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Infiniti Canada

Review and photos by Mike Schlee

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2013 Infiniti G Convertible

Infiniti’s in house tuning arm, the Infiniti Performance Line (IPL), begins its third year of production by adding a second model.  Joining the Infiniti IPL G Coupe will be the IPL G Convertible.  Basically the same vehicle underneath their skin, the IPL G Convertible will differ from its coupe brethren as it will only be available with Infiniti’s seven-speed automatic transmission; the IPL G Coupe can also be had with a 6-speed manual.  For those unfamiliar with Infiniti, to achieve IPL status a G Coupe or Convertible receives an array of performance, visual, and luxury upgrades.  These include a bump in horsepower, a set of 19-inch split seven-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels, upgraded brakes, upgraded exhaust, upgraded suspension, a unique front fascia and side sills, and, finally, climate-controlled front seats with the IPL logo.

2013 Infiniti IPL G Convertible
2013 Infiniti IPL G Convertible. Click image to enlarge

For the time being, Infiniti is taking it easy with their IPL brand.  They appear to be taking baby steps with their upgrades and doing minor tweaks here and there instead of overhauling the entire vehicle for a full-on assault at BMW’s M cars, Mercedes-Benz AMG models or Audi’s RS editions.  So the question is, do these minor tweaks make this car better?  Only an extensive test drive would get me the answer to that question so I strapped myself into a 2013 Infiniti IPL G Convertible for a week-long evaluation.

As with any vehicle that has been given a factory performance upgrade, queries as to what has changed under the hood stand at the forefront.  The IPL G Convertible still has the venerable 3.7L VQ V6, but power has been boosted to 343 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque.  These numbers of the automatic-transmission-only IPL G Convertible are a bit lower than the 348 hp and 276 lb-ft of torque produced by the IPL G Coupe equipped with the six-speed manual, but is still higher than the regular G Convertible’s output of 325 hp and 265 lb-ft.  The increase in power isn’t overtly noticeable, especially in the IPL Convertible that is chock full of items pushing weight beyond an immense 1,900 kg.  That works out to 5.54 kg per horsepower, which, for reference, is only 0.05 kg/hp better than a Chevrolet Camaro Convertible V6.

2013 Infiniti IPL G Convertible
2013 Infiniti IPL G Convertible. Click image to enlarge

Engine and exhaust noises sound great at low to mid-range rpms, but by the time higher rpms are reached, the engine gets a bit thrashy.  The seven-speed automatic transmission features Infiniti’s Driver Sport (DS) mode and sends power to the rear wheels.  This transmission is slow to react in the regular Drive mode and is only marginally more responsive in DS mode.  Even when using the manual paddle shifters, the transmission is slow to react to your inputs.  The rev-matched downshifts seem to happen randomly in DS mode as well, as I could never time the proper amount of braking required to get a satisfying high-rpm wail of a throttle-blipping downshift.  This car would be better served with the six-speed manual transmission.  Fuel consumption for this IPL Convertible is officially rated at 11.9 L/100 km in the city and 7.4 L/100 km on the highway.  I averaged a decent 11.8 L/100 km in my week with the car.

The aforementioned heft does help to plant the 245/40R19 rear tires and makes them hard to break loose in a straight line or in a corner; power-on oversteer is a tall task.  The 225/45R19 front tires grip far better than their relatively narrow tread width would have you believe.  The car as a whole is sort of numb until it is pushed hard, and then it becomes livelier.  Stopping this drop-top isn’t an issue as the brakes on the IPL are very large at 14 inches up front and 13 inches in the rear.  They work very well and bring the car to halt with authority.

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