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If you're feeling the mid-life crisis itch, the Infiniti G37 Coupe and Convertible are some of the best ways to satisfy that, in a stealthy way. Quite cleverly straddling demographic lines, these models provide the seat-of-the-pants thrills of a bad-boy sports car, only with a lot more social grace. They're a vehicle that practical-minded spouses won't flat-out reject at first glance, yet at the same time the Coupe is athletic enough for track time.
The G37 Coupe is at once both sporty and elegant. It looks mature in the right ways, with a tailored, neat appearance, and manages to carry itself with the stance and proportions of a sports car. That's no mistake. It's built from the same platform as the shorter, more evocative Nissan 370Z, and it's a rare case where there's truly a lot of distinction between the cars. As for the Convertible, it's not just a matter of the different roofline introduced by its retractable hardtop; with a little more voluptuousness, it definitely doesn't get the short end in looks, as drop-tops sometimes do. No matter which version, the cabin keeps pace with the exterior. It's elegant with a dash of daring.
Overall, these models approach the balanced brilliance of the BMW 3-Series, and driving enthusiasts may actually prefer their somewhat sharper edgier feel behind the wheel. A 3.7-liter V-6 engine makes 330 horsepower, and winds enthusiastically up to a 7500-rpm redline. You can't go wrong with either of the transmission choices in the G37 Coupe or Convertible. We'd be satisfied with either the six-speed manual or the seven-speed automatic, though the throttle-blipping, paddle-shifted automatic seems a more natural fit for this Infiniti's mission. Confident rear-drive handling is highlighted by very good steering in the Coupe—though some of us have thought that it's a touch less communicative than that in the G Sedan. And an excellent all-wheel drive system is available, but think of it as bringing more confidence, not necessarily keeping up with the Sno-Cats.
For 2013, Infiniti has introduced a new IPL G Convertible, which joins the IPL G Coupe in offering a 343-horsepower version of the V-6, plus an IPL-tuned exhaust and suspension, unique front fascia and side sills, special IPL sport seats with cooling, and seven-spoke Graphite-finish alloy wheels. Enthusiasts who like what they see in the two-door G models should head right to these IPL cars, as they heighten the performance—albeit with more harshness.
The ride is well damped, and we recommend the standard setup if your daily drive involves choppy pavement surfaces; yes, technically the Sport package gets the most out of its handling potential, but this firmer calibration and the 19-inch alloys bring out choppiness and cab be to the detriment of enjoyment. Interior noise and harshness can be a deal-breaker here—depending on your expectations, of course.
Inside, the 2013 Infiniti G37 Coupe and Convertible invite conflicting impressions; at times they feel like dressed-up sports coupes, while at other times they feel like particularly lean and edgy luxury cars. In truth, they're a little bit of both. With their low seating position, deeply bolstered front seats, hooded gauges, and high center console, the two-door 2013 G37 models have a cozy but tight driving space—and if it weren't for the expensive-feeling wood and aluminum trims, it would feel as if you were in a pure-bred sports car. In back, there are just two small buckets—even smaller in Convertible models—and in either case these are barely passable for small children. With the top up in the Convertible, think of these more as an auxiliary cargo shelf, as headroom becomes extremely limited.
One area that is likely to be fully up to expectations is the feature list on these models. Both include automatic climate control, an intelligent key system, and leather upholstery, while higher trim grades get upgraded audio; a dual-zone climate system; intelligent cruise control; a hard-drive-based navigation system; and four-wheel active steering. Heated-and-cooled seats can also be had, and in Convertibles both the climate control and the available Bose audio system smartly have separate open-top modes. Sport and Premium packages toss in 19-inch wheels, Bluetooth, radar-based cruise control, and adaptive headlights—and the Sport package can be had in combination with all-wheel drive.