2002 Infiniti Q45
Click image to enlarge

Test Drive:
2002 Infiniti Q45

by Harry Pegg
Photos by Laurance Yap

I once had a racing instructor who said you talk to a car in three ways: with the steering wheel, the brake pedal and the accelerator. “It does not understand oh, sh-t!” he said.

Well, Pierre, I just spent some time with a car that may not understand that particular phrase, but it does take verbal orders…and responds in a female voice. How’s THAT for unusual?

The car is the 2002 Infiniti Q45…a classy, elegant package wrapped around a core of hard, no-nonsense muscle – and it talks Pierre’s version of car-speak eloquently.

This is the Infiniti flagship and while it sails along the highway quietly and smoothly, it is certainly no big ‘boat’. There’s a surprising sense of fun lurking in this vehicle, just waiting to be invited to play a little.

2002 Infiniti Q45
Click image to enlarge

The new third-generation Q is wider than the previous edition and the wheelbase is longer, although over-all length is unchanged at 199.6 inches. Styling is elegant with just a hint that the beauty might be more than skin deep. And those headlights! Night driving is rarely this illuminating. The large, multi-lens projector high intensity discharge (HID) headlights feature seven individual lenses and a free-surface reflector to produce a wide beam of light that lets you see what’s ahead well up the road. Infiniti claims it’s the most powerful headlight system in the world and they might be right.

Inside, the Q carries it’s passengers in high style – everything is covered in rich textures including leather and wood. Infiniti makes a rather surprising statement about the interior. Rather than trumpeting it as a five-passenger sedan, the company says the roomy space is really ‘personal four-seater’.

2002 Infiniti Q45

2002 Infiniti Q45
Click image to enlarge

The driver slides into an ultra-supportive heated leather seat, hands gripping a wood and leather steering wheel. Twist the short-blade electronic key and the large round instruments light up and the Vehicle Information System screen mounted high on the centre stack comes to life. The 5.8-inch VIS screen provides information ranging from climate control and maintenance updates to vehicle settings such as headlight delay, audio settings, navigation display, vehicle electronic systems, language and keyless remote response.

Then, of course, there’s that voice-recognition system, developed with Visteon, which controls the 300-watt Bose audio system and climate controls. Without arguing. But you have to ask nice. Okay. That’s the tuxedo. What about the muscle?

Under the hood lurks a 4.5 litre V8 that puts out 340 horsepower (up from 266) at your beck-and-call. And it answers the call with enthusiasm, drawing on its 333 ft. lb. of torque across a relatively flat rev band. Stomp on the gas pedal and you’re in for a surprise as the big sedan leaps ahead as the new five-speed automatic transmission works swiftly, but smoothly, through the gears. If you like to make the changes yourself, there’s a manual-shift mode to play with.

Corners? Hey, go for it. The Q sticks to the road like it was glued there thanks to a stiffer structure, new suspension and standard vehicle dynamic control (VSC). The front suspension has a new geometry and 5% weight reduction while the new multi-link rear setup is adapted from the Nissan Skyline performance sedan. Rear shocks and springs have been separated to reduce friction by about 40%. If you need to call a sudden halt to all the fun, the four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and brake force distribution will haul you down to a snail’s pace faster than you can say “Who, me, officer?”

If I had the necessary 73 big ones to spend, I’d join the Q queue. No question.

Technical Data:
2002 Infiniti Q45 Luxury

Base price (LX) $73,000
Type 4-door, 5 passenger full-size luxury sedan
Layout longitudinal front engine/rear-wheel-drive
Engine 34.5 litre V8, DOHC, 32 valves
Horsepower 340 @ 6400 rpm
Torque 333 ft-lb. @ 4000 rpm
Transmission 5-speed adaptive automatic
Curb weight 1724 kg (3801 lb.)
Wheelbase 2870 mm (113.0 in.)
Length 5069 mm (199.6 in.)
Width 1844 mm (72.6 in.)
Height 1491 mm (58.7 in.)
Trunk space 385 litres (13.6 cu. ft.)
Fuel consumption City: 13.6 l/100 km (21 mpg)
  Hwy: 8.8 l/100 km (32 mpg)
Warranty 4 yrs/80,000 km
Powertrain warranty 5 yrs/100,000 km

Standard equipment: 4.5-L V8 engine, five-speed automatic transmission with manual mode, viscous limited-slip differential, four-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS and brake force distribution, dual front second-generation airbags, front-seat mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags front and rear, vehicle dynamic control system, traction control, anti-theft system, immobilizer key system, active head restraint system (front), anti-dazzle rearview mirrors, auto on/off headlamps, independent multi-link rear suspension, power heated outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, leather seating surfaces, 10-way power driver seat with two-position memory, 8-way power passenger seat, heated seats, wood/leather steering wheel, power tilt/telescope steering column, cruise control, automatic climate control, power door locks, power windows with one-touch control, power tilt/slide glass sunroof, keyless remote entry system, driver information system (trip computer, etc.), HomeLink system in sunvisor, dual vanity mirrors, voice recognition system, 300-watt AM/FM Bose audio system with cassette and glovebox-mounted 6-disc CD changer, steering wheel mounted audio controls, multi-lens HID xenon headlights, 17-inch 6-spoke alloy wheels, block heater, shift interlock, speed sensitive power steering, full-size spare with matching alloy wheel, intermittent vehicle-speed sensitive windshield wipers, 5.8-inch LCD multi-function display screen, analogue clock, three power outlets, remote releases for fuel lid and trunk, power-operated rear window sunshade, manually-operated rear side window sunshades, cargo net, rear door child safety locks.

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