2016 Infiniti Q70L 3.7 AWD Review - Go Long, China
2016 Infiniti Q70L 3.7 AWD
It’s been somewhat challenging in the recent past to keep up with all the model name changes at Infiniti, but such is the case in the automotive luxury marketplace. One year real names are the ultimate fashion statement; the next it’s letters and numbers.
Infiniti seems to have taken this into consideration with naming its 2016 Infiniti Q70L 3.7 AWD.
In simple terms, Qs followed by a number to denote models’ “size” in the range replace Ms and Gs. Simplicity, they say. This is the New World Order of Models, according to Infiniti and its then-President Johan de Nysschen.
Infiniti designs all of its vehicles with the concept of nature at the forefront. This is not a tree-hugging philosophy in the truest sense, although natural wood products are typically found throughout the interior. Rather, it’s a desire on the part of its designers to allow the wind to sculpt exterior body panels and strike a balance between aerodynamic efficiency and the call of the wild.
The 2016 Infiniti Q70L 3.7 AWD is no exception to this rule. Designed specifically for the Chinese marketplace, where the size of your luxury sedan is so very important, this Q70L provides an extra 6-inches of overall body length. The look is similar to the regular sized Q70 sedan, but this Grande Edition has been stretched from all four corners to add valuable street cred in Shanghai.
Light bounces off the Hermosa Blue metallic hood and fender flares with a radiance few luxury sedans can match. In my opinion, Infiniti has a way with exterior design unlike any other Japanese automaker in this market. In comparison, looking at a Lexus and Acura does not evoke inspiration.
Whereas I appreciate the new grille design featured on the current Lexus LS, the rest of the car is visually quiet. And, although something new must be coming soon from Acura to replace the current RLX, it looks like nothing more than an oversized Honda Accord with refined LED headlights.
Love it or hate it, the Infiniti stands alone.
If the outside is designed with nature as the theme, the inside is crafted with a “driver’s first” playbook with a clear purpose that luxury demands leather, wood and a considerable amount of brushed metal and chrome.
Rather than go all-digital with the look and feel of the central gauges, Infiniti goes all-Nissan and provides an easy-to-read, timeless design with its round white on black speedometer and tachometer. In the center, a rectangular digital readout indicates outside temperature, fuel range, gear selection and more, but that’s it. As someone who spends a lot of time behind the wheel of many different luxury sedans, simple is a nice change from many of today’s overly-complex offerings.
Climate controlled front seats offer excellent support and adjustment. Leather stitching adds to the look and function, and side bolsters jut out to increase support but never intrude to the point of discomfort. A 4-spoke steering wheel provides easy access to a multitude of features, including the obligatory cruise control and audio system. I enjoy the feel of the steering wheel in my hands. I am less impressed with steering feel, however, as it seems ponderous at low speeds and overly sensitive when driving on the highway. The 2016 Infiniti Q70L 3.7 AWD is long to begin with, thus I’d prefer that the steering setup take this into account and shrink the driving experience to something closer to midsize. It doesn’t.
Satin metal, chrome and — in our case — the optional White Ash silver-powdered wood trim combine to provide a pleasing space to spend quality time. The center console flows towards its front seat occupants like a wave cresting on the beach; easy to reach and logically designed. For those old enough to remember hands on a clock, Infiniti maintains its tradition of including an analogue timekeeper — with chrome bezel and white face, of course.
Rear seat space is exceptional and there is so much legroom that I find it hard to reach the back of the front seat. Our test vehicle is equipped with optional interior ambient lighting, which makes getting in and out at night a little more entertaining.
Bose Surround Sound provides audio if ordering the optional Deluxe Technology Package equipped in our tester. A total of 16 speakers are strategically placed throughout the interior, several of which are located on the tops of the front seats next to the headrest.
For those not yet ready to fully embrace the coming digital-only world, a CD player is included. Sounds quality is impressive, with crisp highs and seemingly bottomless lows, but I have experienced better in other luxury sedans, including the aforementioned Lexus LS with its 19-speaker Mark Levinson system.
Touchscreen navigation features voice-recognition and turn-by-turn directions plus NavTraffic to make your commute a little easier. Birdview and 3D building imagery compliments this already slick system. Lane guidance and up to three-day weather forecasts are included, plus Google calendar and various other features for the first 6 months as part of the Infiniti Connection package.
If ever there was a gasoline-powered engine that deserves to be in the powertrain Hall of Fame, this is it. Based on the Nissan’s time-honoured 3.7-liter 24-valve V6, this variation produces 330 horsepower and 270 pounds-feet of torque. Mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission with Adaptive Shift Control, all-wheel drive pushes forward with a commanding sense of all-weather control.
Power delivery is smooth, though I am a little underwhelmed dealing with the added mass of the L. For the most part, there is still plenty of torque to accelerate in traffic, on to the highway, or haul down my favorite country road with just a little too much abandon for the posted speed limit. If it is extra speed you want, consider moving up to the 5.6-liter model. The added price of just under $14,000 is steep, but the power curve spikes with an additional 86 hp and 144 lbs-ft of torque.
While I may not be overly impressed with steering feel — or the lack thereof — I am pleasantly surprised at the stopping power and control provided by the Q70L 3.7 AWD. It stops on a buck, not a dime, but it handles panic with ease for a sedan of this size. Equipped with 20-inch alloy wheels, 245/40R20 all-season tires, and technology advancements at the ready, even a surprising snowfall and the subsequent unprepared drivers are not enough to ruffle the serenity of my drive.
EPA rates city and highway fuel economy at 18 and 24 mpg. We average 20.5 mpg over the course of a week, placing us right in the middle of where Infiniti hopes we will be.
The price of our 2016 Infiniti Q70L 3.7 AWD test vehicle comes in at $63,550 including a destination charge of $905. This places the Infiniti slightly above a comparably equipped 2016 Acura RLX at $61,868 (including $940 destination). Compare this to a 2016 Lexus LS 460 L at $87,380 (including $950 destination) and the Q70L 3.7 AWD looks like a steal.
To be fair, the more direct comparison for the Lexus LS 460 is the Infiniti Q70L 5.6 AWD, but with more horsepower and torque available with the Infiniti and a lower price of about $10,000 comparably equipped, Lexus clearly indicates they are more interested in taking on its German competitors and not its Asian counterparts. Even with a sleek-looking Genesis G90 lurking around the corner in 2016, Infiniti appears well positioned to maintain its share of the very desirable, luxury sedan marketplace.
Disclosure: Infiniti Canada provided the vehicle and insurance for this review.
[Images: © 2016 Jeff Voth/The Truth About Cars]
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- Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
- Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
- Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
- William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.
- Tassos The Euro spec Taurus is the US spec Ford FUSION.Very few buyers care to see it here. FOrd has stopped making the Fusion long agoWake us when you have some interesting news to report.
This thing was already old when it was launched back in 2011. Carryover overstuffed 3.7L that has all the refinement of a Soviet tractor engine? Check. Crappy 7-speed (JATCO I assume?) Check. Ye olde gauge cluster with monochrome display and Atari level graphics? Check. Same non-adjustable two-way lumbar as a Nissan Altima? Check. Postage stamp sized center info display? Check. The F10 BMW 5 series launched the same year as this car, and it's better in every way. Same with the C7 Audi A6 that came a year later. Even the Lexus GS which I've never particularly liked at least looks current inside. This looks like it just flew in from 2005. Which is why no one buys them.
Since we are picking on the nits: "For those not yet ready to fully embrace the coming digital-only world, a CD player is included." A CD is digital. However for this Chinese market car, the player would have to be designed to make the best of poor quality duped CDs from the local market.