Buy/Drive/Burn: Large, Unpopular V8 Luxury From 2006

buy drive burn large unpopular v8 luxury from 2006

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.


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]

Join the conversation
2 of 59 comments
  • LDAJR LDAJR on Aug 11, 2018

    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...

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Aug 12, 2018

    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.

  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.
  • Dlc65688410 Please stop, we can't take anymore of this. Think about doing something on the Spanish Pegaso.
  • MaintenanceCosts A few bits of context largely missing from this article:(1) For complicated historical reasons, the feds already end up paying much of the cost of buying new transit buses of all types. It is easier legally and politically to put capital funds than operating funds into the federal budget, so the model that has developed in most US agencies is that operational costs are raised from a combination of local taxes and fares while the feds pick up much of the agencies' capital needs. So this is not really new spending but a new direction for spending that's been going on for a long time.(2) Current electric buses are range-challenged. Depending on type of service they can realistically do 100-150 miles on a charge. That's just fine for commuter service where the buses typically do one or two trips in the morning, park through the midday, and do one or two trips in the evening. It doesn't work well for all-day service. Instead of having one bus that can stay out from early in the morning until late at night (with a driver change or two) you need to bring the bus back to the garage once or twice during the day. That means you need quite a few more buses and also increases operating costs. Many agencies are saying for political reasons that they are going to go electric in this replacement cycle but the more realistic outcome is that half the buses can go electric while the other half need one more replacement cycle for battery density to improve. Once the buses can go 300 miles in all weather they will be fine for the vast majority of service.(3) With all that said, the transition to electric will be very good. Moving from straight diesel to hybrid already cut down substantially on emissions, but even reduced diesel emissions cause real public health damage in city settings. Transitioning both these buses and much of the urban truck fleet to electric will have measurable and meaningful impacts on public health.