The Infiniti I30 maintains its segment leadership with evolutionary changes for the 2001 model year, making a great car even better. Two new exterior colors, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and a new rear view mirror with integrated digital compass add the finishing touches to an already outstanding vehicle.
"2001 I30 offers everything a mid-size luxury car customer could ever want," said Tom Orbe, vice president and general manager, Infiniti Division, Nissan North America, Inc. "It's loaded with features and with the changes made for 2001, it is close to achieving segment perfection. There is no question that the 2001 I30 will remain Infiniti's top seller, enhancing Infiniti's longstanding reputation for quality, value and innovation."
Infiniti introduced the second generation of its popular mid-size luxury sedan for the 2000 model year with all-new interior and exterior styling, more luxury, more interior room, refined ride and handling, and a 37-horsepower increase to its award-winning 3.0-liter V6 engine. Two I30 models are available, the I30 Luxury model and the performance-enhanced I30 Touring model (I30t).
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 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 awards, Infiniti engineers could not leave well enough alone. Almost everything was changed for the second-generation I30.
A Second Generation Success
The most obvious changes made to the second generation I30 was to the exterior, with a complete body restyle, distinctive from the previous generation I30 and to all other vehicles in its class. Designed at the Nissan Technical Center in Atsugi, Japan, the body panels give I30 a luxurious, sensuous shape with muscular overtones.
The vehicle was made considerably 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).
A two-bulb headlight design, with high-intensity discharge (HID) Xenon headlamps (standard on I30t, optional on I30) gives I30 character with complex curves. A subtle chrome grille fills out the I30's face to the world. Fog lights combine function and style, giving I30 an aggressive, yet subtle, look.
A "panoramic" view is offered in the I30 due to a passenger greenhouse with green-tinted heat and UV light reducing glass, steeply raked front and rear glass and large rear side windows.
Large wheels and tires – 16-inch standard and 17-inch on the I30t – provide the I30 with strong sporty overtones, giving a glimpse of the performance available from the powerful V6 and revised suspension.
The rear end features a taillight design, with jewel-like lights, integrated license plate holder, an elegant bumper design. A dual tip exhaust outlet provides the finishing touch.
Besides larger wheels and tires, the I30 Touring Model (I30t) offers a smoked headlamp treatment and optional side sill and rear spoilers, adding to the 2001 I30t's performance look.
All 2001 I30 luxury sedans feature a 227-horsepower 3.0-liter DOHC V6 with 217 ft-lbs of torque and are backed by a 4-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. The previous generation I30 had 190 horsepower and 205 ft-lbs., from an engine with the same displacement and layout.
The 37 horsepower/12 ft-lbs increase was realized through use of revised intake and exhaust manifolds with a larger air intake chamber, Nissan Variable Induction System (NVIS) air intake control, equal length exhaust pipes and the addition of a 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 improvements were in addition to the already powerful 24-valve V6, which uses 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. Double-tipped platinum-tip spark plugs offer a 100,000-mile tune-up interval.
All of these improvements add up to the sixth consecutive year of the I30's innovative powerplant to be named one of the "10 Best Engines" by Ward's Auto World.
Additional refinements made to the second-generation I30 include a relocated engine control module to increase reliability (located inside the passenger compartment instead of under the hood), a thicker radiator and new cooling fans to keep everything cool and to reduce vibration, a new four-point engine mount design with two electronically controlled fluid mounts.
I30 continues to use the innovative rear Multi-Link Beam™ suspension, which offers precise handling by minimizing camber change during cornering. The Multi-Link Beam was refined through adoption of larger, softer trailing link bushings and a relocation of the system's unique lateral link to behind the rear beam. Thick front and rear stabilizer bars insure that I30 remains planted on the ground in a controllable fashion and engine-speed-sensitive power rack-and-pinion steering gives the I30 driver superior feel with the appropriate effort levels.
Secure braking is provided by 4-wheel disc brakes with standard 4-channel/4-sensor Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). A viscous limited-slip differential is standard on I30t and an available Traction Control System (TCS) is offered on all models.
A Refined Interior, with a Birdview™
All 2001 Infiniti I30s are available with an industry-exclusive three-dimensional factory-installed navigation system as part of the Infiniti Navigation System & Audio Enhancement Package. This three-dimensional Birdview map display features an easy-to-read rolling display of roads, buildings and other points of interest in addition to the traditional intersection/flat plane map images. The navigation system rises from the dashboard by electric motors and is ergonomically placed at the same height as the driver's eyes, to minimize time looking away from the road.
"The I30's navigation system is one of the best out there for user-friendliness," said Orbe. "With so many different styles of navigation systems on the market, we've seen that many are difficult to view while driving. We think that Birdview addresses these concerns."
Additional features include an address book, route simulation mode, a mileage figure and time-to destination setting. A night mode reverses the colors on the screen to make viewing easier and less distracting without glare and a voice-guidance system states directions throughout the driver's journey. The Infiniti navigation system works with the standard 200-watt Bose® audio system to lower radio volume when directions are spoken and is controlled with the same head unit as the audio system.
The navigation system is only the beginning of the 2001 I30's luxurious and thoughtful features. For 2001, there are steering wheel audio controls, an automatic anti-glare rear view mirror with integrated digital compass and a new microfiltration for the HVAC system, all designed to make the cabin a pleasant place to spend large amounts of time.
Low-fatigue front seats with a rigid seat structure, superior vibration absorption, continuously variable lumbar support and a double-lock recline mechanism insures that I30 passengers are coddled. 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 maximizes driver comfort and the console 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 and height-adjustable head restraints.
Standard luxury touches include wood tone trim, automatic temperature control and outside temperature display, rear heater ducts, overhead sunglasses storage, power-operated rear sunshade, 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. A prominent analog clock marks the combination of new technology and old-world craftsmanship evident in this luxury vehicle.
All of these features have been carefully designed into the roomy I30 cabin, which offers 2.4 additional cubic feet of passenger compartment volume (increased from 99.6 to 102.0 cubic feet) from the first generation vehicle. 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 0.8 cubic feet (from 14.1 to 14.9).
I30 comes standard with numerous safety features, including standard front seat active head restraints. The active head restraints help to minimize head movement at impact to help reduce whiplash and other more serious injuries in certain rear-end collisions.
Additional safety features include dual supplemental front air bags and front-seat supplemental side-impact air bags, 3-point seat belts for all seating positions and front seat belts with seat belt pretensioners and load limiters.
The second generation I30 features an improved impact dispersion body side structure, which includes reinforced roof side rails, B-pillars and side sills, and pipe-style steel side-door guard beams.
For 2001, the new I30 offers an emergency inside-trunk release.
Standard and Optional Luxury Enhancements
I30 comes standard with a full array of luxury and convenience 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 with steering wheel mounted controls, remote keyless entry with vehicle security system, Infiniti Vehicle Immobilizer System, interior wood-tone trim, trunk cargo net, cruise control, power-operated rear sunshade and a power glass sunroof with rear tilt feature.
The 2001 I30 also offers a power driver's memory seat and auto entry/exit system, automatic anti-glare rearview mirror with compass, and the HomeLink® Universal 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.
I30 buyers can opt for the Heated Seats Package, which includes heated front seats with two heat settings, heated outside mirrors with timer, heavy-duty battery and a low washer fluid warning light. Also available is the Traction Control System, high-intensity discharge (HID) Xenon headlamps, Infiniti Navigation System & Audio Enhancement Package and the Infiniti Communicator, which provides one-touch calling for emergency or roadside assistance, as well as remote door unlocking, security system notification and stolen vehicle recovery.
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, smoked headlight treatment and HID Xenon headlights. Optional on I30ts are side sill and rear spoilers, the Heated Seats Package, Traction Control System, the Infiniti Navigation & Audio Enhancement Package, which includes a trunk-mounted 6-disc CD Autochanger, and the Infiniti Communicator.
The 2001 I30 is available in eight exterior colors and three interior colors – including two new exterior colors, Ruby Red and Midnight Blue.
"The 2001 I30 raises the bar for all vehicles in its class," said Orbe. "With the combination of power and features, it's a car that proudly wears the Infiniti badge."