When development work concluded on the V36 platform, which forms the basis for the 2014 Q60 seen above, it’s easy to believe that Nissan’s engineers had little inkling of the radical brand changes that would occur at Infiniti during their new model’s shelf life. Indeed, during Johan de Nysschen’s two-year tenure as the brand’s chief, much was changed – including their entire system of model nomenclature. Thus, the G37 convertible became the Q60 convertible that I recently spent a week with – but make no mistake, the G37 is still alive and well in this car. SAMSUNG CSC Let’s start with the four-seat coupe segment’s main draw – looks. People shopping this class are willing to trade a bit of practicality for something less tangible – an X-factor, if you will. The Q60 coupe and its two-door competitors have that in spades, but there’s usually a little something that’s lost in translation when coupe becomes hardtop convertible. A slightly contrived roofline with the top in place, or perhaps an ungainly hump at the back to remind you where the roof now resides. Not so with the Q60 – it remains as lithe and organic a shape in convertible form as in coupe. It’s a design that hasn’t become stale in the least, despite five model years on the market (under two different nameplates, no less). SAMSUNG CSC Inside, perhaps a couple of graying roots can be seen, but only because the interior’s design lacks the broad swath of glass that passes for a dashboard in so many near-luxury cars these days. Instead, the Q60’s infotainment system is operated through an intuitive combination of hard buttons and a well-placed rotary knob, a layout seen elsewhere in the Infiniti lineup for some time now (though the newer Q50 sedan employs trendier touchscreen panels – I’ve not yet sampled it, so cannot comment on effectiveness). It works well, and the rest of the interior is comfortable and attractive. SAMSUNG CSC Sampled solo, but especially in comparison to the Lexus IS 350C I sampled last week, the Q60 has an urgent, responsive on-road demeanor. Downshifts from the 7-speed torque converter automatic are delivered with less prodding from the gas pedal, and the steering is organic and features actual road feel, a trait that’s rapidly diminishing in new cars. The interior is less isolated from noise generated by the 3.7-liter V6 than in the Lexus, but that can be forgiven thanks to the engine’s pleasant snarl under acceleration. When the roof’s lowered, you’re treated to the signature VQ exhaust bark normally reserved for bystanders. SAMSUNG CSC SAMSUNG CSC The only aspects that somewhat dampen the fun are created solely as a result of opting for the convertible top – namely weight (as in more of it) and stiffness (as in less). There’s some cowl shake over large road imperfections, whether the top is in place or stowed, and the hardtop and its associated hardware saddle the Q60 convertible with a few hundred pounds of extra weight versus its coupe counterpart. Neither trait is likely to sway any buyers – these are characteristics that all four-seat droptops share to some extent, a direct result of being designed as a fixed roof vehicle first and being made into a convertible second. It does, however, make me question why I haven’t ever checked out a G37/Q60 coupe before this – the coupe must be really good to drive if this convertible is any indication. SAMSUNG CSC With the top dropped, the cooled seats on full blast, and the stereo (featuring well-placed speakers behind front occupants’ heads) cranked, there’s little wonder as to why these dual-character hardtop convertibles have become so popular with shoppers – and so important to their manufacturers. SAMSUNG CSC [gallery ids="10723,10722,10721,10720,10717,10716,10719,10718,10714,10715,10713,10712,10711"] 2014 Infiniti Q60 Convertible Base price: $48,805 Price as tested: $56,555 Options on test car:  Technology package ($1,250), Premium package ($3,400), Navigation package ($1,850), Performance 19” tire & wheel package ($650), Interior accents package ($600) Powertrain: 3.7-liter V6 engine, 7-speed automatic transmission, rear-wheel drive – 325 horsepower, 267 lb-ft. torque S:S:L-observed fuel economy:  21.1 mpg Infiniti provided the vehicle for testing purposes and one tank of gas. Photos by the author.
                  

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John Kucek

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