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2016 Infiniti Q70L 5.6 AWD Review by Carey Russ +VIDEO


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Quick, Composed, and Connected

DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD WITH CAREY RUSS

         • SEE ALSO: Infiniti Research and Buyers Guide


Infiniti, Nissan's premium brand, debuted with the Q45 sedan for model year 1990, with an advertising campaign that was memorable for showing nearly everything except the car. It made an impression with its combination of advanced engineering, unique styling, luxury appointment, and performance. A second generation debuted for 1997, smaller and simpler, in keeping with parent Nissan's fading fortunes at that time. Nissan came back, in a big way, in the early 00s, and the third-generation 2002 Q45 seemed a perfect symbol of that resurgence.

As it turned out, Infiniti's rebirth was led more by the smaller G35 sedan and coupe than the Q. The midsize M sedan also helped. The Q faded from sight.

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Until model year 2014, when all Infinitis were branded "Q". Plain Q plus a number for sedans and coupes, and QX for crossovers. The current line-topping Q70 was previously known as M -- but in premium long-wheelbase Q70L form, introduced for 2015, it is longer than any "real" Q by a few inches on a much-longer 120.1-inch wheelbase. The standard Q70's wheelbase is 114.2.

So if the 2016 Infinti Q70L is not officially the newest Q, it is an appropriate successor to the title. Power is from either a 3.7-liter, 330-horsepower V6 that bests the V8s of the original and second-generation Q and is close the third generation's 340 hp, or from a direct-injected 416-horsepower 5.6-liter V8. A seven-speed automatic is the only transmission. Rear-wheel drive is the standard configuration, with all-wheel drive available for both powertrains.

Technology, engineering, and style are Infiniti hallmarks, and fittingly the Q70L is a fine example of those characteristics. Based on the Front Mid-ship (FM) platform, the Q70L's engine is placed further back than usual today, for better balance. A well-engineered unibody structure that uses lightweight materials keeps mass down, all the better for road manners, performance, and economy. There is plenty of interest and innovation in the engine compartment as well, including multiple driving modes. All of the current electronic safety technology is either standard or available, plus some Infiniti exclusives like the Around View® Monitor system of multiple video cameras that provides a 360-degree view of surroundings and alerts the driver to moving objects in some situations. And of course quality leather, real wood, and all of the expected conveniences grace the spacious interior.

I've just finished a week with a 2016 Q70L outfitted with the Deluxe Technology Package of collision detection, warning, and mitigation systems and upgraded interior materials. Quick, composed, and connected, it was an experience in first-class luxury plus healthy performance. No surprise, as that has been the mission of the premium Infiniti since the brand's inception.

APPEARANCE: Stretching the wheelbase of a sedan often results in an ungainly appearance, with poorly-matched proportions. Not here. It's hard to tell that the L is a long-wheelbase car, as its "longer, lower, wider" proportions are more graceful than those of its regular-wheelbase Q70 siblings thanks to the careful stretch in the passenger cabin. It's all taut, muscular curves, with strategically-placed creases and lines. The boxes of the Q70L's three-box sedan shape are there, but without boxiness. There is plenty of chrome trim, but in the European manner, highlighting shapes of the grille, headlights, foglamps, side windows, and rear panel. Exterior lights are all LED, including in the door handle pockets.




COMFORT: Premium luxury is expected, and found, especially with the Deluxe Technology Package. With which you sit on analine leather, with the front seats both heated and cooled and outboard rears heated. The steering wheel rim is also heated, and auxiliary controls for audio, phone, and cruise systems are found on the spokes. Locking and unlocking are by touch, with pushbutton start/stop. If it can be power-adjustable, it is. The wood trim is Japanese ash. Suede-like material is used for the headliner, with soft-touch touch points. And stitching everywhere. Infiniti's "Fine Vision" electroluminescent instruments are easy to read in all lighting. Front seat comfort is up to class standards; rear passengers, especially outboard, get first-class accommodation as well. The screen in the center of the dash is the electronic control center. Well-marked buttons and a useful knob make all systems simple to use, with minimal learning curves. Audio choices are all current, including CD. And yes, there is still an analog clock, here just under the info screen. Interior storage is, as in many luxury sedans, basic, highlighted by a medium-sized locking glovebox and console box. The trunk is large and a space-saver spare is underneath its floor.

SAFETY: The Q70L meets or exceeds all Federal safety standards, and has the airbags, crumple zones, and other protection to do so. It can be equipped with electronic systems including Backup Collision Intervention, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Warning and Blind Spot Intervention, Lane Departure Warning and Prevention, Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist, Intelligent Brake Assist with Forward Collision Warning, and Forward Emergency Braking. Most useful is the Around View system, which uses cameras mounted in the grille, above the rear license plate, and on the undersides of the outside mirrors to construct a view of the area around the car. It's most useful when moving slowly into an area of poor lighting.

RIDE AND HANDLING: A solid, rigid unibody structure allows for a well-designed and properly-calibrated suspension. Which uses double wishbones in front and a multi-link system in the rear for both rear- and all-wheel drive versions. It's tuned moderately firmly, sportier than luxury and more luxury than sport, but just fine for everyday use on real roads and quite capable of spirited driving. The Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system automatically varies the front-rear torque split from full rear to 50/50 depending on conditions. The Active Trace Control system, part of the Deluxe Technology Package, adjusts engine torque and braking at each wheel to optimize cornering ability. The Performance Tire and Wheel Package replaces the standard 18-inch alloy wheels with 20s, shod with all-season performance tires, and replaces the standard brakes with larger vented discs with four-piston front and twin-piston rear calipers, a good performance and safety upgrade.

PERFORMANCE: Some luxury automakers are replacing their V8s with smaller forced-induction engines. That works, but there is something to be said for V8 power. And sound when using that power. Here, the V8 displaces 5.6 liters (341 cubic inches) and is of contemporary design and construction with aluminum alloy block and heads, dual overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder, and Infiniti's Variable Valve Event & Lift (VVEL) system which hydraulically controls cam phasing and electronically controls intake valve lift to improve performance, efficiency, and response to throttle inputs. Maximum horsepower is 416 at 6000 rpm; maximum torque is 414 lb-ft at 4400 rpm, with plenty much lower. No turbo, broad torque curve, no waiting, ever. Direct fuel injection also improves both power and efficiency. The only transmission for the Q70 line is a seven-speed automatic, no worries there as it shifts quickly and even matches revs on manual-mode downshifts. There are multiple drive modes. Normal is best most of the time, with Sport being better for play, as it sharpens throttle response and Active Trace Control settings. Eco is best for steady-speed highway cruising and slow traffic. Snow is self-explanatory. With a bit more highway driving than is usual for me I got 19 mpg for the week. EPA estimates are 16 mpg city and 21 highway.

CONCLUSIONS: The 2016 Infiniti Q70L is quick, composed, and connected.

SPECIFICATIONS

2016 Infiniti Q70L 5.6 AWD

Base Price $ 67,050

Price As Tested $ 76,770

Engine Type aluminum alloy DOHC 32-valve V8 with VVEL variable valve event and lift system and direct fuel injection

Engine Size 5.6 liters / 341 cu. in.

Horsepower 416 @ 6000 rpm

Torque (lb-ft) 414 @ 4400 rpm

Transmission 7-speed automatic

Wheelbase / Length 120.1 in. / 202.0 in.

Curb Weight 4345 lbs.

Pounds Per Horsepower 10.4

Fuel Capacity 20.0 gal.

Fuel Requirement 91 octane unleaded premium gasoline

Tires 245/40R20 95V Bridgestone Potenza RE97 AS m+s

Brakes, front/rear vented disc all around, ABS, EBD, BA standard

Suspension, front/rear independent double wishbone / independent multilink

Drivetrain longitudinal front engine, full-time all-wheel drive

PERFORMANCE

EPA Fuel Economy - miles per gallon city / highway / observed 16 / 23 / 19

0 to 60 mph 4.8 sec

OPTIONS AND CHARGES

Deluxe Technology Package -- includes: Backup Collision Intervention, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Warning and Blind Spot Intervention®, Lane Departure Warning and Prevention, Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist, Intelligent Brake Assist with Forward Collision Warning, Forward Emergency Braking, Front Pre-Crash Seat Belts, Active Trace Control, Eco Pedal, Adaptive Front Lighting System, Japanese White Ash Wood Trim with Silver Powder Accents, Semi-Analine Leather-Appointed Seating, Bose® Surround Sound® 16-Speaker Audio System, Suede-Like Headliner, Soft Double-Stitched Meter Hood, Power Rear Sunshade $ 7200

Illuminated Kick Plates $ 465

Performance Wheel and Tire Package -- includes: 20-inch Aluminum Alloy Wheels with all-season tires, Sport Brakes with 4-piston front and 2-piston rear calipers $ 1,150

Destination Charge $ 905


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