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A rose by any other name: 2014 Infiniti Q60S Convertible

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Now all that all Infiniti cars names start with Q and their numbers no longer match their engines, of the popular G37 coupe and convertible are now called Q60. With the new naming scheme, Infiniti handed us the keys to a new 2014 Q60S manual. It likely looks familiar and it should as it’s unchanged from the G37 which has been with us for many years. Not a bad thing however.

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Like many of its direct competitors such as Lexus or BMW, the Q60S Convertible comes with a power clam-shell hard top that folds down at the push of a button in about 30 seconds. Watching the symphony of moving parts is always a drama of modern technology.

Styling for the 2014 Q60S remains virtually identical to the 2013 G37. Choosing the manual transmission S model gives you a unique front fascia, larger 19” alloy wheels and 14” front sport brakes.

The look is simple and uncluttered in a way that still speaks well to Infiniti’s brand DNA. With the top up or down the Q60S Convertible is well proportioned. It has LED tail lamps at he rear and Bi-Xenon headlights up front. And of course out back you get those big speakers known as the exhaust tips.

The interior of the Q60s gets a unique sport treatment with genuine brushed aluminum trims and special power sport seats with more adjustability than the standard convertible. Pedals get aluminum trim as well as the rockers.

Ours had a rather posh looking high contrasting light gray leather trim which was almost white. It laid well against the black panels and aluminum trim, and complimented the pearlescent Moonlight White paint.

The seats have some of the Bose stereo system’s 13 speakers in their head rests. They do a great job of transmitting a top notch sound stream straight to your ears with the top down. Acoustics top up are just as good too.

With the top down there was a bit more wind noise and buffeting than we expected in this luxury car segment. We just test drove the Lexus IS-350 Convertible last summer which exhibited much less noise and wind buffeting on the highway.

The cockpit however is well laid out with only the push down and pull to the rear reverse cog of the manual shifter being a bit awkward. Overall the interior is still very well done despite being a design that is getting a bit old. In fact it still has an ashtray in the center console.

The center stack and touch screen controls are a good balance of function and tech. There are still redundant knobs and buttons for HVAC and audio controls so you aren’t forced to use the touch screen menus while on the road.

And on the road, the Q60S is all sport. Those large exhaust tips emit a raspy boy-racer exhaust note that will wake up the neighbors at five in the morning even at a slow crawl. Stand on it in the mountains and you get a song worth cranking up over and over again. It’s just music to the ears.

Its 3.7 liter V6 has been in the Infiniti stable for some time and offers up 325 horsepower. It can accelerate strong when you wind it out, but with only 267 lb-ft of torque it really needs to rev to move this rather heavy 4150 lb car.

The drivetrain proved to be a bit noisy. The transmission synchros whine and gear noise is ever present in the cabin top or or down. We even got a good dose of differential whine, all of which seemed somewhat out of place in this price range.

Additionally, the manual transmission and clutch in this car has a pretty substantial learning curve to drive smoothly. The clutch can be finicky and grabby, the drive-line offering up a good deal of back lash too. So getting a luxury car riding experience for your mother in-law will require some practice.

Despite its less than refined drive-line, the chassis is very well sorted. Even with the roof missing from its structure, the chassis is very tight and cornering grip is impressive. The faster ratio sport steering felt good on the mountain roads and the suspension tuning is as sharp and precise as you can ask for.

The EPA rates the Infiniti Q60S at 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. We averaged about 18 mpg combined in our week which is to be expected with a car this heavy and sport oriented. If you opt for the automatic model, you actually see an increase of about 2 mpg.

Overall, the 2014 Infiniti Q60S comes off as a car with a dual personality. It has a luxury car look and feel akin to something you’d see at the local country club next to Mercedes and Lexus cruisers. From behind the wheel and on the road this is a hard edged sports car that requires skill to drive well.

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