Test Drive: 2012 Infiniti G37 Convertible

?Infiniti?s G37 drop top: Still seductive?

For those looking for year round driving comfort in a convertible with the security of a three piece folding hardtop and seductive coupe-like styling, the Infiniti G37 convertible that first bowed in 2009 should fill the bill in admirable fashion. It is essentially one car with two souls, with power coming from a 3.7-liter DOHC, 24-valve VVEL V6 engine with sequential multi-point fuel injection, that develops 325 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm, while also delivering 267 pound feet of torque @ 5,200 rpm. The engine is positioned up front and connects to either a six-speed manual gearbox or an optional electronically controlled 7-speed automatic transmission with Drive Sport mode/manual shift mode, downshift rev matching and available magnesium paddle shifters, that gears motive force to the rear wheels.

The G37 convertible is available in two models: G37 or G37-S – the G37 is equipped with the 7-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission, while the G37 S features the six-speed manual gearbox. The following enhancements are in place for the 2012 model year: the previous Limited Edition package is no longer available. Other changes include the addition of a standard spare tire (replacing the previous repair kit). The G37 Convertible Sport 6MT adds sport-tuned steering and larger sport brakes, along with 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and W-rated performance tires.

The Infiniti G convertible is visually appealing as a Coupe with the top fixed in place, or equally attractive as a convertible with the top stowed where it ought to be most of the time. When compared to the G Coupe, the G Convertible utilizes all-new body panels from the A-pillar back, along with a 1.1-inch wider overall width, wider rear track and modified rear suspension.

Exterior features include: athletic, well-proportioned coupe-like styling (with the top raised), flowing front fenders, wave-like aluminum hood, bold signature Infiniti double-arch grille and expressive front fascia; and L-shaped High-Intensity Discharge (HID) bi-functional xenon headlights with integrated fog lamps. The unique body structure was designed for open-top use, and unique panels from the A-pillar rearward; a three-piece power retractable hardtop with one-button operation that raises and lowers the top in approximately 26 seconds; a power?folding function added to the outside mirrors; specific sport front fascia for G37 Convertible with Sport Package and G37 Convertible Sport 6MT model; and a choice of eight exterior colors: Vibrant Red, Malbec Black, Liquid Platinum, Graphite Shadow, Black Obsidian, Moonlight White, Pacific Sky and Lapis Blue.

The G37 Convertible Sport with 6-speed manual transmission and G37 Convertible with Sport Package both incorporate a unique front fascia/bumper design.

Technology features include standard RearView Monitor and available Pre-Crash Seat Belts and Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC). The G Convertible?s available Infiniti Navigation System includes XM NavTraffic? Real-Time Traffic Information, NavWeather? with Real-Time Weather and 3-day forecast (XM? subscription required, sold separately), Streaming Audio via Bluetooth? and Zagat Survey? Restaurant Guide. The system also features a touch screen and Voice Recognition.

Interior refinements feature styling that successfully blends sophistication, craftsmanship and thoughtfulness in attention to detail with unique, available systems created to enhance one?s fresh-air motoring experience. The driver-oriented cockpit features a center console (automatic transmission only) with a higher quality appearance, an Infiniti signature instrument panel design with Infiniti electroluminescent instrumentation featuring a white illumination color scheme, integrated multi-function information drive computer display and signature Infiniti analog clock. The double hand-stitched leather-covered steering wheel is designed for maximum comfort and usability, with standard wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. Polished maple trim accents or special Silk Obi aluminum interior trim, inspired by fine Japanese silk, unique to the G Convertible is placed across the instrument panel, on the center console and on the door panels. Leather-appointed seating is standard and is offered in three colors ? Graphite (black), Wheat and Stone.

The G37 Convertible Sport 6MT and G37 Convertible with Sport Package also include special sport-styled front seats with manual thigh extension and driver?s power thigh and torso support ? along with sport stitching for the front seats and steering wheel, high- grip aluminum pedals and foot rest. A power walk-in device with position memory provides easy access to the 2nd row seats (the front seats move forward automatically at the touch of a button, allowing passengers easy entry and exit for the rear seats). An available rear wind deflector helps reduce wind turbulence when the top is stowed.

Responsive steering is provided by a vehicle-speed-sensing system, with?sport-tuned steering offered with the G37 Convertible Sport 6MT and G37?Convertible with Sport Package. Standard on all G Convertibles is Vehicle?Dynamic Control with a cancel switch and Traction Control System.

Braking performance is courtesy of standard 4-wheel vented discs with 4-?channel, 4-sensor Anti-lock Braking System, Electronic Brake force?Distribution and Brake Assist. The G37 Convertible with Sport Package?and G37 Convertible Sport 6MT are further enhanced with larger ventilated?rotors and aluminum four-piston calipers up front and two-piston calipers in the rear, embossed with Infiniti lettering.

Also available is Infiniti?s Intelligent Cruise Control with Preview Braking,?which assists in maintaining a consistent following distance from the vehicle?ahead. It also identifies sudden braking situations with laser sensors to?determine distance and relative speed of the vehicle ahead in the same lane?and ?pre-pressurizes? the Brake Assist system before the driver steps on the?brake pedal.

An Advanced Air Bag System with dual-stage supplemental front air?bags featuring seat belt and occupant classification sensor is standard, along with door-mounted curtain side-impact supplemental air bags for driver and front-seat passenger protection, front-seat mounted side-impact supplemental air?bags and front seat Active Head Restraints. The rear seat includes fixed head restraints with rear Pop-up Roll Bars. The G Convertible also features reinforced front side members, front pillars and body sills.

My test Infiniti G37 Convertible came with the seven-speed automatic transmission, finished in a Vibrant Red exterior, with the interior executed in Black. The base sticker read $ $46,400, while adding the Sport Package, Technology Package, Premium Package, Navigation Package; Interior Accents Package with high gloss maple trim; illuminated door sill plates and Destination charges bumped the final count and amount to $56,035.

SUMMARY: The 2012 Infiniti G37 Convertible delivers a delightful performance experience along with its sensual visual image. Acceleration is brisk, with a smooth linear response, in either manual or automatic mode. The ride quality is quite comfortable without feeling either too compliant or too firm. The handling characteristics are precise, resulting in an athletic response — some drivers will?no doubt perceive the feedback as perhaps a little too assisted, but it is sporty and fun to drive none-the-less. The 3.7-liter V6 serves up plenty of power that is geared through the smoothly shifting 7-speed automatic.

The interior ambience smacks of luxury with pleasing fit, finish and textures to savor along with all the onboard technology. The layout is intuitive from a driver?s point of view, providing legible instruments and gauges. Safety and security paramount in the G37 as well, and the state-of-the-art content provides a heightened sense of security when motoring in a spirited fashion. The top stows in 26 seconds, operating the windows as part of the lowering sequence, and raises taking slightly more time and having to raise the windows separately. There is a package tray in the trunk that must be manually positioned before the top will lower, and with it in position, the trunk capacity is somewhat limited. Golf bags will likely have to go in the rear seat if one wishes to experience top-down driving, as will most other oversized luggage and personal gear. Other than this one glitch, the 2012 G37 Convertible is an extremely attractive and most enjoyable open-air (or not) tourer.

SPECIFICATIONS: Infiniti G37 Tech/Navi/Sport Convertible-?12

Base Price:?????????????? ??????????? $46,400.

Price as Tested:??????????? ??????????? $56,035.

Engine Type and Size:??????????? 3.7-liter VQ Series DOHC, 24-valve VVEL V6 with sequential multi-point fuel injection.

Horsepower (bhp):??????????? ??????????? 325??????????? @ 7,000??????????? rpm

Torque (ft./ lbs.):??????????? ??????????? 267??????????? @ 5,200??????????? rpm

Transmission:??????????? ??????????? Seven-speed automatic with Drive Sport ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? mode/manual shift mode with downshift rev matching.

Drive Train:??????????? Longitudinally mounted front engine / Rear-wheel drive.

Suspension:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Front – Independent double wishbone w/ stabilizer ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? bar.

??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Rear — Independent multi-link w/ stabilizer bar .

Brakes:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Power-assisted four-wheel vented discs with ABS, BA ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? and EBD.

Tires:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Bridgestone Potenza P225/50 R19 96W Front / ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? 245/45 R19 98W rear mounted on 5-tri-spoke (15) ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Enkei alloy wheels -8.5? wide front & 9? rear.

Wheelbase:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? 112.2??????????? inches

Length Overall:??????????? ??????????? 184.0??????????? inches

Width:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ? 72.9??????????? inches

Height:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? ? 55.1??????????? inches

Curb Weight:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? 4,083??????????? lbs.

Fuel Capacity:??????????? ??????????? ?? 20??????????? gallons

EPA Mileage Estimates:??????????? ? 17??????????? mpg city / 25??????????? mpg highway

Drag Coefficient:??????????? ??????????? 0.31

0 – 60 mph:??????????? ??????????? ??????????? Not tested