For 2013, a sport-tuned IPL (Infiniti Performance Line) trim joins the Infiniti G Convertible lineup.
As highly as we rate the sedan and coupe versions of the Infiniti G line, one might assume we would be just as favorable to the convertible version. We wouldn't put money on that assumption, though, since the 2013 Infiniti G Convertible has some drawbacks that can challenge you.
Convertibles as a class are generally impractical, but in most cases, that's the price you pay for the sun on your face and wind in your hair. The Infiniti G Convertible, however, puts an even higher price on the privilege of driving al fresco. Most important, space behind the front seats is at a premium, an inevitable consequence of packaging a hardtop convertible. This is really a car just for two, as the rear seats are better used as an overflow shelf for the trunk, and maybe that's a good thing, since you'll be lucky to fit a tissue box in the trunk when the roof is lowered.
To its credit, at least the Infiniti G Convertible maintains most of the strengths that have us painting the coupe in a favorable light. The potent V6 provides plenty of power and the sport-tuned suspension makes for an exhilarating canyon carver. This year's addition of the hopped-up IPL (Infiniti Performance Line) model adds even more excitement. Then there's the classy interior that boasts easy-to-operate high-tech features and comfortable ride quality to further broaden appeal. The G Convertible also benefits from a retractable hardtop roof rather than a conventional folding fabric top, which brings added protection from the elements, security and longevity.
But of course, hardtop convertibles aren't exclusive to the Infiniti. Although hardly paragons of practicality themselves, other competitors at least offer more generous backseats and trunks. The BMW 3 Series still ranks at the top of our list for its greater refinement and comparable performance. The Volvo C70 is also worthy of your attention if you prefer comfort over performance. If you don't particularly need a folding hardtop, the soft-top Audi A5 is most certainly a contender, with the fewest compromises in the bunch. Overall, we like the 2013 Infiniti G Convertible, but we still contend that the many drawbacks are enough to outweigh the positives.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Infiniti G Convertible seats four people and is available in three trim levels: G37, G37 Sport and IPL (Infiniti Performance Line).
Standard equipment includes a fully powered retractable hardtop roof, 18-inch wheels, automatic bi-xenon headlights, power-folding and heated mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated eight-way power front seats with position memory for rear seat access, leather upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio interface.
The Premium package adds rear parking sensors, driver memory functions, a power-adjustable steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, driver two-way power lumbar support and a 13-speaker Bose "Open Air" sound system specially designed for use in a convertible. To this you can add the Navigation package, which includes a navigation system, voice controls, real-time traffic and weather, and Bluetooth audio connectivity.
Getting both of these opens the door to two other packages. The Sport package includes 19-inch wheels and summer performance tires (available separately), sport-tuned steering, upgraded brakes, unique styling elements, sport seats with power-adjustable bolsters and thigh support for the driver, and solid magnesium shift paddles. The Technology package includes the 19-inch wheels and summer tires, adaptive cruise control, pre-crash seatbelts, automatic wipers and an upgraded climate control system with an air purifier. This all-or-nothing options structure makes it difficult to select features you actually want.
The G37 Sport includes the Premium, Navigation and Sport packages, but swaps out the automatic transmission for a six-speed manual. The new IPL trim goes even further, by increasing engine power output and adding a sport exhaust, more aggressive suspension tunings, front and rear aerodynamic enhancements and unique badging.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering the G37 and G37 Sport models is a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 330 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control sends power to the rear wheels. The G37 Sport is only available with a six-speed manual transmission.
In Edmunds performance testing, a G37 Sport Convertible went from zero to 60 mph in a quick 6.0 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy comes in at 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. The G37 Sport with the manual transmission is rated at 16/24/19 mpg.
The IPL G Convertible engine squeezes out 343 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque while returning fuel economy numbers identical to those of the standard G37 with the automatic transmission. Despite the increase in power, don't expect the IPL to be much quicker than the Sport model, though, as the G37 coupes turned in identical times.
Standard safety features for the 2013 Infiniti G37 include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, automatically deploying pop-up roll bars, front-seat-mounted side airbags, door-mounted side curtain-style airbags and active front head restraints. The optional Technology package uses the adaptive cruise control sensors to pre-tense the seatbelts and ready the brakes if a crash is determined to be imminent.
With the Sport package, a G37 Convertible with summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in an impressively short 108 feet.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2013 Infiniti G Convertible offers excellent build quality and a handsome design -- the latter highlighted by such items as the car's leather-accented magnesium paddle shifters and aluminum accents. We're also fond of the G's controls. The iPod interface is among the best available, while the audio, climate and navigation systems are easy to operate. The available Bose stereo is particularly impressive as well.
Most people should find the front seats comfortable and well-bolstered, while the available sport-styled seats offer even more aggressive bolstering (though the seat bottom may be a bit too snug for larger drivers). The backseat is essentially useless for normal-size adults, even compared to other convertibles. That's especially true with the retractable hardtop in place.
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 with the top down. You'd be lucky to carry a tissue box, whereas most of the G's competitors can still carry actual luggage.
The 2013 Infiniti G37 Convertible's V6 serves up thrilling acceleration, though the coarse noises it makes at higher engine speeds are unfortunate for a luxury-branded vehicle. The seven-speed automatic provides quick shifting via 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. We're also not fond of the six-speed manual transmission, which suffers from a heavy and abrupt clutch engagement.
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 convertible's weight, as it saps some of the car's performance potential compared to the lighter G Coupe.
For the few drivers that desire even more performance, the IPL trim will likely satisfy their urges. It's doubtful, however, that the typical driver would find the slightly harsher ride an acceptable sacrifice. Handling performance is marginally better than in the Sport-trimmed models, perhaps just enough to match the more aggressive exterior styling.
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