The 400-pound-heavier cabrio runs about a half-second slower than otherMuranos, taking 7.7 seconds to hit 60 mph and crossing the quarter-mile markin 16 seconds flat at 89.1 mph. Stomp on the brakes from 60 mph, and the 4416-pound CrossCabriolet halts in 125 feet. It may not have felt like an X-Acto knife around our figure-eight course, but its lower CG improves performance by a half second (28.0 seconds at 0.60 g average).

Almost everything behind the firewallwas revised in the name of rigidity. The two remaining doors each grew 7.9inches longer for better rear-seat access. Its B-pillar was reinforced and deleted from the window up to give it a lower profile. A dual-floor panel structure with strengthened pieces stiffens the chassis below the feet. Further bolstering comes from vertical reinforcements placed behind the rear passenger area. There is also a joint bar between the side member and thicker side sill. Cowl shake is next to nil. Close a heavy door and you'll note a solid Bavarian-like thud.

Nissan turned to Magna to construct a hydraulic soft cover. Five sections compose the piece, whose frame is made of aluminum and magnesium. Designers included a skylight above the rear glass to allow ambient light penetration. From almost any angle, the roof's natural curve doesn't look frumpy, say, in a 350Z Roadster kind of way. A chromed hockey-stick beltline accentuates the slim windows even further and finishes at the inlayed 370Z-inspired taillights.

Its refashioned trunk sports a large chrome bar atop the license plate frame and is shaped to maximize cargo room. Somehow all the bespoke design elements don't clash in a horrendous CrossCatastrophic kind of way, but then again, we wouldn't call the final result pretty.

At times, the Nissan can go completely unnoticed. Case in visual point: On L.A.'s coastal streets, a top up CrossCabriolet will barely draw stares. Come to a halt, depress the OPEN button and, 27 seconds later, people turn, point, smile, and usually give thumbs up.

Shuttling passengers feels much the same as in a loaded Murano, except with wind noise and minimal cargo space. With side glass down and top stowed, road noise is no major distraction for front occupants. Things in the back seat, however, start to get hectic at around 40 mph.