Infiniti, the Nissan-owned luxury automotive brand from Japan is launching in Europe in 2009 with the G37 saloon, coupe and convertible along with EX and FX 4×4 crossovers. Of course the Infiniti G37 Convertible is the only model we are concerned with here, but the Infiniti brand may also be new to some readers.
Infiniti began sales in 1989 targeting the US market where it has become a respected luxury brand. It didn’t have a great start with poor sales figures and a misjudged marketing campaign but following some award winning cars they began to make headway. The company now focuses on developing a dynamic and powerful line-up of sporty luxury cars.
The G37’s predecessor, the G35 dramatically improved sales for the brand. It benefitted from the same platform as the powerful Nissan Skyline and shared its 306 hp V6 engine with the Nissan 350Z. its high levels of standard equipment and impressive performance made it competitive with German luxury brands. In Europe however, the Infiniti brand remained relatively unknown until its launch there in Autumn 2008.
The G37 is not an entirely new car. It is based on the G35 that preceded it but with significant updates including the new 330hp 3.7 litre V6. It is however, the first convertible model offered by the Infiniti since the M30 which was rumoured to sell only around 6000 cars between 1991 and 1992. The G37 has also been re-engineered for European tastes.
The G37 Convertible has at present, as with the rest of the range, only one engine choice; the punchy V6 shared with among others, the new Nissan 370Z. It sounds great and lowering the roof only helps to turn up the volume.
The rest of the car is a little more refined. Attention to detail extends to adaptive climate control that knows when the roof is down – and compensates for the fact. On the GT Premium model, even the seats are air-conditioned. The GT Premium version also features a BOSE sound system that takes into account the position of the roof, automatically filtering out background noise in convertible mode. With 13 speakers – including ‘personal’ speakers built in to the front-seat head restraints – never a note is lost.
Infiniti’s new Connectiviti multimedia platform that brings a new user-friendliness to a wide range of information and entertainment functions. In Connectiviti+ form (standard on GT Premium) the highlight is a 30GB HDD navigation system that offers everything owners expect – 8-inch colour touch screen, 3D graphics – and some things they won’t, such as access to 22,000 addresses of the finest hotels and restaurants in a world-first tie-up with Michelin Guides.
An automatic folding hardtop was chosen for the Infiniti G37’s roof and the design for this is well thought out and works very well. The G37 Convertible is as aesthetically pleasing with the hardtop up as it is 25 seconds later with the three-piece electrically-operated top unobtrusively stored away. The operation can be performed from inside the car, or for the less bashful, by pressing a button on the door-handle.
Despite the sporting pedigree of its engine and chassis, the Infiniti G37 could not really be called a sports car. It is more of a refined grand tourer. There’s more than enough power when you need it but the steering doesn’t have the uncompromising feel of a BMW. It’s good for 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds
The Infiniti G37 Convertible will hold its own in the marketplace when it is launched in September 2009, but it doesn’t offer anything exceptional or new to the European market. Certainly worthy of consideration though as it will offer a well-equipped alternative in the premium convertible segment.