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2016 Infiniti Q70 review: Name change aside, an aging luxury muscle car

If there’s one thing Infiniti/Nissan seems to nail consistently, it’s powertrains: The Q70 is as smooth as it is quick.

If there’s one thing the company seems to struggle with, though, it’s the steering -- the wheel starts off numb and never seems to build weight no matter how far you turn it. Is this something I was hyper-attuned to because my prior ride was a Lancer Evolution? Maybe.

Interiors haven’t progressed much in the past few years. The swoopy, flowing shapes still hold up respectably, but the aluminum interior trim (part of a pricey $3,300 package) frankly looks cheap.

Overall, the Q70 is something of a mixed bag. All the right luxury/performance elements are there, except for steering feel, but they’re not well integrated into a distinctive, passion-inducing package. How to fix it? Not sure. But another confusing nomenclature shake-up is definitely not the answer.

The powertrain in the Q70 is super smooth except when trying to take off quickly from a stop. There has to be some happy medium between the Mercedes split-second lag, and this Infiniti, which flicks off the line like a mousetrap, tossing your body back into the seat. It happens more in sport mode, but with these luxury full-sizers, I like to be able to take off fast, but smoothly.

Once it gets going, the Q70 is fast and shifts have just the right amount of shove. Using the gear selector to shift, changes crack off just slower than a dual-clutch transmission. It is in the wrong, "up-is-upshift" format, though. Normal downshifts are quick and come with a half-press of the throttle, making passing maneuvers easy. This Nissan/Infiniti V8 sounds good, too.

The Q70 is sprung softly, and absorbs almost all bumps with soft thud in the cabin, but there was a little shake, or something, in the steering wheel. By the seat of your pants though, no problems.

The steering has a decent weight to it, but there’s not very much feel, especially with that shimmy. And that’s fine -- this is a sedan that’s made to eat up expressway miles, not carve corners. It doesn’t seem to bounce around on bumps either -- it just plows through them.

Published: Tuesday, April 19, 2016

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