Review and road test of the Infiniti M / Infiniti Q70 (2014 - 2019)

BACK TO THE SEVENTIES

By Jonathan Crouch

Introduction

The Infiniti Q70, launched in 2014, was a rebadged version of the Infiniti M full-sized Executive segment saloon that the Nissan's luxury brand had launched five years earlier. This was a powerful, finely crafted and passionately designed full-Executive class saloon designed to compete directly with tough BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class sector rivals. When new, it was aimed at segment customers prepared to try something a little different. And it's used appeal is much the same.

Models

4dr Saloon (2.2, 3.0 - diesel / 3.5-litre Hybrid / 3.7-litre petrol)

History

BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Jaguar all make very desirable Executive saloons. But what those makers very often don't deliver is a sense of exclusivity. In the 21st century's second decade, Japanese brand Infiniti aimed to offer models that delivered exactly that. Infiniti, you'd be forgiven for not knowing, is the luxury division of Nissan, much as Lexus is the plush part of Toyota. Infiniti's first forays onto the European market were tentative, with Crossover, Coupe and Convertible models that targeted fringe market sectors and came only with petrol engines few buyers wanted. With the M saloon, launched here in 2010, that all changed, the car offering a much more wide-ranging appeal, with hybrids, diesels and both rear-driven and 4WD options. The car was slightly facelifted and renamed the 'Q70' in 2014. This Infiniti M/Q70 design offered a product formula that certainly worked on paper, providing the rear wheel drive handling feel of a 5 Series with the luxury of an E-Class and the technology of an A6. In practice though, customers were less convinced - and there was only a tiny dealer network to convince them. So, almost inevitably, the Q70 failed to make much of an impact and vanished from the market when Infiniti withdrew from the UK at the end of 2019. But does this model make sense as a used buy? That's what we're here to find out.

What You Get

Long bonnet, short front overhang, raked back windscreen, short tail. With this Infiniti M / Q70 model, all the usual Infiniti design cues are in place, melting into a shape slightly longer than that of obvious German rivals and said to be inspired by natural wave-like forms. Depending on who you believe, this is simply a development of the Japanese market-only Nissan Fuga of 2004 or a more practical interpretation of the brand's Essence supercoupe concept paraded at Motorshows five years later. Whatever the truth, it's certainly a shape with an up-market if rather Oriental feel, quite sufficient to achieve the golf club cred many owners will be seeking. Premium but unpretentious would be one way of describing it, a phrase also appropriate for the leather-lined interior. A broad centre console bisects the dash and continues on between the seats, creating very distinct zones for both driver and passenger. Both are enveloped by soft leather and gloss wood that Infiniti claimed was similar in finish to that used for centuries across Europe for the manufacture of luxury furniture or high class musical instruments. We can't remember too many Queen Anne chairs or Louis XVI pianos featuring a 'white ash with silver powder' finish - but then we could be wrong. Anyway, it isn't enough to dispel what at the end of the day is a very Asian feel. For us, that's a good thing. Infiniti here went beyond simply trying to copy the Teutonic brands and tried, and in many ways succeeded, in creating a cabin with a more welcoming, less clinical feel. The analogue clock is lovely and everything you touch, every panel, every surface is soft and sensuous. Plush Premium models even have a 'Forest Air' setting in the climate control to waft leafy or wood-scented aromas over you while you drive. Despite a central control system with a high-mounted centre screen to display sat nav, air conditioning and in-car entertainment settings, there are still rather too many switches and buttons but once you master them, it's all pretty intuitive. Better still, few will struggle to find an ideal driving position, though prolonged fiddling with the ten-way adjustable electric seat may be necessary to do so. And in the rear? Well one of the disappointments of graduating from a BMW 3 Series-sized compact executive saloon to a fully-fledged BMW 5 Series-sized Executive sector conveyance is that the extra size and money still doesn't buy you a back seat capable of taking three adults any real distance. So it is here. Unless you're an uncomplaining child, you won't want to be perching on the centre seat for any real length of time. But those either side of you would be very comfortable indeed, enjoying significantly more knee room than they'd get in a 5 Series. A perfect place to enjoy the cosseting ride, engineered specifically so that occupants could write legibly over poor surfaces at speed. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why the boot is a little smaller than obvious rivals, an issue that would to some extent be mitigated if you could fold down the rear seatbacks to extend it. But you can't. Still, lift the 'ducktail'-designed boot lid and you'll find 450-litres available to you in the 2.2 and 3.0-litre diesel volume variants - which will probably be quite sufficient for most buyers. It's a figure that for some reason increases to 500-litres in the 3.7-litre petrol V6 but predictably falls to just 350-litres in the 3.5-litre hybrid version due to the need to accommodate all those batteries. A ski-hatch promises an extra option for longer items.

What to Look For

It was hard to find an Infiniti M or Q70 owner with much of a bad thing to say in our customer survey. A few problems with electrics were reported, but they were relatively minor. Check all the media tech on your test drive - and the workings of the navigation system to see if it's been kept up to date. Check the touchscreens and Bluetooth connectivity. Check the leather upholstery for cuts and stains. And inspect the alloy wheels for kerbing damage. Check all the electrical functions too. Otherwise, it's just the usual things: insist on a fully stamped-up service history.

Replacement Parts

(approx based on a 2016 Q70 2.2TD excl. VAT) An oil filter costs around £7-£11, an air filter is in the £38 bracket. Front brake pads are around £32-£38 for a set; a rear pad set is around £17-£31. A rear brake disc is around £133. A wiper blade is in the £7-£15 bracket.

On the Road

It's asking an awful lot of any vehicle almost five metres in length, two metres wide and nearly two tonnes in weight to feel in any way 'sporty' but to its credit, this Infiniti M / Q70 model almost manages it. We'd recommend the 3.0-litre diesel variant, powered by a 235bhp 3.0-litre diesel hardly recognisable from its installation in Nissan's Pathfinder SUV. Yet it's enough to create in this car a machine that in the twisty stuff feels right off the bat quite up to the task of taking on Mercedes and Audi, if not BMW and Jaguar in this class, steering feel sharp, body roll well controlled. Which was not bad at all for a first effort, especially as the option was provided for original buyers to sharpen things up still further and opt to replace the standard 'GT' model with an 'S'-specified version that featured sports suspension and four wheel steering to help make the most of rapid performance that'll see you to sixty from rest in just 6.9s on the way to a limited top speed of 155mph. There was also an alternative 315bhp 3.7-litre petrol V6 model, though here the performance gains aren't huge, the sixty sprint occupying 6.2s. But why are we going on about performance as if company customers habitually attended boardroom meetings via Brands Hatch? We all know that these cars will spend nearly all their lives pounding the highways that link between client conferences. Maybe that's why the 3.5-litre petrol hybrid model that makes most sense on the balance sheet was only offered in one, simple languid guise, its 302bhp 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine matched with a 67bhp electric motor. It too is rapid - sixty from rest takes just 5.5s - but the emphasis is overwhelmingly on smooth, silent progress. Which is what, to a slightly lesser extent, characterises our pick of the range, the 3.0-litre diesel variant. Assuming you can resist the temptation of using the 'Sport' mode which works the engine further up the rev range, milking the power and holding the gears for longer, progress is almost always serene and relaxed. You waft along on a wave of 550Nm of torque, the standard seven-speed automatic gearbox changing gears with such a slick smoothness you'd imagine its internals were made of Teflon and jellied eels. Symptomatic of Infiniti's attention to detail is the ANC Active Noise Control system, which plays low frequency sound lightly through the speakers to cancel out unwanted noise from the engine. Not all of it is unwanted to be fair - there's quite a sonorous thrum in the mid-range - but what with the ANC set-up and the standard double-glazed glass, you'll be doing well to hear it.

Overall

Many better established brands than Infiniti have tried - and failed - to challenge the German prestige elite in the full-Executive saloon sector. And the way that this M / Q70 model with its different and in many ways rather refreshing approach got so close to its BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class rivals at this Japanese maker's first attempt was undeniably impressive. It's true that an M or Q70 doesn't have quite the sharpness of a BMW, the clinical coolness of an Audi or the grand heritage of a Mercedes. But what you get instead is high-tech handling and thoughtful luxury. Compensation, we think you'd agree. It wasn't enough to scare the Teutonic brands but it creates a very interesting used buy.

Infiniti M / Infiniti Q70 (2014 - 2019) review by Jonathan Crouch

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Overview

Car review: Infiniti M / Infiniti Q70 (2014 - 2019)
Manufacturer:Infiniti
Model:Infiniti M / Infiniti Q70 (2014 - 2019)
Category:Full-Sized Executive Cars
Rating:7 out of 10

Gallery

Car review: Infiniti M / Infiniti Q70 (2014 - 2019)
Car review: Infiniti M / Infiniti Q70 (2014 - 2019)
Car review: Infiniti M / Infiniti Q70 (2014 - 2019)
Car review: Infiniti M / Infiniti Q70 (2014 - 2019)
Car review: Infiniti M / Infiniti Q70 (2014 - 2019)
Car review: Infiniti M / Infiniti Q70 (2014 - 2019)
Car review: Infiniti M / Infiniti Q70 (2014 - 2019)
Car review: Infiniti M / Infiniti Q70 (2014 - 2019)

Scores

Performace:
70%
Handling:
50%
Comfort:
80%
Space:
50%
Styling:
70%
Build:
80%
Value:
70%
Equipment:
80%
Economy:
60%
Depreciation:
40%
Performace:
60%
Total:
65%