It's possible that Infiniti is the world's most underappreciated luxury brand. Take the 2017 Infiniti Q70S 5.6, for example. A roomy, comfortable, big luxury sedan with most of the bells and whistles you could hope for at a price that's easily competitive in the luxury segment. Yet it's allergic to the spotlight, with Infiniti selling roughly 5,500 per year the past couple years; by comparison, Mercedes-Benz sells that many E-Class sedans in a month.

It's hard to pinpoint a reason for this, because the Infiniti Q70 happens to be a pretty great luxury sport sedan. It looks terrific to start, with flowing lines that look right and modern despite being on the scene since 2013. Some credit goes to the restyled nose from a couple years ago that brings the Q70 into the modern Infiniti design language, but the fact is that the Q70 is just a nicely proportioned car, with only the silly "5.6" badge on the front fender marring the lines. Inside you'll find sweeping curves covered in high quality materials, super-comfortable heated and cooled seats, and stitched surfaces on the doors, dash, and center console. Put together and it all exceeds the expectations one has for a luxury sedan at this price point, and that's saying something.

V8 power

It can't possibly be the way the car drives, either. Under the hood of our Q70S is a V8 engine displacing 5.6 liters (thus the fender badge), and putting out 420 horsepower with an intensely satisfying growl. The 7-speed automatic routes output to the rear wheels, and the Q70S boasts a drive mode knob that allows you either add excitement (Sport) or reduce it (Eco). The nice thing is that it's an actual knob, not a toggle, so if you prefer staying in Eco all the time, you can simply leave it there, and not have to reset each time you start the car. This big Infiniti offers up a good driving position, with a nicely shaped wheel and old-school needles-and-dials gauges that are big and clear regardless of time of day. Behind the wheel are paddle shifters, with leather pads where your fingers touch; click them and the transmission responds quickly enough that it makes hustling the Q70S genuinely fun. Even the electrically assisted steering feels nicely weighted and provides good feedback.

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The problems with the Q70 have more to do with the march of time than anything else. Neither Nissan nor Infiniti offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility, although Nissan has acknowledged this shortcoming, so we expect Infiniti to get it, too. The active safety systems (active cruise, active lane keeping assist, and so on ) all work, but they're also more abrupt than we've come to expect from modern cars, and they wind up making the Q70 feel a step behind. The infotainment screen is on the small side by today's standards, and the interface feels dated as well, a problem exacerbated by the low-res backup and around-view cameras. There's only one USB input, although the sound quality from the Bose system was quite good. Other more minor quibbles include the so-so economy from the V8 (although that's to be expected) and things like the lack of a power trunk lid. Think about it too long and the Infiniti Q70 starts to feel old.

So, ignore it. The fundamentals are all there: it looks good, drives very well, and is comfortable and quiet. As for price, our test car was loaded with the exception of all-wheel drive, with a price of $72,720 as-tested. That's not cheap, but it is competitive against a similarly equipped Cadillac CTS V Sport, and notably less expensive than a V8-powered BMW 5 Series. If you're less interested in the latest tech, and more interested in a good driving experience, the Q70 deserves your attention.


 

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