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DEVILISHLY GOOD FUN WITH Q

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Thu, Jun 12, 2003

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

DEVILISHLY GOOD FUN WITH Q

By JOHN GRAFMAN

I admit it I read other car magazines. Now this is not the sin of sins. But like everyone else they do influence my perception of the cars they review. Once behind the wheel myself I can make up my own mind as to what is noteworthy and what isn’t. One car that always seems to get the short end of the stick from the media since the day Nissan launched Infiniti is the Q45.

Now various magazines have poked at it and have found a few issues with it. And I myself do find this car not entirely flawless. I am hard pressed not to say that I appreciate what it does better more than most cars. And even though it has a price tag up there in Lexus and Mercedes territory ($63,745.00 as tested for the Q45 Premium model), it nonetheless has the ability to deliver on its upscale pricing. The obvious quirks throw off the casual driver who hasn’t enough seat time to really get acquainted with the controls of the Q. After repeated usage the stereo controls and venting system seem logical but do require actually a glance or two in order to operate them. The information center that contains them is both intriguing and not without some additional margin of effort over and above many more conventional controls. Then again, at least you don’t need a joystick or mouse to use this. The seven-inch color monitor that houses both the sound and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) controls proves easy to read with large readouts. The inclusion of a rearview monitor is cool toy too but really only comes into play on rare occasion.

The space limitations in the trunk and in the cabin seem a little out of step with this price. If a couple more inches were somehow squeezed into the width and length, particularly in the rear, we would be happier. In the Q’s defense the reclining rear seats do eat into the available space and are a great feature. But once reclined the rear passenger will wish they had a shorter leg length unless of course they are supermodels or in the NBA.

My personal gripe is the engine is shrouded, like far too many other cars, in a hellish, giant fake plastic cover that belongs in the trashcan from which it was recycled from in the first place. Either have the engine accessible or the compartment should be sealed to all but the factory service personnel. On that note, a slightly less liberal use of plastic on the interior would be welcomed also. The other pan from critics relates to the design. Some would rather have a shape that screams at you, but The Q 45 has a somewhat milder, conservative shape that will look good long after the last payment is made.

That’s it. I had a tough time finding other real nuisances. As a matter of fact, the Q is among the best wheels we have had at LA CAR in sometime. The car has got some muscle (340 hp and 333 lbs of torque @ 4,000 rpm), and ability to use it to the driver’s advantage, which is what we had hoped the car would have. This is one of those cars that you will find yourself making excuses to run errands in and can bring out the devil even in the most devout of the clergy. The Infiniti is two cars in one. The well behaved, sedan rides soft enough to pick up your grandmother for an outing. Conversely, it has enough poise to head off to the canyons soon after dropping her back safely at home (no sense in giving granny a heart attack or making her jealous, whichever the case maybe). The flagship also includes numerous luxury features that range from its sweet looking eighteen inch wheels, rear power sunshade, rear climate and audio controls with driver lockout, more airbags than Congress (well almost), seven-lens, high-intensity discharge xenon headlights, bird’s eye maple wood trim, to a full size spare tire, and the list goes on and on.

The Q45 is its own car. It isn’t a flat out clone of some European machine or American cruiser. This might be the most unusual aspect to the Q from the very day the line was launched way back last century. The car makes no apologies for not being something it isn’t. Instead this car rewards its owner with performance and a uniqueness that is refreshing. All it takes is a heavy right foot and an open mind to become a believer. Now tell me, is that such a sin?

More Infiniti product information is available at www.infiniti.com

Engine type: 4.5-liter DOHC 32-valve V8 with aluminum-alloy block and heads and molybdenum coated pistons Displacement: 4.5 liters Horsepower: 340 hp @ 6,400 rpm Torque: 333 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/rear-wheel drive Transmission type: 5-speed electronically controlled automatic overdrive transmission with real time feedback with learning algorithm and manual shift mode Front suspension: Independent strut with stabilizer bar and coil springs (available driver selectable suspension mode with active damping) Rear suspension: Independent multi-link with stabilizer bar and coil springs (available driver selectable suspension mode with active damping) Wheels and tires: 18” 8-spoke aluminum-alloy wheels, “Titanium” finish (7.5 JJ x 18) 245/45R18 V-rated all-season radial tires Brakes: Front: 11.4” x 1.1” power-assisted vented disc Rear: 11.5” x 0.6” power-assisted vented disc Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist 4-channel/4-sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) Overall length: 199.6 Overall width: 72.6 Overall height: 58.7 Curb weight (lbs.): 3,977 EPA mileage estimates City/ Highway: 17/25 mpg

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