BEVERLY HILLS -- The G series has become the volume leader for the Infiniti brand in Canada, with the second-generation G37 sedan and coupe delivering an appealing combination of advanced technologies, attractive styling and a high level of performance.
The one final piece needed to complete the lineup, says Ian Forsyth, Infiniti Canada product planning director, was a convertible -- and now he's getting his wish.
Infiniti is adding a droptop model to its G line with the 2009 G37 convertible, arriving in Canada in June. Before you assume this new model is simply a topless coupe, let me assure you it's all new from the windshield pillar back. The body panels are different, the track is wider, the rear suspension has been reworked -- even the tail lights have been redesigned.
Most of the changes were made to accommodate the retractable steel roof and its storage. The roof consists of three panels that fold away in a movement that takes about 25 seconds to complete. This design enables the G37 to have a shorter overhang and lower hatch lid. With the top up, the G37 has a stylish coupe look. Push a button on the centre console and a well-orchestrated transformation begins, with panels opening, folding, moving and closing. Once the roof is stored, the G37 assumes a clean look with no hint of the tall rear deck design seen on many competitive hardtop convertibles.
Infiniti engineers were able to achieve this lower profile by using a clamshell storage configuration for the roof, rather than the typical "stacked" design.
One issue the engineers haven't resolved is how to find storage space for a roof plus personal items. Cargo capacity is almost nonexistent with the roof folded -- just two cubic feet in a narrow trough between the stored panels and rear fascia. Forget even an overnight bag, and golf clubs will have to ride in the rear seat. Even with the top up, there's just 10.3 cu. ft. for luggage.
Space is not a concern elsewhere, at least if you're riding up front. The two front sport seats are heated, power adjustable and very comfy.
The G37 will be offered in Sport and Premier Edition trims. There's just one colour combination for the latter -- a graphite metallic exterior and red leather interior with handcrafted maple accents. This package also includes a navigation system with a seven-inch touch-screen display, voice recognition and 9.3-gigabyte hard-drive Music Box system augmenting the standard Bose Open Air audio system.
Standard equipment on the Sport model includes, in addition to the Bose sound system with its 13 speakers (including a pair built into each front headrest), a power tilt and telescopic steering column that also tilts the instrument cluster, adaptive dual-zone climate control that responds to changes in vehicle speed and whether the top is up or down, as well as ambient temperature, vehicle stability and traction controls, an intelligent key fob and push-button start/stop. Safety concerns are addressed by six air bags (front, seat sides and doors) plus pop-up rear rollover bars.
The Sport model also includes a brake upgrade, with larger ventilated rotors and four-piston calipers up front, twin-piston calipers in the rear.
There's just one engine offered -- Infiniti's award-winning 3.7-litre V6, which also drives the G37 coupe and sedan. It features variable valve timing and lift, boosting response and performance while reducing emissions and enhancing fuel efficiency. It's rated at 325 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 267 pound-feet of torque at 5,200 rpm.
Buyers have a choice of transmissions -- a close-ratio six-speed manual or an electronically controlled seven-speed automatic that features a manual mode with rev-matching downshift function and magnesium paddles on the steering wheel.
-- Canwest News Service