The IPL G convertible starts at $61,495 including an $895 destination charge. The convertible comes well-equipped with luxury features, but a few extras — a wind deflector, illuminated scuff plates and a first-aid kit — raised the as-tested price of the version we drove to $62,415. Click hereto compare it with the Audi S5 Cabriolet, Mercedes-Benz E350 Cabriolet and BMW 335is convertible.
Engine and exhaust modifications yield an extra 18 horsepower from the IPL G convertible's 3.7-liter V-6, for a total of 343 hp. It's a potent engine, but its performance characteristics are too similar to the regular G37's V-6. This is Infiniti's debut effort with a performance brand, but the automaker had to have known it would be compared to specialty lines like BMW's M, Mercedes' AMG, and Cadillac's V, to name a few. Some of those models add literally hundreds of horsepower over their mainstream siblings. For the IPL brand to be a serious contender in this space, a more heavily revised V-6 or a unique engine — a detuned version of the Nissan GT-R's power plant, anyone? — is in order.
Having said that, the 3.7-liter V-6 remains the strong performer we've experienced in other Infinitis. The convertible accelerates eagerly, but the V-6 is burdened by a lackluster seven-speed automatic transmission. (A manual transmission isn't offered, which is odd given the G37 Sport convertible and IPL G coupe come with a six-speed manual.) The automatic transmission is unobtrusive in leisurely driving, but it becomes less cooperative the harder you push it.
Part-throttle kickdowns happen readily, but when you floor the gas pedal, the automatic hesitates, as if questioning what you want it to do. It then winds up for a second before dropping to a lower gear. The manual-shift mode is similarly slow to react to upshift and downshift requests, a reminder of how uninspiring these systems were not too long ago — and still are in this car. The relatively recent proliferation of dual-clutch transmissions in other models has done away with response lag, to varying degrees.
The IPL G convertible gets a true dual-exhaust system, and the mufflers have been tuned to provide a performance sound, Infiniti says. The result is a droning exhaust note that accompanies you everywhere. It's not exactly loud, just omnipresent in a bad way. There are great-sounding performance exhausts like the Ford Shelby GT500's, but the IPL G's doesn't have anywhere near the same appeal.
Despite modestly higher output, the IPL G convertible's EPA-estimated gas mileage — 17/25 mpg city/highway — is the same as the regular convertible.