2009 Infiniti G37 Convertible: “G” Rock Star
Written by Kimatni D. Rawlins
My journey to Los Angeles to experience Infiniti’s first convertible since the M30 back in the 90s started off rather magically; a theme that would continue throughout the short three-day stay. The equation consisted of Japanese luxury in the form of a retractable hardtop G37 Convertible, two wonderful nights at the recently opened SLS luxury hotel and enough celebrity interaction for multiple paparazzi photo sessions.
Excitement began with a Lakers home game on the eve of my Infiniti drive where Kobe and the gang handled the visiting Golden State Warriors while I watched from the third row, not far from Jack Nicholson. A sports fanatic myself, I always wanted to check out a game at the Staples Center. Shortly after, we went to the locker room for a one on one chat with Jordan Farmar. Place some groupies and luxury rides in the background and you see why they call it “Ball’n!” Back at the SLS’s Bizarre, where the cozy lounge comingles Asian and Euro fusion with Latin flavor, I ordered a nightcap to “lay me down to sleep” in that seductive room full of mirrors and passion.
A beautiful morning followed after my dream state while Beverly Hills awaited a cadre of tops to be dropped. My partner Frank and I immediately snagged the keys to the deep grey limited production vehicle. Through Infiniti’s partnership with Bloomingdale’s Holiday Catalog, only 200 copies of the “Premier Edition” G37 Convertible will be produced. The most attractive detail is the car’s Monaco Red Leather interior and hand-carved red-tone Maple Wood trim. You also receive a Midnight Black front grille and nine-spoke 19" aluminum-alloy rims. If you can’t get your hands on a Premier Edition, then Infiniti offers the vehicle in two variants: G37 Convertible and G37 Convertible Sport 6MT.
After adjusting ourselves to the gadgetry of the vehicle we headed out for a long morning drive via Mulholland Drive, down the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Monica for lunch at the Ivy by the Shore. Understandably, the vehicle is attractive with top up or down. This was evident from faithful pedestrian reactions and positive comments. Infiniti understands that it needs this car to be successful if it is to gain market share against the luxury elite BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Audi. Have you seen their “Essence” concept car recently launched in Geneva? The front engine, rear wheel drive coupe instills 600 horsepower and is manifested from a design team that hones a relationship with Louis Vuiton. Now with the G, Infiniti believes they have filled out their product bracket. The retractable “clamshell” roof, which takes a long 30 seconds to drop, folds peacefully into the trunk. Yet, travel lightly as there is no trunk space with the top down. Your storage will come from the rear seats, which I hope aren’t used for additional passengers. Infiniti’s perspective is that styling prevails over storage capacity. A standard wind deflector is a must and the pop up roll bar adds to the overall safety of the vehicle. And for the show-offs you can drop the top from the outside by holding the button on the door handle for the 30-second count. “As the latest expression of our Inspired Performance, the Infiniti G Convertible instills equal parts lust and envy – lust for its exotically beautiful styling and envy for its unmatched performance credentials,” said Ben Poore, vice president of marketing for Infiniti. “The G Convertible retains the Infiniti’s G’s sporty long cabin/short trunk proportions through use of a three-piece steel hardtop, providing a “dual beauty” – that rare occurrence when a convertible looks as good with the top up as down.”
If you are familiar with the Infiniti G Coupe or Sedan then you will easily equate with the G Convertible. It’s based off the familiar FM Platform and powered by the usual 3.7-liter V6 producing 325-horsepower. Frank alerted my attention from the vehicle’s digital capabilities to its performance attributes when he took Mulholland corners with finesse and then topped 110 mph on a lonely highway stretch. Even with the 453 additional pounds over the coupe the Convertible has healthy acceleration. Our V6 was paired with the 7-speed automatic controllable via large butterfly shifters on the steering wheel. A six-speed manual is also offered. The Sports model gives you 19” rims with Bridgestone performance tires, larger brakes, aluminum pedals, a sportier front end and a racier interior.
For driving pleasure connect your iPod to the audio system and crank up the new Bose Open Air Sound System (optional). It features 13 speakers including one embedded on the outer side of each headrest (four total) for optimal surround sound while the top is down. The multi-media system features the dash recessed screen which displays views from the rear camera, navigation of course and all of your media whether its XM, music files stored onto the hard drive or played from the older Compact Flash drive. An exclusive to the G Convertible, expect to cool your buns on hot days with the air-conditioned front seats. My only interior gripe is the narrow gap between the seats and doors to reach the seat adjustments, not good for folks with large hands like myself.
After a delicious seafood lunch Frank and I jumped in a Sport and kept the top up. Our short drive drew even more attention to the convertible import. Back at the SLS I held several meetings to show off the G to a few female influencers including British actor Idris Elba’s manager, BET radio personality Crystal Shaw and Magic Johnson’s good friend Toi Crawford. They were all intrigued. As the day turned to night the SLS became a Hollywood Friday night favorite as Tyra Banks mistook my good buddy Lance for her friend Greg, Keenan Ivory Wayans looked me up and down like his long lost sixth brother, NBA great Reggie Miller kept looking for a court and American Idol judge Randy Johnson played incognito. In the midst of the action, the G Convertible maintained composure up front against Bentleys, Benzes and Bimmers. It was a night for Rock Stars!
Built in Japan, the G37 Convertible goes on sale June 19th with expected pricing to start in the mid 40s. Though convertible sales are down, Infiniti expects this market to hold up especially since they are offering an all-new model. Currently their buyer is slightly older and female. I don’t see much changing being that this style of convertible -- like the Volvo C70 and Lexus SC - is fashioned with ladies in mind.