2014 Infiniti Q60 Convertible First Test
Slow, Stylish, and Loud
The 2014 Infiniti Q60 convertible is disappointingly slow, but the car's standard 325-hp engine is most definitely not at fault. Formerly known as the G37 convertible, the Infiniti hard-top convertible offers more than 100 hp more than the base models of the Lexus IS C hardtop and Audi A5 soft-top convertibles, and that V-6 engine gives the car character. That's great, but it's tough to enjoy the car when you're stuck waiting for the top to go down.
Once the top does finally stow in the trunk, it closes with a not-so-luxurious thud. As the car gets up to speed, you look in the rearview mirror and admire the way the sheetmetal falls away toward the taillights, but then notice the convertible's pimple: the satellite radio antenna. It rises from the trunklid with a black tip that gets in the way of what remains a really attractive vehicle. Sure, some might say the G37 front grille looks a little dated, but other than that, this design has aged well since a 2009 model-year G37 convertible placed last in a four-car comparison.
Part of what sank that convertible below an Audi A5 soft-top as well as Lexus IS 350 C and BMW 328i hardtops was the engine's buzziness. While there is a distinct buzz at lower rpms, the upside is that when the car is worked a bit, the engine sings. And since this is a convertible, that distinctive and loud engine note makes driving through tunnels more fun, especially as you feel a surge of power at higher rpms. What hasn't changed since the G37 in that comparison morphed into the Q60 convertible is the finely tuned steering. Given the issues we've had with the new steer-by-wire systems in the new Q50 sedan, it will be interesting to see how Infiniti adapts the steering technology to the upcoming, redesigned Q60 coupe and convertible.
At the track, the Q60 convertible completed our figure-eight test in 26.2 seconds at 0.65 g (avg), compared to a Sport-trimmed, manual-transmission 2009 G37 drop-top at 26.3 seconds at 0.69 g (avg). With the Q60's seven-speed automatic, 0-60 mph takes 5.7 seconds on to a 14.1-second quarter mile at 98.9 mph. Since our 2010 luxury convertible comparison, the A5 convertible replaced its six-speed auto with an eight-speed unit and got an extra 9 hp (to 220 hp), which should lower the 2010 A5's 6.9-second 0-60 mph time. We clocked the 306-hp 2010 Lexus IS 350 convertible hitting 60 mph in 5.3 seconds.
Braking from 60-0 mph takes 113 feet, not bad for a 4246-pound convertible. Despite that weight, the car -- which has a 52/48-percent front-to-rear weight distribution -- won't embarrass on a winding road. The seven-speed automatic behaves well around town, but can be slow to respond when you're really hustling. It's just such a shame that a car this good-looking -- especially in red and with the optional 19-inch wheels -- has a folding roof that takes nearly 30 seconds to do its hardtop dance. Likely in the interests of self-preservation, the top will not allow the driver to operate the top while the car is in motion. Try it and you'll hear a high-pitched, constant beep. We've experienced similar issues with other hardtop convertibles, and, aside from making us want a soft-top convertible, it makes us hope future hardtop convertibles will be strong enough to open and close at speeds of up to about 25 mph. When the top closes up again, the windows should go up as well. We'd take that functionality in a second over the "hey, watch this!" ability to fold down the top just by pressing and holding the exterior door handle's hands-free keyless entry button.
Inside, the Q60 hides its age well. There's only one screen, unlike on the Q50 sedan, which also has an updated instrument cluster info screen. Overall, the interior matches its $56,555 as-tested price tag. That MSRP includes navigation, the 19-inch wheels, a power-adjustable steering column that also moves the entire instrument cluster display, pre-crash seatbelts that tighten if the car thinks you're engaging in an emergency maneuver, cooled front seats, a 13-speaker sound system with speakers in the headrests, and an adaptive cruise control system that works above speeds of 20 mph. We'd like to see Infiniti's Around View Monitor camera system make it to the next-generation Q60 convertible, too.
What the Infiniti Q60 convertible needs in its upcoming redesign is clear. Though a more efficient and cheaper turbocharged four-cylinder model could expand Q60 sales, the top priority should be a smoother and faster-operating hardtop that will work while the car is in motion. As long as the finished product looks more like a two-door Q50 than the visually compromised Lexus IS convertible, Infiniti might be ready to challenge the upcoming BMW 4 Series hard top convertible.
|2014 Infiniti Q60 3.7 Convertible|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$56,555|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door convertible|
|ENGINE||3.7L/325-hp/267-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||4246 lb (52/48%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||183.3 x 72.9 x 55.1 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.7 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.1 sec @ 98.9 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||113 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.86 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.2 sec @ 0.65 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON||18/26 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||187/130 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||0.93 lb/mile|