It has been a long time coming, but finally we get the version of the Infiniti G37 coupé that this region really wants - the convertible. It may be late, but it is one of the most successful of all such designs, managing to preserve the pleasing lines of the coupé, while avoiding the bulkiness around the rear deck that afflicts so many other folding hard-top rivals.
The G37 looks great open and closed, and the only down side of the sleek design is that the roof pretty much fills up the boot space when folded, so you'll end up putting your shopping on the back seats. Opening and closing the roof is a one-touch operation through a door-mounted button, and takes around 30 seconds to accomplish. Once closed, all is quiet inside, and when open, the rear end is very tidy.
As a driver's car, the G37 has plenty of pedigree. The engine is a slightly detuned version of the V6 fitted to Nissan's excellent 370Z, and the fact that the G37's platform is a stretched and wider version of 370's underpinnings suggests we can expect lively and responsive handling.
The G37 may aim at the luxury end of the market, but it still delivers thrills to go with the comfort. The steering is direct and communicative, the engine punchy and the seven-speed paddleshift auto gearbox is among the best in the business.
Tautly controlled suspension ensures that the car is agile in bends, changing direction with an alacrity you might not expect. Nor does the stiff suspension spoil the ride, despite the fitment of 19" wheels, and the ensuing skinny rubber. Performance is strong, despite the additional weight of the folding roof. In this guise, the 3.7 litre V6 produces 328bhp and 37 kg-m of twist. On the move, that translates into a 0-100kph of just under six seconds, but more importantly, plenty of mid-range punch for overtaking manoeuvres.
Inside, the red leather-covered sports seats hold you comfortably in place, and offer a wide range of adjustments - lumbar support and thigh length extension included in addition to the normal height, reach and rake. The seats can also be both heated and cooled, a welcome bonus in this part of the world.
You sit fairly low in this car, cocooned in a deep cockpit with a large centre tunnel and hooded gauges. There's a good Satnav display, and lots of real brushed aluminium to touch. Behind the chunky steering wheel there is a pair of magnesium paddleshifts too. My pearly-white test car came with all the toys - a dual-zone automatic climate system, intelligent cruise control, adaptive front lighting, a hard-drive-based navigation system and four-wheel active steering. You'll find an iPod connection buried in the centre armrest, and a 13-speaker Infiniti Bose Open Air Sound system with what they call AudioPilot 2.0 technology that automatically adjusts the sound settings according to whether the roof is up or down.
Naturally, there's Bluetooth connectivity, and a 9.3Gb hard drive should you wish to store your music on board. Plus, the list of gizmos and gadgets fitted as standard to this ‘Limited Edition' convertible includes everything from illuminated aluminium sill plates to an anti-bacterial treatment coating on the wheel and gearshift knob. But what really matters is what it's like to drive.
As I suggested earlier, really rather good indeed. The tone is set by the engine, which is tractable, vocal and free-revving. That translates into fast and accurate throttle response, which combines with the downshift ‘blips' programmed into the gearbox to give a very sporting experience. You don't have to work hard to enjoy good progress, but you do have to keep an eye on the speedometer - it is easy to get carried away and you might find yourself doing rather more kph than is perhaps sensible. No matter, the brakes are strong and progressive, shrugging off speed in an instant when called upon to do so.
The extra weight of the roof mechanism does make itself apparent in the balance of the car, but it also helps to keep the driven rear wheels extremely well planted. Traction is never an issue. Steering is by traditional rack and pinion, with variable power assistance according to speed. The assistance is well judged, easy at parking speeds, but offering lots of information at higher speeds. This is one of those cars that you trust very quickly - something not all cars manage to achieve. It is comfortable, and compact enough to find its way easily round car parks, and even with the roof down, has enough room for a week's groceries.
But it's not always about the shopping; when you want to do a bit of posing along Beach Road, it is a very stylish and well-equipped place to do so. You can cruise around at a leisurely pace, knowing full well that under your right foot is enough performance to embarrass many of the other hot hatches around you. Speak softly and carry a big stick? Drive a G37 Convertible!
Two door folding hard-top convertible, four seats
- Engine 3.7 litre V6 with DOHV, CVTCS and VVEL
- Power 328bhp, 37kg/m of torque
- Transmission seven-speed automatic gearbox, RWD
- Performance 0-100kph in six seconds