Back in the late 1990's, my wife & I bought a used '90 Q45, the first year of Infiniti's new sedan competitor to Lexus, BMW, Mercedes and Cadillac. All these years later, we remember that car with great affection - understated yet classy design, beautiful interior w. lots of room (but not too big), and for the owner who loves to drive, great suspension and ride combined with a world-class 4.5 liter V8 that loved to run. And all with Japanese reliability.
Lately, we've thought a lot about that early Q. When it came time to replace my 150k mi. Mercedes E320, we chose a 79k mi. '02 Q45. Ironic that '02 was the first year of the 3rd generation Q, but everything I just said about the '90 model still applies. Best of all, for those who choose to let others eat the depreciation, the final series Q45 has no real weaknesses as a used-car buy; no air suspension to leak, no Northstar engine to fail, no complex electronics and no current dealers who hate to see an older Q come through the service bay. Our local Infiniti dealer treats my 14-year-old Q as if it were a new Q70 (which is actually a rebranded M, but still a nice car).
To save money in the long-run, I bought the nicest Q I could reasonably afford: relatively low miles (79k mi.), great body/paint/interior and accident-free history. Service records are always a plus, but (sadly) not that common; a pre-purchase inspection is always a good idea, as is a search for customer (& BBB) ratings of the dealer you're buying it from.
For the new owner of a used Q, the climate and audio controls on the 2002-2006 series require a bit of reading in the owner's manual, but are actually very logical (if not intuitive) and work just fine. The interior design, especially the dash & center console, is both gorgeous and trend-setting; all these years later, the current Q70 is very similar in style & execution. Large & supportive seats, complete with lumbar support for the driver, are the most comfortable of any car I've owned in 45 years of driving, and that includes a healthy number of BMWs, Jags and (a few) Caddys.
The Q45's designers aspired to build a grand tourer in the European tradition - fast, comfortable and stylish transportation that would devour continents. Not only did they succeed, but at a price that undercut their competitors by thousands. The Q's comfort, performance and space make it a true driver's car you can live with. It's true you won't win any economy runs with it, and given the slightly numb steering, the Q is not exactly a canyon-carver, but it will get you there in a mighty big hurry with comfort & panache to spare. And those Gatling-gun headlights are the bomb. Just be sure to follow the owner's manual suggestion to avoid turning the headlights on for very short periods; that apparently will burn out the ballast much faster, which is not cheap to replace (removal of the front bumper is required.)
Maintenance is very straightforward - just keep the oil changed (synthetic, of course) w. 5W40, put on a quality set of tires (I'm running a new set of Pirelli P7s), and basically maintain it the way you should any car, w. fresh coolant every 3 years or so, good brake pads and fresh engine air & cabin air filters once a year. And don't skimp on using recommended premium fuel - that thoroughbred V8 will be much happier. Keep it clean & enjoy the fact that you own one of the world's great super sedans: the Q45.
This is the best car I've ever owned. By now, I'm usually bored with my vehicle and ready to replace. Almost 4 years later and I still love my car.
I am the 3rd owner of my '02 Sport, I bought mine in August 2011 with 116K for $7K, a steal at the time. It now has 165K on the odometer and in those 50 thousand miles all I've had to fix was one wheel bearing (other than routine tires/brakes/plugs). That's fantastic. The routine maintenance is costlier than most cars but not wallet breaking.
This is like a "Japanese BMW" that doesn't ride so stiff.
PROS: nice looking, very comfortable, extremely roomy, amazing stereo, fantastic highway cruiser, ridiculously great at highway acceleration, sweet climate control system, voice controls, handles pretty good for a huge car, the gatling gun HID headlights are really nice.
CONS: Radio/climate controls could be more intuitive. Trunk has 3 issues: it's a bit small (albeit to accommodate the sub, amp and rear window shade), the lid likes to close unexpectedly and the hinges are exposed to trunk area (must avoid filling in that space). Rear window shade tends to stick closed (just needs a small tug).
I have owned this car (Sport) since 9-2005 when I bought it from the first owner w/ 40k on it.
It has been very reliable car to own.
It handles well and has great accelertation. At 265k there are no rattles and the car rides very quite.
The V8 does burn oil. But it is the same since I got it. This is a common issue w/ these cars.
No doubt this is a comfortable ride, but the joy stops there.
Maintenance is a wallet-draining nightmare, and with the price of (premium only!) gas these days, along with a dismal 16 mpg fuel efficiency, this car is a waste of money.
The high-powered headlights are great until one needs to be replaced (at a premium price, of course).
This car spent almost as much time in the shop as it did in my driveway.
The paint and body are ridiculously fragile.
I traded mine in for a Subaru.
I only wish I would have done it sooner.
The power is great, but it drinks up gas as well. In the winter, with only city driving, I'm getting only 10.3 mpg-summer time it goes back up to 17. I love the comfort, and the V8 engine is absolutely silent. Maintainance is pretty expensive as well with even the smallest of problems. Just bought new tires for $900. This car is ultimate luxury for the price your paying. The car is heavy, but the power it's backed up with makes up for it. Personally, I love the car, but the maintainance is getting a bit too pricey for me.
Heated reclining rear seating, with rear controls for stereo and temp.