"Infiniti's folding hard-top is a brilliant piece of design, taking 25 seconds to fold neatly into the boot"
The Infiniti G Convertible is the Nissan-owned brand's competitor to the BMW 3 Series Convertible. Like the BMW, the G Convertible offers four seats and a folding hard-top roof that retracts in under 25 seconds. Boasting stylish looks and a decent ride quality all models are well equipped and provide impressive performance from the 3.7-litre V6 engine. Despite the extra 182kg of chassis strengthening required over the coupe model, the rear-wheel drive G Convertible handles well and makes a great noise with the roof down. Negatives include a slow automatic gearbox and with an asking price in excess of £40,000, the interior feels a little cheap.
Driving the G37 Convertible on a deserted open road is one of life's pleasures, especially with the roof down. The noise produced by the Nissan-sourced V6 is a delight and with 316bhp under the bonnet the G37 rarely feels underpowered. Only the lazy gearbox lets the side down. Offered with a seven-speed automatic gearbox featuring manual mode and steering wheel-mounted paddles, the system feels dis-connected from the rest of the car. The gearbox is hesitant to change when in a hurry and only feels happy when cruising along maintaining the same speed.
The ride is very well balanced in the G37, feeling very similar to the coupe version. Loading-up in tight corners to prevent bodyroll and then softening at slow speeds and on motorways to provide plenty of everyday usability, the Infiniti engineers have done a good job. There is also very little shake or rattle often found in open top variants. The sculpted front seats are excellent and even though the rear is quite cramped, children will have few complaints. Some of the cabin materials do feel a little cheap however, especially the steering wheel and upper door trims.
Infiniti is a relatively new brand in the UK but should prove reliable as they are owned by Nissan - one of the world's largest car manufacturers. Crash tests of other Infiniti models strongly suggest the G37 Convertible will fair well in the event of an accident- the Infiniti FX SUV scored the full five stars in a Euro NCAP test in 2009. Fitted as standard with six interior airbags and a tyre pressure monitor the G37 convertible also features automatic rain and light sensors that switch the wipers and lights on in low-visibility conditions.
The rear seats are quite comfortable for shorter adults, but with the roof down taller passengers may feel exposed to the elements on longer journeys, even with a wind deflector fitted. Gaining access with the roof in position can also prove quite tricky. The touch screen sat-nav works well and all the dashboard controls are well spaced and easy to reach. The folding hard-top roof folds neatly away into the boot in just 25 seconds.
Value for money
Priced higher than the equivalent BMW 3 Series, the Infiniti looks expensive at first. The cabin has a very high specification however, featuring a voice recognition touch-screen sat-nav, Bluetooth, electric half-leather seats, wind deflector and dual-zone climate control. Optional extras are well priced including full leather interior and maple wood trim at £890 and metallic paint at £580.
Capable of 24.8mpg the Infiniti G37 Convertible is much less fuel efficient than the BMW 330i SE and also produces higher emissions. Annual Road Tax will cost owners £460 compared to the BMW's more manageable £210 bill. Over four years this equates to a saving of £1,000.