The Driver's Seat: Infiniti G37 Convertible
This stunner delivers true style and performance with better value than the BMW 3-Series.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Downright stunning. That’s what I thought, anyway, on climbing into the 2010 G37—a “mid-cycle” tweaking of the ’09 model. This new Infiniti with a no-muss, no-fuss power retractable hardtop boasts a spiffed-up console, navigation system, and instrument cluster. It’s tight— Cowboys tackles and Mavs forwards need not apply—but comfy enough for regular-sized folks, in the front buckets anyway. (The back seat’s got just about enough room for Mini-Me and a six-pack of Bud Light.) Peeling away from a dead stop, the G37 doesn’t disappoint.
BOTTOM LINE: That’s mainly because of its engine—Nissan’s trademark 3.7-liter V-6. The 3.7 replaced the 3.5 last year, and it has made a significant difference. Horsepower’s up to 325 (from around 305), while torque’s now 267. The V-6 gets paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission; there’s also a manual mode and steering-wheel shift paddles, for when “rapid response” is called for. (Like for skirting the slow poke in the fast lane on North Central Expressway, say.)
Braking and cornering are excellent, and so’s the interior ambiance. Think leather seats, aluminum trim, Maple interior accents, a rear-view monitor, satellite radio, and adaptive dual-zone climate controls. Our tester also included a technology package ($1,150 for stuff like intelligent cruise control and rain-sensing windshield wipers); a $3,050 premium package (lumbar support and a rear sonar system); and a nav package ($1,850 for 3-D graphics, voice recognition, even Zagat restaurant reviews).
TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY: Infiniti’s G plays in a space that’s also inhabited by cars like the Audi A5, the Lexus GS, and BMW’s 3-Series. Beemer lovers will say the 37’s no match for the 3 in terms of body control and steering. But I think the 37 outpaces the 3 when it comes to sheer value: the bang you get (in both power and agility) for your buck. They really ought to rename it the Gee37.