By John Grafman
Production cars aren’t made to sit in a garage gathering dust, or travel about as a trailer queen. A car is created for the open road. On a sunny day it’s hard to beat the pure joy of driving with the wind in our hair, and plenty of power underfoot.
year, the Southern California sunshine-to-rainy day ratio comes in at a
staggering 99 to one! Not one to temp
fate, and ensuring a rain-free road-trip for this review, we aim the GPS
towards Palm Springs.
Infiniti Q60 Convertible seems like an ideal match for a good, old-fashion road
trip! The 3.7-liter, V6 offers endlessly gobs of power, and the seven-speed
transmission provides seamless shifting, and it’s always in the right gear for
the moment. Best of all, there’s top down pleasure for four passengers, which
is a feat few can match.
this doesn’t really come across as a new model. In fact, the $56,555 ($47,900
base price) Q60 is the new name for the Infiniti G-Series. While the name has
changed, not much else has (for better or for worse)—albeit the Q is now
offered in a radiant Venetian Ruby red paint.
from the get-go, the Infiniti is a smooth driver. The drive along the 10 Freeway
towards the desert is pleasurable and quiet with minimal wind or road noise. The
coupe is in line with what we expect in a luxury brand when the folding hard
top is employed. Honestly, the drive experience has the makings of a solid, refined,
grand touring car.
Q60 interior, clad in soft leather, is alluring, making us feel that this is
the right choice for a cruise. The 8-way power with manual lumber support
adjustability (optional two-way power lumbar support available), and heated
seating makes this a comfy jaunt. Just as important, as we are in the desert,
the optional Premium Package includes a chill your bottom-side down to a frozen
rump roast, cooling functionality for the front seats.
Interior Accent Package also adds a nice touch with a high-gloss maple wood
trim on the center console, the doors, and the dash. However, this is still a
mixed bag of goodies.
would think this was made especially for desert cruising with four-cup holders
found up front, allowing us to be hydrated to our heart’s content. The cup
holders in the door panels are a handy spots for sunscreen too.
doesn’t take too much driving to realize that when the three-panel retractable
hardtop is down the Q60 doesn’t handle in a very sporting manner. The
additional weight and up high in the vehicle feels like, well, there’s too much
junk in the trunk.
only does the top down driving mess with the handling, the space in the trunk
is all but obliterated. With the top up, and without the spare tire kit,
there’s a nominal 10.33 cubic-feet available. The area that remains after the
roof is folded down is roughly equal to a large shoebox, a hair less than two
the warm temps in Palm Springs require minimal clothes, nevertheless, an overnight
trip is going to require more luggage room than the Infiniti Q60 Convertible
will offer us. In fairness, this isn’t the only hardtop convertible that offers
minimal trunk usage with the top down. But, it doesn’t make us happy either.
in an effort to keep this train on track we simple redirect the luggage from
the trunk to the rear seat whenever we wish to have the top down. Then, for
security reasons, we return the luggage back to the trunk when the top is up,
and the car is parked. Yes, what a hassle. The small rear seats are really
geared for kids, and as such, the overnight bags snuggle perfectly in those
can just see the discussion now with families of four; well, if the take the Q
Convertible we can take the kids, or the luggage—it’s one or the other. I’m
sure the kids won’t mind!
surprise is the jarring action from the relatively slow operating
roofdeployment (taking roughly 30 seconds) is a tad unsettling, as would a mild
earthquake. It’s not enough to have anyone diving for cover, but just enough, creating
an unwelcomed awareness of the operation.
Infiniti does include some nifty features for any drive. The optional 13-speaker,
Bose Open Air Sound
System with noise adaptive technology is perfect for this
convertible—a genuine pleasure. The seat-mounted speakers catch the occupants’
ears, rather than ambient noises. The Bluetooth streaming audio found on the
Navigation Package is ideal for long hauls, and works harmoniously with the
Technology Package (which isn’t available for the Q60S Convertible with the
manual six-speed transmission) also has rain-sensing windshield washers. But,
given the conditions we didn’t have the need to enjoy those. Also in the
package is the Advance Climate Control System that has superior air
purification. Needless to say, having the top down as often as possible renders
this feature unnecessary most of the time.
test-pilot has an affinity for the safety and convenience of radar sensing
cruise control units in most cars. This can be a second set of eyes while the
driver is messing with some of the other features during a drive. The Intelligent
Cruise Control in the Q60, like its competitors, monitors the speed of this car
against the other cars within its path, slowing down and speeding up as needed.
Sadly, the ICC isn’t as smart as other similar systems integrated into the
competition. The Q60 abruptly decelerates unnecessarily, and returns to the speed
matching the flow of traffic as slow as molasses on a cold winter’s day.
of the sudden slow-downs nearly resulted in a car trailing behind the Infiniti
becoming one with our rear-bumper. It could use more sensors and better
sensitivity and responsiveness to traffic variations. I’m finding myself
apologizing a couple times for the antics of the Infiniti to my passenger, and
reassuring my companion that I’m a much better driver than what this appears to
be when using the ICC.
it’s easy to think that this car isn’t fit for consumers, you would be very wrong.
Now, this doesn’t win any awards for favorite car to take on an overnight trip,
yetthis is great fun around town. As long as we aren’t encumbered by luggage or
groceries, this is a perfect way to roll around town, or even for short
325 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque provide plenty of giddy-up at the
press of a foot. The Infiniti can scale the elevations around Palm Springs
effortlessly, like Superman can leap over tall buildings in a single bound. It
even has a nice sound to boot. It does have a rear wheel drive, with a manual
mode on the transmission, and rev matching for shifting. This does have the
premium feel in conservative driving situations. The Q is both competent and
stylish for most occasions.
downside of having a healthy dose of power and a hefty 4,083-pounds is a
disappointing EPA estimated fuel economy of 18 MPG in the city, and 26 on the highway.
the Q60 Convertible isn’t everything for everybody. On the other hand, this is
just as comfortable driving along Highway 111 and simply hanging out in front
of the casual, diner atmosphere of Woody’s Burgers, as it is arriving at the
vibrancy of The Saguaro hotel, or at the mid-century modern classic design of Frank
Sinatra’s Twin Palms estate. It has an eye-catching style that makes up for
isn’t the go-to car when it comes to utility, but if you think you can pry the
keys out of our hands, you’ve got another thing coming. Nevertheless, Mr.
Sinatra might suggest when it comes down to the Q60 Convertible, the best is
yet to come.
The writer is editor of LA Car. For more information on and photos of the Palm Springs-bound Infiniti G60 Convertible, go to LACar.com.