2015 Infiniti Q70L Quick Drive
You can thank China for the 2015 Infiniti Q70L. The big Infiniti luxury sedan isn't built there, but the new longer version of the Q70, with an extra 5.9 inches between the axles, exists because of demand for "executive" class cars in China, where being driven is a bigger status symbol than driving yourself.
Here in the good ol' I'll-Do-It-Myself States of 'Merica, that's not so much an issue. But rear legroom still is, and this Infiniti offers up tons of it, with nearly all of that extra space going to extending your feet in front of you, and dang, does this thing have a lot of rear leg room. What's odd is that, for an "executive" class car, it's short on the command-and-control extras one would normally associate with that status. You're still reliant on the driver for climate controls, audio choices, and even the rear sunshade. About the only thing you control are the heated seats. The seatbacks don't even recline.
New name for an old favorite
Still, the big rear seat is the defining characteristic of this particular Infiniti sedan, because otherwise it's the same car that was called an Infiniti M56 last year. It also gets a new nose and tail, plus additional sound deadening and active noise cancellation that really helps keep out road noise at speed. The 5.6-liter V8 in our test car put out more than enough power to cope with the 100 or so pounds the added length brings, and the 7-speed automatic sent power to the rear wheels without fuss. If you floor the gas pedal, you get a satisfying shove in the back and an equally satisfying growl from under the hood.
Dynamically, the steering feels natural and communicative, and even though the Q70L isn't exactly nimble thanks to the extra length, it's firm enough to take a corner quickly, while comfortable enough to cruise all day on the highway. Infiniti's Drive Mode Selector lets you pick between Snow, Eco, Normal and Sport modes, but turning it to Sport simply made the throttle touchy. Normal was fine, and the Eco mode makes the gas pedal actually resist being pushed too hard, the goal being to prevent lead-footed driving and save gas. Clever idea, but it feels odd, and fuel economy still hovered in the mid-teens.
Richly appointed interior
The interior is comfortable and nicely styled, with sensual curves, soft leather everywhere, and some really comfortable seats. We're not too turned on by the wood trim; it's embedded with actual silver to give it an upscale feel, but some thought it looked artificial. The Q70 shows its age though, thanks in part to the dated black-and-white information display between the primary gauges, and the old-school navigation display. There were other things, too, like the way the adaptive cruise control and active lane-keeping assist worked. They had a distinct last-generation feel to them, with the cruise control reacting slowly to traffic changes, and the lane-keeping assist bouncing between lane lines like the ball in a game of Pong. Newer systems from other manufacturers are notably smoother in their operation.
At just under $73,000 as equipped, the 2015 Infiniti Q70L slots between cars like the BMW 5 Series on the high end, and up-and-comers like Hyundai Equus and Kia K900 on the other end. We like the new look, it's satisfying to drive, and the additional rear seat room is wonderful. Still, there's no escaping that many of its competitors are either newer, or just feel more sophisticated overall. However, few of the Q70's competitors offer this kind of additional rear seat room. If you're looking for a big, comfortable, good-looking sedan -- and don't mind the occasional anachronism -- this Infiniti could be just the ticket.