Curbside Classic Outtake: Infinitis Unbounded
The gen 1 Infiniti Q45 (G50) deserves a full-on CC. But when I stumbled unto these two together in CA over the holidays, I realized how incredibly rare the gen2 Q45 (FY33) is. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in Eugene. Well, it was a sales bomb, and from an enthusiast’s point of view, a well deserved one. The original Q45 (’90-’96) was such a remarkable beast, one of the best things to ever come along in its era. It had a killer motor, rated conservatively at 278 hp, which put the big German sedans to shame at the time. It had a fast steering ratio, and its suspension tuning was all about the right stuff. But except for the (limited) enthusiast crowd, it never broke through in sales like it Lexus LS 400 competitor. And then it went downhill.
The ’94 update put an affected little grille on its nose, and the steering ratio was slowed down, and suspension tuning headed towards softness. But it’s gen2 successor of ’97 (front) destroyed any equity the gen1 built up as a legitimate 7-Series competitor. Now it was almost a Lincolnesque Mercedes/LS 400 imitator, with a downsized engine and everything else softened up. A well deserved dud.
I was a test driver for Nissan during the development of the Q. By far the best Sedan I had driven up to that point, and I drove them all. They really screwed up the marketing though. The Lexus was a snore- fest comared to this and the only thing that came close was the 7, which at the time was woefully underpowered.
The FY33's are a money pit when they get up in miles. Most of them begin to suffer a "miss" throwing all sorts of codes. Usually knock sensors... injectors.. plugs... that aren't always obvious to find. I've been battling with my mother in laws' car...
Wow, still looks great. My dad had a '94 and that car was a panty dropper for me in high school. I wish he'd have given it to me instead of trading it in when he got a new one in 2002. Thanks for bringing back the memories of that car. Truly sharp and an amazing car to drive as a teenager. Thanks, Dad.
One of the hardest thing is take a vehicle's qualities in context of their time. When the Q45 was released, it retailed for $38,000. It was faster, more comfortable, and more sporty to drive than almost all of it's competitors. The S-Class and LS had the comfort zone covered. But that was really about it. Where the Q45 lost... was in the interior feel. It had virtually none of the luxury affectations of the competition. Wood was non-existent. The dashboard and door panels seemed exceptionally cheap. The warthog front end badge was a really controversial piece and Infiniti's advertising campaign didn't define the Q's role in the marketplace. About the only wonderful thing I can say about these models is that their engine was simply remarkable for the time. I've had three of them and they all had more oomph than any other luxury vehicle I've owned for that time period. The side and rear profile was also much nicer than the LS and in the right colors (silver and blackish) it definitely looked the part of a luxury car. It's amazing overall when you consider that Nissan was really struggling to put all the pieces together while Toyota was becoming the Babe Ruth of the automotive world. The LS and Q symbolized the states of the two companies at that time like no other.