Was the 1991 Infiniti M30 convertible a true “near-luxury car”?
Fresh into the ’90s, the Japanese giants were still new to the premium car game. And while convertibles were hot all across the board—from cheap Geo Metros to loaded Mercedes SLs—Lexus and Acura had no contender against Infiniti’s U.S.-only M30 convertible for 1991. But at $31,000 (without a CD-player) was Infiniti’s soft top worth queueing up for?
MotorWeek thought so. Sort of. At least after admitting in a test-drive video that the M30 convertible fits “into the class of Japanese second-string luxury cars,” describing it as a “near-luxury car.”
It’s hard to say exactly what would be a “near-luxury car,” but for $31K in ‘91, Infiniti offered an M30 that was some 100 pounds heavier than the coupé, due to the power fabric roof attached by ASC, the company you may remember as the American Sunroof Company, or as American Specialty Cars. This ASC soft top would sometimes need a manual push, also compromising the car’s rigidity and rear cargo room in ways you can easily guess after learning that all M30 convertibles started out as coupés.
Other issues included the lack of rear headrests, a leather-heavy, yet somewhat dated interior, and a chassis that wasn’t too keen on heavy cornering. On the bright side, thanks to having sequential multi-port fuel injection, Nissan’s 3.0-liter SOHC V-6 produced 162 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque. With the four-speed automatic, those peak figures granted 0–62 acceleration in under 10 seconds, almost justifying the rear spoiler from a functional standpoint. Infiniti also threw in four-wheel disc brakes with ABS as standard, a suspension optimized for a comfortable highway ride, and enough tricks to keep the cabin quiet enough for a casual chat at up to 60 mph with the roof down.
Considering all alternatives at the price range, MotorWeek was appreciative of the “near luxury” M30 convertible experience. “To us,” the magazine concluded, “Infiniti’s dreams of turning its M30 coupe into a convertible looks a little harsh in reality. But for its intended market, [it] will still be a dream come true.”