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2018 INFINITI Q70 Review

2018 INFINITI Q70 Review
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The 2018 Infiniti Q70 stands alone as a warm take on luxury that others have left behind. It’s not as luxurious as the others—but it’s not as expensive as those, either.

The 2018 Infiniti Q70 is creeping close to "unintentionally retro cool" like old pants.

It wears full-size clothes with a mid-size interior that can be stretched in a long-wheelbase version. It offers a choice among three engines—with available all-wheel drive for two of those—and is mated exclusively to a 7-speed automatic.

It hasn’t changed in a while, and its score of 7.2 overall feels generous. It’s not as tech-heavy as its competitors, lacks some creature comforts, and we think its available engine lineup should be condensed into one solid pick.

This year, the Q70 is largely the same as last year. The names have changed but the features haven’t. Starting with the Q70 3.7 Luxe as base, the Q70 is available as a Q70 5.6 Luxe, Q70 Hybrid, Q70L 3.7 Luxe, and Q70L 5.6 Luxe. The “L” denotes a long-wheelbase version that adds 5.9 inches to rear-seat passengers’ leg room, and all-wheel drive is available on every version except the hybrid model.

The most common configuration will be the 3.7 versions, which sport Infiniti’s 3.7-liter V-6 that makes 330 horsepower. If you can get past the sounds it makes (it features active noise cancellation to help) it’s a relatively good pick.

The next stop is a 5.6-liter V-8 for traditionalists. It packs two punches: the first is a 420-hp wallop that propels the Q70 to 60 mph in around five seconds. The second punch: a $13,050 premium for the optional engine. Ouch.

All-wheel drive can be mated to 3.7 and 5.6 variants.

The third option is a tweener hybrid that makes 350 hp combined from a 3.5-liter V-6 and electric combo.

All powertrains are exclusively mated to a 7-speed automatic.

The Infiniti Q70 comes standard with a bevy of luxury features including an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, dual-zone air conditioning, moonroof, heated front seats, and power everything, but a completely free upgrade to a premium package adds leather, cooled seats, Bose audio and more. It’s the ol’ late-night infomercial tease.

Styling
The Infiniti Q70 manages to look fresh by not changing. If that makes any sense.

All good things will go in and out of style, and while the Infiniti Q70 has graceful moves inside and out, it also hasn’t changed in a while.

For now, we give the Q70 a point above average each for its inside and out.

The Q70’s looks are certainly a departure from mainstream German rivals and have a warmth lacking many luxury models these days.

The rear haunches are the zenith for the Q70’s moves, made better in long-wheelbase versions that ask the sheetmetal to reach just that much further back.

The Q70’s interior is equally graceful, with flowing touches that coddle passengers—but also eat into interior space. External looks alone would lead many to believe that the Q70 is larger inside than it is.

Infiniti hasn’t gotten around to replacing all of the Q70’s controls with its dual-touchscreen setup—so please don’t tell them yet. The Q70’s current setup is better than that twin-display reality. While most of the buttons are redundant to other controls or touchscreen features, we prefer it more than the alternative.

The interior array is laid out in a way that’s attractive for driver and passenger. Brushed metal or ash wood trims adorn the interior in places, and the center stack is thoughtfully void of any glossy black that might scratch. The cupholders are placed aft of the gearshifter, which solves a common annoyance we have with German competitors. In top trims, the Q70’s leather gets stitching that outruns some competitors, and subtle accents on light leathers is a welcome look from Infiniti.

Performance
The Q70 sticks and moves like a lithe fighter, but is saddled with a large price premium for its V-8.

The 2018 Infiniti Q70 comes in a range of powertrains, from V-6 to V-8, with a hybrid stop between. That’s surprising variety from a sedan that’s as relatively old as the Q70, but we’d trade all three powertrains for just a single good one.

Engine quibbles aside, the Q70 succeeds with a good ride and sharp handling.

The base engine in Q70 3.7 Luxe versions is a 3.7-liter V-6 that makes 330 horsepower. It’s mated to a 7-speed automatic that powers the rear wheels as standard, or all four wheels with optional hardware.

The corporate V-6 here has reasonable pull, but it’s not very refined. Standard active noise cancellation keeps some of the harsher noises out of the cabin, but it’s well beyond its due date.

An optional 5.6-liter V-8 is available in the Q70, but costs an eye-watering $13,050 more than the V-6 to start. Its prodigious V-8 power and burble bests the V-6 by a country mile, but its dearer price keeps us from even starting the race. By the numbers, the V-8 makes 420 hp and is paired with the same 7-speed automatic.

The V-8 is more powerful, and sonorous, but we pause long and hard at that price premium.

A hybrid powerplant is the ideal go-between and pairs a 3.5-liter V-6 with batteries and electric motors for a net output of 350 hp. We’ve found that the hybrid operation is less than seamless—we can feel the clutching and declutching of the subsystem—but the trade-off is up to 30 mpg combined and it’s roughly $6,500 more than the base V-6. All-wheel drive isn’t available on the hybrid model, nor is it available in long-wheelbase form.
In all conditions the Q70 is relatively sharp behind the wheel, somewhat unexpected from a car of its size. Turn-in is reasonably crisp and there’s a weight to the wheel that other cars have left behind with electric racks.

The Q70 sports relatively big stoppers, but a wheel and tire package can add bigger rotors front and rear for more power.

Comfort & Quality
The Infiniti Q70 is quiet and spacious, with plenty of rear-seat room in extended-wheelbase models.

The Infiniti Q70 competes against automotive superstars, a set that impresses us more every year.

Lined up against the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series, Jaguar XF, and Lexus GS, the Infiniti Q70 is somewhat outgunned, but who isn’t?

Leather is standard on nearly all cars (only base Q70s have synthetic leather and even there, leather is a no-cost option) and Infiniti’s hides are one of our favorites. Front-seat passengers get heated and cooled seats with 10-way adjustability, only a thick center console cuts into knee room.

Rear-seat riders get better accommodation in deeply contoured cushions that are a big spoon to our little spoons. In standard-wheelbase models, rear-seat passengers get adequate leg room, but the longest legs will be more at home in long-wheelbase models that sport 5.9 extra inches.

The only downside to more leg room in the back? The window line dramatically rises in the rear and creates a fairly “closed-in” space, according to us.

Cargo space in the Q70 is manageable but not a priority at 14.9 cubic feet (hybrid models lose a little for battery space).

All versions of the Q70 are equipped with an active noise cancellation system that quiets down the powertrains when sitting inside the cars. That’s a must for V-6 models, but the V-8’s quiet roar isn’t unwelcome in some cases. Carry on.

Safety
The 2018 Infiniti Q70 has a good safety scorecard; only subpar headlights keep it from scoring higher.

The Infiniti Q70 is a relatively safe pick among full-size luxury cars, although advanced safety features are a pricey proposition.

Federal testers haven’t comprehensively rated the Q70 since 2016 when it earned a five-star overall rating, but its structure hasn’t changed significantly. Federal testers gave the 2018 Q70 four stars for front-crash safety and four stars for rollover protection, both calculated scores.

The IIHS called it a Top Safety Pick last year, owed to its “Good” scores on all crash tests and “Superior” front crash prevention when optionally equipped. That’s good enough for a 7 out of 10 on our safety scale.

According to the IIHS, when optionally equipped with the ProACTIVE package, the Q70 avoided a low-speed collision entirely at 12 mph, and significantly mitigated a 25-mph crash by slowing to less than 5 mph. Infiniti bundles that suite of safety features in $3,330 package that includes adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, parking sensors, active lane control, and adaptive headlights. Infiniti isn’t alone among luxury automakers in charging for the extra equipment, but many other manufacturers (including parent-company Nissan) are adding automatic emergency braking for free on some models.

Above additional safety equipment, the Q70 is equipped with airbags for all occupants, stability and traction control systems, a rearview camera, a brake-based cornering system that can aid in maneuverability, and a free trial for telematics that can notify emergency responders if the car is involved in a crash. A subscription for that system is required after the one year trial is over.

Features
The Infiniti Q70 comes in a surprising number of trim levels with plenty of luxury. It lacks the higher-end features found on some competitors—but it lacks the high prices too.

The names change, but thankfully the features don’t.

Trim levels have been shuffled up on the 2018 Infiniti Q70, but the car’s good base features haven’t gone anywhere. All versions of the Q70 wear a Luxe name now, with 3.7, 5.6, and Hybrid names denoting the powertrain for V-6, V-8, and V-6 hybrid editions respectively. Long-wheelbase models are available only as Luxe 3.7 and Luxe 5.6 editions.

Base Q70 3.7 Luxe cars, which start at $51,295 including destination, wear 18-inch wheels and will have a moonroof, automatic headlights, keyless ignition, synthetic leather upholstery, power adjustable heated front seats, Bluetooth connectivity, an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, rearview camera, dual-zone climate control, and LED headlights.

That’s good standard equipment, especially the touchscreen, but there’s a catch. Like last year, Infiniti offers a free premium package upgrade to base Q70s that adds leather upholstery, cooled front seats, a surround-view camera system, Bose premium audio, navigation, heated steering wheel, and parking sensors. We think Infiniti has been watching too many late-night TV infomercials, but appreciate it nonetheless.

Opting for the Q70 5.6 Luxe edition makes all of the premium content standard and adds a V-8 underhood for a whopping $13,050 more. We suggest a healthy consideration of finances before springing for the V-8.

The Q70 Hybrid Luxe edition is trimmed similarly to V-8 models, but start at $57,395.

Opting for the long-wheelbase versions for Q70 3.7 Luxe and Q70 5.6 Luxe adds $1,500 to the bottom line. All-wheel drive is optional on all 3.7 and 5.6 trims and costs $2,150 or $2,550 for V-6 and V-8 models respectively.

Infiniti makes available a surprising number of packages for the Q70, which is somewhat against the grain for the rest of their lineup.

Both Q70 and Q70L can add upgraded interior materials and sound in a “Sensory Package” that costs $3,900. An advanced safety package that includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitors, active lane control, and adaptive headlights costs $3,300. Q70s equipped with a V-6 can add a Premium Select appearance package carried over from last year that adds 20-inch wheels, interior trim accents, and painted brake calipers for $3,300. Bigger wheels and brakes are available alone for $1,150 on all cars.

Fuel Economy
The 2018 Infiniti Q70 is relatively fuel efficient and doesn’t penalize V-8 buyers much. Opt for the hybrid version and combined mileage can touch 30 mpg.

The 2018 Infiniti Q70 comes in a surprisingly wide array of powertrains for the luxury sedan. A V-6, V-8, or hybrid powertrain are all available underhood.

We say the V-6 will be the most common on roadways. The EPA scores it at 18 mpg city, 25 highway, 21 combined with rear-drive, 18/24/20 mpg with all-wheel drive. 

Luxury car traditionalists can still have their V-8s—for now. When equipped with a V-8, the Infiniti Q70 is scored by the EPA at 16/24/19 mpg with rear-drive or 16/23/18 mpg with all-wheel drive.

Standard wheelbase and long wheelbase versions are rated identically.

The Q70 Hybrid is only available with the short wheelbase and it’s the efficiency champ. The EPA rates those versions 28/33/30 mpg.

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