In 1988, Nissan released the third-generation Maxima with a bold tagline — “Four-Door Sports Car.” A year later, American TV viewers were introduced to Nissan’s Infiniti brand with commercials that showed a pond.
You win some, you lose some.
That Maxima was indeed a brilliant car. And Nissan finally decided that showing luxury cars was a good way to sell luxury cars. That said, part of me wishes the Infiniti brand had failed, as the Q50 might now be a Maxima. Certainly, I don’t wish anyone at Infiniti to lose their jobs, but I have a love for the Maxima that is unfulfilled by the current model. I never expected to find my ideal sports sedan wearing an Infiniti badge.
The promise of improved performance and tree-hugging fuel economy has made turbocharged engines all the rage in luxury cars. Despite the often failure of those boosted motors to meet their lofty, published fuel economy ratings in the real world, forced induction has a significant — and positive — impact on performance.
It seems Infiniti had gotten the memo.
Like any after-school special will tell us, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Infiniti revealed Monday its refreshed Q50, complete with three turbocharged engines in varying levels of potency. The new VR-series engine, which will be replacing Nissan’s everlasting VQ-series engine first in the Q50, will be a twin-turbocharged 3-liter V-6 that produces 300 horsepower and 400 horsepower in two different tunes.
The base mill in the Q50 will be Mercedes’ turbo four, lifted from the Q30, which makes 208 horsepower. Oh yeah, and there’s a refresh for the QX60 too.
When Infiniti launched their original G sedan, the brand started gaining a reputation as “the Japanese BMW” due to its sharp handling and V6 engine that loved to rev. Today, the Lexus IS and Cadillac ATS have taken the 3-Series’ place as the compact luxury sedans with the sharpest handing and best feel. What of the Japanese BMW then? To answer that question, Infiniti sent me a 2015 Q50S with all the options, including the controversial steer-by-wire system.
While Nissan plans to resurrect Datsun to battle Toyota’s scions in North America, the automaker is bringing Infiniti back home to Japan by delicately mounting its badge just so upon the grill of what will be the Skyline sedan. Just the badge, though.
“So would this new Infiniti Q50 be the new JDM Nissan Skyline?” asked TTAC commenter luvmyv8. One of the benefits of having a TTAC editor on the other side of the globe, as opposed to in a basement in Peoria, is that we can get first-hand answers to luvmyv8, straight from Nissan’s and Infiniti’s top men. (Read More…)
Yoko Kubota of Reuters had already written half of her story before we boarded a bus this Tokyo morning. It took us north to Nissan’s Tochigi plant, where we were promised to see the new Infiniti Q50 roll off the assembly lines. Kubota wrote that “in the financial year ended March, Infiniti sold 172,615 vehicles globally, up 12.1 percent year-on-year,” that the brand needs to grow, that the backbone of Infiniti’s volume has been the G37 Sedan, and that its successor, “with a new name Q50, will go on sale in the United States in the summer.” Today, we see how the Q50 is made.
Infiniti’s Q50 will come “this summer” says the new York Daily News, which nonetheless already “reviewed” it, coming to the conclusion that “the all new Infiniti Q50 will be base priced at just $36,450, and the expected to be most popular trim level, the “Premium,” featuring an optional, navigation system is expected to come in at $40,700.” (Read More…)
I want to tell you this, although I know many of you will not believe. I want you to close your eyes and give me the gift of your trust for a few minutes, to travel through memory and dream and ambition with me. I want you to experience the “theater dim” of the interior lights. To open the throttle on the Bose-by-Nissan stereo. To feel the perfect response from the small sedan’s leather-wrapped steering wheel, to catch a slide as the four-wheel-steering kicks in at the most bizarre time during an irresponsible freeway maneuver. To pose Yakuza-style in the baddest sedan on the block, B-pillars swimming barely seen beneath the glass. To feel the 276-horsepower, quad-cam V-8 punch you back into the impeccably tasteful interior.
Then, and only then, if you can dream with me, if you can believe what I believe, then you might be able to look through the stupid Q-names and the dumb-assed rocks-and-trees marketing and the aftermarket Skyline badges and the unfocused-looking Pathfinder rebadge and the Jersey shore types crowding each owner’s meet and just hold this idea in your head:
Infiniti didn’t always suck.