What's New for 1998
The Q45 gets front seatbelt pre-tensioners. No other changes for Infiniti's flagship.
Unlike the first rendition of the Q, this one is traditional down to every last nut and bolt. Like Acura and its new 3.5RL, the Q takes its cues from the immensely successful Lexus LS400 rather than from builders across the Atlantic. It seems these days that if people want European styling they prefer to get it from European makers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Thus, the sporting nature of the first-generation Q45 has been engineered out of the car in favor of a quiet, isolated ride worthy of dignified heads of state.
Although this version of the Q45 is slightly shorter than the previous model, it actually offers more interior space; most noticeable to rear seat passengers. As one would expect in a flagship sedan from a luxury marque, the Q abounds with sumptuous features such as power leather seats, wood accents, premium Bose sound system, driver's seat memory, automatic climate control, power sunroof and power tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Gone, however, is the beautiful dashboard timepiece that adorned the dashboard of the first generation Q45, in the new model it is replaced by a more traditional digital clock. Also noticeably missing are dual zone temperature controls, central locking and retained accessory power; standard fare on sedans that cost thousands less than the Q45.
The 1997 Q45 replaces the 4.5-liter V8 engine for a less powerful 4.1-liter V8. Despite this, straight-line acceleration is not much diminished due to the new car's lower curb weight. The new Q is also sprung more softly than the previous model, which allows the car to soak up those nasty expansion joints and pot holes, but sacrifices some of the previous model's cornering ability. Overall, though, the Q45 offers a nice ride that is perfect for cross-country cruising.
Lest we sound like grumpy old men resistant to change, let us assure you that we like this car. We just think that we, and undoubtedly some of you, will miss the big, aggressive power of the former model. Nonetheless, if you are in the market for a large luxurious sedan, and are unwilling to fight the gremlins that habitually inhabit many of Cadillac's luxo-cruisers, you owe it to yourself to test drive a Q45.