Although it?s only been out a short few years, the 2009-2011 Infiniti G37 Convertible seems familiar. It?s like that trick you learned in psychology class, where you view partial drawings of a circle or a cube, but your mind fills in the missing pieces to complete the picture? We think the same effect is in play with the G37 Convertible, only in reverse. We see the seductive, swooping lines of the coupe, and we can?t help but to picture it without a roof. But alas, the truth is that Infiniti waited until 2009 to give us what our minds have been seeing for years. Convertible sports cars come and go, some the victims of economy while others just grow old and stale. In the case of the G37, we?ve waited a long time for the sunshine loving coupe to go topless, and we suspect this is one drop top that will to be around for good, long time.
Why You Want It
The G37 Convertible possesses three attributes that make it one our favorite open air rides. First, it?s a true driver?s car, with a potent V6 engine powering the car?s rear wheels, a taut, yet forgiving suspension, and impressive acceleration, braking and cornering abilities. Second, the G37 Convertible belongs to a premium luxury brand that pampers its occupants with cutting-edge technology and creature comforts to delight all the senses. Finally, the G Convertible employs a retractable hardtop in place of a fabric roof, which means it can truly serve as a year-round daily driver without out any compromise for road or weather noise. This is not to say, however, that the G37 is not without its critics. The car?s tiny rear seat is little more than a fancy leather-lined shopping bag holder, and the diminutive trunk shrivels to become almost useless when the top is retracted. Also, those who live in northern states will want to note that Infiniti does not offer an all-wheel drive option, a feature that can be found on competitors such as the Audi A4 and A5 Cabriolet.
Notable Features and Options
There are two distinct trim levels for the 2009-10 model year: the G37 Convertible and G37 Sport 6MT. In 2011, a Limited Edition joins the lineup. The G37 Convertible is powered by a 325-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 engine teamed to a seven-speed automatic transmission with downshift rev-matching. As one would expect, the G37 Convertible?s standard equipment is impressive. The seats are covered in premium leather with both the driver and front passenger seats being eight-way power adjustable and heated. Dual-zone automatic climate control adapts to provide maximum comfort with the top up or down, while the Intelligent Key remote fob allows access to the car without the need to fumble with the fob or insert a key; a push button on the dash is all that is required to start the G37?s engine. Other standard features of note include HID headlamps, cruise control, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, Bluetooth (2010 and newer), a six-speaker stereo with six-disc CD changer, 18-inch alloy wheels, and XM satellite radio. Standard safety equipment includes electronic traction and stability control, anti-lock brakes, Rearview monitor, seat-mounted side-impact side airbags and a set of pop-up rollover bars located behind the rear head restraints.
The Sport 6MT adds a six-speed manual transmission, revised brake, steering and suspension settings, sport seats with power adjustable thigh and torso support for the driver?s seat and, on models equipped with the automatic transmission, magnesium paddle shifters. Optional equipment for the Infiniti G37 Convertible includes a hard-drive navigation unit, 13-speaker Bose audio system, Adaptive Cruise Control, heated and cooling front seats, rain sensing wipers, power adjustable steering column, and a rear sonar backup system.
2010: The G37 Convertible receives more standard equipment including power-folding side mirrors, an upgraded interior and Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity.
2011: A Limited Edition trim debuts featuring most of the base car?s optional equipment as well as an available Monaco Red leather interior. All G37 Convertibles receive mild revisions to their front and rear fascias.
Engines and Performance
The G37 Convertible has only one engine choice, a 3.7-liter V6 producing 325-horsepower and 267 pounds-feet of torque. Infiniti equips the G37?s engine with its Variable Valve Event and Lift (VVEL) technology, which operates by adjusting the air intake and exhaust to produce maximum power with minimal fuel usage. The result is an engine that performs like a small V8, yet operates as smoothly and as quietly (not to mention efficiently) as a humble V6. Base model cars come with a seven-speed automatic transmission that can be manually shifted by tapping the shift lever, or on Sport trims, operating the magnesium steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters. The G37 Convertible?s automatic transmission features downshift rev matching, which electronically raises the engine rpm to match the transmission speed when downshifting into a lower gear.
While it?s clear that the G37 wants to dance with the BMW 3 Series, the feedback from the steering and the car?s somewhat stiff suspension don?t quite rise to the standard set and still held by the 3 Series. Don?t get us wrong; we love the way the G37 tears through curves and hugs the road, its just that on the whole, we find the suspension setup to be a bit firm, especially when encountering road blemishes or when driven over older, uneven pavement. And, thanks to the roof?s mechanical addition, the convertible is nearly 500 pounds heavier than the coupe, which greatly diminishes the dynamics of the Convertible?s performance. The G37 Convertible feels fairly solid, although we could detect some body flex under hard cornering maneuvers. The top itself raises and lowers in about 30 seconds from start to finish and requires nothing more from the driver than to hold down a button and keep the car in any gear but reverse and the wheels moving no faster than three miles per hour.
Recalls, Safety Ratings and Warranties
There are no current recalls for the 2009-2011 Infiniti G37 Convertible.
Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.
As for safety, neither the government nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have crash tested the Infiniti G37 Convertible. And, while the G37 Sedan and Coupe both perform well in the side impact and off-set and head-on front end crash test, given the G37 Convertible?s radically altered structure, its hard to extrapolate that the results for the sedan and coupe might be similar for the convertible.
The G37 Convertible comes with a 4-year/60,000 mile basic warranty and 6-year/70,000 mile powertrain warranty. Infiniti also offers extended warranties that must be purchased when the car is new, but that are fully transferable, so be sure to check if the car you?re buying has such a warranty. If you buy your G37 Convertible through Infiniti?s Certified Pre-Own program, the basic warranty period is extended to 72-months/100,000 from the vehicles in service date; you can also purchase an additional year of coverage through the CPO program.
Word on the Web
As the G37 Convertible is a relatively new car, there isn?t much long-term data to glean from users on the web. Consumer Reports give the G37 line good to excellent marks in all area except for one ding on the 2009 model?s seven speed automatic transmission. Apparently, early versions suffered from bucking and shuddering, a problem that was resolved in a technical service bulletin from Infiniti requiring a software upgrade. We checked out a couple of the enthusiast sites such as G37driver.com, but since there are not many G37 Convertibles on the road yet (compared to the G37 Sedan and Coupe), we could only find a few threads from owners. Some people experienced some problems with the top not operating, but these usually were due to improper procedures (weak battery or the car was in reverse or the ignition was not in the ON position.) Some owners complain that the rear mast antenna it too large, prompting some to replace it with a stub antenna, or opting for the rear wing spoiler that has a less obvious built in integrated antenna.
Competitive Set (say something about each, strengths and weaknesses)
There are a number of good competitors to challenge the G37 Convertible. You could go with a late model Audi A5 or an older A4 Cabriolet, both of which offer the advantage of all-wheel drive, have a roomier rear seat, and much larger trunk; on the downside, both have cloth soft tops and a less reliable repair history than the G37. You could also look at the BMW 328i Convertible, but it is likely to cost a considerably more than the Infiniti. The Volvo C70 Convertible also features a retractable hard top and its weaker resale value means you might be able to get a good deal. However, the C70?s driving dynamics are a bit on the soft side and the car is nowhere near as fun to drive. You might also look for an older Lexus SC430. Although the Lexus is comparable with higher level cars such as the Mercedes-Benz SL and Jaguar XK, it does offer an excellent service history as well as a retractable hardtop.
If you?re more about enjoying the sunshine than the road ahead, we advise finding a nice 2009 or 2010 G37 Convertible equipped with the standard 18-inch wheels and the seven speed automatic. This combination delivers the most comfortable ride, yet still inspires confidence when the road turns twisty. If you?re all about maximum performance, seek out the Sport 6MT model. Its manual transmission, sports suspension and larger wheel and tire package will help you make the most of your drive.