Used 1997 INFINITI Q45 Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1997

This totally redesigned car has almost nothing in common with its predecessor. Power now comes via a 4.1-liter V8 engine and is still delivered through the rear wheels. The Q45 no longer has aspirations to be a sport sedan, its prime duties now are interstate cruising.

Vehicle overview

The big news for Infiniti this year is the redesign of its luxury 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 new Q takes its cues from the immensely successful Lexus LS 400, rather than from builders from 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 noticeably 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, 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 potholes, 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.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.