We showed you a spy photo of the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet yesterday. The real, official thing debuted at the Los Angeles Auto show today, with a price tag and lots of pictures, and I have to admit that I’m still just as confused as I was before.

The whole idea behind the CrossCabriolet is to provide a convertible for people that want a useful, comfortable, spacious convertible – not an impractical sports car. There aren’t many convertibles that can seat 5 people in comfort along with carry a lot of luggage, and most of them have absurd price tags. (The Bentley Continental GTC comes to mind, here.) So a Murano convertible makes some sense in theory, actually – it’s just the execution is a bit hard to wrap one’s head around.

It’s based on the D-platform (that underpins the Altima, Maxima, and Murano) but has been substantially modified for CrossCabrio duty. The rear doors are gone, and the front doors have been lengthened 7.9″, and the B-pillar is gone entirely. (Whew, no ugly PT Cruiser-style roll bar!) The structure is reinforced from the A-pillar rearward to make up for lost rigidity, and there are twin pop-up roll bars to keep your noggin safe. Nissan says the CrossCabriolet isn’t much more of a barn door than the regular Murano when it comes to aerodynamics – with a 0.39 Cd compared to the regular Murano’s 0.37.

The convertible top is cloth, obviously, and has been engineered to take up as little space as possible when stowed. Oddly, there are no pictures either press or live with the roof up, so one assumes the CrossCabrio looks like the hunchback of Notre Dame with it’s roof erect. With the roof up, the CrossCabriolet has 12.3 cubic feet of storage, which drops to 7.6 with the roof down – still enough for two golf bags or personal suitcases, says Nissan. Remind me again why the golf bag is the standard measurement of trunk space? What’s wrong with dead bodies?

Powertrain-wise, the CrossCabriolet is the same as the regular Murano as well. Power comes from Nissan’s universally-loved VQ35 V6, which in this application makes 265 horsepower and 248 ft-lbs of torque. Power is transmitted through Nissan’s xTronic adaptive CVT (continuously variable transmission) to a standard all-wheel-drive system with VDC. Suspension is 4-wheel independent, with MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link at the rear. And obviously, despite being an “SUV,” the Murano has less off-road intentions than an Insight. In fact, straight from Nissan’s press release, “the CrossCabriolet offers the high ground clearance of a Murano for easy ingress and egress and enhanced driver visibility.” Not one for the Rubicon Trail, then.

In keeping with it’s goal of being a luxurious, comfortable touring convertible – not a sporting one – the CrossCabriolet will come in one variety: loaded. Automatic on/off bi-Xenon HID’s, LED rear tail lights, and fog lights set off the outside. Inside, standard leather seats are available with a double-stitched quilt pattern so you feel like you’re in that Continental GTC. The driver’s side is 8-way power adjustable and heated with 2-position power memory, the passenger is 4-way manual adjustable and heated, the steering wheel is heated (nice touch!), and there’s keyless entry with push-button start. All CrossCabriolets will come with a 9.3GB hard-drive based Navigation System with XM Radio, NavTraffic, full-color backup camera, and a BlueTooth hands-free phone connection. Stereo duties are handled by an 8-speaker Bose system with a subwoofer, and inputs for USB and AUX. There’s also dual-zone climate control. The only options on the CrossCabriolet will be the upgraded leather seats in your choice of Camel leather with a black top, or Cashmere leather with a brown top.

And for the most important question: how much does all this genre-bending, retina-searing weirdness cost? $46,390 base MSRP plus destination, available early 2011. If you’ve always wanted a Murano, but wished it was a bizarre-looking convertible, your car is here. If, like the rest of us, it makes you think of a Krispy Kreme Donut and Pepto Bismal smoothie, move on.