While their competitors seem intent on reinventing the wheel every year or two, Infiniti proceeds to carry on with confidence in their tried and true aesthetic. Their vehicles may not push the envelope when it comes to technology or performance, but they’re consistently high in quality and appeal. That’s why I rung them up after spotting a new Q70S on the freeway in Los Angeles and asked if I could get a few days with the latest model. It had been a few years since I’d been in a Q70 and I wanted to know what had changed since I’d last driven one. As it turned out, not a whole lot, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The loaner car that I ended up with was a 2018 Q70S 5.6 Luxe and that last bit of the name is new to all Q70 models for 2018. I suppose it’s their way of letting consumers know that no matter which engine or wheelbase they choose, they’re in for a luxurious experience. While I certainly wouldn’t call it opulent, the Q70 does come equipped with an impressive amount of standard features that make the “Luxe” tag appropriate. There’s simply too much to list here, but for example both front seats are 10-way adjustable heated and cooled units that I could remain in comfortably for hours on end. They also had nifty tweeters built in at the top of the shoulder area, part of the 16 speaker BOSE Studio Surround system that is included with the Sport Package.
This $4,900 option pack was what piqued my interested in getting back in a Q70 as the one I drove a few years back was an AWD long wheelbase model with their venerable 3.7 liter V6. A fine car to be sure, but intended for an entirely different crowd than the RWD regular wheelbase model with the 5.6 liter V8. In theory the Sport Package enhances the driving experience by adding great looking 20” wheels with sticky summer tires, a sport tuned suspension, larger brakes, giant column mounted magnesium paddle shifters, and a stitched leather bound steering wheel. So far as I could tell enough enjoyment is delivered by the combination of these elements to deserve the “S” tacked on after the Q70.
For a full size luxury car it it’s surprisingly good in corners, letting you know what’s going on via speed sensitive power steering. I won’t go so far as to say it’s buttoned down, there’s still a fair amount of body roll, but the suspension tune falls more towards the aggressive side than I imagined it would. With the drive mode selector notched to SPORT, throttle response is sharp and linear; quite fun considering the 5.6 liter V8 is pumping out 420 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque. The power is metered out via a traditional automatic gearbox with 7 speeds, the first 5 of which are quite fun. If it isn’t obvious by now, this is not a slow car. Increases in speed happen rapidly, especially at freeway speed and because of the aforementioned impressive suspension, there’s no “floaty dance” going on. The Q70S stays planted when you’re running hot and also when you need to scrub some speed as well. No egregious nose dive when four piston calipers clamp down on 14” inch ventilated discs up front, just a composed forward lean that wouldn’t put your edgy Aunt Carol into a state.
Power and the ability to wield it is all well and good, but these days that’s just one side of the equation. A luxury car must posses a certain degree of technical competence to be competitive in the marketplace and this is where the Q70 shows its age. A single screen display for navigation with live traffic and weather is now standard on all models, while the Q70 5.6 comes with a front/rear sonar system to assist with parking. Their “Around View Monitor” system with moving object detection is also included and provides assistance with not hitting things, which is always a good thing.
Additional safety equipment could be found on my loaner as part of the “Proactive Package”. Sure, my eyes nearly rolled right out of my head when I read that new name, but it does make sense as it includes a smattering of accident prevention and avoidance technology. Adaptive cruise control and distance control assist are also included in this package and are among the finer examples of such systems. Still, the Q70 feels more analog than in-segment competitors and even some vehicles in the segments below it.
If the Q70 is given a complete reworking I’m sure it’ll be up to snuff, but as it stands the old bones show through when viewed through the lens of technology. However, looking at it from a design standpoint, it shines brighter than ever before. Of the Japanese luxury car manufacturers, it seems only Infiniti remains dedicated to crafting subtly beautiful cars. After all, it was the revised fascia unique to the Q70S that caught my eye on the freeway and put this whole story in motion. Under the cover of darkness I drove alongside that car for a few minutes just watching light reflect off the curved body panels. I’ve always found the Q70 to be a great looking vehicle, but this latest example equipped with the Sport Package is the best one yet. The tinted grille and headlamp housings are further subtle touches that enhance the personality of the car, especially at night with the LED headlamps or daytime running lights on.
So while it might not be cutting edge, the Q70S is still worthy of attention and praise. It’s visually superior to much of what’s on the market and certainly won’t leave you wanting for more power. My loaner came in at $73,740 including destination charges and just over $1,000 in options that you could easily do without. My guess is you could walk into an Infiniti dealership and take one home for under $70,000 if you play your cards right and that’s a solid deal considering all that’s included. Current market trends may say traditional sedans are nearing the twilight of their existence, but as long as there are savvy bargain hunters, there should be a place for cars like the Q70S. “Can You Make Me A Deal?” could replace “Land Of The Free, Home Of The Brave”, so that’s certainly not an issue around this country. We journalists are doing our part, as one of my peers said when I mentioned I was driving the Q70S, “It’s a great car that people should buy, but don’t” and unfortunately I think he’s right. Let’s hope that changes, consider this your public service announcement.