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TheCarConnection.com’s editors drove the new 2009 Infiniti G37 Convertible to provide you with an expert opinion of its styling, performance, safety, comfort and features. Editors at TheCarConnection.com’s also reviewed other respected automotive Web sites to give you the best information possible on this new four-seat convertible.
The 2009 Infiniti G37 Convertible is the first topless car from Nissan’s luxury brand since the early 1990s—and it’s a fine one, with swift performance, great looks, and a raft of features designed to maximize your enjoyment of the sun. TheCarConnection.com drove the G37 Convertible in Southern California on an 80-degree day and found the new convertible’s road manners and interior fittings up to speed—even if backseat room and a drop in acceleration and handling don't quite meet the standards of Infiniti’s own G37 Coupe.
Astonishingly, the G37 Convertible is almost better-looking than the Coupe. The pillars are thinner, and the rear end a little wider, giving it a voluptuous appearance that’s easily the best-executed folding-hardtop two-door available at its price. Volvo’s C70 and BMW’s 3-Series Convertible seem choppy and pudgy in comparison—give credit to the G37’s tightly stacked top, which requires only a slight increase in trunklid height. Inside, the G37 Convertible shares an upgraded instrument panel and cabin with the Coupe, and they're lovely. Soft-touch dash tops and muted leathers buddy up with textured aluminum or African rosewood to give the Convertible a distinct personality, and its high-quality trim makes it seem worthy of every penny of its nearly $50,000 base price.
Performance takes a hit compared to the G37 Coupe, largely because all the reinforcing needed to keep the Convertible from shaking, rattling, and rolling is so extensive. The 3.7-liter V-6 from the Coupe is only down 5 horsepower here, to 325 hp, and the transmissions are the same: a slick six-speed manual with a clutch that has a high uptake point, or a marvelous seven-speed automatic that gets paddle shifters and a sport driving mode with the optional Sport package. It’s a delight to flip around through the gears in most driving modes with the automatic and a relief for most drivers who will use this to career through traffic instead of careening through corners. Not that the G37 Coupe can’t perform—it steers well and has a well-damped ride, even with the Sport package’s 19-inch wheels. Its penalty comes in weight, some 450 pounds more than the Coupe, which can be felt in the slightly slower reflexes and longer acceleration times. The engine’s V-6 growl more than makes up for it, though you’ll want for better fuel economy than the Convertible’s 17/25 mpg (automatic) or 16/24 mpg (manual).
Inside, the front passengers nestled inside the G37 Convertible will find much to admire. The base seats are fine; sport seats have adjustable supports and cosset snugly. In back, things get ugly; the G37 Convertible lacks any real legroom for those passengers, and there’s scant headroom when the convertible top is raised. Trunk space is nominal with the top lowered and merely adequate with the top in up position. The bright spots for the G37 Convertible in comfort and quality are its dimmed-down wind noise—a ruffle here and there—and those well-fitted front seats, as well as high-quality materials and just the right noises filtering into the cabin from the V-6.
For safety purposes, the G37 Convertible is fitted with twin pop-up rollbars that give it a higher degree of rollover safety. Other gear includes dual front airbags; side seat-mounted and side door-mounted curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control; and active headrests. Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has crash-tested one yet. Adaptive cruise control and “preview braking,” which uses sensors to predict an impact and applies some brake force to limit impact speeds, are options.
Infiniti ladles on standard equipment in the G37 Convertible. There’s leather seating, the power folding hardtop, a door-mounted button to lower the roof before entering or after exiting, an MP3-capable sound system, a rearview camera, a navigation system with hard-drive music storage and XM satellite radio with real-time traffic data, and an iPod connection kit that’s quick to index your favorite music. Options include a multispeaker Bose audio system that tunes its output to the car’s top-down status; a climate control system that does the same; heated and cooled seats; and Sport and Premium packages, which toss in 19-inch wheels, Bluetooth, radar-based cruise control, and adaptive headlights.