Infiniti G37 Convertible: First report
Our new drop-top makes a grand entrance at the Red Bull victory parade in Milton Keynes
They say never meet your heroes, but what about chauffeuring them in front of 60,000 screaming fans? The newest addition to our long-term fleet, an Infiniti G37 Convertible, has arrived with quite a fanfare, playing a pivotal role in Red Bull Racing’s Formula One victory parade near its headquarters in Milton Keynes, Bucks.
Infiniti sponsors the world championship-winning Red Bull F1 team, which is how our car ended up at the heart of the action. Our first photocall was with the youngest-ever double world champion, Sebastian Vettel, who handed over the keys. We only had time to exchange pleasantries and for me to gawp in awe before he was whisked away, but it was still a moment to savour.
The main event was yet to come, however: the G37 and I would be taking Red Bull’s other driver, Australian Mark Webber, and team principal Christian Horner on a final victory lap in front of the crowds.
Thanks to the folding hard-top, the rear deck of the G37 was the perfect platform for our precious cargo, but it seems Webber hasn’t got to grips with the Japanese brand yet. When I asked him if he owned an Infiniti, he replied: “Nah mate, I prefer Porsches.” And Horner didn’t have much faith in my driving. His advice to me was simply “please don’t crash”.
Car group tests
My plan for the G37 Convertible is two-fold: firstly, to see what compromises are involved in running a convertible through the British winter, and secondly, to take a closer look at this fledgling brand, which only arrived in the UK in 2009. Does Nissan’s luxury division, already a massive success in America, have what it takes to make it in the notoriously tough UK market?
The first signs are good. Although we didn’t exceed 10mph with our Red Bull duo in the back, we’ve had a chance to stretch the car’s legs since then. With a lengthened Nissan 370Z Roadster platform underneath, the G37 is sharp to drive, but supple enough to make covering long distances a pleasure. This is when the smooth auto gearbox really shines. Overall, this car strikes a better balance between handling, pace and comfort than its uncompromising Nissan cousin.
It comes at a price though, as our average fuel consumption is currently hovering just above the 19mpg mark – well below the claimed 24.8mpg, despite a good mix of motorway and urban driving.
The front-end styling won’t be to all tastes, but from there back the taut bodywork looks fantastic, even with the roof in place. Research told Infiniti that customers are willing to sacrifice boot space for a svelte shape, and we agree. Luggage room with the roof down is very limited, but because the large rear seats (which can accommodate adults) double up as a useful overflow area, it’s rarely an issue.
Cabin quality isn’t a match for a BMW or Audi, with swathes of cheap-looking wood trim, but you can’t fault the G37 for standard kit. The sat-nav, heated and cooled leather seats and the Bose stereo are highlights, although with more than 15,000 miles on the clock, the odd squeak and rattle can be heard.
We look forward to driving it in the months ahead, but after an introduction like this, the Infiniti has a lot to live up to...
“The G37 has just arrived and I’m one of the few to have prised the keys out of Jack’s hands. It looks the part, but fuel economy around town is poor.”
Ross Pinnock, Road test editor
“The interior looks okay, but the exterior is extremely boring – it reminds me of a Lexus from the mid-nineties. Somehow I doubt that BMW or Mercedes are worrying too much.”