Special Coverage

Greater L.A. Auto Show

LOS ANGELES – Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.’s new ’09 G37 convertible, unwrapped at the 2008 Los Angeles auto show here today and on sale in the U.S. this spring, boasts advances beyond the coupe version on which it is based, Infiniti says.

These include unique body panels from the A-pillars back, a widened rear track, structural reinforcement and a stiffer, but less bulky multilink rear suspension.

“The G convertible retains the Infiniti G’s sporty long cabin/short trunk proportions through the use of a 3-piece steel hardtop, providing a dual beauty – that rare occurrence when a convertible looks as good with the top up as down,” Infiniti says in a statement.

The 3-piece folding clamshell hardtop opens and closes fully in about 30 seconds.

The convertible keeps the coupe’s 3.7L V-6 engine, which makes 325 hp and 267 lb.-ft. (362 Nm) of torque, slightly less than the 330 hp and 270 lb.-ft. (366 Nm) the same mill produces in the 2-door model.

As with the coupe, the engine can be mated to either a 7-speed automatic transmission with optional paddle shifters or a 6-speed close-ratio manual transmission.

Standard features of the G37 convertible include leather seating; 18-in. aluminum alloy wheels; scratch-shield paint, available in two colors exclusive to the convertible: Midnight Garnet and Pacific Sky; silk-finish aluminum trim; adaptive dual-zone climate control that adjusts fan speed when the top is down; fixed second-row headrests with rear pop-up bar; and electronic stability control.

Available features include a navigation system with XM NavTraffic and 9.3GB hard drive; climate-controlled front seats; sport brakes with 14-in. front and 13.8-in. rear rotors; intelligent cruise control with preview braking; 19-in. wheels; and a 13-speaker Bose Open Air Sound System.

Infiniti says the audio system from Bose was custom-engineered for the G37 convertible, delivering “a premium audio experience for top-up or top-down driving – something typically compromised in convertibles.”

Bose engineers placed the G37’s speakers strategically, including two in each front-seat headrests, and also used AudioPilot 2 noise-compensation circuitry “to compensate for background noise and vehicle speed” when the top is retracted.

The G37 convertible comes in a base and sport model, the latter with the 6-speed manual transmission. Three interior color schemes, including graphite, wheat and stone, will be offered for the new model.

A custom red leather interior will be featured on the special “Premier Edition” that can be ordered through the 2008 Bloomingdale’s Holiday Catalog. Only 200 units of the special model, which also features handcrafted red-tone-maple wood trim and a midnight black front grille, will be available through participating Infiniti dealers.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com