When I spoke with Infiniti's North America Vice President Michael Bartsch at the New York International Auto Show, he was confident that the marque could finally form its identify, unique and independent from former parent company Nissan. While the Q50 Eau Rouge concept is the car that has everyone’s hair on fire at the moment, it’s not yet scheduled for official production.
In the meantime however, Infiniti is launching its new full-size sedan: the Q70. The company invited a few journalists to take the Q70 from Manhattan to Bear Mountain. I spent the most time with a Q70S - the S stands for, as you may have guessed, “sport.”
If you haven’t heard of the Q70, don’t fret - you’re not alone. As part of Infiniti’s confusing new nomenclature, the entire model range begins with Q. The Q70 is the artist formerly known as the Infiniti M, which sat at the top of Infiniti’s sedan range. Its chief competition is the Lexus GS, often regarded as the segment’s only realistic Japanese alternative to BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz.
Styling will be forever subjective, but I have to admit, with the revised 2015 face and tail, the Q70 is one of my favorites amongst the luxobarges. It’s not angular and industrial like a Mercedes or Lexus - it’s smooth, curved. Soft. Now, on a sports car that might be more of an existential issue (hence the many jokes about the Mazda Miata), but understatement suits a car like this well.
The Q70 isn’t about showing off your insecurities - it’s more dignified than that. It’s far too focused on getting you where you want to go quietly and comfortably to go screaming around the neighborhood about how awesome its new Affliction t-shirt is.
Which is probably why the steering is so soft, Granted, 90% of my time was on the highway, but even the sport trim (complete with stiffer suspension and paddle shifters) is certainly aimed towards the comfort side of the spectrum.
The Q70 officially launches next month. I’ll have a comprehensive review once I get my hands on a press car for a decent amount of time.