Infiniti’s flagship gets a new name

08/15/2014 7:00 PM

08/16/2014 12:00 AM

Infiniti’s top-of-the-line Q70 is smaller and more compact than the flagship cars from competitors such as Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

If the name seems unfamiliar that’s because Infiniti has renamed its entire lineup so that all models begin with Q. The Q70 was the M37 last year. Crossovers and SUVs are designated QX. Infiniti’s first luxury car was the Q45, so the new naming convention has a historical tie.

The Q70 comes with a 3.7-liter V-6 or a 5.6-liter V-8 in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. Base prices range from $49,600 to $64,600. I drove a well-optioned rear-wheel-drive V-8 from Infiniti’s press fleet, and its sticker price was $72,260.

The long-hood, short-trunk proportions create an athletic stance, but the curvaceous exterior sheet metal is punctuated with bumps and bulges that make the car look busy. For 2015, a Q70L will be available with a wheelbase that is 5.9 inches longer.

The V-8 delivers a serious 420-horsepower punch through a seven-speed automatic transmission that can be shifted manually with paddles on the steering wheel. The engine has dual overhead cams, direct fuel injection and hydraulically controlled variable valve timing. Infiniti says throttle response is enhanced by directly controlling the intake valve instead of a throttle valve.

The V-8 was not as quiet or smooth as some of its competitors, and fuel economy is rated at 16 miles per gallon in the city and 24 on the highway. For that reason, I would select the V-6. Its 330 horsepower is more than adequate, gas mileage better and the price is less.

There are four drive modes – Eco, Standard, Sport and Snow – that can be selected with a knob on the console. The Eco mode softens the throttle response and will even push back slightly if you’re too aggressive with the pedal. Sport mode not only increases the throttle response but it also adjusts the transmission’s behavior.

The Q70’s interior is a very inviting place, made even more so by the test car’s optional premium, deluxe touring and technology packages. The dark ash wood trim was handsome, and the leather-trimmed seats provided excellent lumbar and lateral support.

The front seats have a distinct cockpit feel because the door panels wrap into the instrument panel and then the large center console surrounds them.

An eight-inch LCD screen at the top of the dash displays audio, climate and fuel economy information as well as navigation information.

The test car was equipped with Infiniti’s Forest Air system that “creates a sense of the refreshing climate and natural breezes of a relaxing forest setting,” according the press materials. The system automatically opens and closes air intake ports to reduce the intrusion of dust, exhaust or unpleasant odors into the cabin. An air purifier helps keep allergens, mold and viruses out of the cabin.

The test car was equipped with a lane departure warning system, a collision warning system, a blind-spot monitor, an adaptive cruise control, anti-lock brakes, vehicle stability control and adaptive headlights.

Price

The test car’s base price was $62,000. Options included blind-spot monitor, lane departure warning, brake assist, adaptive cruise control, 20-inch wheels, sport suspension, sport seats, Bose surround-sound, rear spoiler, sport brakes and paddle shifters. The sticker price was $72,260.

Warranty

Four years and 60,000 miles, with a six-year, 70,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Tom Strongman’s e-mail is tstrongman@gmail.com

2014 Infiniti Q70 5.6

Engine: 5.6-liter, 420-horsepower V-8

Transmission: Seven-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive

Wheelbase: 114.2 inches

Curb weight: 4,004 pounds

Base price: $62,000

As driven: $72,260

MPG rating: 16 in the city, 24 on the highway

At A Glance

Point: The renamed Q70 rides on a chassis designed to improve front-to-rear weight balance for better handling. It is sporty and athletic. The optional V-8 has big muscles and the interior surrounds the driver like a cockpit.

Counterpoint: The styling was busy, and the V-8 seemed like overkill.

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