If a flagship luxury car sets the identity for a brand, then Infiniti is a powerful, sexy geek.
That’s my impression after driving the Q70 for a week. This spacious sedan with head-turning good looks also happens to be an unabashed fan of technology.
Just on the center section of the dash, I counted 43 buttons to control all the electronic gizmos. Sitting in the driver’s seat feels like walking into a Best Buy store.
Before you think I’m complaining about that, I found the Q70’s ease of use refreshing.
BMW and Lexus, for example, seem to be allergic to buttons. They’re trying to eliminate them by moving as many functions as possible to touchpads, rotary knobs and digital screens. Sure, the dash looks prettier and cleaner when they do that, but at what cost? When you want to change the radio station, you have to dig for buried treasure in the endless expanse of menus and submenus.
On the Q70, there’s a knob for that. Same thing for adjusting the volume. If you want to see a map, you push the button labeled “MAP,” as clear as day.
It’s an oasis of sanity in a desert of bad digital design.
While its long list of safety- and entertainment-related tech acronyms is impressive, my favorite feature is more old-fashioned: a good ol’ V8 engine.
The Q70 is a luxury sedan that still offers eight-cylinder power under the hood, something increasingly unusual. Many car companies are switching to smaller turbocharged and supercharged four- and six-cylinder engines designed to get better gas mileage, but the sound, feeling and raw power you get from a big-displacement V8 can’t be emulated.
Yes, it burns gas like you’d expect from a 5.6-liter, 420-horsepower V8, with a rating of 16 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway on my test car. At an as-tested price of $72,720, though, I have a feeling that people who buy it can afford to keep it filled at the pump.
A V6 is offered for drivers who enjoy going slower and being less cool.
Design-wise, the Q70 seems to strike the right chords. It’s swoopier than a lot of its German competitors, some of which have started to look dull and slab-sided to my eyes. It’s not as aggressively styled — some would say overly styled — as the new Lexus products, though, falling somewhere between avant-garde and stately.
Inside, it’s more original than most of its competitors. For whatever reason, many of today’s luxury cars look like their dash was drawn with nothing but a ruler, using straight lines and a very horizontal layout. Because monochrome minimalism is in style right now, too, they end up making me yawn.
The Q70’s cabin design definitely breaks from the herd. It uses a curved, circular motif that’s unusual in a good way.
I was surprised that the sun visors felt a bit thin and flimsy when I moved them, one of the few quibbles in a car that otherwise feels like it justifies its luxury price.
Speaking of which, the Q70 starts at $50,100 and tops out at $65,700 for the all-wheel-drive V8 version.
For drivers who want to feel like they’re saving the Earth while sitting in the lap of luxury, a Q70 Hybrid is available for $56,200.