Flagships – every brand has one. They represent the newest and most advanced technologies combined with the biggest and most luxurious platform. The Q70, formerly the M56, is Infiniti’s flagship. For 2015, Infiniti’s biggest sedan gets a little bigger with the addition of the long-wheelbase Q70L. Replete with over 5 more inches of rear legroom, that would be the Q70 for passengers. But this, the Q70 with optional 5.6L V8 and Sport Package, is the Q70 for drivers.
The Q70 is a bit odd for a flagship in that, as is, it isn’t quite big enough to compete with the likes of the Hyundai Equus, Kia K900, or Lexus LS. Thus the roomier L model. But as our tester stands, it sizes up against the likes of the Cadillac CTS, Hyundai Genesis, and Lexus GS. Unlike two thirds of those competitors, however, the Q70 is available with a V8. The Q70 5.6 also stands alone in offering optional AWD. Of course, German rivals from BMW and Mercedes combine V8s and AWD, but we have yet to test them.
We were in New York last April when Infiniti debuted the 2015 Q70. It’s amazing what an updated fascia has done; the Q70 looks much more modern than last year’s model. Our tester arrived with the Sport Package, which sports even more unique front and rear fascias, large 20″ wheels with all-season performance tires, upgraded brakes and suspension, as well as some minor interior touches. The changes were noticeable. Kitted out, the Q70 is a properly good looking car. The flowing lines and more perfect body proportions are real head-turners. Even the LED running lights, which reminded us of the Q50 we drove last summer, fit perfectly into the package.
Thankfully, the Q70 did not drive like the Q50, due to its more conventional steering system. The combination of sport suspension and 20″ wheels didn’t hurt the Infiniti’s luxury reputation as you might think. The car rode far better than we anticipated, and handled better than the 4,200+ lb curb weight suggested. Smooth where you want it and flat where you want it, the Q70 properly performed. The Infiniti drive mode selector, which alters throttle, transmission, and traction control brake mapping, did little to help or hurt the car’s demeanor.
Part of the excellent experience is the punchy motor. Infiniti’s tried and true 5.6L V8 returns in the Q70 with 420 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque. The big V8 does allow you to get some speed up between the corners. One drawback, obviously, was the fuel economy. It’s rated 16/23, but we observed 15 in the cold February weather. A 3.7L V6 is standard if the V8 isn’t your style. The 7-speed automatic is somewhat slow and the changes ordered with a pull of the magnesium paddles are noticeably delayed. For a luxury sedan, it doesn’t detract too much from the driving experience. Offering some semblance of feel and feedback, the Q70’s steering inspired confidence when hustling around mountain roads. It’s not on par with the sportiness of Lexus GS350 F Sport or CTS Vsport, however.
Inside is where the new Q70 falls down. All the technology you interact with feels old and the redundant control knobs and touchscreen icons struck us as strange. The infotainment software seemed to not have been updated since this car was called “M”. Thankfully, the technology you can’t touch is much improved. The Bose sound system features ten speakers, four of which act as active noise cancellation for any less-than-ideal engine sounds. The driver assistance technology inside is immense, and almost overbearing at times, but they’re not as invasive as it’s little brother, the Q50. Features such as Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Brake Assist, and Lane Departure Prevention keep you feeling safe at all times.
With a relatively new name and a brand new face, the 2015 Infiniti Q70 has tried to reinvent itself. But underneath the refreshes, this Infiniti has old bones. The touchscreen interface is dated and some of the interior materials are no longer flagship quality. Competitors have caught up or passed the Q70 in luxury and technology. The updated set of driver aids will keep some safety-minded shoppers from going elsewhere, but it’s the big V8 that kept the Q70 in our good graces.
|2015 Infiniti Q70 5.6 AWD
|As Tested MSRP||$74,055|
Photos courtesy of Infiniti:
Categories: Driven, Infiniti, Scott Villeneuve
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