Infiniti Q70 GT Premium Hybrid : Review & Road Test
Review by Michael Tancredi - 16 July 2016
Earlier this year the Infiniti Q70 series arrived in Australia. This model has undergone a face-lift to is exterior modelling, incorporated more standard equipment, has a more spacious interior, sports a full-bodied sound system, has undergone enhancements to it's chassis, suspension and steering and a range of improvements and additions to its safety and handling.
The Q70 is available in three iterations, the GT, GT Premium and Sports Premium with the GT and Sports Premium coming with a 3.7 litre V6 petrol engine and the GT Premium a 3.5 litre hybrid. Apart from the GT Premium being a hybrid the Premium models share many of the same features and all are comparable when it comes to safety, comfort, design and looks. What differentiates them are the options available, such as the Safety Shield (not available for the GT).
Infinity is the luxury vehicle arm of Nissan, akin to Lexus for Toyota, and it does look the part.The finish is excellent,the interior is comfortable and spacious, it looks the part and it drives beautifully.
We had the pleasure of taking out a Infinity GT Premium (Hybrid) and truly enjoyed the experience..
The Infiniti Q70 GT Premium Hybrid is an extremely smooth, quiet and comfortable vehicle to drive. Push the Start button and apart from ta few visual cues, you wouldn't know it was ready to drive, a typical experience with hybrid vehicles.
The combination of EV, Hybrid and Engine mode was excellent and unless you monitored the specific output from the on-board computer or listened carefully when accelerating or driving at a higher speed it is difficult to ascertain when the Q70 was running on purely electric or petrol or a combination of both.
The powertrain swapped seamlessly between power sources during normal city/suburban driving, if there is sufficient charge in the lithium-ion battery. It runs off the electric engine and if the battery drops below a certain charge it swaps to the petrol engine. During highway cruising it swaps between electric and petrol depending on the charge in the battery and for quick acceleration or hill climbing the petrol engine is engaged. When the foot is off the accelerator (e.g. say when coasting down an incline) and especially when braking, the battery is recharged.
Adjusting the Drive Mode Selector allowed us to adjust the engine and transmission performance to suit the driving conditions. Four modes are available; Standard for normal everyday driving, Sport if you want that lift in performance, Snow, to reduce wheel spin (although not a lot of snow to be found in Australia) , and Eco, to enhance fuel economy. Standard and Eco were the most used settings for us.
Acceleration was excellent, both from a standing start or from a range of cruising speeds, so if quick acceleration for overtaking is required there is sufficient power in reserve to achieve it.
Braking also was extremely good with the vehicle performing extremely well under hard braking at various speeds. Under all road conditions and regardless of road surface, the all around discs (320mm front / 308mm rear ventilated) pulled the vehicle up beautifully although, at times, under hard braking our Q70 pulled slightly to the left.
Steering was firm and and the suspension system (independent, double wishbone with coil springs over double-piston shock absorbers and stabiliser bar [front / rear] and independent, multi-link suspension [rear]) kept it firmly planted on the road through corners, bends chicanes and roundabouts. There was little discernible cabin roll. We took it over all types of road surfaces: freeways, suburban streets and up and down winding country roads, both sealed and unsealed and under different conditions and the suspension system levelled out those bounces and bumps.
Intelligent cruise control (ICC) is standard on across the Q70 range. It is an enormously valuable safety feature. It was very easy to engage and straight forward to customise. Also an invaluable system while driving is the blind spot warning (BSW) and blind spot intervention® (BSI) systems when activated they are both designed to work in tandem to warn of vehicles approaching from the rear (a highly visible flashing light near to the front pillar and/or to intervene if the driver attempts to change lanes when another is approaching in that lane.
The driver has excellent all around vision and at night the LED auto level headlights provide broad and clear coverage. The adaptive front lighting system, that lights up the road in the direction you're turning, and the around view monitor systems, that provides fantastic side, rear and front camera views, are standard in both Premium models and are excellent features.
Access to the vehicle is by way of touch sensitive handles for all four doors. Standard for all model is electronic push button start.
The vehicle comes with an easy to use foot-operated park brake, although this may not suited to all.
The Infiniti Q70 is available to two engine sizes/types: the 3.7L V6, with DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder and Variable Valve Event and Lift (VVEL), petrol engine that outputs 235 kW of power at 7,000 rpm and generates 360 Nm of torque at 5,200 rpm, (the VVEL system is claimed to improve performance, emissions and fuel efficiency); and the 3.5L V6 with DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, petrol engine working in combination with or independent of an electric motor that has a maximum power output of 50kW @ 31,646-2,000rpm and generates torque of 290Nm @ 1,646rpm. Combined they have a maximum power output of 268kW and torque of 546Nm. The hybrid petrol/electric combination resulted in a quiet, smooth and comfortable car to drive and which provide an adequate power output and good acceleration.
Transmission is a 7 speed electronically controlled automatic, with manual mode. The system provides a driver adaptive learning algorithm that senses driving style and adjusts automatic shifting accordingly. When manual shift mode is selected sequentially selected manual gearshifts apply.
The stated average combined driving fuel consumption for the 3.5L GT Premium hybrid under controlled conditions is 6.9 L/100km, 10.2 L/100k for the 3.7L GT and 10.8L for the Sport Premium. According to the on-board computer we clocked our Q70 hybrid at 9.8L/100km over suburban streets, highways and freeways. This is 42% increase from the claimed consumption which is quite high considering the majority was done in Eco/Standard mode.
CO2 claimed emission under a variety of driving conditions is 159g/km for the 3.5L GT Premium Hybrid), 235g/km for the 3.7L GT and 249g/km for the Sport Premium. As a guide, the Australian national average carbon emissions from new passenger and light commercial vehicles was 192g/km [Carbon Dioxide Emissions from New Australian Vehicles 2013 : Information Paper May 2014*]. For those conscious of their CO2 footprint the GT Premium is the pick of the bunch with both the GT and Sport Premium exceeding the average.
Recommended fuel is 95-98 RON.
(*The represents a 3.4% reduction from the results of the 2012 Guide.)
The Infiniti Q70 with its smooth, rounded aerodynamic look resembles the classic sporting lines that hark back to the elegance of a bygone era. The Q70 is all curves, waves and rounded edges and suggests elegance. It presents a clean no-nonsense look in front profile with a prominent rectangular grill bordered in bold chrome and inset with a black distinctive mesh, all capped with the large chrome Infiniti logo. The front guards protrude slightly to the side surrounding the wheels, are rounded along the top and fall towards the flat bonnet, creating, what resembles, small peaks and valleys, in some small way mirroring your classic Porsche or Jaguar look.
The wrap to the side headlight array is simple and sleek in design and houses LED lights, in combinations with LED daytime running lights. A lower body coloured slatted air scoop is book ended by recessed LED fog lights in a a smart but unusual design and tends to complicate the cleanness of the profile.
In rear profile the look is again simple yet elegant with a large rear LED lighting array set within a clean rounded, edge free body. The large bumper area, with its thin horizontal reflectors to visually break up the line, and set above twin chrome tipped exhaust pipes is simple but effective.
An electric sunroof is standard across the range. A nice touch is the rubber inserts filling the door and bonnet gaps which cut down air disturbance and noise.
The Q70 sits on 18" 10 spoke alloy wheels. It measures 4,945mm long, is 1,500mm high and is 2,061mm wide (with mirrors). It has a wheel base of 2,900mm and a tight turning circle of 11.2 metres.
The body is comprised of one solid colour including the side mirrors. The centre and rear pillars and side mirror support are black and the side window surrounds and door handles are chrome. You can choose from eight colours, with seven of those from their metallic range. Our test vehicle was in the Hagane Blue (Metallic).
The Infiniti Q70 yet to be assessed for an ANCAP safety rating..
Standard on the Q70 are: driver and front passenger airbags, front hip/thorax side airbags and front and front-to-rear curtain airbags.
Other standard safety features include:
- anti-lock braking system (ABS) with;
- electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD); which applies varying braking pressure to each wheel so that the maximum stopping power can be achieved while maintaining control of the vehicle;
- vehicle dynamic control (VDC); which helps prevent under and over steer by reducing engine speed and applying the brakes individually on specific wheels;
- traction control system (TCS) [also referred to a electronic stability program (ESP)]; which improves a vehicle's stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction (skidding) by detecting loss of steering control by automatically applying the brakes to wheels individually;
- hill start assist (HSA) and,
- brake assist (BA); which automatically applies additional braking force when and emergency situation is sensed (not available on GT).
The Q70 comes standard with front (x4) and rear (x4) acoustic parking sensors and hi-res rear view camera.
The Q70 incorporates what Infiniti have called it's Safety Shield (not available on the GT). It includes as standard, cruise control, lane departure warning, blind sport warning (located near to the front pillars and is bold and obvious when flashing) and distance control assist (DCA) (to maintain a constant following distance from the vehicle ahead travelling in the same lane and direction by accelerating or braking as appropriate), lane departure prevention, blind-spot intervention, forward emergency braking, predictive forward collision warning and backup collision intervention. Quite an extensive range of safety features that takes some of the worry out of driving as you can take comfort in knowing a range of safety concerns are being continually monitored by the vehicles warning systems.
The Infiniti Q70 has a very roomy interior with more than sufficient room to comfortably seat the driver and four passengers with ample leg and head room for the rear passengers. Rear passengers had a good forward view and an excellent view through the large side windows.
The black semi-aniline leather seats were very comfortable and the heated/ventilated driver and front seat passenger's seats could be adjusted electrically ten ways. The driver can store two seating positions in memory.
The driver is in easy reach of all controls and had good line of sight to all instrumentation. The dash instrumentation was an analogue and comprises a large single circular speedometer and tachometer and two smaller circular temperature and petrol gauges attached to the larger dials. The instruments were easy to read and of a good size. Contrast between the digits and the background were, at times, difficult to read in daylight because of the similarity between the colours. Centred between the larger dials was a smallish digital screen for on-board computer read-out. Basic information was available for display.
An 8" touch screen with push button / dial controller manages the navigation, climate control, telephone and general information/customise settings. The controls were intuitive and easy to use. The Multimedia Entertainment system powered the AM/FM radio and could handle input from a single CD/DVD, USB, Aux and Bluetooth®. Output was via a Bose® Premium Surround Sound system with 5.1-channel decoding, 16 speakers and engine harmonic cancellation technology. Small speakers sit on the right and left shoulders of both the driver and front passenger seats. The sound was crisp and clear with good bass, mid-range and high tones. An excellent and clear output across all volumes settings.
The centre console, dash and door inserts/trim was finished in a White Ash wood grain veneer and looked quite impressive. What's with the analogue clock in the centre of the console?
The steering wheel housed button activated volume controls, voice activation commands, telephone and active cruise. All were easy and intuitive to use.
The duel electronic climate control system provided excellent volumes of air, ran quietly (typically, it was very quiet at mid range operation but typically became increasingly louder when turned up to full throttle. It also had a good range between cold and hot. Heating or cooling kicked in quickly.
There is more than ample storage nooks and crannies for anything from maps, papers, books, bottle and all other paraphernalia that collects in a vehicle over the years. The boot can hold up to up to a good 350 litres (up to 500 litres for the GT and Sports Premium. The rear seat does not fold forward in the GT Premium because of the location of the battery.
Infiniti Q70 GT Premium Hybrid fits comfortably into the luxury vehicle category. It's smooth and comfortable to drive and you would not even know you were driving a hybrid if it wasn't for it's quietness. It has sufficient power and acceleration to suite most tastes and the Q70 comes standard with a host of safety features to put it up there amongst the best. We were surprised given it's a hybrid that fuel consumption was so high.
While a great looking vehicle with lots of internal room, in leather upholstery and with a luxurious finish.
* Prices are manufacturer list prices only, for the drive away price please contact your local authorised Infiniti dealer.
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