2015 Infiniti Q70L: Long and Lean Luxury
Driving the 2015 Infiniti Q70 – L (Long Wheelbase) is a smooth but strange experience! From the driver’s seat, one seems to be in a performance sedan reminiscent of the Infiniti G37 with a pod-shaped instrument binnacle and smaller steering wheel. The feel of the driver’s seat is intimate and the seat is more tailored to a sports car. Yet, when I would look around the car, it was obvious that all the cubic feet is surrounded with leather, real silver-brushed burl wood and soft materials.
The Q70 is actually an updated M37 or M45, depending on the engine. Whatever the nameplate, Infiniti continues to design and build unique sedans, coupes and crossovers that seem to come from a French artist’s canvas. Besides the confusing name badges which are a throwback to the Q sedans of the 1990’s, Infiniti is looking to gain a larger share of the luxury sedan market with a stretch luxury sedan alongside the likes of a BMW Long 7-series. Infiniti (Nissan) actually gets closer to the likes of the Hyundai Equus- but with a whole lot more performance.
Our test Q70L came with a wheelbase that is stretched 5.9 inches to accommodate a limousine-length backseat. It can be powered by Infiniti’s proven V-6 or V-8 VQ-series engines with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. The model names include Q70L 3.7, Q70L 3.7 AWD, Q70L 5.6 and Q70L 5.6 AWD. These excellent drivetrains both do the job and without an annoying CVT. The V-8 would be the better choice if you really carry 3 to 4 people and some luggage. Otherwise, either engine will do.
Our test Q70L was moved by the 3.7-liter aluminum-alloy DOHC 24-valve V6. It pumps out a healthy 330 hp @ 7,000 rpm and 270 lb/ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm. Thanks to a newer intake system and Nissan’s Variable Valve Event & Lift (VVEL®) (hydraulic-controlled variable valve timing and electronically controlled variable valve lift on the intake side), this smaller engine responded stronger than anticipated. It was obvious when the smaller displacement would lose power at the top end but everyday driving for one person would not be hampered with the V6.
The Q70L with the 5.6-liter Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG) aluminum-alloy DOHC 32-valve V8 is rated at 416 hp and 414 lb-ft of torque. There is more midrange and full throttle power but the extra costs and weight would not move me into a higher price tag. I have driven Nissan/Infiniti V-6 engines for more than 15 years and there are none stronger or smoother on the market. The new 7-speed automatic transmission with computer-controlled shifting and paddle shifters and rev-matching, makes the V6 even more enjoyable on the open road.
Advertised fuel economy is 18 mpg city/ 26 mpg highway to the Q70L 3.7. Our test Infiniti included the full-time all-wheel drive system which only runs in mostly rear-wheel drive until needed and under hard cornering. The 3.7 AWD is supposed to get 17 mpg city/ 24 mpg highway which would be worth the extra fuel if one lived in snowy country. I did not have enough time with the Q70L to get an accurate MPG reading. Q70L 5.6 is rated at 16 mpg city/ 24 mpg highway, while the Q70L 5.6 AWD achieves fuel economy of 16 mpg city / 23 mpg highway.
The 2015 Q70L is built on Infiniti’s Front Mid-ship (FM) platform, which positions the engine behind the front axle, resulting in a nearly perfect 52:48 weight distribution. This is a balanced sedan in the mountains and the long wheelbase is appreciated on the highways. It is not a small car with 110.6 cubic feet of interior room. Yet, the road performance was nimble and controlled and comfortable, and not silky smooth. Again, most people I know would rather be driving this car from the front seat rather than be sitting the backseat lap of luxury.
The electronic steering was rather numb and not terribly precise, but the Q70L did shift and rotate in the corners rather well. It helps to have an independent double-wishbone design up front and a multi-link independent suspension in the rear. The odd thing is that the front is set up for responsive performance and the rear suspension geometry is set for a comfortable ride. Infiniti engineers have even changed the shape of the oil seal lip in the shock absorbers to minimize uncomfortable vibrations on uneven roads. Thus, again, the Q70L is a strange mix of sport and luxury-spoiler.
The Q70L gets standard 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and 245/50R18 all-season performance tires. The Performance Tire & Wheel Package offers a split 5-spoke 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheel mounted with a 245/40R20 all-season performance tire. This lower profile tire package is better suited to the sporty side of the Q70’s running gear- along with the upgraded larger 4 piston front brakes, and only adds $1,150 to the Q70L 3.7 AWD base MSRP of $53,500.
The automatic power rear door clinchers are standard along with leatherette, heated 10-way power driver and front passenger’s seats, memory system for the driver’s seat, steering wheel and outside mirrors, and keyless entry. In addition, each Intelligent Key remembers the last-used dual-zone automatic climate control temperatures, and audio and navigation settings. Standard technology equipment also includes Active Noise Control, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, HomeLink™ Universal Transceiver and RearView Monitor.
From this price point, Infiniti offers many optional packages that had our Q70L cresting $62k in a hurry. For example, the Technology Package includes an Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS) with auto-leveling headlights, automatic cruise control, lane departure warning and steering correction, automatic braking and collision warning. The blind sport warning and steering correction, and all kinds of warning chimes in a parking lot situation were overwhelming.
It would be great if manufactures could break down these systems into more bit-sized options. Unfortunately, the shared sensors and computers make all these safety systems dependent on the other. Thus, buyers have to spend an extra $3,300 on a package like this even if they want just one system.
Infiniti has been a pioneer in electronic safety gear for years and the new Q70 is no exception. Now they offer a Predictive Forward Collision Warning system that prepares the car for a collision. The Around View® Monitor with Moving Object Detection actually “sees” moving people, pets, and children before the driver does. There is even a Backup Collision Intervention system that breaks the car. These cameras, lasers, and sensors can be helpful but also very annoying when one is trying to drive the car.
The 2015 Q70L’s new LED headlights are cool looking. In fact, there is LED lighting everywhere on the Q70. The interior uses LED lighting to create a serene environment at night and good lighting for the large rear seat. Other standard features include a power sliding tinted glass moonroof, sunshade, power-folding heated outside mirrors with integrated LED turn signal, rain-sensing variable intermittent front windshield wipers, courtesy lamps built into the outside door handles, and automatic trunk closer.
Overall, this new Infiniti flagship is impressive and confusing to the driver. It is responsive and reasonably comfortable: from the front to the rear respectively. There is a host of creature comforts but the electronic wizardry gets a little crazy at times. The “base” model Q70L with the 3.7 V-6 and rear-wheel drive would be my choice for a daily driver in southern states. The Infiniti Drive Mode Selector with four driving modes – Standard, Eco, Sport or Snow – should handle the rain and dry pavement performance. If an interesting long luxury is your quest, check out this new “Q”.
Deluxe Touring Package (Q70L 3.7 models only)
* Bose® Studio Surround sound system with digital 5.1-channel decoding
* 16 speakers; power rear sunshade
* Semi-aniline leather seating
* Quilted seat pattern with additional seat bolstering
* Suede-like headliner
* Premium soft-touch material for armrests, door inserts, center console and knee pads
* Premium stitched instrument meter hood.
* Intelligent Cruise Control (Full-Speed Range)
* Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP)
* Distance Control Assist (DCA)
* Intelligent Brake Assist (IBA) with Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
* Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and Blind Spot Intervention® (BSI) systems
* Front Pre-Crash Seat Belts
* Active Trace Control; Eco Pedal
* Adaptive Front lighting System (AFS) with auto-leveling headlights
* Forward Emergency Braking (FEB)
* Back-up Collision Intervention (BCI)
* Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW)