Japanese 3-series CC rival is a talented cruiser

What is it?

This is the Infiniti G37 Convertible, the newest of six models that Infiniti will be launching in Britain in September 2009.

Nissan’s premium automotive brand has been rolling out across Europe over the past year, and its introduction has been going slowly but well, say company sources, with approaching 1000 cars sold in nine EU countries so far. The biggest seller has been the X5-rivaling FX SUV. However, that could change come the autumn, as the UK is traditionally a market keen on convertibles. So will we fall for the V6-powered Infiniti G37 Convertible?

What’s it like?

Like both the Lexus SC430 and the BMW 3-series convertible, the Infiniti G37 Convertible has an electrically powered folding metal roof. It’s built by Karmann in a special section of the G37’s production line in Toichigi, Japan, and is designed so as not to compromise the sleek curves or proportions of the car.

The roof is a three-piece assembly that folds into a neat upside-down clamshell shape in the boot of the G37 and, just as billed, it doesn’t endow the car with an unusually long rear overhang, an unattractively bulky rear end or a long A-pillar. This is one of the best-resolved CCs you can buy from a design perspective.

Unfortunately it’s not among the more accommodating. The G37’s rear seats are only just usable for adults and there are only 70 litres of boot space available when the roof is down. Since Infiniti says that 70 per cent of the buyers of this car will be motivated by the desire to look good first and foremost, perhaps that’s a compromise well struck. But it’s undoubtedly true that there are more practical open four-seaters.

On our rutted Californian test route the G37 proved to be comfortable and refined, and yet still a sonorous and enjoyable cruiser. Although the car’s powertrain comes from the new Nissan 370Z, the G37 convertible is no out-and-out sports car. It’s got a light, low-effort steering system and quite a gentle chassis set-up intended for laid-back rather than lustrous driving. Even so, there’s plenty of pleasure to be taken in listening to that wonderful V6 gargle though its vocal range, and smoothly slicing your way through corners.

Understeer results if you drive the G37 harder than intended, and a little bit of scuttle shake presents when you hit big potholes. Neither comes close to ruining this car’s chilled-out dynamic demeanour, but you can minimise the effect of the latter by sticking with the model’s standard 18in wheels – the 19s hobble its ride quality somewhat – and you can boost the car’s boulevardier appeal further still by choosing the excellent 7-speed automatic gearbox.

Should I buy one?

If you want the added safety, security and usability that comes with a four-seat metal-roofed cabrio (the market research says many do), then quite possibly. This car is a well executed, handsome and sorted modern CC – a great effort, too, considering that it’s Infiniti’s first proper folding tin-top. While the forthcoming Mercedes E-class Convertible and the BMW 335i cabrio may objectively be more desirable and slightly more broadly talented, the G37 should be a powerfully attractive car for those who simply prefer something a bit different.

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

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Greg1 27 March 2009

Re: Infiniti G37 Coupé Cabriolet

Interesting comments about its ride and handling, since the G35/37 saloons have been rated as even sharper handling than the BMW 3-series over in North America.

Maybe Nissan has delibarately softened the convertible - I wonder how the Lexis IS convertible will stack up - the Finnie's most direct nemesis.

Orangewheels 27 March 2009

Re: Infiniti G37 Coupé Cabriolet

Could we actually have a picture of the car with the roof up please Autocar?