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SEE ALSO:Infiniti Buyer's Guide

For an automobile introduced by a unique advertising campaign that pictured forest and pastoral scenes showing trees, rocks, water and almost everything but the car, the Infiniti Q45 has created quite an image for itself. As the flagship of Nissan's upmarket car division, the V8 powered mid-size Q45 has become an impressive blend of luxury and performance. The Q45 is available in three trim levels, Standard, Touring and Active Suspension. Out test covers the Touring sedan that provides precise sporty handling along with the hearty horsepower and the touches of elegance.

For 1994 more than 50 improvements encompassing over 1000 new parts have been added to broaden the Q45's appeal. The most noticeable change is the addition of a very British-like grille to formerly rounded front end. Demonstrating that the buyer now has some influence on the finished product, many of these revisions were the result of feedback from current owners and focus groups.

The Q45t is an automobile meant to be driven by its owner and to provide comfort, and luxury while its being driven. To put it in its proper setting as well as to fully appreciate its fine points we drove it down the Pacific Coast Highway and on the famous 17 mile drive in Carmel.

APPEARANCE: The 1994 Q45t still maintains its European luxury look, but many exterior revisions have been added to enhance its appearance. In addition to the new grille, there's a new bumper that is fitted with fog lights, larger headlights and side mirrors. The fenders have been reshaped and the brightwork around all of the windows is new. In the rear the taillights and rear bumper have been revised, as have the chrome twin exhaust pipe tips. The Touring model is distinguished by a discrete rear decklid spoiler, as well as cast alloy spoke wheels and Dunlop P215/65R15 95V speed-rated tires.

COMFORT: The Q45t is a fully equipped luxury sedan with all of the amenities that are expected in this class of car. For driving comfort in addition to a leather-faced interior, it features a tilting and telescoping steering wheel, power front seats with driver's two position memory buttons, an automatic seat and steering wheel positioning system, and adjustable head rests on all four seats. The high-fidelity Bose AM/FM audio system has a trunk-mounted 10-CD remote changer, and the quietly operating climate control system adequately maintains a comfortable cabin temperature. The remote keyless entry not only locks or unlocks the doors, but if, desired, can also lower the windows. Other convenience items include lighted door locks and ignition switch, remote trunk and fuel door releases, a highly visible analog instrument panel, heated and powered side mirrors, a metal sunroof, an automatic day/night rear view mirror, power windows and a cargo net for the flat trunk.

ROADABILITY: The Q45's basic independent multi-link suspension system coupled with speed-sensitive power steering provides a very balanced ride. However, when equipped with the Touring and Traction Control Packages its overall roadability markedly moves up the scale. The overall effect is a firm but compliant ride, nimble steering and maneuvering, plus precise and safe stopping on a wide variety of road and weather conditions. Included in the Touring Package is Nissan's unique four-wheel steering system which is so subtle in its assistance that it is hardly noticeable. It is particularly beneficial when driving on tight, twisty roads or negotiating into close fitting parking spots. In the area of safety every Q45 is equipped with four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, dual front airbags, three point seat belts with front pre- tensioners, side door beams, an anti-theft system and more.

PERFORMANCE: A sophisticated 278 horsepower V-8 engine powers the Q45. This 4.5 liter power plant utilizes new advanced systems that involves direct ignition, variable valve timing and electronic engine management that result in improved performance levels. To ensure smooth shifting and performance, power is directed to the rear wheels via an electronically controlled state-of-the-art interactive engine/transmission control system. The four-speed transmission can smoothly shift automatically, or if individual performance and road- handling control is desired, the gated shifter can be used to manually shift gears as desired..

CONCLUSIONS: The Q45t is has developed into an elegant combination of performance and luxury. It has a powertrain that begs to be driven mated to a very high-tech suspension and steering system, blended to a cabin full of the latest convenience and luxury appointments.


           Base Price              $  47,500
           Price As Tested         $  52,550
           Engine Type             V-8, dohc - 32v, smpfi
           Engine Size             4.5 liter/274 cid
           Horsepower              278 @ 6000
           Torque (ft/lbs)         292 @ 4000
           Wheelbase/Length        113"/200"
           Transmission            four speed automatic w/od 
           Curb Weight             4140
           Pounds per Horsepower   15
           Fuel Capacity           22
           Fuel Requirement        Unleaded premium (91 oct)
           Tires                   Dunlop SP Sport P215/65VR15 95V
           Brakes                  anti-lock standard   disc/disc
           Drive Train             front engine/rear drive 
           EPA Economy - miles per gallon,
             city/highway/observed      17/22/18.4
           0 to 60 mph                  7.3 sec
           1/4 mi (E.T.)                15.8 sec 
           Coefficient of Drag  (Cd)    .30