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Driven: Freshened Infiniti Q70 drops diesel

Refreshed: The Q70 has come on for a mid-life refresh and brings more spec but no change in pricing.

Infiniti Q70 returns to the mid-size premium market with no diesel

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Infiniti logo16 Feb 2016

By STUART MARTIN

INFINITI’S refreshed Q70 large sedan has arrived in Australian showrooms with unchanged pricing and minus a diesel variant, as the company seeks to lift sales of the BMW 5 Series and Lexus GS rival.

The luxury arm of Japanese manufacturer Nissan has brought the sedan range into line with its smaller Q50 sibling by way of a refreshed nose and tail, as well as additional standard equipment, but it is hedging its bets on a diesel powertrain.

In Europe, the Q70 sedan is available with the same 2.2-litre Mercedes-Benz turbo-diesel drivetrain that accounts for almost a third of the Infiniti Q50's Australian sales, but the brand has chosen to launch the facelifted model here with the petrol V6 and the petrol-electric hybrid.

The outgoing Q70 was powered by the 175kW/550Nm 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6, also seen in the previous-generation Navara, but Infiniti corporate communications general manager Peter Fadeyev said there were no plans for the powerplant to continue in the line-up.

“The twin-turbo diesel V6 in a number of (Renault-Nissan) Alliance models hasn't been earmarked for future development, so it's been dropped from the Q70 and correspondingly it will exit the QX70 range later this year,” he said.

The 125kW/400Nm 2.2-litre Benz-sourced turbo-diesel four-pot would require “a strong business case” to get it on sale in Australia, according to Mr Fadeyev.

The 3.7-litre double overhead cam 24-valve petrol V6 has variable valve timing and variable intake valve lift to produce 235kW at 7000 rpm and 360Nm of torque at 5200rpm.

Infiniti says it can dash from zero to 100km/h in 6.2 seconds and it has a combined-cycle fuel consumption figure of 10.2 litres per 100km in the GT and 10.8 for the S Premium. Pricing remains unchanged over the outgoing model, but Infiniti said the improvement to specification levels is more than $5000 over the outgoing model.

The range kicks off from $68,900 plus on-road costs for the GT, which is likely to make up about 30 per cent of Q70 sales.

The sharp entry variant slots in several thousand dollars below the Lexus GS and over $10,000 cheaper than the Audi A6, Jaguar XF, BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, but the Japanese brand admitted the Genesis (absent from its price comparison) was also a competitor at $60,000.

It sits on 18-inch wheels, new LED headlights, power-adjustable front seats, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, a new touchscreen-controlled Bose 10-speaker sound system and satellite navigation.

The S Premium – expected to be 60 per cent of the sales – is priced from $78,900 and is upgraded with sports suspension, seats, steering wheel and brakes, paddle shifters, a 16-speaker Bose Premium surround sound system with noise cancelling tech, the four-wheel active steering system controlling 20-inch alloys and adaptive capability for the headlights. In terms of safety, the Q70 includes the Safety Shield, which comprises active cruise control, lane-departure warning and prevention, blind-spot warning and prevention and forward and reversing collision auto-braking safety systems, the bulk of which is new to the model.

The top-spec GT Premium hybrid is priced from $82,900 – which could represent 10 per cent of sales – is also equipped with the Safety Shield and what Infiniti calls Dynamic Cornering Enhancement, which is the system that brakes individual wheels (in a similar manner to how the active lane-departure system ‘steers’ the car back into a lane) to reduce understeer or oversteer.

The petrol-electric hybrid consists of a 225kW/350Nm 3.5-litre DOHC 24-valve petrol V6 and the Infiniti Direct Response Hybrid's electric system, which employs a laminated lithium-ion battery and electric motor to add 50kW and 290Nm to the equation.

Performance wise, that gets the GT Premium hybrid to 100km/h in 5.3 seconds and a claimed thirst of 6.9 litres per 100km.

The refreshed front end adopts the look of the Q50, with new LED headlights either side of the ‘double arch’ family grille, above the new front bumper with integrated foglights.

The rear has new LED lights, a lower-profile boot-lid and a slimmer rear bumper the S Premium has a deeper front bumper, 20-inch wheels and lower-profile tyres.

Infiniti is also claiming a quieter cabin for the Q70 thanks to additional noise insulation, improved sealing and stiffened wheels, which the brand said results in reduced road noise.

The Australian Q70s – built in Tochigi, Japan –have 500 litres of boot space, although it falls to 350 litres for the hybrid version.

Both engines employ rear-wheel drive using a Jatco seven-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode (which the driver can control via magnesium paddle shifters in the top-spec S Premium) as well as a four-mode selector to sharpen up drivetrain performance as desired.

The independent double-wishbone front and multi-link independent rear suspension are unaltered by the system but the damping on the S Premium has been revised for ride comfort, the company said.

2016 Infiniti Q70 pricing*
GT (a)$68,900
S Premium (a)$78,900
GT Premium (a)$82,900
*Excludes on-road costs

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