Infiniti today introduced the second generation of its popular mid-size luxury sedan, the Infiniti I30, at a press conference at the 1999 New York Auto Show. It is scheduled to go on sale in September of 1999 as a year 2000 model at Infiniti retailers nationwide.
"New York is a special venue for Infiniti," said Tom Orbe, vice president and general manager, Infiniti Division. "Besides being one of our top sales regions, it's where we've made many significant announcements – including the creation of the division itself ten years ago and the new G20 luxury sports sedan last April."
The all-new 2000 Infiniti I30 continues the tradition of the original as a fully equipped, performance-driven luxury car. The elegantly styled I30 offers increased power, more interior room, and refined ride and handling.
"The new I30 raises the bar for all cars in class," said Orbe. "It offers powerful elegance within reach." Pricing will be announced closer to the I30's fall on-sale date.
Making A Great Car Even Better
The original I30 was introduced in April of 1995 as a 1996 model. Immediately it won accolades including "Best New Car, $25,000 - $35,000" from Kiplinger's Personal Finance.
In the 1997 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study (IQS), the I30 was ranked "Best Entry Luxury Car." One year after its successful launch, the Infiniti I30 was honored by the American Marketing Association with a Gold Edison Best New Product Award. For 1999, Kiplinger's Personal Finance voted I30 "Best In Class, $25,000 - $35,000." Yet even with all its success, Infiniti engineers could not leave well enough alone and changed almost everything on the vehicle for the 2000 model year.
I30's most obvious changes are to the exterior, with a complete body restyle, distinctive from the previous generation I30 and to all other vehicles in class. The vehicle is larger, with a dramatic 4.1-inch overall length increase (from 189.6 inches to 193.7 inches) and a 2.0-inch longer wheelbase (increased from 106.3 inches to 108.3 inches).
The new I30's elegant and luxurious appearance is first announced by the new chrome grille, which is subtle and classy. A new two-bulb headlight design assists in presenting the new face of I30. Fog lights also combine function and style, giving I30 an aggressive yet subtle look.
New body panels give the I30 a luxurious, sensuous shape with muscular overtones. A large passenger greenhouse features green tinted heat and UV light reducing glass. There is a steeper rake to both front and rear glass than the previous generation and the side windows have been revised to enhance the cabin and give a "panoramic" view.
Large wheels and tires – 16-inch standard and 17-inch on the Touring Model – provide I30 strong sporty overtones, giving a glimpse of the performance available from the powerful V6 and revised suspension.
The rear end features a new taillight design, featuring new lights with a jewel-like appearance, new license plate holders, a new bumper design and is finished off with a dual tip exhaust outlet. The body side moldings are vehicle color and the radio antenna is integrated into the rear glass for a smooth, uncluttered exterior appearance.
The I30 Touring Model (I30t) offers a smoked headlamp treatment and high-intensity discharge (HID) Xenon headlights.
The 2000 I30 was designed at the Nissan Technical Center in Atsugi, Japan.
Since its introduction, the Infiniti I30 has been noted for its exceptional V6 engine performance. Its innovative 3.0-liter powerplant design has been named one of the "10 Best Engines" by Ward's Auto World five consecutive years. Ward's editors have written that it is "... in the opinion of Ward's Best Engine testers, the best V-6 available in the U.S. at any price."
For 2000, the engine has been refined through use of new intake and exhaust manifolds, Nissan Variable Induction System (NVIS) air intake control with a plastic intake collector, new equal length exhaust pipes and the addition of a new variable capacity muffler adopted from the high performance Nissan Skyline GT-R. A special muffler flap valve, using high temperature aerospace spring technology and materials, opens at 2,000 rpm and above – reducing exhaust system backpressure.
These changes help increase the engine's horsepower from 190 to 227 and torque from 205 ft-lbs to 217 ft-lbs.
The I30's DOHC 24-valve V6 continues to utilize micro-finished crank journals and cam lobes, molybdenum coated pistons, digital knock control, six coils (one per spark plug) and a cross flow coolant pattern.
Additional refinements for 2000 include a new programmable engine control module (located inside the passenger compartment to increase reliability), a larger air intake chamber, a thicker radiator and new cooling fans and a new four-point engine mount design with two electronically controlled fluid mounts for reduced vibration.
The I30 engine offers a 100,000-mile tune-up interval through the adoption of double-tipped platinum spark plugs, providing a lower projected cost of ownership.
The 2000 I30 comes standard with a 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission, strengthened to support the increased engine performance.
I30's innovative rear Multi-Link Beam™ suspension, which offers precise handling and outstanding stability by minimizing camber change during cornering, has been refined through use of thicker front and rear stabilizer bars, adoption of larger, softer trailing link bushings and a relocation of the system's unique lateral link to behind the rear beam.
The new I30's performance is also reinforced by 4-wheel disc brakes with bigger rotors, standard 4-channel/4-sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), refined engine-speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion steering (utilizing the same computer controls as the Infiniti Q45) and an available Traction Control System (TCS) and limited-slip differential, which is standard on Touring Models.
A Refined Interior
The new I30's exceptional level of luxury, like its performance, takes many forms – starting with its enhanced roominess. Versus the previous generation, the 2000 model offers 2.4 additional cubic feet of passenger compartment volume (increased from 99.6 to 102.0 cubic feet). Front seat head room and front leg room have been increased and front footwell width is 1.4 inches wider. Rear leg room is up 1.9 inches and trunk room is up 1.6 cubic feet (from 14.1 to 15.7).
The I30 interior features a custom designed instrument panel, center stack and a new console design which eliminates the modular appearance common in many luxury cars today.
Improved driver ergonomics was the focus of the interior designers. For example, the steering wheel has been repositioned forward, power seat controls moved forward, and the shifter was moved rearward.
The parking brake control has been moved from the center console to an under-dash foot-operated design. The gauge cluster has also been refined, with a new "Fine Vision" illumination. A prominent analog clock marks the combination of new technology and old-world craftsmanship evident in this all-new vehicle.
The new I30's low-fatigue front seats have been redesigned with a more rigid seat structure and improved vibration absorption. Other enhancements include a new seat material appearance, improved cushioning, continuously variable lumbar support and a new double-lock recline mechanism.
The driver's seat is 8-way power and the passenger's seat is 4-way power with height-adjustable head restraints. A height-adjustable armrest mounted on top of the console box also maximizes driver comfort. The console also features dual levels with cell phone storage in the upper compartment.
The rear seat offers a 60/40 split fold-down design, anti-theft lock function, fold-down armrest, height-adjustable head restraints and seat belt latches integrated into the seat cushion.
Standard luxury touches include wood tone trim, automatic temperature control and outside temperature display, rear heater ducts, overhead sunglasses storage (in vehicles without the Infiniti Communicator), power-operated rear sunshade (standard on Touring, optional on Base), leather wrapped tilt steering wheel, "one-touch" auto up and down front windows, auto on/off headlights, driver's and passenger's sunvisors with illuminated vanity mirrors and extenders, five cupholders, a second 12-volt power outlet and a custom-tuned seven-speaker 200-watt Bose® AM/FM/Cassette/CD audio system.
Optional is a power sliding glass sunroof with rear tilt and sunshade, with one-touch auto-open/close with safety reverse feature.
The new I30's luxury feel is also reinforced by its exceptional attention to detail. Heater and cooling vents on the instrument panel close flush for a sleek appearance, dome light switches are easier to operate, and the front and rear door levers are larger and easier to use with gloved hands. There has been extensive use of noise, vibration and harshness countermeasures for isolation of wind and road noise.
The new I30's safety features include an improved impact dispersion body side structure which includes reinforced roof side rails, B-pillars and side sills, pipe-style steel side-door guard beams, 3-point seat belts for all seating positions, front seat belts with seat belt pretensioners and load limiters, dual supplemental front air bags and front-seat supplemental side-impact air bags.
For the first time in the U.S., Infiniti will offer front seat active head restraints as standard equipment on the I30. The active head restraints cradle the head at impact to aid in preventing whiplash and other more serious injuries, primarily in rear-end collisions.
Also available is the optional Infiniti Communicator, mounted in a custom roof console, which allows I30 passengers to connect to the Infiniti Response Center (IRC) for 24-hour assistance. After pushing the appropriate Communicator button, voice contact is made between the I30 occupant and IRC operator using state-of-the-art cellular phone technology and a Global Positioning System.
The Infiniti Communicator can be used for emergency purposes or merely for information about the surrounding area. In case of air bag deployment, the IRC is notified immediately.
Standard and Optional Luxury Enhancements
Standard on I30 is a full array of luxury features, including fog lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, power windows, door locks, mirrors, trunk and fuel filler releases, leather-appointed interior, power 8-way driver's and 4-way passenger's seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and transmission shift lever, automatic temperature control, 7-speaker Bose 200-watt AM/FM/Cassette/CD audio system, remote keyless entry with vehicle security system (Infiniti Vehicle Immobilizer System), interior wood trim, trunk cargo net and cruise control.
Optional on the base I30 is a package which includes a power glass sunroof with rear tilt feature and power-operated rear sunshade.
The 2000 I30 also offers the Comfort & Convenience Package, which includes power seats with memory, electrochromic rearview mirror, and the HomeLink® Transceiver, which can be programmed to operate garage doors, security gates or home lighting systems from the comfort and safety of the I30 driver's seat.
With the Comfort & Convenience Package, the I30 buyer can also opt for the Heated Seats Package, which include heated front seats with two heat settings, a heavy duty battery and a low washer fluid warning light.
Also available with the Comfort & Convenience Package is the Traction Control. The sportiest I30, the I30 Touring Model (I30t), offers standard viscous limited-slip differential, 17-inch alloy wheels with P225/50VR17 all-season tires, sport-tuned suspension, quick-ratio steering gear, smoked headlight treatment, HID headlights, and Comfort & Convenience Package.
Optional on Touring Model I30s is traction control and the Heated Seats Package.
Optional on with the Comfort & Convenience Package and Touring Model is the Infiniti Communicator.
The 2000 I30 will be available in eight exterior colors and three interior colors – including two new colors, Titanium and Millennium Jade.
"The new I30 sets new standards for mid-size luxury sedans with more of everything – power, luxury, space, comfort and quiet," said Orbe. "It's a car that proudly wears the Infiniti badge."