Frank S. Washington, Mon, 01 Feb 2010 02:46:08 PST
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Infinity showed off the latest bullet it has loaded into its product chamber as it continues to take aim at the upper ranks of the world's luxury performance cars.
In a phrase, the Infiniti G Convertible is the drop top version of the automaker's G37 series. When the hard top convertible goes on sale in June, it will join the coupe and sedan to complete the lineup.
As hard top convertibles go, the G37 is to be admired. First, with the top up, it looks like the coupe. Infiniti maintains a coupe-like silhouette with the top up by using a three-piece "clamshell" retractable hardtop, which allows for a shorter rear overhang and low trunk lid.
Top up or top down, which takes 30-seconds, the Infiniti's G Convertible looked good. It will offer a wider rear track, modified rear suspension and a special convertible-focused interior with rear pop-up bars and available Bose(R) front seat Personal Speakers, wind deflector and climate-controlled front seats. In other words, the car had heated and air conditioned front seats.
The back seats are like most back seats in this category. They might be good to take somebody on a short 30-minute haul but that's it; Infiniti, to its credit, says as much.
The Infiniti G Convertible was about fun to ride, fun to drive and fun to be seen in. It was powered by a 3.7-liter V6 that made 325 horsepower and 267 pounds-feet of torque. The engine could be mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual.
These are the basics of the car. It handled with rifle shot accuracy. On curvy Sunset Boulevard, I took tracks powered through curves and the G37 held its tread. On Las Posas Road (a little traveled two lane road) I pushed the pedal to the floor and when I let up, after five seconds or, the G37 had reached 110 mph and was still undergoing healthy acceleration.
Although the car weighed 453 lbs, Infiniti did a nice job of giving the G Convertible a suspension that made it feel like a lighter car but not a lightweight car.
My only complaint is I think Infiniti needs to stick with the wood versions of its interiors. Nothing can beat it for elegance and durability which means longevity.
There will be all sorts of equipment. The Sport Package and 6MT model features unique 19-inch lightweight cast aluminum wheels, sport brakes, sport front bumper, sport-styled seats, aluminum pedals, and, with the 7-speed automatic, genuine magnesium paddle shifters. The Technology Package adds Intelligent Cruise Control with Preview Braking, Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS) and Pre-Crash Seat Belts with motion sensor on brake pedal.
The G Convertible will go on sale as a 2009 model. When asked why the explanation was either muddled or I didn't understand it. Still, features included push button start and dual climate controls, a standard 6-speaker AM/FM/6CD system with MP3 playback capability, 7-inch color display and XM(R) Satellite Radio.
The premium audio system has a 13-speaker Infiniti Bose(R) Open Air Sound system combining a 24-bit 96KHz Burr Brown(R) Digital Analog Converter (DAC) with AudioPilot(R) 2.0 with microphones that automatically optimizes EQ settings for open/closed top positions. The system has speakers mounted on the front seat head rests and an Interface for iPod.
Other available G Convertible features include a Bluetooth(R) Hands-free Phone System and the Infiniti Navigation System with available XM NavTraffic(R) with Real-Time Traffic information, voice recognition for navigation, audio and climate control functions, and a 9.3GB Music Box Hard Drive with CompactFlash(R) slot.
A compact flash suggest that Infinti got caught behind the technology curve. I would expect a USB port in the next generation G series. Prices have not been released but Infiniti says the G Convertible will have prices that range between $45,000 and $55,000.