The Infiniti Q70 can be a car of many colors. It’s a rear-wheel-drive midsize luxury car, a full-size luxury car when it comes with a long wheelbase, a true hybrid, sports sedan with different degrees of sport, or a comfortable winter machine with all-wheel drive. Overall, we think the Q70 is actually more satisfying to drive than the Infiniti Q50.
The Q70 has a charming and modern personality, with more curves than its American or German competitors in this class of excellent cars, including Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF, and Lexus GS.
It has aged well. The standard V6 engine, a proven 3.7-liter V6 making a strong 330 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque, is dated and is neither smooth nor silent. The 5.6-liter V8 makes 420 horsepower while being smoother and sounding better, but it doesn’t feel that much faster despite the horsepower. The hybrid version is in between, with 350 horsepower from a 3.5-liter V6 and a lithium-ion battery pack. All three engines are well matched to a slick 7-speed automatic.
The Q70 ride is firm and compliant, while its steering is well-weighted with a fair turn-in feel. A sport package makes it handle quicker with four-wheel steering, plus 20-inch wheels, sport seats and steering wheel, paddleshifters, and stronger cooling.
The long-wheelbase Q70L has bigger rear doors that close automatically, heated rear seats, extra reading lamps and an extra power outlet. So it’s clear what it’s intended for, carrying VIPs or privileged children.
The Q70 aces its crash tests, with five stars overall from the NHTSA (four stars in frontal crash and rollover), and the top Good rating from the IIHS, earning its Top Safety Pick+ award.
As for fuel mileage, the rear-wheel-drive V6 gets an EPA-rated 18/26 mpg City/Highway, or 21 Combined miles per gallon. The V8 gets 16/24/19 mpg City/Highway/Combined, the Hybrid gets 29/34/31 mpg.
The 2017 Infiniti Q70 3.7 ($50,100) comes standard with leather-trimmed seats, full power, keyless ignition, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control, and a six-speaker sound system. A Premium Package includes leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, a surround-view camera system, parking assistance, and an 8.0-inch infotainment system with touchscreen navigation, telematics, and 10-speaker Bose surround sound stereo. The Q70 3.7 AWD ($52,250) adds all-wheel drive.
The Q70 5.6 ($63,150) features the 5.6-liter V8 engine, also available with all-wheel drive ($65,700).
The Q70 Hybrid ($56,200) features the hybrid powertrain.
The Q70L with long wheelbase is available with both the V6 and V8.
A Technology Package ($3,300) adds a long list of active electronic safety features, including an Eco pedal. A Deluxe Touring Package ($3,900) adds on more luxury, such as a 16-speaker Bose audio system, power rear sunshade, and softer quilted leather. There are several sport packages, although none are available for the Hybrid.
The Q70L throws everything into one $7200 Deluxe Technology package. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charges.)
The Q70 is curvy and crisp, with flowing lines and detailed accents, and a warmth that German cars lack. It looks good, but not great. The Q70L looks best, as its long wheelbase gives the curves room to stretch to the rear haunches.
The cabin has more personality than in European cars, which seem stark by comparison. There’s a striking mix of contemporary themes and traditional luxury materials with voluptuous surfaces. Warm wood, more than in a Jaguar XJ, soft semi-aniline leather, and fine details like silver-dust wood trim are available. Two-tone multi-layers make the dashboard look like a fancy jewelry case. The center stack buttons are neatly organized for a clean high-tech look under a large LCD display.
The front seats are exceptionally comfortable, both with 10-way power adjustment. Legroom is good, although the thick center console might squeeze tall knees.
The Q70 is shy on rear legroom, but it’s less cramped than other midsize cars, and the outboard seats are well contoured. However the rather high beltline and rear deck might make backseat passengers feel like they’re in a box. The Q70L is superior for rear-seat passengers, adding nearly six inches of legroom.
The trunk has 14.9 cubic feet of space, good for a midsize car. Less room in the Hybrid, on account of the battery pack.
With plentiful sound insulation material, as well as an active noise cancellation system, the cabin is quiet, except for the intrusion of the V6 engine noise during hard acceleration. You’ll also hear the V8, but it’s a more likable rumble.
The 3.7-liter V6 has been a good workhorse for Nissan/Infiniti, but it’s overdue for updating. For that matter, so is the 5.6-liter V8.
The sometimes-gruff V6 is thankfully mated to a crisp-shifting 7-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode, rev-matching downshifts, and available paddles on the steering wheel.
The V8 is more in keeping with the image of a sports sedan, although it’s not that much quicker than the V6. Still, it produces a stirring amount of torque, along with that V8 exhaust note.
The 350-horsepower Hybrid handles reasonably well, but it lacks finesse, in the clutching and declutching of the electric subsystem, making it feel less refined than the regular Q70.
The Q70 ride is well sorted, on a suspension that isn’t soft and can’t be called supple, but it’s not too firm.
The handling is athletic and generally balanced, with quick, responsive steering and a crisp turn-in on rear-wheel-drive models. The steering is still hydraulic, not electric, and we won’t say that’s why it’s so good, just that steering doesn’t have to be electric nowadays. Actually, electric power steering came along as another means to reduce drag and increase fuel mileage, by the smallest of amounts. Hydraulic steering such as that found on this Q70 offers better feedback to the driver.
The four-wheel-steering system, called 4WAS and available in the Sport package on rear-wheel-drive models, improves the steering response. The optional all-wheel drive doesn’t dull the car’s handling much, but it’s considered more for winter traction than cornering stability.
The brakes are big and powerful, while being even bigger and more powerful with the Sport package: 14-inch front and 13.8-inch rear ventilated discs with four-piston front calipers and two-piston rears.
The Infiniti Q70 has a distinctive and luxurious cabin and still looks good. It offers athletic handling with crisp, accurate steering and powerful brakes. Its tried-and-true V6 and V8 engines are aging, but 7-speed automatic makes the best of them and all-wheel drive is available.
Sam Moses contributed to this report.