Dif­fer­ent Some­thing a lit­tle

Virtuozity - - Automobiles -

Sit­ting in the driver’s seat of the black In­finiti Q70, I don’t really have time to take in the neat in­te­rior. My eyes are con­stantly be­ing drawn to the flow­ing curves out be­yond the wind­screen ahead of me.

Per­haps it’s a spe­cial Ja­panese trick to keep my eyes on the road, but ei­ther way it works, as it’s hard to look away from those 911es­que wing tops.

On the out­side, the Q70 swerves cur­rent con­ven­tion, go­ing for rounded edges, rather than the flat pan­els and strong creases the lux­ury sa­loon in­dus­try de­sign lan­guage is fol­low­ing at the mo­ment.

The front is ag­gres­sive and nicely styled with the afore­men­tioned wings ris­ing up above the bon­net.

At the rear, how­ever, it’s fairly plain and re­minds me of pretty much ev­ery other Ja­panese four-door sa­loon. It’s as if all the de­sign fo­cus was on the front and the in­te­rior, with noth­ing left for the rear. Take off the badges and you’d be hard-pressed to know what it was. The rear lets down the lovely nose, but it’s cer­tainly dif­fer­ent, and so I sup­pose that’s refreshing in this world­wide mar­ket of same­same sa­loons.

In­side, you know you are in a Ja­panese car, but that’s no bad thing. The dash is split by a for­ward slop­ing step, sep­a­rat­ing the screen and dash top from the rest of the con­trols. It’s a break from the ver­ti­cal set up of ev­ery­thing else, yet re­mains us­able, so that’s a def­i­nite plus point.

The mon­i­tor fea­tures ‘Around View’, with Mov­ing Ob­ject De­tec­tion and Front and Rear Sonar Sys­tem. This gives you a sim­u­lated 360-de­gree view from above, show­ing you clearly the ob­jects de­tected around your car.

The view is amaz­ingly clear and really handy in tight spots. The sys­tem will even alert you to mov­ing ob­jects around you. All very clever.

The leather seats fea­ture 10-way power ad­just­ment, in­clud­ing two-way lum­bar sup­port. The back is roomy and com­fort­able for two and be­yond that there’s a de­cent sized boot, as you’d ex­pect in this seg­ment.

Power comes from a 5.6-litre DOHC en­gine with In­finiti’s Con­tin­u­ously Vari­able Valve Tim­ing Con­trol Sys­tem (CVTCS) to op­ti­mise the open­ing of both the in­take and ex­haust valves.

The en­gine pro­duces 402 hp and 550 Nm of torque, so it tends to have the power avail­able when you need it, but sur­pris­ingly doesn’t punch you in the back in do­ing so. It seems to have been tuned for end­less pro­gres­sion, as op­posed to out­right, neck-snap­ping power.

This is con­nected to a seven-speed au­to­matic with Adap­tive Shift Con­trol (ASC), driv­ing the rear wheels. There’s also a man­ual shift mode offering se­quen­tially se­lectable man­ual gearshifts and down­shift rev match­ing.

Out on the road the Q70 fits like your favourite coat. You find your­self for­get­ting about the driv­ing it­self and en­joy­ing the jour-

ney. Surely that’s the sign of a good lux­ury sa­loon. This isn’t a driver’s car and doesn’t pre­tend to be. There’s lit­tle feed­back from the steer­ing, but that trans­lates into an easy-to­drive car. It’s all about smooth and re­laxed progress in the Q70, and a chance to enjoy the lux­u­ri­ous in­te­rior.

The In­finiti Drive Mode Se­lec­tor does spice things up a bit al­low­ing you to se­lect from Stan­dard, Eco or Sport driv­ing modes, which ad­just throt­tle sen­si­tiv­ity and trans­mis­sion map­ping.

With such a big en­gine and a non-ag­gres­sive set up, this makes it per­fect for long-dis­tance jour­neys and kilo­me­tre-de­stroy­ing progress. Ba­si­cally, you don’t need sports car re­sponse from some­thing that’s built to cruise.

The In­finiti Q70 isn’t the first thing that pops into my head when think­ing of a lux­ury sa­loon, but hav­ing driven it, it cer­tainly should. With the big Ger­man brands dom­i­nat­ing this seg­ment, the Ja­panese need to shout a lit­tle louder to be heard. If they do that, and peo­ple get be­hind the wheel, they’ll soon re­alise there’s more to lux­ury mo­tor­ing than just the big three.

The Q70 is dif­fer­ent, clever and feels good to drive, and in a mar­ket of peo­ple all buy­ing the same cars, this one makes you look twice. It doesn’t feel as ‘en­gi­neered’ as some of its ri­vals, but it is cer­tainly fin­ished with the same at­ten­tion to de­tail.

Some­times it’s good to be dif­fer­ent.

Cadil­lac has an­nounced a project in which its all-new lux­ury cross­over, the XT5, will de­but at venues around the world in part­ner­ship with ac­claimed fash­ion de­sign­ers Pub­lic School. At a pri­vate kick­off event, Pub­lic School an­nounced it would de­but its Pre-fall col­lec­tion on the runway in Dubai,

The Q70’s styling is refreshing in the face of its ri­vals.

En­gine Power/torque Top speed DOHC 24-valve 3.7-litre V6 330 bhp @ 7,000rpm / 366 Nm @ 5,200rpm 240 kph

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