The 2014 Infiniti Q70 is a lame duck in some ways, but it remains a fowl with redeeming qualities.
If the Infiniti Q70 sedan — formerly the M37 — had tough midsize competition before in the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Lexus GS and Jaguar XF, it has even tougher competition in its pending successor: a 2015 Q70 that's slated to go on sale later this year.
Exterior & Styling
Unfortunately, the inoffensively styled 2014 Q70 is upstaged by the more elegant lines of the coming 2015, which apes Maserati and other classic sports cars. The current Q70 looks a bit more swollen, despite all its swoopiness.
While the front fenders, headlights and grille might come off as bulbous, though, the short rear deck and stylish taillights remain a terrific look.
How It Drives
In this class I've always liked what the Q70 offers: a comfortable ride with plenty of power on demand. As cars get bigger you would think drivers would expect less handling prowess from them, simply due to the amount of mass. To me, the fact that the 5 Series and GS can take a turn sharper than the Infiniti isn't necessarily a detriment to the Q70, because shoppers in this segment might not be demanding extreme corner carving; personally, I'd take the added ride superiority. Compare all three, as well as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, here.
Unfortunately, our Q70 S was a trim level (technically an optional Sport Package) that firms up that nice suspension, adds 20-inch wheels and more aggressive tires, and makes the Q70 generally less pleasant to pilot around town or on long highway trips — two things at which the Q70 without this package excels.
Under the hood of our test car was the larger engine, Infiniti's potent 5.6-liter V-8 producing 420 horsepower and 417 pounds-feet of torque. A quite-capable 3.7-liter V-6 is standard, with 330 hp and 270 pounds-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive an option with either power plant.
Even with so much power at hand, the Q70 doesn't launch off the line like you'd expect. You need to use the car's manual shift mode and paddles to get a little extra hustle off the line. Again, it's on the highway that the car's acceleration shines, passing effortlessly and in a rather quiet manner at high speeds.
Very little wind or engine noise intrudes in the cabin, and only the sport-focused tires seem to exhibit unwanted noise. Again, opting out of the S trim will likely solve that issue.
A Q70 Hybrid is also available, with a V-6 engine teamed with a 50-kilowatt electric motor and high-voltage battery pack to produce a combined 360 hp and gas mileage that's rated 29/34/31 mpg city/highway/combined. That's a healthy boost from the quite-thirsty gasoline pair, rated 18/26/21 mpg for the V-6 and 16/24/19 mpg for the V-8. The Lexus GS also comes in a hybrid option, and BMW offers a diesel 535d that returns similar mileage, at 26/38/30 mpg.
I've always admired the posh look of the Q70's interior, with plush leather padding on the doors, armrests and nearly every other surface, including the seats. Some automakers, like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, use imitation leather standard, even in this class. A mixture of pearlescent wood accents, metal trim and well-executed controls in the Q70 also say "upscale" to me.
Other editors on staff, however, find the current Q70 deficient in luxury appointments versus the competition. These same editors agree that the 2015 we inspected at the 2014 New York International Auto Show seems to have addressed those issues.
The luxury grade notwithstanding, the cabin is a completely comfortable place to reside during any length of drive. Drivers face an intricate gauge cluster in the 2014 while commanding a thickly wrapped leather steering wheel.
Heated seats are standard, while cooled seats are optional on the V-6 and standard on the V-8. They work as intended. (Sometimes cooled seats do not actually deliver substantial cooling.)
There's no way to avoid mentioning the somewhat cramped backseat. While no tighter than a 5 Series, GS or XF, those cars are certainly not spacious, either. My knees had enough room to not touch the front seat (adjusted for my 5-foot, 10-inch height), but there wasn't much wiggle room. It felt tight back there, but the average adult should fit.
With my children's safety seats installed, both children — ages 5 and 6 — had a hard time climbing in and out of the Q70, much the same way they do when I test a compact sedan like a Honda Civic.
The 2015 Q70 will come in a standard length, like the current model, but also as a long-wheelbase model that opens up more room. So if you're looking for a bigger backseat, you may want to wait.
Ergonomics & Electronics
Infiniti introduced a two-screen multimedia system in the all-new compact Q50 last year, but the 2015 Q70 keeps the single-screen layout of the current model. This easy-to-use system has always been a favorite.
Not only are all the various features — radio, iPod, satellite, climate, navigation — easy to get to thanks to shortcut buttons, but one of my favorite features is the "status" page that shows a mix of the above, like the current music selection and trip mileage, or the ventilation settings.
The Bose stereo system — again, standard in V-8 models and optional in the V-6 — is decent for this class. The backrest-mounted surround speakers, however — located on either side of the headrest — are nearly imperceptible in terms of producing actual sound, no matter how much I fiddled with the settings. They're more show than anything else.
Cargo & Storage
At 14.9 cubic feet, the trunk is a decent size for the class, besting the 5 Series, at 14 cubic feet, and the GS, at 14.3 cubic feet.
In the cabin, there's a fair amount of storage in the center console, with covered cupholders and additional storage by the shifter. Storage built into the doors is tight, however.
The Q70 has a five-star overall crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and it earned top scores of good in moderate-overlap front, side, rear and roof-strength tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It hasn't been subjected to that organization's stringent new small-overlap frontal crash test.
Infiniti has long promoted active safety systems and was one of the first to develop lane departure warning and correction, both of which can be had in the Q70 — along with forward collision warning — as part of option packages. A backup camera is standard, but Infiniti's well-liked Around View Monitor is not offered.
View all the Q70's safety features here.
Value in Its Class
Generally, Infiniti offers good value versus its competition in the luxury world. Its Q50 offers competitive performance and features as well as generally a lower price than the comparable BMWs of the world. The Q70 is not quite a bargain, however, especially in the V-8 version. Starting at $63,005 including destination, it's slightly less than the BMW 550i, at $64,825, and a tad more than the Mercedes-Benz E550 — which has standard all-wheel drive — at $62,325.
The Q70 V-6, at $50,505, comes in right between the Lexus GS, at $48,610, and the 535i, at $56,025. I would recommend paying less for the GS and more for the 535i to anyone who asked, but with the 2015 model on the horizon, there could end up being some good deals on outgoing 2014s.
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