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A product of Nissan's darker years. A 2002 Q45 makes for a better choice.
Price advantage over other luxury flagships, dealer blowout sales events when new Q arrives.
Buick ride quality, dated cabin design, poor resale value.
Available Q45 Models
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Few changes accompany the current Q45 as it gasps a few final breaths before a welcome, and long overdue, redesign debuts in spring of 2001. A new Luxury model replaces last year's Anniversary Edition. All Qs get body-colored door handles and license plate surrounds, revised taillights, real bird's eye maple wood interior trim and a leather-wrapped steering wheel rim trimmed in ersatz timber. The Touring model has standard bright-finish 17-inch wheels.
As the second-generation Q45 enters its final year of production, Infiniti openly admits that the current car represents less than the sum of its parts. A new Q is due soon, and Nissan's luxury division is hyping the redesigned car as a true performance-oriented competitor to the Lexus LS 430, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Currently, the Q45 more effectively dukes it out with the likes of the mushy Acura RL and the cushy Cadillac DeVille.
Not surprisingly, changes to the Q45 for 2001 are limited. A new Luxury model replaces last year's Anniversary Edition, while the sport-themed Touring model continues to slot in as the top-dog version of Infiniti's flagship. Real bird's eye maple wood trim decorates the cabins of both versions, though the lumber on the steering wheel rim is simulated. Touring models get standard bright-finish 17-inch alloy wheels.
Just as one would expect inside a premium sedan from a luxury marque, all Qs overflow with sumptuous features. Eight-way power leather seats, a 200-watt Bose sound system, driver seat memory, automatic climate control, power sunroof, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power rear sunshade and keyless entry are standard.
An optional navigation system with an exclusive 3D "Birdview" display is available, but it relies on nine regional CDs to map the entire country, and the car comes standard only with the disc that details the region where you live. Better get a Rand McNally. Heated front seats, a cellular phone, Infiniti Communicator and a six-disc CD changer are other notable options.
Powered by a DOHC 4.1-liter V8 engine, the rear-wheel-drive Q45 is swift if not quick, despite its 266 horsepower and 278 foot-pounds of torque. At least the tune-up interval measures 100,000 miles, and fuel economy is decent at 18/23 city/highway.
Overall, the Q45 offers a luxurious ride that is perfect for cross-country cruising but not canyon carving. The Luxury model comes with a four-wheel independent suspension, speed-sensing power-assisted steering, traction control and a viscous limited-slip differential. Sixteen-inch alloy wheels and four-wheel disc brakes -- with ABS, of course -- give this Infiniti a secure and confident feel. You can opt for the Touring model if your tastes run to the performance end of the luxury-sedan spectrum. While the addition of an electronically controlled suspension (complete with driver-adjustable settings) and 17-inch wheels wearing performance tires give the Touring Q a more commanding feel of the road, don't fool yourself into thinking that you can keep up with the 540i that just blew by you. The smaller Bimmer's got a 16-horsepower advantage and an optional six-speed manual transmission while the Q45 comes only in four-speed automatic form.
Infiniti has built a small but loyal following for the Q45 by offering a solid mix of luxurious appointments and stylish sheet metal backed by a legendary red carpet service experience. Add to this the relatively low sticker price and the current Q45 has plenty to offer the luxury-sedan buyer.
If you care more about a quiet and comfortable highway ride than you do about quarter-mile times and slalom speeds, the current Q45 makes an excellent choice. But time is running out to acquire Japan's vision of the Buick Park Avenue. The 2002 Q returns the nameplate to its performance roots this March.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.