Friday, January 20, 2012


Not to rub it in with any of you living up north, but it’s convertible weather where I live.
The temperature is starting in the 70s and working its way to the low-80s during the afternoon, and the sun is bright but not overbearing. You can sit at an intersection without getting a sunburn.
Perfect weather, in other words.
And I have just had the perfect car for it.
The Infiniti G Convertible Sport 6MT with a six-speed manual transmission.
The perfect combination. Life just doesn’t get any better.
Infiniti offers buyers the choice of two engines in sedan-form G models -- the G25 with a 2.5-liter V6 and the G37 with a 3.7-liter V6 -- but only the 3.7 in coupe and convertible models, hence the G37 S tag on the trunk lid.
The 3.7-liter pumps out 325 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels, which results in a lively performance for the driver. It drinks the good stuff (premium fuel is listed as “required,” not just “recommended”) at a rate of 16 miles-per-gallon city, 24 highway with the manual, 17/25 with the automatic transmission.
Zero-to-60 mph times were not available on the Nissan website, but they are probably in the six-second neighborhood. Throttle response is just as immediate at speed to make passing comfortable as well. (Eat my road gravel!)
The G37 Convertible also has a choice of two transmissions, a seven-speed automatic and a six-speed manual. I think the company shows it is very much in tune with its prospective customers when it charges a premium for the manual over the automatic. It's usually the other way around, but in this case, the MSRP for the automatic is $46,400, for the Sport 6MT $50,850.
Some people, of course, think that when you’re driving in a lot of stop-and-go traffic -- and who isn’t these days? -- it becomes a chore to constantly have to work the clutch with the manual.
I don’t, certainly not with the easy throws when it comes to shifting in the G37.
The G37 is a hardtop convertible, which means you can have the experience of coupe as well as going top-free. (Insert your joke here.)
The roof lowers and raises with a simple push of a button on the center console, that is, it does if the rear gate is in its proper place. It’s not big deal to set it right. All it does is ensure you don’t have any extra items in the trunk that would be crushed the top as it folds up on the trunk.
Naturally, you lose all your trunk space (though there was still room for the thick owner’s manual, however) when the top is lowered. Frankly, there’s not a whole lot there to begin with, just over 10 cubic feet overall.
That small trunk is about the only negative thing I could see in the G37. But you've got to expect that in a convertible. If you want a cargo hauler, get an wagon or SUV. This one is built for hauling. ... never mind.
Of course, there’s not a lot of room in the backseat either, and there is the inconvenience of fiddling with the front seat belts to get back there, but my wife said the room was fine for her. (No, I don’t make her ride back there; her brother was riding shotgun.)
The G37’s ride is sporty and it handles corners well, but at the same time, it is comfortable going over bumps like on railroad crossings as well. No jarring of the teeth, and no rattles anywhere else.
The cabin is nicely done and has the quality materials and all the bells and whistles you usually find in this price range. Infiniti made the navigation system, which is pretty easy to operate, standard in the Sport 6MT trim level. Two-way lumbar support in the driver’s seat -- power adjusted, of course -- also is standard in the Sport 6MT, a welcome feature for those of us with aching backs.
In fact, you won’t find a lot of options available on the Sport 6MT because so many things you might want are standard, which means not a lot of expenses added to the base price. The model I drove came with the nav system with backup camera, Bose audio, Bluetooth, XM Satellite radio (three months subscription; after that, you pay a monthly fee) and more included in the base price.
The only extra was illuminated kick plates, which added $340. That and the $895 for destination and delivery (which should be included in the MSRP but never is in the industry for some reason) ran the total tag to $52,085.
Maybe if you are a savvy negotiator, you can get the dealer to throw them in free. If you’re not, like me, go ahead. Splurge. Life’s too short not to live it up a little!
And don't worry. It will be convertible weather where you live sometime soon I’m sure. Maybe June, when hurricane season opens here.

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