A car's roof isn't there just to keep the rain out and the music in; it's part of a car's structure. When a welded steel roof is missing because the car is a convertible, reinforcements have to be added elsewhere to keep the body from shaking and rattling while it's rolling.
In some cars, the reinforcement has been done so well that the driver can forget when the top is up that the car is a convertible. Unfortunately, the new Infiniti G37 isn't one of them; its driver and passengers are reminded by every pothole and recessed drain cover that this hard roof is not welded in place but can be folded and stowed at the touch of a button to let in the weather and let out the music.
Neither can the G's driver forget how much weight was added by that hard three-piece folding top and the motors and mechanism that make it go up and down. Large heaves in the pavement have the rear of this car wallowing as if it had a 100-pound sack of sand in the trunk. And pavement expansion joints encountered during a turn tend to provoke a sidestep by the rear tires.
Too bad. With a little more attention to structure and the rear suspension (which Infiniti says already has been "modified" from the coupe's), the first G convertible could be as enjoyable to drive as the rest of the rear-wheel-drive G line. A silky 3.7-liter V-6 engine powers it, making 325 hp. and delivering quick acceleration through a seven-speed automatic or six-speed stick - your choice. Overall handling is confidence-inspiring, in particular with the tester's extra quick steering - part of the Sport package.
The leather-upholstered, Bose Premium Audio System-equipped interior is attractive and well organized. I found the driver's seat comfortable enough for hours of ache-free motoring, but adults won't want to spend much time in the low and cramped rear seats. This convertible's large rear window and thin rear roof supports makes for terrific visibility for backing and lane changing.
As an owner, I could live with the shaking and shuddering if this was a $25,000 car. But the G convertible starts at $44,715.
Infiniti cars and dealers have an excellent reputation for keeping customers happy, based on results of Consumer Reports' and J.D. Power and Associates' various owner surveys.
Safetywise, the G sedan gets an almost perfect rating from the federal government, but there are no federal ratings for the coupe or convertible. The private Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also bases its "good" rating on a test of a sedan only.