The Q45 was The Q45 was Infiniti’s flagship sedan for 16 years (1990-2006) – a stylish, full sized luxury sports sedan and the Infiniti brand’s first flagship. Sold in the US between 1989 and 2006, it unintentionally became one of industry’s best kept secrets. A surprisingly agile luxury sedan with a torquey 278hp 4.5L V8, which was competitive for that era, the Q45 was an upscale “driver’s” car, more of a reasonably priced and reliable alternative to the BMW 7-series or Jaguar XJ, and less like a soft sprung senior citizen hauler like the Lexus LS400. The car quickly caught the eyes of the competition with its low price, high powered VH45DE engine, Bose stereo system, memory seats, contrasting color interior, multi-link suspension, and HICAS 4 wheel steering. The original Q was also a very quick car with a short gear ratios and a 0-60mph of 6.7 seconds.
Sales for the Q were disappointing despite excellent reviews by the press. Some felt the lagging sales were due to its more dramatic, European inspired styling. But many felt it was more due to a controversial advertising campaign during its crucial launch, which excluded pictures of the car or even a description of it. As a result, the Q45 ended up getting compared mostly to the similarly priced LS400, a car that appealed to a traditional non-sporty luxury car buyer and subsequently created an uphill battle for Infiniti to make the Q’s more driver oriented character better known to the market.
In 1996, the second generation Q45 made a change in direction away from sportiness and more toward luxury. The new body had a more traditional luxury car look and featured a smaller, slightly less powerful 4.1L V8. All of the luxury goodies were there, including some new ones.
The 2002-2006 model years were the highest powered and most luxurious of the Q’s lifespan, equipped with a 340 horsepower engine, sleek styling, 8 way power front and passenger seats. The 3rd generation Q represented a minor shift, but this time back in the sporty direction. In addition to a sleeker looking body, power was now provided by a new 4.5L V8 that pumped out 340hp. The addition of the Sport package added active dampening suspension which allowed the Q to drive like a sporty luxury sedan. But it was not enough to save the Q from extinction. Due to slow sales, the Q45 was superseded by the M35/45.
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