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New Car/Review


Infiniti Q45t (2001)

SEE ALSO: Infiniti Buyer's Guide

By Tom Hagin


     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 50,595
     Price As Tested                                    $ 51,115
     Engine Type              DOHC 32-valve 4.1 Liter V8 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 252 cid/4130 cc
     Horsepower                                   266 @ 5600 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               278 @ 4000 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  111.4"/71.7"/199.6"
     Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
     Curb Weight                                     4062 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  21.4 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)              P225/50R17 All-season Performance
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
     Drive Train                   Front-engine/rear-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                       Five-passenger/four-door
     Domestic Content                                        N/A
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                              0.32


     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            18/23/21          
     0-60 MPH                                        7.5 seconds
     1/4 (E.T.)                          15.5 seconds @ 90.5 mph
     Top-speed                                           135 mph
                * Sequential multi-point fuel injection

The Infiniti Q45 was last redone in 1997 and while only modest improvements have been made to the company's flagship sedan, it still competes favorably with the best luxury cars on the road.

The newest Q45 is available in standard Q45 form and the more performance-oriented Touring version, the subject of our evaluation.

OUTSIDE - In big-ticket cars, emotional impact has a lot to do with purchasing decisions. The Q45 has been through three styling changes since it was introduced, with more emphasis put on luxury and less on sport. Its high, squared-off shoulders and inversely curved C-pillars bestow a handsome, substantial presence, while its wide body and long wheelbase gives it a to-be-chauffeur-driven look. It has a blacked-out, chrome-ringed "toothy" grille that is flanked by an impressive set of High Intensity Discharge (HID) Xenon headlights. Chassis improvements such as stronger structural members in the floorpan and tie-bars in the shock towers, have contributed to 10 percent more torsional stiffness and four percent more resistance to bending than the model it replaced. And new this year are body-color door handles and licence plate surround instead of bright chrome. Q45t models come equipped with standard 17-inch, five-spoke wheels and tenacious P225/50R17 V-rated tires.

INSIDE - The Q45's interior surrounds its passengers with comfort and luxury. To do that, there is standard leather upholstery, softly stuffed and well-bolstered to fit large physiques. The rear seat is wide enough for three-across comfort, with plenty of leg, thigh and knee room. The power windows have a feature that allow them to power up and down with one-touch action, while both front seats are powered eight ways and the driver's seat has a memory feature to custom-tailor the driving position for two different people. New this year are child seat tether anchors, maple wood trim and a simulated wood-and-leather steering wheel. Other standard features include a 200-watt Bose-brand stereo, cruise control, air conditioning, power rear window sunshade, tilt/telescopic steering column, speed-sensitive variable/intermittent wipers, steering wheel audio controls, HomeLink universal transmitter and a power tilt/slide moonroof.

ON THE ROAD - The Q45 is powered by a 4.1 liter, all-aluminum V8 featuring dual overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and sequential multipoint fuel injection. The newest version boasts an updated block and heads, an oil sump that increases engine rigidity, larger vales and higher lift camshafts. It also features improved cooling, better combustion efficiency and less internal friction. As expected in a sporting luxury car, it is quick as well as quiet and smooth. The power is put through an electronic four-speed automatic transmission that gives clean, swift, quick gear changes. A standard computer-controlled traction control system, along with a viscous limited-slip rear differential, gives superb foul weather traction.

BEHIND THE WHEEL - Q45's unibody platform features MacPherson strut front suspension and a rear multi-link setup, with coil springs, tube shocks and anti-roll bars front and rear. Both ends are carried on rubber mounted subframes that employ liquid-filled bushings. The Q45t variant uses slightly stiffer springs that the standard model, and thus gives its driver the comforting ability to toss the big car through twisting byways. An Active Damping System, offered exclusively on Touring models, features a driver-selectable switch to choose either a soft, more comfortable ride or a firmer one with more road feel. Either way, the ride is still luxury-car smooth, although the harder compound performance tires produce a bit more road noise than the standard Q45, albeit with improved grip. Its speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering system provides adequate on-center feel and very good feedback, while four-wheel vented disc brakes offer a three-channel, four-sensor anti-lock braking system (ABS) as standard equipment.

SAFETY - Dual dashboard and side-impact airbags, ABS, traction control and side-impact door beams are standard.

OPTIONS - There were no options on our test car.