In November 1985, a task force was assembled at Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A. to study the needs and desires of luxury car buyers. Four years later, in November 1989, the Infiniti Division was launched -- built on a foundation of fulfilling those needs: a unique dealer network, a previously unobtainable level of customer service and support before and after the sale, and a breakthrough luxury performance sedan called the Infiniti Q45.
Eleven years later two things haven't changed -- constant research into the desires of luxury buyers and Infiniti's dedication to meeting them. The latest examples of this can be seen in Infiniti's enhanced Total Ownership Experience®, announced in June 1996, and the arrival of the new flagship Q45 luxury sedan, which debuts this Fall.
1997 Q45 Development
With the introduction of the original Q45 in late 1989, Infiniti proved to the motoring world that luxury had less to do with tradition and more with how the driver and passengers feel -- embraced, secure, comfortable, empowered and impassioned.
In creating the new 1997 Q45, its designers started with a "clean sheet" of paper, a sheet once again filled with questions -- asking luxury owners "what attracts you?" "what makes you comfortable?" "what makes your heart pound?" and many more.
The answers, to no one's surprise, had changed significantly from those received in the high profile '80s. So rather than simply reskin the original, the Q45 development team revised or refined nearly every piece and panel.
Under the direction of Q45 General Manager Masaki Sugisawa, a development concept was established: Expand the strengths of the current Q45 - including its sense of elegance, distinction and driving pleasure -- while adding a higher level of luxury and refinement, and an enhanced sense of owner confidence and security.
In establishing their design parameters, they sought to:
- Combine a feeling of elegance and luxury with a class-leading level of driver input and involvement;
- Provide outstanding performance, quietness and ride comfort throughout the normal driving range without sacrificing high-end abilities;
- Offer top-of-class safety, security and quality; and
- Provide a sense of warmth and thoughtfulness for driver and passengers alike.
"When you are given the assignment of creating the successor to a car as legendary as the first Q45, you must set your targets very high and then surpass them," said Sugisawa. "This new Q, while retaining the spiritual heritage of the original, proudly meets the goal of providing a flagship for the Infiniti Division as it moves into the next century."
Taking their cue from the wants of today's luxury car owners, the stylists of the new Q45 sought a sense of elegance without ostentation, along with a hint of classic luxury sedans from the past. Starting with a strong horizontal character line which runs from front to rear, the Q designers combined an aerodynamic slanting front nose and grille with a distinctive, inverse curve at the rear C-pillar. They then added a strong, etched "bone" line to create a visual reference of substance and prestige.
Once the new shape was created and refined, an unusual step was added to the design process. A full-size model was constructed and mounted on a running chassis so the stylists could evaluate their work "in motion" and in comparison with existing luxury sedans on a test course. This allowed for refinement of the "visceral" aspects of the vehicle -- something that the designers' months of work in the wind tunnel and on Nissan's Cray® supercomputer could never do.
The Q's sporty nature is expressed in the minimal use of chrome accents and the absence of styling gimmicks. The signature Q45 grille is surrounded by elegant jewel-like headlights and integrated fog lights. In the rear, large jewel-like taillights create the same brilliant appearance as the front, even in daylight. The rear design also features a distinctive decklid lip and a large back window.
Dramatic 16-inch cast aluminum alloy wheels are standard on all 1997 Q45s.
The new Q45 is available in eight colors: Black Obsidian, Bordeaux Pearl, Cabernet Pearl, Cypress Pearl, Espresso, Ivory Quartz, Pewter and Silver Crystal.
Just as with the exterior, the designers of the new Q's interior were challenged to create the perfect balance of luxury and sportiness -- to please the driver and passengers as well as protect them, and to inspire rather than isolate them.
The resulting design achieves all that and more. The interior's high shoulders provide a strong sense of security without compromising all-around visibility. The 10-way adjustable power front seats with power lumbar supports offer both comfort and firm lateral support for spirited driving. The controls and gauges are directed toward the driver, maintaining the previous Q's reputation for superior ergonomics.
Luxury is provided through an array of standard features and equipment ranging from natural feeling leather seating appointments and sweeping wood grain trim, to a custom-designed eight-speaker Bose( audio system with CD player, two-setting driver's seat exit and entry memory system, and Homelink( transmitter system for remote opening of gates and garage doors.
The practical side of luxury is addressed with items such as rear seat air conditioning vents, and an innovative three-way opening center console.
The new Q is available in a choice of three leather-appointed interior colors: Beige, Stone Beige and Black.
Engine and Chassis
The thoroughbred performance character of the original Q45 have not been lost in the design of the 1997 edition. Combining the exciting acceleration and driver's feel of a sports coupe with the ride quality and quiet elegance of a luxury car remains a hallmark of Infiniti vehicles. This new Q exhibits that combination like the true flagship it is.
Engine and transmission work together to provide a seamless driving experience. A new 4.1-liter DOHC 32-valve V8 engine provides more torque at low and mid-speed ranges (than the first generation Q45 powerplant), along with reduced weight and improved fuel economy. Horsepower is rated at 266 at 5,600 rpm, while torque is rated at 278 foot-pounds at 4,000 rpm.
Additional improvements in performance and economy are realized by enlarging valve size, changing the cam profile and refining the valve control system. Quieter operation is attained through the use of a large, anti-noise engine cover, a high rigidity aluminum oil pan and a redesigned intake manifold.
The Q's standard four-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission achieves its smooth shift changes through an improved engine/transmission LAN (local area network) system which facilitates more frequent communication between engine and transmission electronics.
For 1997, the Q45's refined suspension results in smoother ride quality, better response, lower noise and reduced weight. Providing a solid foundation for all these refinements is an improved unit-body structure featuring improved torsional rigidity and bending strength. The Q also now uses front and rear strut tower bars for added strength.
The new MacPherson strut front suspension is substantially lighter (44 pounds) than the previous design, adding to the new Q45's improved front/rear weight balance -- while also offering reduced friction at suspension pickup points, a reduction of noise and enhanced handling.
In the rear, the Q utilizes a patented rear multi-link suspension that helps maintain maximum tire contact with the road at all times for exceptional all-condition handling and control.
The Q45 now offers a refined Traction Control System (TCS) as standard equipment. The TCS utilizes throttle control, fuel cut and transmission shift control to automatically transfer power from the wheels that are slipping to the wheels that are gripping. The Infiniti TCS is designed to supplement the Q45's standard viscous limited-slip differential (VLSD).
The new Q45 also features standard four-wheel disc brakes with three-channel, four-sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering. Wheels and tires are now 16-inch in diameter (16x7 wheels, 215/65R16 tires).
Safety and Security
Occupant protection is provided by a long list of standard safety equipment, including dual air bags, pre-tensioner front seat belts, child safety rear door locks, child seat anchors, a rigid body structure with front and rear crumple zones, energy-absorbing steering column and knee bolsters.
Additional security is offered by a new Infiniti Personalized Protection System (IPPS), featuring a theft deterrent system with "immobilizers." The IPPS uses a magnetically coded key which is "recognized" by the Q's ignition system. After the key is inserted, the system checks the code and allows the engine to be started. The system has more than 60,000 different key identifications, making it difficult to read with a radio control theft device. Every Q45 also comes with a seven-way keyless remote entry and vehicle security system.
The 1997 Infiniti Q45 luxury sedan is offered in two fully-equipped models -- Standard and Touring.
Every Q45 comes with the 4.1-liter V8, electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission, advanced suspension,TCS and 4-wheel ABS. Also included as standard equipment are a power sliding sunroof with rear tilt, a leather-appointed interior with wood-tone trim, 10-way power front seats, keyless remote entry system, Integrated HomeLink™ Transmitter system and 200-watt, eight speaker Bose® audio system with AM/FM/cassette/CD player.
For Q45 buyers seeking a more sporting expression of luxury, the new Q45 Touring Model adds a sport-tuned suspension, 5-spoke performance cast aluminum alloy wheels, rear spoiler, blacked-out grille, heated front seats, a trunk-mounted 6-disc CD changer, perforated leather-wrapped sports steering wheel, and "Q45t" badging on the rear decklid.
The only available options are heated front seats and a dealer-installed trunk-mounted 6-disc CD autochanger for the Standard Model.
The Total Ownership Experience
Like all Infiniti models, including the J30 personal luxury sedan, I30 luxury sedan and the upcoming QX4 luxury sporty utility vehicle, the new Q45 comes with the peace of mind provided by The Total Ownership Experience (TOE) from Infiniti.
Beginning with the relaxed, pleasurable atmosphere found at a network of more than 145 Infiniti dealerships and extending to Infiniti's industry-leading warranty and ownership programs, TOE includes a new 30-day price assurance policy, free 48-month, 24-hour roadside assistance program, a free Infiniti loan car with scheduled service/warranty appointments and expedited parts via a satellite parts network.