Of the highly competitive segments within the automotive market, none may be as hotly contested as that of the flagship luxury sedan. These cars represent the pinnacle of a brand’s design and engineering. They’re packed with the most impressive technology, and the highest quality materials, and are meant to be an indicator of what a brand is capable of. So why is it that many of these cars quickly seem outdated and rapidly drop in value? If you take a look at the pre-owned market, it is littered with super cheap Mercedes Benz S-Classes, BMW 7-Series and Audi A8s. Vehicles that were six figures when new can now be had for under $10k. Depreciation is a glorious thing my friends. If a used luxo-liner is such a bargain, why would anyone buy one new? Because of vehicles like the 2015 Infiniti Q70 L, that’s why.
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Prior to driving the long wheel base version of the Q70, I thought I had a solid concept of what a full size luxury car was. The week I spent driving the Infiniti around Los Angeles proved otherwise. I expected there to be a lack of communication between myself and the car. There was none. The hydraulic steering provided above average feel for the segment and I never felt like the car wasn’t listening to me. That’s equally as important with a big vehicle like this as it is with a sports car, perhaps even more so. I don’t know about you, but when I’m at the helm of a 202″ vehicle, I want to be confident that it’ll go where I want it to, when I want it to. The Q70 L does just that, whether sport mode is selected or not. The Performance Tire & Wheel Package ($1,150) adds 20″ aluminum alloys and sport brakes. The wheels look phenomenal and the 4-piston front/2-piston rear calipers scrub away speed with impressive ease. The inclusion of a sport mode in a vehicle of this size might seem silly to some of you, but believe me when I say that this car feels surprisingly nimble overall. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it shrinks around you the way a sporty midsize sedan does, but it definitely drives smaller than it is. Hustling through winding roads surely isn’t the intended purpose of the Q70 L, but it is nice to know that it can be done rather gracefully.
Speaking of graceful, that’s one word I would use to describe the cabin of the Q70 L. Elegant, understated, inviting, sumptuous, grand, and posh are a few others. I’ve never been all that impressed by Japanese luxury car interiors. I find most of them to be gaudy and lacking in real character. I got my first piece of humble pie when I spent some time with the 2015 Infiniti Q50 S and after spending a week with the Q70 L, I fully understood the error of my ways. My tester was fitted with the optional Deluxe Touring Package ($3,900) which adds semi-aniline leather seating, suede like headliner, a power rear sunshade, and a double stitched gauge cluster hood. All of those are things one would hope to find in this class of car, but it is the two final options included with that package that really kick it up a notch.
The Japanese White Ash wood trim and 16 speaker BOSE Studio Surround audio system are must haves in the Q70 L. Everyone who rode in the car with me immediately commented on how pretty the wood trim was. Friends who have no inclination towards cars were studying the genuine silver powder accents in the wood and even jaded old me has to admit, that is some pretty trick detailing on Infiniti’s part. The only thing that got people more jazzed up about the car than the trim was the sound system. Regardless of what genre of music you’re listening t0 or source you’re using to play it, the result is crystal clear audio. Whatever processing software BOSE has fitted this car with is damned impressive, even when streaming low quality files from a mobile device. To really put the system to the test, I listened to Metallica’s double album, S&M, which was recorded live with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. Listening to Call Of The Ktulu from the comfort of a air conditioned seat, in a car that can basically drive itself thanks to a comprehensive Technology Package ($3,300): that is my idea of luxury.
Included in the aforementioned technology package are the following safety systems: Backup Collision Intervention, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Warning/Intervention, Lane Departure Warning/Prevention, Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist, Forward Emergency Braking, Active Trace Control, Eco Pedal and Front Pre-Crash Seat Belts. I wanted to list all of these because it is important that people understand what that $3,300 gets you. All of these systems work exceptionally well and all of them are useful in day to day driving, especially in Los Angeles. I found myself far less concerned about the timing of trips that would require me to get on crowded freeways because I knew I could just set the Intelligent Cruise Control and relax. For those of you not familiar with a system like this, it basically eliminates stop and go driving by adapting to traffic conditions. If you’re going 70mph and traffic slows to a crawl in front of you, the car automatically slows down and keeps you a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. Distance Control Assist works the same way, except you don’t have to have cruise control set for it to function. The rest of the systems are fairly self explanatory in name, and most enjoyably you don’t notice them doing their job, unless of course you suck at driving.
From a value stand point I think you’re getting a lot for your money with the Q70 L, especially when you consider the competition. Without the selected options my test car would have come in at $51,350. You’d still have 3.7-litre V6 under the hood, paired with the excellent 7-speed automatic with Downshift Rev Matching and you’d still have heated rear seats, soft close rear doors and lots of other goodies. You don’t have to load the Q70 L up to get your money’s worth, but I think it is a testament to the quality of the car that you get more value with the additional packages selected.
The big money saver is the V6 vs the V8. If you want the extra power, you’ll have to shell out $4k more than the price of my test car. As a speed demon and lover of all things V8 related, I can tell you that the V6 will do just fine. There might be a few situations were you’ll miss the extra grunt but I guarantee you’d miss all the optional packages more. If you’re thinking long term, and I recommend that you do, a loaded V6 will serve you better should you wish to sell your car. Options will always attract more buyers than a more potent motor, at least in this segment anyway. Regardless of how you spec it out, I’d expect any Infiniti Q70 L to hold its value quite well. The styling might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the flowing lines and muscular physique should hold up nicely, especially when compared to its “edgy” competitors. There’s no sure fire way to predict what will be en vogue in the future, but I think overall vibe of the 2015 Q70 L will prove timeless.
Engine: 3.7-liter V6 / 5.6-liter V8
Transmission: Seven-Speed Automatic with Manual Shifting Mode
Horsepower: 330 / 416
Torque: 270 lb-ft / 414 lb-ft
MSRP: $51,000 (base) / $60,605 (as tested)