The Daily Drivers | By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek, Times staff writers

The Daily Drivers: Infiniti G37 convertible is sporty fun for grownups

"Who buys this car?" a friend asked, impressed after a ride in Infiniti's G37 sport convertible. Our answer: "People like us." We don't see ourselves in a luxury sedan (too stodgy), muscle car (too juvenile) or sports car (too impractical). Yet we want something fun and exciting. The G37 is how we roll . . . with the top down.

Appearance: With its retractable hardtop up, the only hints that this sleek coupe is a convertible are the discreet seams in the roofline and the trunk. We found the look — which doesn't lose much with the top down — a bit edgier than some of its competition. The front fascia gives it a personality and the chrome grille gives it class. The LED taillights look sharp even during the day. The dual chrome exhaust tips add some bling in the rear. Our lone peeve: With such nice lines, why break them up by having the antenna stick out in the center of the trunk lid?

Performance: The understated growl of the exhaust confirms this isn't just a luxury coupe. The car definitely lives up to its sport "S" badge. We liked the feel of the close-ratio 6-speed shifter and the feedback from the clutch. The handling of this rear-wheel driver is responsive, especially with the speed-sensitive power steering and other electronic helpers such as traction control. In short: The G37 whips through corners. The 3.7-liter V-6 has plenty of power to drive the 4,110-pound car and the brakes are equally impressive in stopping it.

Interior: Why don't you slip into something more comfortable? The G37's 12-way power-adjustable driver's seat and eight-way front passenger seat spoiled us. With our height differences, it's always a chore to find a comfortable position, especially when driving a manual transmission. Not with the G37. The heated leather seats have plenty of bolstering and lumbar support. (One nit: The lever to tilt the seats forward is plasticky and felt cheap. Can it withstand lots of use?) The power tilt and telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel also help you find an ergonomic fit. Lyra loved the Silk Obi aluminum trim, which gives the interior a modern look. The Bose Open Air sound system that came with the premium option package is outstanding. Peter liked that speakers are integrated into the front- seat headrests. The top folds smoothly, but don't expect any trunk space when it's down. (A spare tire is an option; you get a tire repair kit.) And rear seat space is cursory. Peter had a friend sit crossways to be comfortable.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Cabin: Thoughtful design, with attractive gauges and easy-to-use controls.

Rear end: Some cars with retractable tops look like they have junk in the trunk. Not the G37.

Price: Not cheap, but a lot of bang for the buck.

Lyra Solochek

Sound: The growling exhaust note is thrilling.

Ride: It drives like a sports car, with its RWD and sport-dampened suspension.

Nav system: The 7-inch color screen sits high and is angled, as are the controls.

The bottom line: The G37 convertible proves that style, performance and comfort are not mutually exclusive. What it doesn't have is cargo and rear-seat room. But if you're considering a sports coupe, that's not a priority, right?









2009 Infiniti G37 Convertible Sport 6MT

Price: $43,900 base, $50,365 as tested

Powertrain: 3.7-liter V-6 with 6-speed manual transmission, RWD

Horsepower: 325 at 7,000 rpm

Torque: 267 pound-

feet at 5,200 rpm

Curb weight: 4,110 pounds

Dimensions

in inches:

Wheelbase, 112.2

Length,183.3

Width, 72.9

Fuel economy:

16 miles per gallon city, 24 mpg highway

Safety features: Advanced air bag system, door-mounted curtains, popup roll bar, reinforced passenger compartment, crumple zones,

slideaway brake pedal assembly, brake distribution and assist, dynamic and traction control.

Trim levels: G37 Convertible (automatic transmission)

Options worth considering: Rear wind deflector, spare tire and jack kit, navigation, Bose sound system, advanced climate control system.

Web site: www.infinitiusa.com/

g_convertible/index.html

The Daily Drivers: Infiniti G37 convertible is sporty fun for grownups 03/05/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 5, 2010 3:30am]

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