Infiniti G37xS Coupe and IPL Convertible
By Nauman Farooq
Back in 2003, Infiniti, which is Nissan’s premium brand, did something that no one quite expected. They took the platform and drivetrain from the Nissan 350Z and modified it to their liking. Then they penned an incredibly pretty body onto this new, lengthened platform, and the end result was the birth of the G35 coupe.
Thanks to its looks, its performance, and an attractive price point, the car was a huge success. Now everyone who wanted a BMW 3-series coupe or a Mercedes-Benz CLK, had a new car on their shopping list.
So it was a successful start then, but then the hard part is, how to keep the momentum going!
So in 2008, Infiniti launched the much-anticipated sequel, the G37 coupe. The new version had a bit more power, and looked even better than before, plus the gadgets list grew even bigger. But despite the improvements, the new car lacked the buzz of the original G35 coupe. So what Infiniti needed to do was to once again go into a territory they hadn’t been in before.
So in 2010, the G37 convertible hit the showrooms. This was actually the second convertible in Infiniti’s history, but the first to be a hard-top convertible.
Sales of this model, especially in Canada have been minuscule thus far to say the least, but Infiniti never one to call it quits, is now offering a new version of the G37 convertible, called the IPL.
IPL, which stands for Infiniti Performance Line is like what AMG is to Mercedes-Benz and M is to BMW. Cars that will get the IPL treatment will be faster and sportier to drive than the regular model.
The G37 coupe was the first model to get the IPL treatment, and now the convertible gets the goodies too. Visually, you get much more sculpted bumpers, even bigger exhaust pipes and nicer seats. Under the skin, you get the same 3.7-liter, V6 motor, but in the IPL, it is tweaked to produce 348-hp (regular model gets 325-hp) and 276-lb/ft of torque (267-lb/ft on the regular version).
However, while the regular G37 convertible is available with either a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 7-speed automatic, the IPL Convertible only comes with the 7-speed automatic (IPL coupe however gets both gearbox options).
The automatic is the preferred choice of gearbox for this car anyway, because I have driven G37s with the manual gearbox and I didn’t like it. Its automatic might not be the quickest shifting gearbox, especially when using the paddle shifters (up-shifts seem to take forever), but it is always smooth. Power in the IPL model is only sent to the rear-wheels, but given how well its traction and stability control system works, you don’t have to worry about stability even on slippery days.
Despite Infiniti trying to pass the IPL Convertible as a sportscar, it isn’t really. What it is, is a fast, sophisticated, comfortable cruiser that can just melt away the miles. This car is just wonderful for taking on out-of-town trips. However, since the convertible model hardly has any trunk space (with the power operated folding hard-top folded in, I could barely fit my slippers in the trunk). So if you are headed out of town, either pack very light, or throw your stuff in the back seat, which is what I did.
Roof down, you notice the compromises a car has to make when it goes from being a hard-top coupe, to a convertible. There is plenty of chassis flex, which makes you cringe on broken roads, but buying a convertible is all about compromises and so this is no exception. Cruising roof down with the side windows up, there is still plenty of wind buffeting at highway speeds, so best to drive top down in town.
All in all, I liked the G37 IPL Convertible, but you will have to be willing to live with its compromises, plus you have to come up with $67,300 to get one, which is a lot to be honest.
Personally, I’d rather have a G37 coupe with the all-wheel drive option. Recently, I also spent time with the G37xS coupe. This model had the regular tune, 330-hp version of the 3.7-liter, V6, but that is honestly very sufficient for moving this car. Considering that at 1,652-kg, the xS coupe is 248-kg lighter than the IPL convertible I drove, the power to weight ratio is quite similar.
The coupe, thanks to its stiffer platform does feel more like a sportscar to drive, which is what an enthusiast looks for. Also, thanks to its stiffer platform, it rides much better too.
All the all-wheel drive models come only with the 7-speed automatic, and yes, it had the same lazy response when you’re looking for an up-shift. I hope Infiniti will offer a dual-clutch gearbox, similar to the one found on the Nissan GT-R, the next time they do a new G-model.
If the idea of an all-wheel drive coupe suits you (in Canada, that is a pretty good idea to consider), then you should be ready to shell out $49,300 for the G37x coupe, while my tester, being the sport G37xS coupe retails for $51,800.
Regardless of the G37 you pick (remember, there is a sedan variant available too), you’ll end up with a luxurious car with a wonderful, gadget-laden cockpit, powerful and reliable engine, and one of the best exhaust sounds in its class.
These cars might be getting on in years, and might not be perfect, but they are perfectly satisfying to live with (heck, with an average of 12.9-liters/100km on a combined cycle, they are not terribly thirsty either). Would I buy one? Nah, I’d keep saving until I can afford a Nissan GT-R.
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