When it comes to making a car more than the sum of its parts, luxury brands like Infiniti and Audi do a very strong job. The Q60, formerly known as the G37 Convertible, is one such example. Despite having been on the market since I got my driver’s license (which feels and is a long time ago at this point), they’re still selling it and people are still enjoying new ones as if they have had them for eons. The IPL model is supposed to be a hot version aimed at the older M3, which was the benchmark at the time. Nick and I both drove it, and I wrung it out around the streets of the Seventeen-Mile-Drive to find out what this svelte convertible was capable of. I got quite a few answers, some of which were expected, some of which were desired, and a few of which were not at all what I saw coming.
The G37 that bases up the Q60 IPL has been on the market since 2007 and the convertible hit the streets in 2009 or so, but the styling is still strong. Infiniti has been careful not to screw up the looks of the Q60 all that much and they’ve done some slight pinching and facelifting to keep the face and rear end fresh. The Q60 has a clear Japanese luxury style to it, with smoothly flowing lines and an angular front and rear detail. The sides look good too, with a nice character line along the top of the doors that follows and meets on either side around the deck lid.
The interior is still the same as it was at launch, so it may look outdated, but it’s not ugly. The leather is nicely colored and the seats are well-proportioned. With the roof up, the headliner is as expected for a high-end car, and the dashboard is set up with high-quality plastics, some carbon fiber, and the same leather as the seats. Infiniti doesn’t skimp on quality or on the style, so it’s difficult to complain about the Q60’s interior quality other than the buttons littering the center stack.
By the Numbers:
The Q60 IPL is just as well-made as the other examples of Infiniti craftsmanship over the years, so I’m not worried here. Paint quality on the white example I took for a drive was good, and there were no squeaks or rattles, or body flex, on the road. The doors shut well, and the windshield rakes just well enough to look sporty but not damage outward visibility.
The interior quality and materials selection is about right for a G37 disciple. The leather feels supple and on par with a BMW 3 Series from a few years ago (as this car dates from 2009 in terms of launch period), but it’s not quite at the level set right now. The seats are comfortable and offer great back support, and the controls, despite being filled with buttons, aren’t hard to master after a few minutes of review. The interior is well designed, with metal to the touch and plenty of controls available. Visibility is good, and thanks to the hardtop convertible design, there’s no pesky boot out back to ruin rear sight lines. Mine had a rear-view camera equipped as well, a welcome option. Overall, although at this point the Q60 IPL convertible was behind the times, it was in no way lacking in what I wanted out of a premium convertible.
At The Helm:
The Q60 IPL is the same as the G37 IPL Convertible, just with a new name and some new paint. As such, it’s got a familiar setup of engine and transmission. Nissan’s been building the VQ V6 engine for a long time now and the 3.7L variant makes its appearance in the IPL. With more than 340 horsepower on tap and a willing seven-speed automatic transmission backing it up, the IPL gets off the line clean and has an eager throttle response. The paddle shifters operate smoothly and the Infiniti manages to make speed a thrill without ever feeling overmatched. The engine sounds great–Infiniti has always done a fantastic job amplifying the VQ’s classy, yet still somewhat unhinged exhaust note in the right way, and the IPL adds more volume and a bit of high-end rasp. I found myself firing off a downshift in the middle of a hill on the Seventeen-Mile Drive just for the musical symphony.
The brakes, ride, and handling are impressive. When the last generation G37 launched, a large number of journalists proclaimed it to handle as good as the E90 series BMW 3-Series, which was very high praise at the time. Time has not dulled the Q60 IPL’s reflexes, it would seem. The steering is tactile and has a strong amount of feedback, while the brakes felt nice and strong. The IPL convertible feels very solid on the road, with no cowl shake or body flex. The ride is firm, but very comfortable, and the tires don’t squeal unless heavily provoked. Infiniti knew they had a hit on their hands back when the G37 was launched, and they kept the formula around and simply enhanced the best parts of it for the IPL series–not a bad thing at all.
The Bottom Line:
I loved driving this car, sitting in this car, and staring at this car. However, that love is not blind love, especially when I saw the price. Instead of swooning, I stumbled, tripped over the tree stump, and landed flat on my mouth. The IPL is expensive, and it’s not the “Oh, that’s a bit pricey” sort of expensive. It’s the “Excuse me, let me adjust my glasses and throw the wine glass off the table” expensive, for what it is. The IPL Q60 is $63,000 right now, and that’s fully loaded (there are no options available at this time). While this car is fully loaded, a 343 horsepower hardtop convertible at that price is a bit insane, especially when Infiniti pitched this as an M3 competitor a few years ago, and it’s about the same level as a 335is. No matter how good this car is, at 60 grand-plus, the M3 was at the time punching out more than 400 horsepower and happened to have two more cylinders to boot. While it was more expensive, it was a justified amount of extra scratch. I can’t say that this is a better buy than a normal Q60 convertible, which has 325 horsepower and is 20 grand less, while still having a high standard equipment specification.
Would I buy one new? Probably not–I can think of a few better ways to spend 63 grand on a brand-new car, one of which would be to go for a new 435i convertible with the M-Sport package, which is more modern and in my opinion is a better buy. Used, I can certainly find an E92 M3 convertible for a bit less than 60 large, especially considering good ones are around 55K at this time. Quite simply put, if I wanted this car that badly, I would pay less for a standard Q60 and maybe upgrade the exhaust with the leftover cash. Plain and simple, the IPL is very much overpriced for what it is.
Overall, I am a fan of the Q60. There is a new one on the way–and I’ll miss the style and panache of this outgoing model, but at the price advertised, the IPL series is not a great value, and I do not believe Infiniti will follow it up with another IPL example of the next-generation model. I’m not disappointed in the performance, the build quality, or the styling, but the price tag is a serious deal-breaker here, and that’s why I cannot recommend it at this point, but I’d gladly take a cheaper version.
Final Score: 3.0+3.0+4.0+1.0 = 11.0/16.0
-Albert S. Davis
Photos by Nick Walker