Car reviews - Infiniti - Q70 - range
Punchy drivetrain, body control, cabin quietness and space, flagship's safety list, price, quality feel
Room for improvement
Busy dashboard, ride quality on 20-inch wheel-tyre package, tyre roar on coarse ship bitumen, lack of driver involvement
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17 Feb 2016
THE approach to the Q70 is far less daunting than the walk toward other Infiniti product. The new Q70's styling makeover to bring it into line with the recently released Q50 has delivered a handsome sedan.
Low-slung, wide and sporting many curved surfaces, it's a far cry from some of the brand's bulbous and controversial machines currently dwelling in the line-up.
The Formula One link and its sporting intent are ever-present and it's apparent from the first few minutes behind the wheel of a vehicle shod with the mid-range $78,900 (plus on-roads) S Premium's 20-inch wheel and tyre package.
Thoughts of a cushy, compliant boulevard ride are quickly dismissed – the ride is firm on A-grade bitumen but can get a little fussy over broken bitumen.
The pay-off is the obedient front end, which turns in with intent and the body roll is kept controlled, but the sharp steering doesn't capture the driver for involvement.
Seating is comfortable and the driving position follows the sporting theme, putting the driver in behind the wheel and not looking down on it, a feeling reinforced by the receding dashboard.
The cabin, as a result of the dashboard stepping back toward the windscreen, has an open feel to it, despite the high window line and relatively narrow glasshouse.
The centre stack is, to some eyes, overly busy and would appear to need some time for familiarity, as would the touchscreen as it also has a menu system some might find convoluted.
At least the designers have given it enough of a cowling to keep direct sunlight at bay and clear instruments (devoid of any digital speed readout but with a centre trip computer) that are easily read.
The V6 – descended from the Z car – is a punchy unit, more refined thankfully than its sportscar variant and linear in its delivery to the rear wheels via the seven-speed Jatco automatic.
The 3.7-litre V6 variable-valve petrol engine produces 235kW and 360Nm of torque at a lofty 5200rpm, which equates to a 0-100km/h sprint time of 6.2 seconds, a fuel economy claim of 10.2L/100km for the GT and 10.8L/100km for the S Premium, but thirsts into the mid-teens were seen during the sometimes-enthusiastic launch drive.
That said, the trip computers at the end of the drive were closing in on the official number, but more city work would see that number head back into the teens.
Infiniti has dropped the diesel variant, leaving the Q70 a petrol and hybrid-only affair, much like arch-rival Lexus' and their similarly positioned GS.
The top two-sellers in the segment have diesel options – the E-Class has its 125kW/400Nm 250 CDI and the 150kW/500Nm E250CDI for $82,900 and $99,400 respectively BMW has its $84,800 140kW/400Nm 520d and the $123,700 230kW/630Nm 535d.
The $82,900 petrol-electric Q70 hybrid uses of a 225kW/350Nm 3.5-litre DOHC 24-valve petrol V6 and the electric motor adds 50kW and 290Nm to the equation for an estimated overall total of 268kW and 546Nm, claiming 0-100km/h in 5.3 seconds and a claimed thirst of 6.9 litres per 100km.
Infiniti drivers looking for some compliance in their prestige sedan will need to perform a switcheroo at the dealership if buying the top-spec model – swiping some of the new-look 18-inch alloys with higher-profile rubber from the base model will go some way toward calming the ride down.
The entry level $68,900 GT delivers a far nicer overall chassis package, with steering that feels better-weighted off centre than the sports model's heavy tiller, which might work when hitting the bends in a hurry but seems overly-hefty otherwise.
The GT's steering – unaided by the rear-wheel steering function of the S Premium – is nicer in most situations, but neither helm delivers the sporting sedan involvement that might be demanded from a genuine driver in this market.
Deliberate wandering to test the lane-departure system found it to be a little tardy in its intervention, and although it was subtle in application once on the job, other brand's systems are more pro-active in keeping it within the lane lines.
The active safety systems delivering warnings about the car ahead of the car in front are clever innovations and weren't prone to false alarms in traffic – the few times the system awoke it was speaking to worthwhile events.
Boot space at a claimed 500 litres is large car territory and useful in itself, although the aperture might cause grief for unwieldy items, but the rear occupant space is more than adequate.
At 191cm, any instance where I can sit comfortably behind my own driving position is worthy of note and the Q70 allows this, leaving enough head and leg room, as well as a good forward view.
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