What is it? The Infiniti Q70 is an updated and renamed replacement for the M30d saloon.
Key features: New diesel engine, more equipment.
Our view: The Infiniti Q70 has its shortcomings, but may suit a buyer who needs a premium high-mileage workhorse but doesn’t want to be one of the crowd.
However this is not really a ‘new’ Infiniti, but an updated, upgraded version of the M30d saloon which gained the Q70 badging to fit into the Japanese brand’s latest naming convention.
By far the most significant change on the 2015 version is the fitting of a Mercedes-Benz sourced 2.2-litre diesel engine. Replacing the previous 3.0-litre unit and installed within the The Car Expert test car, the new engine is far more fleet-friendly.
Infiniti expects the diesel to take the lion’s share of sales over the other two power options, a 3.7-litre, 315bhp and very thirsty petrol unit and the petrol-electric hybrid that puts out 358bhp. The hybrid engine is clearly pitched for its potency – it will hit 62mph in 5.3 seconds, more than 3.5sec faster than the diesel, but its 45.6mpg official combined cycle fuel economy is bettered by the diesel’s 57.6mpg.
Company executives looking for something more distinctive than the lines of familiar BMWs, Audis and Mercedes in the car park could certainly be drawn to the Infiniti. To begin with this is no small car – at 4,980mm it is some 73mm longer than a 5 Series BMW, though its 2,900mm wheelbase is 68mm shorter.
The Infiniti also boasts distinctive styling – some might say bulbous but others would argue that it is dominated by attractively muscular curves and a very large mesh grille that makes this car easy to spot.
The 2015 model update has added extra distinction, in particular to the more expensive of the two trims, Sport – the most notable extras are the enormous 20-inch diameter wheels. Other changes include front and rear bumpers with sharper creases, chrome detailing, particularly around that grille, and LED headlamps.
The cabin is spacious, as you would expect from such a large car, particularly in the rear seats, though the 450-litre luggage compartment is smaller than in rivals (note that in the hybrid model one loses 100 litres of this to accommodate the batteries).
The dash is very well put together, the way the centre console curves out towards the driver, putting the audio/climate/navigation controls in easy reach, a pleasing touch. However there are a lot of buttons scattered liberally around – no central rotary control here, and as such the layout feels a little behind-the-times compared to the recent advances from the likes of Audi. Once accustomed to it is all easy enough to use – just somewhat fussy.
Infiniti is placing great hopes in the 2.2 diesel engine. It will appeal to those who want smooth, unflustered progress, though it is a little noisy when first starting.
This unit won’t appeal, however, to those looking for swift progress. We’ve already stated that this is a large car and the new diesel is significantly smaller than the one originally installed in the Q70. From rest to 62mph takes 8.9 seconds, which is slow compared to rivals, while the 57.6mpg official combined cycle fuel economy also struggles to compete.
The seven-speed auto gearbox is smooth in operation, and rather swifter than in manual mode through either the gear lever or the slightly awkwardly placed steering column-mounted paddle shifts.
Attending the Geneva Motor Show required a motorway trawl from mid Wales to London Gatwick airport and back during the road-test period, and the motorway is certainly the Q70’s natural environment. It will glide along at the speed limit in relaxed fashion, and using the very effective radar-guided adaptive cruise control makes dispatching hundreds of miles a process without fatigue.
Come off the motorway, however, and it’s a different matter. While the car will crawl along traffic-choked urban routes without issue, it is less satisfying on flowing country A roads with lots of twists and turns, where it feels less assured. Inadequate feedback between steering and driver is accompanied by noticeable body roll from the softly-suspended chassis.
The Infiniti does score on its equipment. Every variant includes the LED headlights, a rear-view camera, front and rear parking sensors, navigation and leather seats with a ventilation feature.
Both the Premium and Sport grades can be upgraded to Tech variants which add significant extra equipment particularly where safety is concerned. Alongside the already mentioned radar cruise control, the spec includes lane departure warning and blind spot warning.
Creature comforts are improved by an upgraded Bose sound system with extra speakers in the front seats, while the rear parking camera makes way for Nissan group’s clever 360-degree ‘bird view’ version.
The new Infiniti Q70 has its shortcomings – but with the new diesel, it is far more of a competitive proposition to the German might that governs the fleet-dominated sector in which this car must compete. The competitive price and the extensive equipment could be the factors that convince a buyer who needs a reliable and possibly high-mileage workhorse, who wants a premium car, but doesn’t want to be one of the crowd.
Infiniti Q70 – key specifications
Model tested: Infiniti Q70 2.2d Sport Tech
On sale: January 2015
Price: £35,850 (Range £32,650-£46,600)
Insurance group: 35E
Engine: Diesel 2.2-litre (also 3.7 petrol, 3.5-litre hybrid)
Power (bhp): 167 (315/358)
Torque (lb/ft): 295 (266/403)
0-62mph (sec): 8.9 (6.2/5.3)
Top speed (mph): 137 (155/155)
Fuel economy (combined, mpg): 57.6 (27.7/45.6)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 129 (235/145)
Key rivals: BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Test Date: March 2015