The Infiniti Q70 luxury sedan, the brand’s top model, stands apart for its elegant bodywork and extensive standard equipment. It serves as a distinctive substitute for conservatively styled German-brand luxury sedans, particularly in extended-length Q70L form, and competes against long-wheelbase versions of the Jaguar XJ and Lexus LS.
The long-wheelbase Q70L joined the lineup for the 2015 model year. For 2016, a Premium Select option has been added, featuring a darkened lower rear section, dark chrome trim, semi-aniline leather upholstery, and unique 20-inch wheels.
Blending traditional and contemporary themes, the Q70 melds comfort with performance. By establishing its own course, the Infiniti Q70 rivals the other luxury sedans. It’s an authentic original.
Three distinct powertrains are offered. The Q70 3.7 gets a 3.7-liter V6 engine that makes 330 horsepower. In the Q70 5.6, a 5.6-liter V8 generates 420 horsepower (416 hp in the Q70L). Both models are available with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
The Q70 Hybrid combines a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery, for a combined rating of 350 horsepower. Only rear-wheel drive is offered.
Every Q70 uses a 7-speed automatic transmission that incorporates rev-matching downshifts and a manual-shifting mode. Paddle shifters are optional.
Performance is strong with the V6 engine and even more authoritative with the V8. However, the Hybrid model is short on finesse. Handling is accurate and responsive, without detracting from ride comfort.
Crash-test ratings are impressive. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Q70 five stars overall, but four stars for frontal-impact and rollover. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety declares it a Top Safety Pick+, rated Good in each category. Frontal-crash testing is rated Superior if active-safety features are installed.
Available safety features include adaptive headlights, dynamic cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, forward collision warning with automatic braking, and a surround-view camera.
Formerly optional, the Premium package is standard on 2016 Infiniti Q70 5.6 models. The available Sport Package includes four-wheel steering, enhanced cooling, and 20-inch wheels. Infiniti’s Technology Package provides an extensive suite of active-safety features, as well as an active Eco pedal, and Active Trace Control for selective braking of individual wheels.
The 2016 Infiniti Q70 is available in nine trim levels:
Q70 3.7 ($49,850) includes the V6 engine, leatherette upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth hands-free phone, ash wood trim, six-speaker audio, rearview camera and a long list of premium features. Q70 3.7 AWD ($52,000) adds all-wheel drive. Q70L 3.7 ($51,350) is the extended-wheelbase version of Q70 3.7. Q70L 3.7 AWD ($53,500) adds all-wheel drive to extended-length V6 model.
Q70 5.6 ($62,850) gets the 420-horsepower V8 engine, along with leather upholstery, navigation, Bose 10-speaker audio, and an Around View monitor. Q70 5.6 AWD ($65,350) is all-wheel drive. Q70L 5.6 ($64,550) is the long-wheelbase version. Q70L 5.6 AWD ($67,050) adds all-wheel drive to extended-length V8 model.
Q70 Hybrid ($55,900) includes a 3.5-liter V6, electric motor, and lithium-ion battery. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.
Expressive, even voluptuous, in shape, the Q70 looks even more enticing in long-wheelbase form. Designers clearly followed a distinctive path, leading to a charming and contemporary result.
Luxury-car cues can be seen throughout the elegant exterior, from the assertive grille to the abbreviated decklid. Sheetmetal is crisp and curvaceous, with flowing lines and complex surfaces. Infiniti’s top sedan exhibits a warmth that’s absent from German sports sedans. Though it sits a bit tall, that merely enhances the Q70’s assertive stance.
Extended-wheelbase Q70L models have bigger back doors, and can be equipped with an automatic-closing feature. In addition to nearly 6 extra inches of legroom, Q70L models include heated rear seats and extra reading lamps.
Occupants are surrounded by contemporary themes, complemented by a group of striking, yet traditional, luxury-car materials and fine detail work. Interior surfaces convey a personality seldom seen in European models. The dashboard features a two-tone, multi-layered effect. On the center stack, a large LCD display sits above carefully organized buttons and controls.
Front seats are exceptionally comfortable, with good head, leg, and shoulder space. Knees of taller adults might be bothered by the wide center console.
Back seats are contoured to fit adults, at least in outboard positions, but legroom could be a bit tight for tall folks. The relatively high beltline can bring about a somewhat closed-in sensation. As expected, space is abundant in the rear of Q70L models. Each version promises a plush motoring experience.
Ranking as a capable competitor to German-made luxury sedans, the Q70 has a considerably different personality, leaning toward sportiness over luxury. Acceleration is brisk with any version, and V6 engines are a bit less coarse than they used to be. Crisp gear changes, prompt and unobtrusive, emanate from the 7-speed automatic transmission.
For a luxury sedan of this nature, the V8 engine seems most appropriate, though actual acceleration isn’t so much swifter. Still, a big-displacement V8 cranks out a stirring amount of torque, accompanied by an invigorating engine note.
Each Q70 handles more precisely than most big sedans, helped by quick and responsive steering that’s nicely weighted. On the road, the sedan feels quite athletic. The suspension isn’t excessively firm, but the ride is taut. If larger wheels are mounted, expect ride comfort to deteriorate.
Four settings help the Q70 cope with specific road conditions: Sport, Normal, Eco, and Snow. A Q70 isn’t especially quiet, especially in terms of engine sounds. Brakes are big and powerful.
Although the Q70 Hybrid performs acceptably well, operation of the hybrid system makes it feel less refined than other Q70 sedans. Fuel economy is a plus, though, EPA-rated at 28/34 mpg City/Highway, or 31 mpg Combined.
With rear-wheel drive, Q70 3.7 is EPA-rated at 18/26 mpg City/Highway, or 21 mpg Combined, while the V8 drops the estimate to 16/24 mpg, or 19 mpg Combined. All-wheel drive drops the figures by 1-2 mpg. Though AWD doesn’t dampen the Q70’s balanced handling significantly, it’s meant for all-weather traction rather than improved performance.
Compared to some posh brands, the Infiniti Q70 might fall a bit short on the luxury scale, but it comes with quite a list of standard features and two energetic gas-engine choices. Not many luxury sedans catch the eye so effectively, while behaving admirably. Optional technical features raise the price significantly, though the extended-wheelbase Q70L adds as little as $1,500 to total cost.
Driving impressions by Bengt Halvorson, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.