AIN’T NOTHING BUT A G THING
2012 Infiniti G37 Convertible
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Tue, Jul 24, 2012
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By John Grafman Cars are like people. When you find one you love, you’re willing to overlook a few flaws. The Infiniti G Convertible Sport is no different. Right from the start it’s very easy to become attracted to the G37 Convertible. The body boldly displays an alluring form, and upon more careful inspection shows refinement and detail. This is the type of car you have to look back over your shoulder at as you walk away. Infiniti doesn’t stop at the flowing bodywork. The paint is applied as smooth as a baby’s behind or Justin Bieber’s face. This stands-out in this genre and price-point. Normally, one would have to get a car color sanded to achieve this level of quality. Additionally, the paint has subtle character changes that come out in the sunlight. The bright work on the exterior trim is kept to a minimum, so as to not detract from the curvaceous body. Framing the car perfectly are 19-inch rims at both ends, shrouded in 225/45 tires up front, and 225/40 in the rear. Why not have the same size on all four corners, allowing the owners to rotate the rubber from front to rear is a mystery for the ages (increasing the lifespan of the tires).
The inside of the Infinity G is a slightly different story. While it does have a similar, flowing design in the shapes on the dash and door panels, it suffers from a few missteps. Most egregious is the over abundance of hard plastic and inorganic shapes of button, such as the window and seat memory switches, that stand out like pimples on Katy Perry’s face. Those buttons could easily be shared by an economy car, but even today those cars have stepped-up to better interior parts. Even the G37’s partition in the cup holder just seems awkward in material and design. Minor problems, yes, but all the more reason these need to be addressed. Fortunately, the buttons and knob for the Infiniti navigation system are as well thought out as the system itself. At first the arrangement at the top of the center console, just below the screen, looks daunting, as it is slightly unusual looking. But, looks are deceiving, as this works simply. Perhaps my favorite feature in the nav system is the Zagat Survey restaurant guide, which finds dining nearby, and then directions to those choices. Finding road food is no challenge at all. How long before they make an Anthony Bourdain special edition? Perhaps an Andrew Zimmern edition would follow sometime soon thereafter? But, that quirky version will most likely find a happy home in the Nissan Juke. You heard it here first. The Silk Obi aluminum trim on the interior is a satin-brushed metal trim piece that doesn’t really elevate the artificial feel of the plastics. At least the trim doesn’t reflect into the driver’s eyes. One of my passengers commented on the complete lack of wood trim. Given the refined design on the exterior, it would seem appropriate to include some glossy wood grain trim (available in non-sport models), however the metal does stand out from the pack.
In a perfect world, Infiniti could further differentiate itself from Nissan by various other improvements. The seats are a good example. The leather feels somewhat synthetic, and while the seat does have an adjustable manual thigh extender, the seat bottom is too long for those with short legs even when the extender isn’t deployed. However, the 12-way power driver’s seat (8-way on the passenger side) does have flexibility, albeit not as elegant in execution as the Nissan GTR. Other little nagging problems include the seat heaters. In a nutshell, it’s difficult to quickly see what setting those are at, due to their location on the center console and the small indicator setting graphics. The toggle-type switch for the various display readouts are well integrated into the visor for the instrument panel, but at nighttime the switches are hard to find due to the matching color and being obstructed by the steering wheel. Similarly, the push button start/stop is hiding behind the steering as well. Once the car is running it’s a much different story. The 3.7-liter DOHC V6 cranks out a healthy 325 horsepower and 267 pound feet of torque. A close ratio six-speed manual allows us to rocket forward without hesitation. Drop the pedal on the right and boom, lift-off. This is gratifying to be sure. The engine is spirited, and the rest of the Infiniti, for the most part, holds up its part of the deal. The brakes feel confidence inspiring, and the suspension is compliant on less than perfect roads, and handles as a sports car should when it matters.
On freeway jaunts up the Golden State Freeway toward Los Angeles and points northward, this has no trouble setting the pace. In fact, it takes some willpower to keep this in check. This isn’t just a sporty car. And, perhaps this isn’t an all out sports car, but G definitely acts like a suitable grand touring car. On the flip side, the steering feel is kind of artificial and neutralizes much of the road imperfections. The vertical offset between the gas and brake pedal is enough to catch the left edge of your right foot under the brake, which is not what you want to have a happen in a performance car, or in any other for that matter. All 325 ponies want to come out of the gate in a hurry. Often, that suits us fine. But, the over-sprung clutch pedal makes smooth shifts all but impossible. Unlike a heavy clutch that’s only hard to depress, this is always pushing back, which makes it tricky to smoothly engage or release. But once you get over the less than smooth launches, this is a banshee. To make up for the clutch pedal frustration, the six-speed moves purposefully through the gates.
Constantly, those we come in contact with confuse this with a V8. Frankly, this could be better than most eights by how fast this motor jumps. Having a snappy motor like this it’s less troublesome justifying a price tag of over 50K. Now, this would be a bit overpriced if the G were only a coupe. But, this is something extra, more or less. The hard top folds neatly into the trunk. Sadly, the trunk becomes obsolete once the roof is stowed. Alright, there is some space left, about the size of an elongated shoebox. This is truly annoying, as the Infiniti wants to drop its top more frequently than Pam Anderson at Lake Mead. And, similar to Pam, this shakes and shudders as the top comes down, or so I’m told. The retracting roof also forces design compromises in the form of a narrowed back seat. So, it really isn’t particularly roomy for long drives sitting in the second row. Fortunately, as there isn’t room in the trunk for luggage with the top down, vacations are limited to just two anyway. Or, with the top up it’s negating the whole point of having a convertible. For seem reason Infiniti found a need for the hard top convertible, much like Cadillac did with the Corvette based XLR. I’m not so sure that if given the chance to go back in time that Cadillac would make the same decision again. Like other similar hard top convertibles, this deals with a sizable weight penalty sitting in the rear of the car. Sure, with the top down it shifts the weight lower, but it no longer situated in the middle of the car. Don’t be alarmed, as the Infiniti still drives in the same manner it was engineered for. But, we can only wonder what it would be like as a dedicated roadster.
When the top is down, and the sun is out, this is certainly a glorious ride. To sweeten the deal, just in case the blue skies turn to grey, Infiniti has loaded the G37 Convertible Sport to the gills with all manner of standard options. Included in this are the Bose open-air sound system with noise adaptive technology, AM/FM, RDS and 13 speakers, including Bose front seat personal speakers. Also, imbedded in this is an Infiniti hard drive navigation system with XM NavTraffic® and NavWeather, and the previously mentioned Zagat Survey, with streaming audio via Bluetooth. Plus, this comes with DVD-video playback, USB input for iPod®, flash drive or other compatible storage devices, XM satellite radio, which is displayed on a 7.0-inch color monitor. And just in case you need a little company when no one else is around, this comes with Infiniti Voice Recognition for nav, audio, and climate controls. Just a few of the other desirable features included are a Bluetooth hands-free phone system, dual zone climate control, cruise control with steering wheel-mounted controls. While there is plenty to play with in the form of in-car entertainment, one option package that isn’t available is the Technology Package, which includes intelligent cruise control. Having the electronic oversight is just a little extra assurance in accident prevention. However, nothing beats keeping your eyes on the road. Finally, catching our eyes are two numbers. Those are 16 and 24. Yes friends, those are the city and highway mileage figures. With other sports cars touting greater economy, Infiniti needs to work on this. Sure, the G37 does have a few flaws. But, just as Gwyneth Paltrow has a few freckles, or George Clooney has a regrettable tattoo, doesn’t mean we don’t love them. Where we come from this is called character, and we love them even more. For more information about Infiniti products, go to www.infinitiusa.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2012 Infiniti G37 Convertible Price: Base $50,850, as tested $52,085 EPA fuel economy ratings (miles per gallon): 16 city/ 24 highway Engine type: 3.7-liter, V6, DOHC, 4 valves/cylinder, aluminum block and heads Horsepower: 325 @ 7,000 rpm Torque: 267 fpound-feet @ 5,200 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine / rear-wheel drive Transmission type: 6-speed manual Suspension: Front: Independent double-wishbone w/ stabilizer bar Rear: Independent multi-link w/ stabilizer bar Wheels and tires: Front: Standard: 19 x 8.5 aluminum-alloy, 225 x 45x19 x 19W Rear: 19 x 9 aluminum-alloy, 245 x 40x19 x 19W Brakes: Front: Power assisted, vented discs 14 x 1.3-inch diameter Rear: Power assisted, vented discs 13.8 x .8-inch diameter Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Antilock Braking System, Brake Assist Dimensions Overall length: 184 inches Overall width: 72.9 inches Overall height: 55.1 inches Curb weight (lbs): 4,149 pounds