GB.
Whether you add all that on or not, the interior looks great and is darned quiet, even for a hardtop convertible.
Interior styling is good, with two-tone leather seats and a dash with some brushed metal and chrome trim. This one also had gloss maple accents that add another $550, but was sharp looking. Gauges are easy to see and read, and all the buttons were easy to understand and reach.
Seating is particularly good in the Infiniti, with smooth and soft leather plus great contouring and side bolster support. These were among the best seats I’ve ever ridden in.
The G37 is the complete package, from ride and comfort to performance and style. In its segment, it’s moderately priced if you avoid all the frills.