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Review: 2018 Infiniti QX30

The Infiniti QX30 is not an Infiniti. It’s not even a Nissan product. It is a Mercedes disguised as an Infiniti, and that disguise is pretty well done, at least on the outside. One would think that any company that would take a Mercedes-Benz product and badge-engineer it as their own would have a winner on their hands, but that is not necessarily the case here.

The problem is that the QX30 is based on the Mercedes GLA. I have driven both the GLA 250 and the AMG GLA 45. The GLA 250 seemed unlike any Mercedes I have ever driven – it seemed cheap and econo-hatchback-like. I was smitten by the AMG version because it had a bonkers engine and it handled great. The big issue with the AMG GLA 45 is that this Subaru WRX STI-like car had a nutty price tag.

But how is the Infiniti QX30? How does it differ from the GLA? Did Infiniti improve on the dud Benz?

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2018 Infiniti Q50 RedSport 400: The Thinking Man’s Alfa Four Cheese?

It was damn near 100 degrees in Nashville, Tennessee last week when we were there to drive the newly redesigned 2018 Infiniti Q50. More than the heat, however, was the humidity. Some folks in attendance were okay with the humidity, but being that I live in the desert, it was borderline deadly. With a “feels like” temperature of almost 120 degrees, it was too hot for planes to take off from the airport, and my 7PM departure was delayed until 10PM because of that. If only American Airlines had a couple Q50 RedSport 400 engines to strap onto their planes, they’d have had more than enough power to take off, regardless of the heat index. There’s something about that turbocharged 3-liter V6 that makes it feel like it has much more power than the ratings might indicate. Certainly enough to power a flight loaded down with a couple hundred fat asses and all their luggage. 

In the interest of full disclosure, Infiniti flew me to Tennesee, put me up in a nice room, and fed me nice food. When heat completely jacked up flight schedules, their staff went out of their way to accommodate me. 

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Infiniti Q50S Red Sport 400 – Long name, lots of fun

I wound up using the word “fun” a lot after spending time with the Infiniti Q50S Red Sport 400. That’s because it’s a 400-horsepower rear-wheel-drive sedan that is game for most of the hijinks you’re going to want to throw its way.

It’s not all sunshine and lollipops though, as the drive-by-wire steering setup isn’t great and the gearbox needs some work. Still, there are many smiles and thumbs up to be had behind the wheel of the Red Sport.

This is a car that follows a similar path set by the Lexus GS-F. It’s not as mental as the offerings from Germany and America, but it splits the luxury sport difference and presents a pretty damn sweet middle ground.

[Disclaimer: Infiniti tossed us the keys to the Red Sport sedan and included a tank of fuel. I planned on begging forgiveness for roasting the tires, but the traction control wasn’t as loose as I’d hoped. Sorry?]

First Drive: 2017 Infiniti QX30

If you have a modern car company, you need to have a compact crossover in your lineup. Infiniti is ready to do battle with their own entry, which isn’t fully their own. It’s the 2017 Infiniti QX30 and it’s hiding Mercedes-Benz bits under its skin. It’s that very skin, however, that will help set it apart from the rest of the segment.

Can it stand on its own? Click play and find out.

[Disclaimer: Infiniti put me on a plane and flew me to Seattle where I stayed in a nice, new hotel. There was food and booze involved later in the evening.]

First Drive: 2016 Infiniti Q50S Red Sport 400

This car is incredibly important to Infiniti, as it’s the best selling vehicle for the brand… that means this updated version has to be good. Enter the 2016 Infiniti Q50S Red Sport 400.

It’s the version we recently got to sample, and that three-digit number at the end of the name relates to the amount of horsepower the engine is cranking out. It comes by way of the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine. The VQ is gone so say hello to the new VR Series of engines. You might miss some of the old noise but the new power levels and they way in which it’s all delivered is great.

This Q50 marks a return to the fun-to-drive G sedan and coupe we remember. It’s eager to spin its tires, get sideways, and have plenty of fun.

Here we get a First Drive taste of the car, stand by for a longer review in the coming weeks.

[Disclaimer: Infiniti wanted me to check out the new Red Sport 400, so it flew me to San Antonio and put me up in a hotel that used to be an old brewery. Food and drinks were had on the Infiniti dime as well.]

First Drive: 2016 Infiniti QX50

One of the main reasons you wouldn’t have purchased an Infiniti QX50 (Formerly the EX35), was that the rear-seat legroom bordered on cruel and unusual punishment. Fix that issue and you might just wind up with something enjoyable for those of us who actually like driving their cars and crossovers.  Infiniti did just that with the refreshed 2016 QX50, so we trekked down to San Diego to see how it stacks up.

Under the hood sits a 325-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 and it can send power out to the rear wheels or through an all-wheel-drive system, depending on which model you opt for. The performance is solid, the styling is lightly updated, and there is now room to sit in that second row.

Add in the value proposition for those shopping in the compact luxury crossover segment, and the QX50 might have just bought itself a few more useful years until it needs a full redesign.

[Disclaimer: Infiniti put us on a train and put us up in a San Diego hotel so we could sample the all-new QX50. I “sampled” some beers in the hotel later that night…]

Q70 Hybrid: A Review for Infiniti Naysayers

So I realised that I, at 34 years of age, had never driven an Infiniti. Like hangliding and menage-a-trois this was in danger of becoming another life box destined to be left unticked. No way was I going to let this happen.

The very helpful Infiniti representative was rather proud of their independence from Nissan, though It’s still hard to countenance this as fact. The car I was standing next to actually wears Nissan Fuga badges in Japan, where both cars are built in one factory. A Nissan factory. But who cares? What’s wrong with it being a Nissan? They’ve built some lovely cars over the years. And the Sunny. Truth is the fickle British public, though familiar by now with the 370Z and, of course, GT-R, still finds it hard to place the concept of a “Luxury” Nissan. Historically Nissan has never really bothered with UK imports of big, spangly sedans. The Laurel, 280c and 300c were only ever of minority interest over here, the Maxima never really caught on and the QX sold more on the value-for-money front than on desirability.

I was taken aback, then, when I visited the Tokyo Motor Show in 2007 to find a whole ‘nother world of swanky Nissans. America has known the Infiniti brand since 1991 and so “Nissan’s Lexus” is old news. But jumping into the cockpit of a Fuga in 2007 was a revelation to me when my view of Nissan broadly consisted a spectrum of shades of beige from Micra thru Primera. “This is awesome!” I thought, and “I want one” before necking another can of Pocari Sweat and moving onto the next show stand.

And here I am again with a Fuga, except this time it’s the current model and I have the keys.

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Review: 2014 Infiniti QX80 – Winter Test

2014 Infiniti QX80

For 2014 Infiniti’s biggest vehicle, like all other Infinitis, gets a name change: it goes from being QX56 to QX80. Other than that not much has changed from the QX56 I reviewed in 2012 or from the one Jeff reviewed in 2011. Except the weather – the weather has definitely changed. Whereas the two previous reviews were completed in mild temperatures, I drove this vehicle through two snowstorms and single digit temperatures on the scale that Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit invented.

To summarize our previous reviews, the big QX80 is an extremely comfortable full-size SUV. It has seating for seven or eight, if you opt for the free middle row bench seat, but I wouldn’t recommend that as the two captains’ thrones maybe one of the best in the industry. The power-folding third row seat offers space for three, but is a bit short on leg room. There is ton of trunk space, even with the third row up.

Thanks to Its optional magical Hydraulic Body Motion Control suspension, the QX handles surprisingly well and remain super smooth when it is empty or loaded with people and things. The 400hp V8 engine sounds fantastic and it is coupled to a 7-speed automatic transmission which always happens to be in the right gear. Being a proper utility vehicle, the QX can tow trailer weighting 8500 pounds. The side effect of all this space and utility is gas mileage that’s in the teens at best.

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Test Drive ANNLimited – 2007 Infiniti G37 Coupe Review

G37 Coupe used car review

I drove this car first on Saturday. The salesman wasn’t much fun. This car was at an Audi dealership, and I think he was more interested in selling RS8s to rich dudes than used Infinitis to young women. He didn’t know anything about the car and wasn’t that interested in it. But he also didn’t care if I drove it hard, so the drive had that going for it…

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Review: 2013 Infiniti FX50S

Infiniti offers four SUV/CUV vehicles: the which I found to be too small to be a proper family vehicle, the FX which we’ll look at now, the JX35 which is a great family vehicle with a not-so-great power-train, and the huge QX56 which is amazingly comfortable and handles surprisingly well.

My first experience with the FX was when in 2003 when I rented one in San Francisco. I was surprisingly smitten by the then new vehicle, complaining only about rear visibility and fuel economy. In the ten years since then the FX has undergone an evolutionary update, but does it still have what it takes to smitten me?

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