2015 Infiniti Q70 Review
The 2015 Infiniti Q70 features a revised exterior, with dark mesh grille and chrome surround, flanked by LED headlights, creates a bold first impression.
2015 Infiniti Q70 at a glance
BODY STYLE: mid-size luxury sedan
DRIVE METHOD: front-engine, all-wheel-drive
ENGINE: 3.7-litre 24-valve DOHC V6 (330 hp and 270 lb/ft of torque)
FUEL ECONOMY: 13.2/9.6 litres/100 km (city/hwy)
CARGO: 422 litres
PRICE: 3.7 AWD $56,900, as tested with Deluxe Touring and Tech pkg ($5,500): $62,400 not including freight and PDE
What?s Best: superb interior craftsmanship
What?s Worst: should have a V8 option
What?s Interesting: Predictive Forward Collision Warning
Fine balance of performance and luxury in Q flagship
It was the automotive equivalent to Wheel of Fortune.
I?m referring to Infiniti?s former nameplate strategy, with its sedans, coupes and convertibles once starting with a G, I, J, M or Q, and its SUVs and crossovers getting an additional ?X?, as in EX, FX, JX and QX.
Apparently they couldn?t buy enough vowels to solve the puzzle.
I?d like to say the company has replaced this baffling nomenclature for something more inspiring. But I suppose all the fastest animals, coolest destinations and best aviation and weaponry references have all been taken.
Infiniti has instead simplified their approach, slapping a ?Q? label on all cars and a ?QX? on SUVs. Double-digit numbers that once reflected engine displacement now signify their place in the hierarchy.
Which puts the Q70 ? my tester for the week ? atop the car lineup.
It replaces the former M flagship, and for 2015 this large luxury sedan gets a mild makeover, along with some additional driver tech ? more on that later.
The revised exterior brings it closer to the recently launched Q50 sports sedan, which replaced the G37. Most noticeable is the dark mesh grille with chrome surround, joined by new LED headlights and bumper with integrated LED fog lights.
In back are new taillights flanking a redesigned trunklid and chrome finisher.
The new bling complements a slippery body shape (0.27 drag coefficient) with long nose and short rear deck, over large wheel openings that are pushed to the corners. The base Q70 ($56,900) rolls on a set of 18-inch double five-spoke alloys, and the Sport ($62,800) comes with a set of 20-inchers.
Also part of the lineup is a newly launched long wheelbase version. The Q70L, starting at $68,400 with AWD and a 5.6-litre V8, adds nearly six inches of legroom to an already spacious rear seating area. It was designed for executive travel, in particular for markets like China where chauffeur-driven vehicles are more common.
My tester for the week was the base Q70, powered by the company?s award-winning DOHC 24-valve 3.7-litre V6 that delivers 330 hp and 270 lb/ft of torque. It is mated to a smooth-shifting seven-speed automatic with downshift rev matching and a drive mode selector that allows you to choose Standard, Sport, Snow or Eco modes.
Other markets offer a 5.6-litre V8, but in Canada only the long-wheelbase Q gets eight cylinders.
No matter, as the V6 delivers ample thrust and a throaty growl when you prod the pedal, bringing the nearly two-ton ride up to speed as the autobox in ?sport? mode holds each gear just south of red line.
The other drive modes dial down throttle sensitivity and transmission mapping to help save on fuel, and lessen wheelspin on slippery roads.
On that note, a wintery blast dumped several inches during my week of testing. Which was no big deal as the intelligent all-wheel drive system, which constantly monitors wheelspin, throttle position and vehicle speed, seamlessly routed power where needed, with up to 50 per cent to the front.
It was so effective at keeping me pointed in the right direction, I barely noticed the Q70 wasn?t wearing winter rubber.
This doesn?t mean I?ve adopted a flawed belief in so-called ?all season? tires, but that Infiniti?s AWD was truly up to the task.
Another point it its favour is the rear bias. When drive isn?t needed to all four wheels, the system sends power to the rear ? as it should in any vehicle that has sporting pretenses.
Eco mode resists such urges, with earlier shifts and a tepid throttle response.
The optional Eco Pedal provides some pushback when you step hard on the accelerator ? a gentle reminder to wipe that smile off your face and get serious about the environment. I kept it off most of the time.
Manual shift mode is also available, but I?ll bet few buyers give it much use.
That?s not to say the Q70 is a soft riding luxo barge for the older driver. Its double-wishbone front suspension and multilink rear (with stabilizer bars) is forgiving on rough roads, yet taut enough for carving corners.
Pricier Sport trim amps it up with a sport-tuned suspension, bigger brakes and discs, and larger alloy wheels.
All Q70 models get speed-sensitive power steering that delivers some road feel. It?s a welcome connection to the pavement from which you?re otherwise isolated, due to the car?s more rigid body and abundant sound-deadening materials, not to mention standard Active Noise Control that uses two ceiling-mounted microphones and the audio system to cancel unwanted sounds.
Indeed, the passenger cabin is a quiet and comfortable place to be.
It?s also a treat for the senses with ample soft-touch materials, supple leather seating, and Japanese ash wood trim that wraps from doors to dash, and into a centre stack that looks like expensive cabinetry.
Brushed aluminum faceplates and trim provide a nice accent, as do the matte finish buttons, and chrome analog clock.
Standard features include two-zone climate control, smart key with pushbutton start, power tilt/telescopic and heated steering, navigation with eight-inch touchscreen, Around View monitor with moving object detection, rear sonar, power moonroof, 10-speaker Bose audio system and 10-way power front seats with heating, cooling and driver memory.
My vehicle also included the $5,500 Deluxe Touring and Technology Package, which adds upgraded white ash silver-powdered wood trim, 16-speaker audio, semi-aniline leather, power rear sunshade, radar cruise control, and Active Trace Control that selectively applies braking to help with steering in the turns.
The package also delivers a full suite of nannies like lane departure warning and prevention, blind spot warning and intervention, and backup collision intervention.
The latter earns its keep in crowded parking lots where, more often than not, you?re backing out blindly from between two monster SUVs. Sensors on the sides and back will alert you of any cross traffic, and apply the binders if you don?t.
Even more cutting edge is Predictive Forward Collision Warning. This tech looks at the relative speed and distance two vehicles ahead. Should the system anticipate a crash, it first gives a warning, and then slows the car if you don?t react.
The Infiniti Q70 is up against stiff Euro competition in the BMW 5-Series, Mercedes E-Class and Audi A6. However, standard AWD, loads of leading-edge tech and superb interior craftsmanship are at least three reasons to put it on your shopping list.