Infiniti For 1999
By Carey Russ
Infiniti has a new entry-luxury car for 1999. The G20 name has returned after a three-year hiatus, on a completely new car. In addition, the top-of-the-line Q45 has been revised and the mid-level I30 has some new features. The QX4 sport-utility continues unchanged.
The new G20 is much like the old one, discontinued after 1996, in size and intent, and uses the same 140-horsepower 2.0-liter four- cylinder engine. The new car is slightly larger outside and inside. It is more aggressive in style, but still elegant, and has a stronger resemblance to the larger Infiniti I30 and Q45 sedans. The cabin- forward design of the old G20 has been taken a step further, with more interior space and rear legroom. Modifications to the chassis structure have increased rigidity, and thereby helped improve the G20's already good handling and low interior noise level.
A sophisticated suspension system helps give the front-wheel- drive G20 its handling and character. The front suspension is an independent multilink design similar to that of the original G20 and the late Nissan 300ZX. At the rear, the old G20's independent parallel link suspension has been replaced by an implementation of the patented "Rear Multi-Link Beam" (tm) design used in the Infiniti I30 and Nissan Maxima.
A five-speed manual gearbox is standard, with a four-speed automatic optional. Two models are offered, the base G20 and sportier G20t.
Infiniti's flagship Q45 has a numerous refinements for 1999. Less chrome trim on the grille and new high-intensity discharge headlights in front and a new rear panel and taillight design add to its elegant look. A new glass sunroof replaces the previous metal one. Inside, the return of the analog clock of the first-generation Q45, a new power sunshade, revisions to the switchgear and trim, and retained power for the windows and sunroof add comfort and convenience.
The 266-horsepower 4.1-liter dual-overhead-cam V8 and four- speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission continue unchanged in both the base Q45 and sportier Q45t. The Q45t has a new "Active Damper Suspension", which electronically controls shock absorber damping for improved ride and handling characteristics.
The most popular Infiniti received a cellular telephone and global positioning system-based "In-Vehicle Communicator System" capable of locating the vehicle and contacting emergency assistance midway through the 1998 model year. For 1999, a traction control system is available on I30s with automatic transmissions, and a two- tone paint scheme is offered.
Infiniti' sentry in the luxury sport-utility field has no major changes for 1999.