There is a dismissive, snarky old saw about convertibles: “Chop the roof off any car and you improve it at least 50 percent.” Now, forgetting momentarily that a fair number of enclosed cars treated to such shenanigans will snap shut like a bear trap, there’s truth in the sentiment. Structural engineers will go apoplectic, but open-top cars like yesteryear’s British roadsters bring you closer to nature, closer to the road, closer to the Sports Car Truth that lay in top-down driving, when Nigel Shiftright and Blippy McThrottlage rowed their own synchro-less gears.
As a company that often flies into sporting character, Infiniti slices off their own portion of the sports car pie with the newly-named Q60S Convertible. Having started life as the Q60 (formerly G37) coupe, it gets off the ground with some serious popularity and sales behind it. Shorn of its permanent roof, a semi-permanent one jumps into place. It’s really a multi-piece hardtop that electrically whirs and clangs into the trunk, revealing the interior and occupants to limitless headroom.
|Vehicle type:||2-door hardtop convertible|
|Seating capacity:||4 passengers|
|Price as tested:||$53,655|
|Engine:||3.7-liter DOHC V6; 325 hp; 267 lb-ft of torque|
|Transmission/drive:||6-speed manual / rear-wheel-drive|
|0-60 mph:||6.0 sec|
|Top speed:||130 mph|
|Curb weight:||4,149 lbs.|
|Fuel economy, mpg:||16 city / 24 hwy / 19 combined|
These Infinitis have always been highly attractive coupes and now, with their gymnastic tops up, they take on a slightly more formal profile with the back window slightly more vertical than the coupe’s. Two seams running port-to-starboard break up the folding hardtop into three spans, all of which clamshell and spoon each other when descending into the trunk when stored.
Top down, the Q60’s profile looks like it was always meant to be this way. It gives no stylistic whiff of tradition, though, with very modern, but sparse creases like those at the lower rocker panel. The headlamps stretch back, far up the hood to almost hover over the front wheel centerlines. Beyond that, lights, door handles, lower intakes and grilles give the Q60S surface detail, but not much else. It is a simple, almost slab-sided car without even the somewhat fashionable protruding wheel well arches seen on cars as varied as a Mercedes S-Class and the Q60’s cousin, the 370Z. Elegant need not be fussy. Rarely is, actually.
The Q60’s interior belies its true age, which goes back to 2009. The Q is one of only a few cars in which the instrument cluster tilts in concert with the steering wheel, a concept that makes a world of sense, but few manufacturers have taken to. There’s a multi-function screen on which to twiddle with audio, phone, navigation and detailed climate control settings, and it will be very familiar to those with Infiniti experience. Brushed aluminum trim is applied throughout.
While you merely need to hold a button to lower or raise the top, it takes a long time; longer than most folding hardtops. Also, despite few people expecting appreciable room in the back seat of a convertible like such as the Q60, it is after all, a four-seater. There’s meager room for bodies and legs of any age or size.
The Q60S comes very well-equipped with navigation and traffic and weather functions within navi, voice recognition, a Bose “Open Air” sound system devised for convertibles that uses headrest-mounted speakers and noise-cancelling circuitry, Bluetooth connectivity, bi-xenon headlamps for both low and high beams and LED taillights.
With no wind blocker, two-lane roads prove a bit backdrafty and buffety, though a stab of the throttle and the V6’s song helps you forget. Because the folding roof occupies most of the trunk when stored, you therefore have minimal space for anything else, though it’s no tragedy since you have those rear seats.
Mechanically, the 3.7-liter V6 belts out 325 horsepower and with the standard six-speed manual transmission, gurgles it’s way to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds. The V6 is toting around a portly 4,149 pounds and that’s a lot for this engine. Suspension is tuned quite firmly; about as firmly as Infiniti might dare. Smooth roads reveal lots of grip from the 225/45-19-inch front, and 245/40-19-inch rear tires while steering feel is quite communicative. Brakes provide massive stopping power, even though a bit touchy.
The Q60S sports clean, elegant good looks and a full raft of standard equipment that is often optional on other cars. Despite a few foibles that an old-school British roadster fan would pick at, once the top is down, the revs and exhaust pulses are up and wind’s blowing your scarf back, all’s right with the world.
by Jim Resnick
photos by Jim Resnick