2015 Infiniti Q70

Formerly known as the M, Infiniti's Q70 midsize sedan doesn't always get the consideration it deserves from luxury shoppers. That's a shame, as the Q70's mix of athletic handling, powerful engines, refined interior ambiance and comprehensive technology makes it an appealing option, especially for those who prioritize a sporty driving experience.

Notably, the Q70 is offered with an efficient and surprisingly quick hybrid powertrain in addition to conventional V6 and V8 engines.

Recent Changes
Infiniti has given the Q70 a mild facelift for the latest model year. Up front, the changes are limited to subtly reshaped headlights with LED accents in addition to a new "double arch" grille with a wave mesh finish. Revised bumpers adorn both the front and rear, while more fluid LED taillights - joined by a chrome strip and topped by a flattened trunklid - round out the exterior updates.

In addition to the facelift, the Q70 is joined by a long-wheelbase model called Q70L.

Overview
Infiniti spliced a healthy amount of sports car into the Q70's DNA, and those wild genes manifest themselves in numerous ways that set the sedan apart from the competition.

Outside, the Q70's sheetmetal is flowing and organic, yet there's something muscular and slightly menacing about the sharply creased hood and upswept fender peaks.

Engine choices include a pair of potent traditional mills: a 3.7-liter V6 that makes 330 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque, and a 5.6-liter V8 that ups the ante to 420 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque. The six provides rapid acceleration, while the eight dials up the pace even further. Both pair with a quick-shifting seven-speed automatic gearbox that sends power to the rear wheels; for those living in northern climates, winter-beating all-wheel-drive is available as an option.

While their performance credentials are strong, both engines come up a bit short when it comes to mileage. At a time when many rivals return 30 mpg or better on the highway, the V6 is rated at 26 mpg on the highway as well as 18 mpg in the city. Predictably, the V8 fares worse at 16/24 city/highway mpg. Adding AWD makes matters even worse.

For those concerned about fuel consumption, Infiniti offers the Q70 in gasoline-electric hybrid form. It uses a 3.5-liter V6 that teams up with an electric motor and a seven-speed auto to return a respectable 27/32 mpg. And with 360 horsepower, the setup slots between the standard V6 and V8 models in terms of output, although it's worth noting that AWD isn't available as it detracts from the hybrid's fuel-sipping mission.

Regardless of what's under the hood, the Q70 boasts a buttoned-down chassis that's tuned for quick, confident responses and a playful feel on curvy roads. An available sport package with a tightened suspension, upgraded brakes and four-wheel-steering (RWD models only) makes the sedan even more agile, albeit at the cost of a ride that some will find to be uncomfortably firm.

The Inside Story
For all of its sports car attributes, the Q70 is still very much a luxury model, as reflected by its spacious and cosseting cabin. The exterior's curvaceous, sinewy lines are echoed inside, while the quality of the leather and wood (or optional aluminum) trim is top-notch.

In direct contrast to most comparable models, the Q70 does without a complex infotainment system that incorporates all navigation, stereo and climate control functions into a single knob. This means that there's no need to spend hours with the owner's manual figuring out how to change radio stations, although on the flip side, the dashboard is somewhat button-intensive.

Passengers will find ample room in the backseat, while the trunk is capable of swallowing 14.9 cubic feet of cargo. Because of the space consumed by the battery pack, stowage capacity dips to 11.3 cubes for the hybrid.

A wide range of premium features can spec'd, with highlights including a navigation system with real-time traffic and weather updates, a 16-speaker Bose premium audio system, adaptive cruise control and heated/ventilated seats. A plethora of advanced safety technologies are also available (full description below).

Standard and Optional Features
The entry-level Q70 V6 is fitted as standard with leather upholstery, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated and power-adjustable front seats, a rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, a six-speaker AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM stereo with AUX and USB inputs, foglights, auto on/off bi-xenon headlights, power-folding heated and auto-dimming mirrors, automatic wipers, a power soft-closing trunk lid and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The Q70 hybrid brings the more efficient powertrain in addition to a model-specific instrument cluster and dashboard display screen.

The Q70 V8 builds off the V6 with a navigation system, heated/ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel rear parking sensors and a 10-speaker Bose audio system. Notably, all of the V8's extra goodies are available on the V6 and hybrid as part of the optional Premium Package.

Other options (all of which require the Premium Package) including the Deluxe Touring Package with upgraded leather upholstery and interior trim, an air purifier and a 16-speaker Bose audio system; and the Technology Package, which includes a forward collision warning system, a blind-spot warning system, a lane departure warning and prevention system, adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights and an Eco Pedal that limits throttle inputs to save fuel (it can be switched off for more rapid progress).

Offered as a stand-alone option on the V6 and V8 is the Sport Package. For RWD models, it adds a sport-tuned suspension, upgraded brakes, summer tires mounted on 20-inch rims, four-wheel active steering, sports seats and steering wheel, and a model-specific bodykit. AWD models do without the summer tires and four-wheel steering.

Long-Wheelbase Q70L
The Q70L offers a 5.9-inch longer wheelbase than the standard model, resulting in an extra-spacious rear seat with best-in-class knee room of 32.4 inches. Passengers in the back also benefit from niceties such as auto-close doors, heated seats, reading lights and a 12-volt power outlet.

The Q70L is available with either a V6 or a V8, and each engine can be ordered with rear- or all-wheel drive.

V6-powered models come standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, a temporary spare tire, automatic headlights, green-tinted windows, chrome door handles, auto-dimming door mirrors, a sliding moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, soft-close rear doors, leatherette upholstery, heated 10-way power-adjustable front seats, a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a HomeLink transceiver, real Japanese Ash wood trim, a six-speaker audio system, cruise control, a dual-zone climate control system and remote keyless entry.

V8-powered models add full leather upholstery, cooled front seats, a 10-speaker Bose audio system, an in-dash DVD player, Bluetooth audio streaming and a hard drive-based navigation system with voice commands.

The list of options includes 20-inch alloys, sport brakes, a more aggressive front fascia, a suede-like headliner, additional soft-touch surfaces in the cabin, a power rear sunshade and intelligent cruise control. Buyers can also order a number of electronic driving aids including a Blind Spot Monitoring System and a Lane Departure Warning System.

Occupant Safety
All Q70 models come standard with dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.

More safety gear can be added by springing for the Technology Package. It includes a forward collision warning system, which alerts the driver to potential collisions and can apply the brakes to avoid or mitigate the severity of a crash; lane departure warning and prevention, which provides a warning when the Q70 wanders into an adjacent lane, and can apply mild braking inputs to get the sedan back into the proper lane; and a blind-spot warning system.

The list of optional high-tech driving aids includes Forward Emergency Braking, Backup Collision Intervention and Predictive Forward Collision Warning. The latter, first introduced on the Q50, can detect potential crashes up to two vehicles ahead.

Key Competitors
Thinking about taking home a new Q70? Before you sign on the dotted line, you may want to consider similarly performance-focused luxury sedans like the Lexus GS, Jaguar XF and Audi A6/S6.

If it's the Q70 hybrid that you're thinking about, the Lexus GS 450h is a worthy rival. Diesel models like the BMW 535d and Mercedes-Benz E250 BlueTEC, which return 30 and 34 mpg combined, respectively, also merit a look.