New & Used Infiniti Q70: In Depth
2016 Infiniti Q70 Premium Select Edition debuts at Pebble Beach Concours d'EleganceEnlarge Photo
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The Infiniti Q70 is a four-door luxury sedan, the largest car offered by Nissan's upscale brand.
Until 2014, the Q70 was known as the Infiniti M. Now renamed but essentially the same car, it continues to compete with the Audi A6, Jaguar XF, Lexus GS, and the Acura RLX.
As offered today, the Q70 emphasizes driving performance more than some of its competitors, while still maintaining a luxurious feel.
MORE: Read our 2016 Infiniti Q70 review
The Q70 represents the third generation of the mid-size Infiniti sedan, with earlier generations of the Infiniti M having launched in 2003 and 2006.
Today's Q70 debuted as the third-generation Infiniti M at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show, and went on sale in spring 2010. Along with other Infinitis, it was renamed in 2014; that new naming system is bound to generate confusion for a few years more. (For more details, see the rundown on Infiniti's naming strategy.)
The car was previewed by a stunning concept sedan, the Infiniti Essence, that revealed styling themes and a design language for the brand going forward. The flowing lines helped to boost the car's profile among the crowded set of traditional luxury competitors, which was then expanding with the addition of the similarly expressive Jaguar XF.
The Infiniti Q70's styling has always looked handsome and is aging well itself. The big back seat, fine handling, communicative steering, and balanced ride also win the Q70 praise. As for the interior, fit and finish are dialed in, and the optional silver-hued wood trim is especially attractive.
When this generation launched, it offered two engines. What was then called the M37 (now the Q70 3.7) packs a 3.7-liter V-6 and is pretty quick on its feet, although it is noisier than its pricier counterpart. For a little extra cash, the Q70 5.6 offers a 5.6-liter V-8 with a 0-to-60 time of about 5 seconds, which is very fleet for a standard series-production sedan not wearing a performance label. Although it's starting to get up there in terms of age, we've always enjoyed this model's smooth V-8 engine.
All-wheel drive can be ordered on the V-6 (nee M37) and V-8 (nee M56) models of the Infiniti Q70. A Sport Package is available on both rear-wheel-drive and AWD models and adds 20-inch wheels and performance tires, upgraded brakes, and a number of appearance enhancements.
The Q70 Hybrid (which was introduced for 2012 as the M35h) pairs a performance-oriented single-motor hybrid system to a 3.5-liter V-6 engine. The combination puts out 360 hp, but gets an EPA combined rating that now sits at 31 mpg (29 mpg city, 34 mpg highway). (The rating was updated for 2014 when it was increased by 2 mpg.) Unlike many hybrids, this model manages to mix fuel efficiency with driving fun. Its steering and dynamics are almost as good as those of the rest of the range, and the boost in gas mileage--the V-8 with rear-wheel drive is rated at just 19 mpg combined--is a strong case for considering the hybrid Q70. In some situations, however, it is not the most seamless of hybrids, as the engine's starting and stopping can be felt very acutely. This is in some part due to the way the hybrid transmission is designed and is a trade-off to the more direct feel offered.
For 2015, the Q70 gained an extended-wheelbase version. This model, called Q70L, adds about five inches of rear legroom and seven inches to the overall length. All Q70s get a mild freshening this year as well, with revised lighting elements at both ends. The powertrains carry over and include the hybrid, V-6, and V-8, although only the non-hybrid versions are available in the Q70L.
Infiniti showed a Q70L Bespoke Edition concept at the 2015 Shanghai show, which is outfitted with an upgraded interior meant to bridge the gap between production Infiniti interiors and those in its concept cars. The cabin has individual rear seats separated by a console and covered in white quilted leather, while the headliner is done in a black quilted design. This likely signals a higher interior spec that will be available on Q70s and other Infiniti models in the future.
The 2016 model year brings very little change to the Q70 lineup—although there is a new Q70 Premium Select edition brought some sportier exterior cues and special 20-inch wheels, plus semi-aniline leather seats, aluminum trim finish, illuminated kick plates and floormats with contrast piping.