While more enthusiastic sportscar fans might opt for the roofed Infiniti G37 Coupe, droptop fans have another way to go in the luxury brand's lineup, with the 2012 Infiniti G37 Convertible.
Based on the G37 Coupe, the major difference with the Convertible amounts to a folding top mechanism that powers itself up or down in about 20 seconds, altering the G37's mood from cozy to bright and sunny, and changing its stance from meaty two-door to something a little more airy. When the top is up, the slim roof pillars seem far more delicate than those on the hardtop two-door; when it's down, the Convertible looks handsome and a little beefy. The three-piece roof tucks away expertly into a smaller space than that claimed by many other hardtop convertibles, and that translates into a slimmer, less boxy rear end that still looks like its coupe inspiration.
The G37 Convertible may work wonders with fresh air, but there's a hefty price to pay for its dueling personalities. It weighs more than 400 pounds more than the coupe, which takes the edge off acceleration and puts a little more lead into its road manners. The G37 Convertible's 0-60 mph times drop a half-second compared to the lighter coupe. Still, it has the poise that few cars in its class possess, with better steering and ride control than cars like the Volvo C70, even the Audi A5, and especially the Lexus IS convertibles.
With a snugly fitted cockpit and available sport seats, the G37 Convertible feels every bit like a luxury coupe, even richer than BMW can manage in its current 3-Series. Space isn't extravagant, but the front seats are very comfortable, with soft leather upholstery and available ventilation. The rear seat's too small for any adult to use, with even less head room than in the Coupe, and the trunk's even smaller too; by moving a flexible liner lid inside the trunk, you can at least block out more space if you're willing to drive with the top up until you can reposition that lid. The Convertible's climate-control system adapts to changing ambient temperatures, and so does the audio system. About all that's missing is a Coppertone dispenser, and maybe the nifty neck-level air vents dubbed Airscarf in the Benz SLK.
The G37 Convertible is essentially unchanged for the 2012 model year. Leather seating is standard, along with 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. Among the options are the adaptable Bose audio and climate control systems.
- 2012 Audi A5
- 2012 BMW 3-Series
- 2012 Lexus IS
- 2012 Volkswagen Eos
- 2012 Volvo C70
Hardtop convertibles are expensive, and usually heavy, versions of sporty coupes we love. If you're considering a G37 Convertible, it's worth taking a look at the Audi A5, which goes the soft-top route to keep weight down--but the A5 has lax performance, and doesn't really get interesting until it's upconverted into the powerful S5 convertible. BMW's 3-Series convertible is a long-standing favorite, though it's one of the biggest weight gainers of all the folding-top conversions. On the lighter side, there's the Lexus IS convertible; with the smaller V-6 it's as close as you'll get to underpowered in the class, and in either that or IS 350C trim, it's just not as sleek as the Infiniti. Both the Volvo C70 and VW Eos are more practical choices, with bigger back seats; they've tended to be frail, though. Given the choice, we'd drive the Eos with VW's dual-clutch transmission, for a little more driving pleasure than the uninvolving Volvo.