One Saturday in 1989, we drove Barbara?s Nissan 300ZX from our home in the Monterey Bay area to San Francisco just to look at the first Infiniti, the Q45 luxury sedan. We ended up on an exciting test drive through the streets of San Francisco, and drove home later with a terrific case of ?I want one.? Not long after that, Barbara discovered the Buick Reatta sport coupe at an auto show and we ended up buying that instead.
Three years later we moved to Oregon and started doing auto reviews for the paper Bill worked for, that led to us doing reviews for other papers and as they say, the rest is history.
In Infiniti?s 25-year history we?ve had a chance to drive nearly every model built by the Nissan-owned luxury brand, and have developed a deep respect for the high quality, luxury and performance of the various Infiniti vehicles. We have, however, been a bit confused lately about which models are which as the company has reconfigured its naming scheme. The new nomenclature has car names starting with a Q, and crossovers and SUVs starting with QX. The numbers that follow have nothing to do with engine sizes like in the past, but are relative to size, with the larger numbers being larger vehicles.
The cars themselves have not been confusing; they have been meeting and exceeding our expectations. We recently spent a week driving the flagship sedan the 2015 Q70L 5.6. In this case the ?L? refers to it being a lengthened version of the Q70 and is new for 2015.
That ?L? translates to a 5.9-inch longer wheelbase that produces 5.6-inches of additional knee room in the rear seat. While a few American?s might like that extra space we understand it was added more for the Chinese market, where most cars of this class have drivers and the owners enjoy more rear seat space for themselves.
The 2015 Infiniti Q70 replaces the previous generation sedan with the M designations (M37 and M56). The ?L? models also have additional luxury features in the rear including personal lamps, power outlet, heated rear seats and power rear door cinchers which pull the door tight in the event it?s not closed all the way initially.
The Q70 is considered to be a mid-size by EPA standards and is about the same size as cars like the Mercedes E-Class and Audi A6. The distinctive styling starts with the large Infiniti double arch mesh grille bookended by the new LED Adaptive Front Lighting system that points the headlights in the direction the steering wheel is turned. The body has strong muscular lines that flow the length to the new rear end treatment which has LED combination lights and a horizontal look with chrome accents. Under the flat trunk lid with spoiler lip is a 14.9 cubic foot cargo space, about average size for cars in this class. The overall styling creates a very low 0.27 coefficient of drag.
The Q70 comes in the two sizes, with a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive and V-6 or V-8 engine. The V-6 engine is a 330-hp 3.7-liter and the V-8 engine is a 420-hp 5.6-liter with direct injection. The engines both have Variable Valve Event & Lift. The EPA fuel economy estimates are 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway for the V-6 and 16 mpg highway and 24 mpg city for the V-8. We averaged 19.4 mpg during our week driving the V-8. The V-8 is very quick making a 0 to 60 mph run in just 4.8 seconds according to buff magazine testing.
Both the rear- and all-wheel drive versions of both engines have a seven-speed gated automatic transmission which can be shifted manually using the console mounted shifter. Just to the rear of the shifter is the Infiniti Drive Mode Selector which allows drivers to select Standard, Eco, Sport or Snow settings to adjust throttle sensitivity and transmission mapping to optimize performance for the conditions. The transmission also does downshift rev matching for smoother downshifts during manual shifting and during more aggressive driving. The Eco mode provides back pressure on the accelerator pedal to encourage more efficient driving.
The Q70L 5.6 interior has comfortable seating for four with room for up to five adults. The V-8-powered 5.6 version has a higher equipment level than the 3.7 model including features like the leather seating, heated and cooled leather front seats, Bose audio, CD/DVD player, streaming Bluetooth?, Around View Monitor? with moving object detection and navigation.
Standard in both models are Active Noise Control, Bluetooth? Hands-free Phone System, HomeLink? Universal Transceiver and RearView Monitor. Some of the available technologies in packages include Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Around View? Monitor with Moving Object Detection, Backup Collision Intervention and Forward Emergency Braking. Available safety equipment includes Blind Spot Warning, Blind Spot Intervention, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Departure Prevention systems, Enhanced Intelligent Key, Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist and Front Pre-Crash Seat Belts.
The 2015 Infiniti Q70 is available in a total of nine variations including the Q70 3.7, Q70 3.7 AWD, Q70 5.6, Q70 5.6 AWD, and each of those models is also offered with the Long Wheelbase. The ninth version is the Q70 Hybrid, only available in the short wheel base, and is powered by the 3.5-liter V-6 Direct Response Hybrid? system.
Pricing ranges for $52,255, including the destination charge, for the Q70 3.7 to $66,255 for the Q70 5.6. The long wheel base version adds $1,500 to 3.7 models and $1,700 to 5.6 versions. All-wheel drive is $2,150 extra on the 3.7 and $2,500 more on the 5.6. The Hybrid is priced at $56,805. Several major packages are available adding advance technologies, luxury and sport options. The Q70L AWD with all the available packages is priced at $76,705.
The 2015 Infiniti Q70L is impressive on all counts. Looking back at our notes on the previous M-badged models we noted it has a relatively stiff suspension and good handling. This new Q70 version is smoother, but with good control and handling. The steering felt a little on the heavy side which makes the car feel a bit heavy. Acceleration is impressive and easily puts it on par with the other popular mid-size luxury sport sedans.
In addition to good performance and handling the Q70 has an elegant styling that sets it apart from the crowd and it?s one of the best values. If you are shopping for a mid-size luxury sport sedan, don?t miss a test drive in this one, we think you?ll be impressed.