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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Infiniti G37 Convertible Car

It used to be that Japanese car companies were just copy machines: They seldom came up with anything original, preferring to replicate (while refining) someone else's idea. That hasn't been the case for decades, but there's no doubt Infiniti keeps a close eye on what BMW does. If a sporty, well-appointed, front-engine, rear-drive, retractable hardtop coupe with a lusty six-cylinder engine is good for BMW, it must be good for Infiniti.

The G37 Convertible is only the second drop-top in the brand's history. No mere chop job this, as the body panels and chassis components aft of the A-pillar are new for this application. The top is built by Germany's Karmann, an outfit known for this kind of thing. Its opening-and-closing act takes about 30 seconds either way, and the interior headliner covers every bit of the top's frame and mechanism. The strange proportions common to retractables built on coupe architecture don't afflict the G; it's nicely balanced from any angle, and overall length increases by a mere quarter inch. Infiniti offers a removable windblocker that reduces buffeting and noise levels substantially. It's possible to drive without this component in place, but you wouldn't want to (unless you have guests who need to ride in back, which can't be done with the blocker installed). The blocker also covers the back-seat area, giving the car a bit of a roadster look. It's a shame Infiniti has the nerve to charge extra for it on a car that will average around $50K. Hidden rollover-protection bars snap into position with the onset of impending doom.

Bose provides the convert-spec audio system, including speakers in the headrests and speed sensitive volume control. It sounds good but lacks some of the adjustability and imaging of other high-end units. Most retractables eat trunk space and this one is no exception: Top down, you're left with just 2.0 cu ft of cargo space, so pack light. Another downer is that all the structural enhancements needed to minimize body wiggle, plus the top's hardware and all steel body panels, add 450 lb of chunk over the coupe.

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