2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybridstars
Infiniti's new premium hybrid model uses innovative drive-by-wire tech in its steering...
2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingraystars
Faced with 60 years of great Corvette models, Chevy managed to make a new generation of...
2014 Mercedes-Benz S550stars
The 2014 S550 is an automotive tech juggernaut, featuring every latest advance Mercedes-Benz...
2014 Audi RS 7 Quattrostars
Startlingly fast, quite comfortable, and extremely high-tech, cars don't come much more...
Infiniti made a technical masterpiece when it upgraded the old G37 for the current Q50, combining next generation steering with an efficient drivetrain and useful cabin tech features. So I was disappointed to see the newly named Q70 sedan, which received only a few upgrades over its predecessor, the Infiniti M.
The most notable changes for the Q70 over the M are a new long-wheelbase model, a hybrid drivetrain option and online destination search integrated with navigation.
Like its predecessor, the Q70 comes with two engine options, a 3.7-liter V-6 and a 5.6-liter V-8, neither representing significant efficiency or power improvements. The more intriguing engine option is the hybrid, with the same drivetrain as the Q50 Hybrid. Infiniti also makes all-wheel drive an option in the lineup.
A base Q70 model with the V-6 engine goes for $49,850, but the example I drove was the Q70 5.6 L AWD, using the V-8 engine driving all four wheels and having a stretched body, which goes for $67,050 before options. Neither the long wheelbase nor V-8 options are available in the UK or Australia, which have base prices for the Q70 3.7 at £40,565 and AU$68,900.
Bigger is better
Infiniti's M model was its flagship sedan, but it lacked the presence and size to compete with other large sedans such as the Lexus LS and Mercedes-Benz S-class. Even Hyundai one-upped it with the Equus. The long-wheelbase Q70 seems like an attempt to compete in that larger sedan category. The Q70 L is about 6 inches longer than the standard model and, more importantly, gains 5.5 inches of legroom in the back seat. Rear-seat passengers are treated to a big seating area with plenty of space to stretch out their legs.
All that space is a fine thing, but the rear area of the Q70 L lacks much in the way of amenities. There are no tray tables to set down a laptop, no dedicated audio system controls for the car's entertainment system, not even a USB port or a 12-volt power point. This is a bare-bones first-class compartment.
A nice detail carried over from the M to the Q70 L is the white ash wood trim, making a stylish background for the infotainment controls. Unlike the new dual-screen interface in the Q50, the Q70 L gets Infiniti's old infotainment system. And by old I mean this system goes back about five years. The interface is intuitive to use, but Infiniti scatters the buttons a little too freely. Navigation and car information functions sit near a jog dial, while audio source buttons form a row lower on the center stack. Meanwhile, the hands-free phone buttons sit on the steering wheel.
Really showing its age, the voice command system prompted me for each part of a street address, making destination entry very tedious. Likewise, traffic integrated with the navigation system only covers highways, and not the more extensive surface street coverage offered by other systems.
After seeing the same old maps and destination interface in the navigation system, I was surprised to find a new destination option, Connected Search. This feature made use of the car's own data connection, letting me type any search term and fairly quickly returning an appropriate list of results.
The Q70 L also makes use of this data connection for telematics, letting an owner see the car's location on a map and check its status with a smartphone app.
Where the Q70 L's infotainment falls behind is with app integration, lacking even Pandora. Instead, audio sources remain conventional, with a CD player, Bluetooth streaming, satellite radio and a USB port for iOS devices and drives. Music plays through a Bose 16-speaker surround-sound system, which includes speakers mounted in the shoulders of the front seats. I don't particularly like surround sound for music playback, but this system sounded very good, with the extra speakers adding subtle depth.