The Infiniti I30 has become an infinitely better luxury sedan for 1998.

As Nissan's Infiniti Division's volume leader, the I30 has been noted for its styling, space, and performance, attributes that are carried forward with significant updates to the 1998 model.

The revisions to the new model take in the exterior and interior, with the updates being about equal for the outside and inside.

The I30 body is anchored by strong styling of the front grille, flowing lines that result in a coefficient of drag of 0.32, new wheels for improved tractive effort, and a wide horizontal taillight treatment.

The front end puts a new face on the I30 via new halogen headlights featuring jewel-type lenses.

The wheels virtually are a transplant, being of the Q45t style.

Offered in Standard and Touring form, it is the consensus that the I30 is a pretty slick looking automobile. Being confined to a degree by the dictates of the wind tunnel, designers have conformed to accepted aerodynamic standards but still have produced a four-door that makes its own statement.

The emphasis on the I30's interior is luxury, comfort, and security. As a midsized sedan, the 106.3 inches of wheelbase and overall length that is just a tick under 190 inches (189.6) provides comfortable rear seat legroom and convenient entrance and exit.

The Touring is the more upscale of the two cars, and as a consequence offers leather as standard (an option package in Standard model form).

The 1998 cars offer an option with a new name. Formerly the Leather Appointed Model, it now becomes the Leather and Convenience Package option.

If you don't trip over all of that jargon, you will find the option also includes the addition of the Infiniti name embossed on the front leather-appointed seats, perforated seating surfaces, and a new Sage leather color. Other LCP equipment includes a power sun roof, an anti-glare rearview mirror, and an Integrated HomeLink Transmitter.

When you add to this the standard equipment of air, power, cruise, and numerous convenience items, you end up with a fully equipped automobile for about $30,000.

The I30 is a five-seater in the conventional 2/3 seating layout. Nothing radical here, with a center console dividing the two front seats.

Instrumentation is a four main gauge layout of speedometer-tachometer-temperature-fuel. Climate and audio controls are berthed in a vertical pod located in the center of the instrument panel.

The cruise controls are mounted in the steering wheel.

New for '98 is the addition of an outside temperature indicator, a new odometer with dual trip meters, and the relocation of the audio system tweeters from the side view mirrors to the door trim panel.

In this accepted standard arrangement, everything falls right to hand. There is nothing a first time driver has to learn.

The heart of any automobile is the engine, and in this respect the I30 is a stout-hearted motor vehicle.

Nissan is no stranger to going fast, and the '9 8 sedan upholds its speedy image.

The motor is Nissan's 3.0-liter (182.2-cubic inch) dual overhead cam, 24-valve, aluminum V-6 that develops 190-horsepower and 205 foot-pounds of torque. In addition to its four valves per cylinder, the engine also features variable valve timing.

When coupled to a Touring model's five-speed manual transmission and 3,163 pounds of weight, you have the formula for flying low. This dude is really fast, like 139 miles per hour top speed, and 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds. Yet for all the get-up-and-go, fuel mileage is 21 miles per gallon city, 26 highway.

The V-6 is as smooth as a V-8, with its high tech configuration offering superior performance whether with a five-speed or an automatic four-speed transmission.

Equally high tech is the four- wheel independent suspension system designed to keep all four wheels in contact with the road.

The front suspension uses sub-frame located mountings to provide stiffness and reduce noise and vibration. But it's th e rear that provides the key to the I30's handling.

In the rear, a multi-link and torsion beam suspension utilizes a patented lateral link/control rod system that keeps the tires perpendicular to the road while controlling body roll in high speed turns.