Infiniti had high hopes with the Q45. As one of the first two models from the company, it was a luxury vehicle designed to directly compete against European cars in the same class. For almost two decades, the car tried its best to be recognized as a legitimate alternate to the likes of Mercedes and BMW. There were highlights spread few and far between. For the bigger part, its shaky history however tells a story of a car that simply wasn’t effective in capturing the hearts of buyers. Whether it’s due to poor designing, planning, or marketing, the Infiniti Q45 is one of those cars that definitely could’ve done better under the right circumstances.
First generation (1990-1996): Definition of
The Infiniti Q45 debuted in 1990. Modeled after the Nissan President, it was a rear-wheel drive car powered by a hefty 278 horsepower, V8 engine. In some ways, the Q45 it was a mash-up of the good qualities of its competitors. The car also featured looks and amenities worth mentioning. The body seems similar to the sleek looks of a Jaguar. Handling was great and stiff enough similar to that of a Mercedes. With help from an Italian furniture consultant, luxurious ingredients were added to it: leather seats, power steering wheels, mirrors and mirrors, computerized controls, and a keyless entry system to name a few.
The overall makeup of the car was undoubtedly great. It transported luxury cars into a new phase. The Q45’s initial look could certainly send its competitors straight to the drawing board. However, because of obscure advertising, and the low credibility of the up-and-coming Infiniti name, the car wasn’t able to attract many buyers.
Second generation (1997-2001): Infiniti’s new approach
Despite being a great car, the Q45 hasn’t been a success in a marketing perspective. What Infiniti did was to change the car itself and hopefully appeal better to buyers. To do this, second-generation Q45s had major upgrades on the looks, style, comfort, and luxury department—somewhat based on the Nissan Cima. 17-inch rims, HID lights, and power-heated mirrors are some of the upgrades outside. Inside, the car was dressed with leather seats, an improved stereo system, navigation system, and wooden trims.
Rather than achieving a balanced car, the new Q45 leaned towards the side of luxury. Engine and mechanical upgrades were almost forgotten. The powerhouse became smaller and less powerful. Handling was negatively affected with a new suspension system that focused on comfort. To nobody’s surprise—except for the heads at Infiniti—the car still failed to attract more buyers to be a success.
Third generation (2002-2006): Too late to compete
The last Q45 returned to its roots and achieved a good balance between luxury and power. Features included leather interior, navigation system, sensors, and various electronics. Its 340 horsepower V8, though another step down, was a big leap compared to the engines of its competition. The ride was also smooth, quiet and comfortable. This is another great car that pleased critics.
Sadly, it was too late for the Q45 to make an impact. Sales continued to plummet because of bad advertising. The inevitable discontinuation of the Infiniti Q45 happened in 2006.