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The Warsaw Voice » Business » May 7, 2015
Car Review
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Infiniti Q70 2.2d SportTech: Q70 Reloaded
May 7, 2015   
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Infiniti is a brand that is little known in Poland. This is not surprising because the first Infiniti cars did not appear in Europe until 2008. Despite this, Infiniti—the luxury-vehicle division of Japanese automaker Nissan—is determined to win over affluent customers here, with models such as the Q70 targeting drivers interested in premium cars.

The premium class comprises just a few highly desirable brands that promise quality, reliability and the latest hi-tech goodies. All at a price, of course. These marques took decades to build their image, eventually becoming a benchmark for other models to follow in terms of style and technology. Premium brands include the German trinity of Audi, BMW and Mercedes, alongside Jaguar, Lexus and Volvo. There is also a whole group of wannabes trying to prove that their models are also worthy of the term premium car. Infiniti is one of these. The brand originated in 1998 with a view to targeting the U.S. market (like with Lexus or Acura) and did not reach the other side of the pond until 10 years later.

Infiniti offers a range of models belonging to different segments of the automotive market (from sports cars to SUVs) and is guided not only by product quality and the use of ultramodern technology, but also exceptional customer service, as reflected by the appearance of its showrooms. Anyone who has ever stopped by an Infiniti showroom knows what I’m referring to, and those who haven’t should go and take a peek.

The Infiniti Q70 hit the market in 2010 and was formerly known as the “M” (Infiniti changed its labeling in 2013). Its competitors are Executive segment stalwarts such as the Audi A6, BMW5, Mercedes E and Lexus GS. What are Infiniti’s chances of success against such heavyweights?

First, the Q70 has a very attractive body. A facelift at the end of last year made it look similar to the Infiniti Q50 model, which is widely recognized as one of the most attractive cars on the market. With the new front and rear LED lights, the two models are look-alikes at first glance. Even though the Q70’s dashboard is not as modern as that of its younger cousin, it is sure to impress customers who do not mind an oriental touch. Despite the plethora of buttons and switches the dash is quite clear and ergonomically laid out.

Another selling point of the car is the attention to detail in terms of comfort and safety features. Its ultramodern technology is directly derived from the experience of the Infiniti Red Bull Formula 1 team. For example, the Tech package available in the test-drive Sport version included Infiniti’s Dynamic Safety Shield with smart cruise control, a lane departure prevention system, and a blind spot elimination system—not to mention the four-wheel steering system, 20-inch aluwheels, and sports suspension. Driving comfort is enhanced by features including a Bose Premium Surround Sound system and a panoramic 360° camera (with moving object detection function) that makes parking easier.

A further strength of the car is its range of modern engines, including the 3.7-liter V6/320 hp gasoline unit and a 3.5h hybrid with a total capacity of 364 hp considering the combined capacity of the internal combustion engine and the electric motor. Also available is a 2.2-liter/170 hp diesel engine, although in my opinion, this unit is not exactly a cause of pride for Infiniti. The test-drive model was fitted with a Daimler diesel engine. Although the producer highlights its low fuel consumption of 4.4 liters/100 km (vs. 7.1 liters/100 km in the test-drive) and low CO2 emissions (129g/km), this engine is uninspiring in terms of performance compared with the competition. While on paper things do not look bad, because the engine’s maximum torque of 400 Nm is available in the 1,600-2,800 rpm range, in practice this unit is underpowered for a car weighing in at more than 1.8 tons. The efficient seven-speed transmission, with manual shifting with a gear stick or paddles under the steering wheel, is not enough to compensate. Acceleration from 0 to 100 kph takes 8.9 seconds and the top speed is 220 kph. Even taking into account that cars in this category are not meant for racing, the way this unit works raises objections. Quite simply, premium cars are expected to deliver more. Seeing as you’re forking out over zl.200,000, probably a better solution would be to purchase a gasoline or hybrid version, although I understand that offering only gasoline engines is not an option for the producer because there is still significant demand for diesels on European markets.

Despite its drawbacks the Infiniti Q70 may be an interesting alternative to other premium cars in the Executive segment. The facelift proved to be the right decision. The car is presentable, well equipped and technically perfect in every detail—except the engine.

Bartosz Grzybiński
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