Full 2011 Infiniti G Convertible Review
What's New for 2011
For 2011 the Infiniti G Convertible receives a slight face-lift that includes a restyled front fascia and new wheel designs. Also, the navigation system is now standard on the Sport and a new Limited Edition trim level debuts.
Within the entry-level luxury convertible segment there's hardly a bad pick in the bunch. Sculpted bodies, powerful engines and all the latest conveniences are standard fare here. And yet the 2011 Infiniti G Convertible still manages to separate itself from the pack thanks to its sporty personality and unique, handsome styling.
With a potent 325-horsepower V6 under the hood, an athletic chassis and crisp, communicative steering, the G Convertible is one of the most entertaining cars in its class. But it's more than just fast as it provides a stylish, well-built cabin, user-friendly high-tech features and a supple ride that all make it a fine choice as a daily driver, provided you don't need to use the miniscule backseats much.
Blessed with a retractable-hardtop design, this convertible offers the quiet comfort of a coupe when the top is up and the exhilaration of a convertible when it's automatically stowed beneath the trunk lid. But there are a couple of serious penalties paid for this luxury. First, the drop-top G weighs 457 pounds more than the G Coupe, and second, when the roof is stowed, the formerly respectable luggage capacity is reduced to something resembling the capacity of a kid's lunchbox.
Set tire-to-tire against the BMW 3 Series convertible ? its most serious rival ? the 2011 Infiniti G still isn't quite as communicative to the enthusiast in terms of steering feel. You might also consider the Audi A5/S5 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class convertibles, which have their own particular strengths, although they have cloth soft tops in lieu of retractable hardtops. Yet even among this stellar group, Infiniti's G remains one of our top picks for its standout combination of performance, styling and comfort.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Infiniti G retractable-hardtop convertible is offered in three trim levels -- base, Sport and Limited Edition.
The base G comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, a power retractable hardtop, xenon headlights, keyless ignition/entry, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, full power accessories, power and heated front seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, USB/iPod integration and an auxiliary audio jack.
The Sport trim level features a six-speed manual transmission (versus an automatic), 19-inch wheels with summer tires, upgraded brakes, a quicker steering ratio, a unique front fascia, rear park assist, sport seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, driver memory functions, a navigation system and a 13-speaker Bose audio system with streaming Bluetooth audio, real-time traffic/weather, voice-activated controls and a 9GB music server.
Many of the Sport's features are available on the base G via a number of packages. The base trim can also be had with a Technology package that includes adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, an upgraded climate control system and pre-crash braking and seatbelt systems that, in the event of an imminent collision, prime the brakes and tighten the seatbelts. The base G also comes as a Limited Edition model, which includes unique side sill styling, "Malbec" black paint, a black grille, unique red leather seating with Maple cabin accents, the Sport's performance enhancements and a navigation system.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering every 2011 Infiniti G Convertible is a 3.7-liter V6 that sends 325 hp and 267 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels. The base G comes with a seven-speed automatic transmission featuring manual paddle-shift control and rev-matched downshifts. The Sport comes with an exclusive six-speed manual transmission.
In Edmunds testing, a G Sport convertible sprinted to 60 mph in a swift 6.0 seconds. For the automatic, fuel economy rings in at an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 20 mpg in combined driving; the manual rates 1 mpg less across the board.
The 2011 Infiniti G convertible comes standard with stability control, traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, pop-up roll bars and active head restraints. The optional Technology package adds pre-crash seatbelts (cruise control sensors can detect an impending impact and then automatically pre-tension the belts) and brakes (when an impending impact is sensed by the cruise control sensors, the brake pads snug closer to the rotors for a quicker, more powerful response).
Interior Design and Special Features
The G offers user-friendly controls, excellent build quality and a handsome design -- the latter highlighted by such items as the car's leather-accented magnesium paddle shifters and aluminum (or optional wood) accents. The optional Bose audio system is excellent, and the convertible's headrest-mounted speakers make it even better.
The front seats are comfortable and well-bolstered, while the available sport-styled seats offer even more aggressive bolstering (though they may be a bit too snug for larger drivers). As expected, the convertible's backseats are rather cramped and best suited for little kids or cargo.
Speaking of cargo, the convertible's trunk will accommodate two golf bags with the top up, but carrying capacity shrinks to about 2 cubic feet (think tissue box and not much more) with the top down.
The 2011 Infiniti G37's V6 serves up thrilling acceleration, but we're not fans of the coarse noises it makes at higher engine speeds. The seven-speed automatic provides quick gearchanges via the shift paddles on the steering wheel, and downshifts are quickly executed with precise throttle blips to match revs. Upshifts aren't quite as smooth as we'd like, however.
On the move, this well-sorted Infiniti attacks curves with aggression and precision, yet it remains poised and compliant when driven over less-than-perfect pavement. Steering feel is commendable, particularly with the quicker ratio provided in the Sport. This sporty setup provides excellent feedback and a pleasant weightiness that builds progressively when cornering. The only real downside is the weight, as it saps some of the car's potential compared to the lighter G Coupe.