Infiniti Q70 review
The Infiniti Q70 is a left-field rival to the BMW 5 Series and available with a range of petrol, hybrid and diesel engines
While the large executive market is arguably dominated by the likes of the BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class, there are a handful of more left-field choices – and one of the most exclusive is the Infiniti Q70.
It was originally launched in the UK in 2010 badged ‘M’, but a facelift has seen the car step in line with the rest of Infiniti’s range and now wears a ‘Q70’ badge. Along with tweaked looks, the petrol range is also joined by a new, more fleet-friendly 2.2-litre diesel engine; sourced from Mercedes it replaces the 3.6-litre V6 diesel. The hybrid model also continues but with economy and emissions improved from 40.4mpg and 162g/km in the old M35h to 45.6mpg and 145g/km now.
Fleets are a major concentration for Infiniti and the Q70 – in 2014 Infiniti shifted less than 40 Q70s, but admittedly the lack of a small diesel engine hampered its chances.
There are two main trim levels – Premium and Sport – while Premium Tech and Sport Tech add extra safety kit and equipment. The new 2.2-litre diesel joins the 3.7-litre V6 petrol and the 3.5-litre V6 hybrid models.
Engines, performance and drive
The Q70 may be rear-wheel drive like a BMW 5 Series and billed as a sports saloon, German rivals are much more fun to drive than the Infiniti.
The seven-speed dual clutch gearbox delivers slow manual shifts, while in auto mode it's eager to kick down at the slightest hint of throttle. The steering is vague with inconsistent weighting, plus it has a lot of turns lock to lock, making for furious twirling of the steering wheel when parking. It does, however, have a tight turning circle for such a large car.
Petrol and hybrid models are the quietest, while the 2.2-litre diesel engine is quite clattery despite Bose noise-cancellation technology in Tech-spec models. It's actually quieter on the move than at a standstill!
If you're a fan of straight-line acceleration then the hybrid's 0-62mph time of 5.3 seconds is impressive, as is the refinement, but in corners the extra weight of the batteries tells. There's a delay in throttle response that's at odds with the instant torque of the electric motor, too.
The 3.7-litre petrol may be the largest engine in the range but it’s the hybrid that is the performance model. The 3.5-litre petrol mated to an electric motor is the quickest in the range; 0-62mph takes 5.3 seconds and top speed is 155mph.
On the move, the soft suspension results in quite a bit of body roll in bends, but large wheels means the car is constantly unsettled by bumps and rough surfaces.
And then there’s the Infiniti’s Dynamic Safety Shield system. The lane departure warning adds strange inputs to the wheel, but doesn’t pull the car back into its lane, while at low speeds, the Low Speed Following automatically brakes the car without any input from the driver.
At least the adaptive cruise control works well. It accelerates and slows smoothly, although it does shut off if you come to a complete halt.
MPG, CO2 and Running Costs
The 2.2-litre diesel is naturally the most economical and greenest – 57.6mpg and 129g/km of CO2 meaning the Benefit in Kind rating is 21 per cent. The Q70 with this engine fitted means it’s now more of a match for the BMW 518d.
However, while the diesel is competitive, the V6 petrol isn’t – it’ll return 27.7mpg and emit a hefty 235g/km of CO2. But, if a petrol appeals and a diesel doesn’t, the Hybrid may be a good compromise – it’ll return 45.6mpg on the combined cycle and emit 145g/km of CO2, but it's expensive to buy and comes with dynamic penalties thanks to the extra weight. The new wave of plug-in hybrids, such as the Audi A3 e-tron and Mercedes C350 plug-in offer far better claimed fuel economy and all the cost-saving benefits that brings.
The big downside to Q70 ownership, however, is the amount you’ll lose over time. Residuals hover in the low 30 per cent region over three years, which is disappointing.
Interior, design and technology
The Infiniti Q70 is a handsome saloon with a bold grille and sleek lines. It certainly stands out next to an Audi A6, BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E-Class, particularly in Sport spec, which adds huge 20-inch wheels. Its 2015 facelift added some more dignity to the looks and all models gained smart LED lights front and rear.
Infiniti is going down the Audi route by making its models all look alike, albeit with a more flamboyant design language. The Q70’s bulbous lines mirror those of the smaller Q50, while an update has added a vast chrome-trimmed mesh grille and LED headlights to give the front end an imposing look.
At the back, the tail-lights appear a little fussy, while the large chrome strip across the bootlid, combined with chrome door handles, adds to the traditional saloon look.
There are more curves inside, as the sculpted dashboard mirrors the shape of the exterior. There’s silver trim for the centre console controls and door pulls, while an analogue clock is mounted below the sat-nav screen. Yet although the clock is a neat touch, the dated nav maps are the same as you’ll find in many other Nissans, and a lot of the switchgear is also shared with other cars.
That said, it’s well equipped with all models coming as standard with a rear-view camera, front and rear parking sensors, sat-nav, alloys (18-inch on Premium; 20-inch on Sport models) and ventilated leather seats.
Tech models gain radar cruise control, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, an upgraded Bose sound system (with extra speakers in the front seats), a 360-degree parking camera and ‘Forest air conditioning’ – a climate control system that mimics the type of irregular breezes found in forests coupled with a tree pine fragrance!
Practicality, comfort and boot space
Considering the size of the Q70, space is surprisingly limted inside. You sit quite high at the wheel, and the electric seat adjustment is tricky to use. The controls are fixed to the seatbases, but there's not much of a gap between them and the door trim to get your hand in. At least the glovebox and and two-tier centre console armrest are big and roomy.
In the back, there's decent space, and passengers get two air vents. There are a couple of cupholders and a decent-sized armrest bin, though.
The 500-litre boot of the petrol (450 in the diesel) is on a par with rivals like the 5 Series, and the seats fold down too. Beware of the Hybrid version, though - it has a 350-litre boot because the batteries take up some space.
Reliability and Safety
Infiniti is still an unknown quantity when it comes to reliability, although the use of Nissan parts and the Mercedes engine should ensure nothing major will go wrong. And while the Q70 hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP, the standard Dynamic Safety Shield, 360-degree cameras and adaptive LED headlights should reduce the risk of accidents.
There's a host of extra hi-tech gadgets on offer, too. It's available with adaptive cruise control, brake assist and low-speed collision mitigation, as well as blind spot warning and lane departure warning. In addition, there are six airbags, anti-whiplash front head restraints and traction and stability control.
There are only 10 dealers in the UK, but Infiniti will collect your car when it needs a service, leave you with a loan vehicle, then return your model when it’s ready. Plus, all new cars come with the manufacturer’s comprehensive Touring Assistance package.