By on August 9, 2018

One of our trio is on its last legs, another is brand new, and the third option is near the middle of its life. They all share V8 power up front, driven wheels at the rear, and midsections full of luxury equipment. Most people avoided them when new, so it should be no problem finding one to burn.

Right?

The genesis of today’s trio came from Kyree Williams, over in the comments of the QOTD regarding oddball automotive outcasts. Combining said topic with large luxury sedans leads naturally to a Buy/Drive/Burn.

Infiniti Q45

Infiniti’s flagship Q45 sedan entered into its third and final generation for the 2002 model year. The new design went in a completely different direction from the second-generation model, which had been criticized for being too staid, too soft, and too like a Buick. Underneath this new sedan was the latest Nissan President, the company’s flagship domestic offering in Japan. The Q45 returned to its namesake displacement level, with the same 340 horsepower 4.5-liter V8 engine customers would find in the original M45 sedan. Power traveled through a five-speed automatic.

Known mostly for its HiD “Gatling gun” headlamp design, the rest of the Q45 looked like a big Altima. A styling refresh in 2005 brought it closer to its upcoming replacement, the second generation M35/45. That smaller sedan existed on lots with the Q45 for 2006, when the company’s old flagship was cancelled.

Cadillac STS

In 2005, Cadillac scratched the Seville name from its sporty sedan offering. Since 1998, customers could choose between the softer front-drive Seville SLS, or sportier STS. In its effort to rinse away the Old Florida Man image, both Seville and SLS went away for 2005. Styling was all-new, in alignment with the recent Arts and Science theme gliding over the rest of the brand’s offerings. In V8 format (3.6 V6 was the base engine) 320 Northstar horsepowers traveled to the rear wheels via a five-speed automatic. The STS received a styling update with larger grille for the 2008 model year, and would pack up entirely after 2011. It was replaced by the CTS on the smaller side, and the front-drive XTS on the larger.

Lexus GS430 

Brand new for the 2006 model year, the third-generation Lexus GS stepped in to replace the aged 1990s styling of the prior version. The 3.0-liter inline-six and 4.0-liter V8 engines were replaced by a 3.0-liter V6 and today’s engine of choice — the 4.3-liter unit from the LS430. An even 300 horsepower traveled via six-speed auto to the rear tires. Wearing the new “L-finesse” design language, the GS replaced its V6 in 2007 with a 3.5-liter (becoming GS350), and visual updates in 2008 coincided with availability of the new 4.6-liter V8 from the LS460. The design wrapped up in 2011, and there was no GS available in 2012. 2013 brought the fourth-generation model that’s with us today.

Three V8s, three unpopular sedan outcasts. Which goes home with you?

[Images: GM, Nissan, Toyota]

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59 Comments on “Buy/Drive/Burn: Large, Unpopular V8 Luxury From 2006...”


  • avatar
    whynot

    Buy Lexus
    Drive Cadillac
    Burn Infiniti
    Fix your IT system.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Buy: Cadillac

    Drive: Lexus

    Burn: bloated Altima

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Buy Lexus: All fancy chicks will be yours
    Drive Caddy: All cougars will be yours
    Burn Infinity: Waht are you going to pick with that thing? it is so unassuming, I am not sure that it was there to begin with.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Buy the Lexus, of course.
    Drive the Infiniti because ventilated seats and massive car.
    Burn the FWD one.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Buy: Lexus.
    Drive: Q45.
    Burn: Your useless perpetually-broken website. All the quality and style of the STS’s pitiable dashboard, with all the reliability of its Northstar.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    Buy Cadillac
    Drive Lexus
    Burn Infiniti

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Buy Lexus – hold for resale

    Drive Cadillac – figure out if the re-engineering of the Northstar for RWD applications fixed the major issues.

    Burn Infiniti – it has no idea exactly what it wants to be.

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    gtem, I heard you got that Audi. welcome to the civilized world :)

    I just acquired a 2010 Audi A3 Premium Plus S-Line with 2.0T + DSG. Sparkling ice silver on light grey leather interior with dark panoramic sunroof [two roofs though I don’t think the rear opens]. 60k miles, full service history (yes, DSG serviced) paid nine grand. To my eye, it is a thing of beauty.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Congrats on your A3! We’ll see if the well worn Quattro will serve as a gateway into further Ingolstadt autos. I respect the VAG group’s 2.0T for probably being the most refined and well implemented (in terms of driveability) of all of the current crop of 2.0T motors, as well as having incredibly potential to be unlocked with some cheap chip tuning, but the only reason I decided to dip my toes into old Audi ownership or any German car for that matter, was because this ’01 was the good old 2.8L V6 (albeit the fancier 30V version). The turbos scare me somewhat, especially once you get into the direct injected ones. I also like the longitudinal engine layout with a true mechanical Torsen AWD system. As my brother described it “it’s like a slower more refined WRX that doesn’t rust.”

      • 0 avatar
        Nick_515

        thank you :) The 1.8T is a tad underpowered for the quattro, glad yours happened to be the v6. You are right on the money with everything you said. Just drove mine 400 miles fully packed past the front seats, and the ease of power was just stunning. You are well equipped to take care of yours, I predict you will enjoy it A LOT.

        I will report on these pages if I run into serious trouble with it.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      You’re right. With panoramic sunroofs, the rear section remains fixed, while the front section slides over/under it. I’ve had five cars with pano sunroofs (2014 Jetta SportWagen, 2015 Golf SportWagen, 2011 X5, 2014 MKS, 2015 Grand Cherokee) and they were all this way. Still, it gives backseat occupants a view.

      And congratulations. Sounds like a real gem. These A3s weren’t particularly troublesome since they used transverse powertrains from the Golf; it’s the contemporary A4 and up that you wanted to be careful with.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick_515

        Right you are Kyree, as usual. I could raise the front roof, but it took me over a day to figure out how to actually open it – raise, pause, press same button again for full open. I got a really good deal on it so I keep waiting for the shoe to drop…

  • avatar
    ajla

    Unlike the last one we did, I’ve actually driven all of these (albeit pre-owned).

    Buy: Infiniti. Yesterday I admitted to liking the ’97+ Buick Park Avenue. Well, this is a Park Avenue Ultra *ULTRA*. The most comfortable of the 3, but unfortunately also the softest. It’s got the biggest power and sounds the best.

    Drive: Cadillac. Looks the sharpest from the outside IMO and was the most fun when pushed.

    Burn: Lexus. It’s a fine car, but the biggest selling point is the brand reputation, and that’s not enough against the other two. It also doesn’t help that I much prefer the LS and prior gen GS.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Might sound blasphemous but I’m actually with ajla’s choice, simply because I can’t stand the styling of this generation of GS. Just looks heavy and bulbous. The Infiniti’s front end is questionable too I suppose, but it’s kind of a rarer, more interesting car in general. Now if you had been looking at the previous generation GS400, it’d be no contest that’d be my keeper. Caddy looks good and is probably fun to drive. I guess I’d actually potentially consider it as the keeper because the Infiniti isn’t exactly a cheap car to keep on the road as a long-term car either.

      • 0 avatar

        I was interested to see Ajla’s choices, because I know he has Q45 love in him. While I like the exterior of the STS, it started looking much older with the revised version in 08, and moreso as the front end of the CTS drifted away from it later on.

        But I feel the same for the styling of the GS now. I don’t think they’ve aged particularly well, and like Gtem indicates are just bulbous looking. The front end treatment is especially dated today, as styling has moved away from separate quad lights entirely.

        On interiors, none of them have fared very well, and the STS loses on that front for its awful angular design and cheap plastics. But the Q45 IS luxurious, and very well-equipped. The rear Luxury Package with reclining seats was too expensive an option, so I left off mention there. At the end of the day, I would have a hard time wanting to look at the STS interior in the long term.

        Buy: Q45, to be different
        Drive: STS, because I’m not maintaining the N*
        Burn: GS

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        “Now if you had been looking at the previous generation GS400, it’d be no contest that’d be my keeper.”

        Ditto. Or even the GS 300; I’m a sucker for a good straight-six.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        You guys are killing me. The first rule of Buy/Drive/Burn Club is you don’t talk about Buy/Drive/Burn Club. The second rule is you don’t burn a RWD V8 Lexus because the styling doesn’t suit. Break Corey’s rules if you have to. Priorities, people.

  • avatar
    WhatsMyNextCar

    Burn the Infiniti. That is the worst-looking of the bunch and isn’t special in any way.

    Drive the Cadillac. It’s a Cadillac, so it’s comfortable. It’s also not anonymous compared to the sorry Infiniti.

    Buy the Lexus. You won’t look back on it and regret the purchase. It still looks great 12 years later, and it performed well in its segment. I prefer this design to the also-good-looking current GS.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    While many of the Northstar’s “thermal” issues were mitigated by 2006, there are still examples from that year that will puke head gaskets at the drop of a hat. Cadillac should’ve started from scratch back in 1994 (like Toyota did when 2002 Camry fours had the same issue) but being GM they just kept on truckin’. Burn that Caddy to the ground along with every other Northstar-equipped vehicle. Or drop an LS in it.
    Buy the Lexus because duh, Toyota.
    Drive the Infiniti, that 4.5 is a monster. One of the best Buicks ever built.

  • avatar
    Nedmundo

    Buy Lexus. Still looks good, probably the most reliable, and should drive well. Might need to modify the suspension, but the platform should be solid.

    Drive Infiniti. The Q45 was always a bit of an oddball, so I want to drive it purely out of curiosity.

    Burn Cadillac. I actually like it, but wouldn’t want one and I’m not that curious about it.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Drive the Lexus – That 3UZ-FE V8 is so smooth, so reliable
    Buy the Caddy – really like the ‘Art and Science’ design
    Burn the Infiniti – there’s no there, there.
    (Would actually drive them all, love me a V8 sedan with some comforts)

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I guess I’m obligated to comment, huh? :P

    So here goes:

    Buy – STS; I’ve always liked the STS. By 2004/2005, Cadillac had sorted out the Northstar issues, and latter-year Northstars are a lot more reliable. I feel like Cadillac had a diamond in the rough here, kind of like the Lincoln LS.

    Drive – Q45; It’s different and anonymous, which is great if you want to, say, rob a bank. As you put it, witnesses will say they saw a big Altima.

    Burn – GS; I actually don’t mind it, but the others are more interesting. I wish it had been styled a little more expressively. This generation of GS definitely earned Lexus its “boring reputation”, and probably cemented the GS’ now-upcoming demise at a time when there was opportunity for growth.

  • avatar
    Hydromatic

    Buy: GS430. It’s the sane, smart decision, nevermind I don’t particularly like its styling. It’ll give you plenty of long-term satisfaction without costing an arm and a leg to run.
    Drive: STS. Nearly all of the Northstar’s sins were absolved by this year, plus I like its athletic looks. Being RWD, it probably handles a lot better than its predecessor.
    Burn: Q45. It ain’t a first-gen. It ain’t even the slightly-weaker-but-still-respectable second gen.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Corey,
    I feel like we’re doing monkey job. In 2 days you should make a post on Buy/Drive/Burn results.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Buy: Cadillac-The Northstar in a RWD configuration is an improvement. I’ve always been attracted to the Art and design style. What Lincoln should have improved upon with the LS.

    Drive: Lexus-the V8 is one of Toyota’s best just the styling is and interior underwhelming.

    Burn: Infiniti-The first generation was more attractive particularly the Q45t touring version. This is a bit bloated and overwrought with the Gatling gun headlamps.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    If I can choose the STS-V, that’s a buy.
    The Q was a sleeper favorite of mine when I worked for Nissan in that era: Drive
    Burn: Lexus. Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with it, just does nothing for me.

  • avatar
    John R

    Buy the Lexus
    Drive the Infiniti
    If we’re not talking about the STS-V…Burn the Caddy

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

    Buy the Lexus. Because Lexus, and it’s the only one with any genuine brand cachet in this group.

    Drive… ugh, the Cadillac I suppose, although I was extraordinarily unimpressed with the appearance and quality of an STS I flung around during a 2006 GM “Ride and Drive” event in DFW. But I strongly suspect the Infiniti would be even worse, so…

    Burn the Q45. Too bulbous, too heavy, too Nissan.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Ah this century ( Thank you)

    Buy the Lexus – it is solid and will hold up well
    Drive the Infinity – it was not as good a 2 gen but a car not seen to much and that has appeal to me and I had good look w my J30 so why not.

    Burn the caddy- I am not that old, the looks are meh at best and I think it would have the most crap annoy me while owning it.

  • avatar
    SirRaoulDuke

    Buy the Cadillac. I don’t remember if it was the cheapest, but with the way GM slaps cash on the hood I imagine it was.

    Drive the Infiniti. Cars that blend in with the crowd are great for making time on the highway.

    Burn the Lexus. It’s a perfectly fine, reliable car. And boring.

    Fire your IT department.

  • avatar
    ptschett

    Buy the Caddy. I never knew about Northstar angst till after we had cars from the two preceding iterations, so I’m not scared of the RWD iteration that followed them. I still like Cadillac’s design language from the era.
    [flips a coin]
    Drive the Lexus, burn the Infiniti.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Would drive Infiniti.
    Could own Lexus.
    Must burn Northstar.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Buy the GS. It’s boring but nothing will ever break.
    Drive the Q45, if nobody’s jacked your headlights yet.
    Burn the STS. GM (probably) got the Northstar right by then, but the “let’s drive Delphi into bankruptcy” electronics might just burn the car for you.

  • avatar
    RHD

    Buy the Infiniti, since it’s probably suffered a ton of depreciation by now.
    Drive the Lexus, and keep driving it, since it will last nearly forever.
    Burn the Cadillac, because Caddys almost always an almost-as-good-as, bean-counted, under-engineered bloatmobile for the geriatric set.

  • avatar
    Reino

    Suddenly the Bangle-designed 5er and 7er don’t look quite so bad when compared to these hideous cars of the same era.

  • avatar
    road_pizza

    Buy the Lexus, drive the Caddy, and burn the Infiniti.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    Gaaah – burn all three of those fugly mothers and take a cab.

  • avatar
    LDAJR

    Buy: Lexus -recently shopped these; the GS400h gave you V-8 power for V-6 economy + O-60 of 5.6. But we’re talking about the V-8 here, which, while conservative in both interior and exterior design is bullet-proof.
    Drive: Cadillac (the Rules say I’d be ‘borrowing’ the ‘Drive’ car and I’d have to give it back; let’s just say I’ll borrow it very infrequently
    Burn: Infiniti -while some posts have maligned the Lexus design, the Infiniti is by far the ugliest -I wouldn’t be seen in it. Infiniti’s SUVs are the only reason they’ve survived -and I’m a Nissan owner (’92 240SX) and fan…

  • avatar

    Of those three I drove only STS and found it to be rather crude and cheap compared with E class (it was on GM event). Q45 looks ridiculous so it deserves to burn for eternity. I do not want to drive STS but apparently have to. Lexus should be boring but at least high quality car with refined drive, well I will buy GS – it will not depreciate at least.


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