2015 Infiniti Q70 2.2D RWD Auto Sport Tech review – Good Enough To Take on the Competition?

Infiniti Q70?

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The Q70 receives an update for 2015. Still a fairly niche market in the UK and Europe, and touted as a luxury sports saloon by Infiniti, its rivals include big names like the BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF, Audi A6, Volvo S80 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. That’s some seriously tough competition right there, so can it compete? I was sent the 2015 Infiniti Q70 2.2D RWD Auto Sport Tech to test and find out…

Exterior. Butt-ugly or beauty?

 

Front view of the 2015 Infiniti Q70 Auto Sport Tech

The Q70 is a handsome car – no denying that and the luxury sports saloon description is fair enough. Take a look at the front end – it emanates class, with chiselled, angular lines, and sportiness via the low front lip, big chrome-edged grille, angry headlights and the running and fog lights sitting aside claw-like trim inserts. Quite bellicose, all said.

Check out the bonnet, and you’ll see the shoulder-like uprights provide a hunched, action-ready appearance. Front the front the Q70 is absolutely eye-catching, no doubt about that.

2015 Infiniti Q70 2.2D Sport Tech headlights

Something many cars fall foul of is that they’re dull as a brown paper bag from a side profile. However, the Infiniti Q70 shows beautifully flowing lines, and a roofline which swoops gracefully down to the boot lid and rear. The Sport Tech version I tested comes with 20-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels, which suit the Q70 perfectly and further enhance the combination of luxury/sporty appearance.

rear view of the 2015 Infiniti Q70 2.2D RWD Auto Sport Tech review-0166

The Q70’s rear is just as interesting and nicely-styled as the front, and there’s clearly been a lot of love gone into the design of it. The rear shoulders sitting atop the rear wings give the Infiniti an athletic mien, while huge rear lights shine out cool J-shapes when lit.

With that slippery-looking body, you’d assume the Q70 is aerodynamic and you’d be correct, as it has only between a 0.26 and 0.28 drag coefficient figure, depending on the spec you choose.

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Overall, the Infiniti Q70 looks like a car you don’t want to mess with. Its styling and stance gives the impression that its acceleration will rip up the tarmac and leave the everyday saloon flailing in its wake. Great, but how does it look after its occupants?

Interior. Neat or nothing special?

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The first things I noticed as I sat in the driver’s seat was just how comfortable it is and supple the leather feels. It’s like settling into a welcoming, familiar armchair at home – something to look forward to at the end of a hard dat at the office.

All Q70’s come standard with 10-way adjustment for the front passenger and driver seats, and they’re also heated and ventilated too. Impressive stuff, considering it starts at just over £33,000.

2015 Infiniti Q70 2.2D RWD Auto Sport Tech front leather seats

The same comfort can be said of the rear side seats too, which are notably deep and cushioned. The middle one is awful though, and more suitable as a temporary seat rather than one for long journeys. I also liked that on all but the base Premium model you get a heated steering wheel as standard – great for those cold winter months.

2015 Infiniti Q70 2.2D RWD Auto Sport Tech review rear leather seats

Clearly, Infiniti has gone to lengths in making sure high quality materials are used around the cabin. However, the high-shine piano black trim scuffs and marks ridiculously easily, and even while using a super-soft detailing microfibre cloth leaves behind fine-but-noticable scratches. Perhaps a heavy-duty lacquer over the finish would impede these better.

Actually, the white Ash wood trim with silver powder finish looks considerably nicer and more classy, but it’s only available on the Q70 Premium and Premium Tech models for whatever reason. That’s the one I’d want, and Infiniti should at least offer it as an option on the Sport and Sport Tech versions it sells. Bizarre not to.

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While the majority of trim is well finished, there are some areas where I believe it falls short of the mark both in quality and how it’s been thought out. Especially so when considering the Sport Tech model I drove is just below £39,000 without options.

interior dashboard 2015 Infiniti Q70 2.2D RWD Auto Sport Tech

The vent surrounds for instance, look like they’re made from budget plastics, and the storage box situated between the front seats for the rear passengers was loose when closed. Also, when you open the lid of the rear armrest it recesses into the seats, and it’s difficult to pull down again as there’s no handle to do so.

Infiniti prides itself on attention to details, and yet things like the above let the cabin down – I’d certainly expect better if I was paying almost £40k for a car.

Much like the Infiniti QX70, I found the centre console to be overly-heavy with controller buttons, switches, and knobs. Simple is better, and much like the Volvo centre console there are just too many, which can be distracting whilst driving. There are silly things that could be improved on too. Why, for instance, can you press the touchscreen, use scroller wheel in front of it, the directional buttons on the scroller wheel, plus the steering wheel mounted controls, all to do the same thing in scrolling through the touchscreen menus and sat-nav directions? Bizarre, and unnecessary surely.

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Actually, I thought the high-mounted controls on the centre console were a great idea as they’re easy to get at and large enough to see what you want easily – it’s just the rest below those that need de-cluttering. The driver’s instrument dials aren’t anything exciting, but they’re simply laid-out and easy to read. A positive are the large buttons either side of the binnacle, which allow you to scroll through the display between the dials, as well as adjust the brightness. Too often, you’re scrabbling for these on cars as they’re hidden away or awkward to get to, so well done Infiniti for doing it right.

Bose speakers built into the seats 2015 Infiniti Q70 Sport Tech

The rev counter and speedometer are analogue with a simplistic and and clear design which I like However, the small display between them looks well outdated with its black and white colouring and blocky graphics. The multimedia touchscreen system works well though, and with the Visibility Pack – (standard on the Premium Tech and Sport Tech models) it provides excellent vision and parking aids both forward and back, as it comes with a 360˚ Around View Monitor, corner parking sensors, moving object detection and parking guidance (I’ll talk about that in the drive section).

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Infiniti’s satellite navigation system is fairly easy to use, and has some handy features, but the graphics are well outmoded now – rather off-putting in an executive-type car like this, and surely they could’ve put a new nav system in when they updated the car? The Q70 Sport Tech gets a Bose 5.1 Premium Surround Sound package, which includes 16 speakers (four of which are in the front seats) and Engine Harmonic Cancellation.

boot luggage trunk space on the 2015 Infiniti Q70 2.2D RWD Auto Sport Tech

I used the Q70 for a short self-catering holiday with three others, and every litre of boot space was well and truly used. With just 450 litres, personally I don’t think it has enough, and if we’d be gong for a week or two more space would have been needed, which the Infiniti didn’t have. The Q70 with the 3.7 V6 engine gets 50 litres more, but the Hybrid loses a whole one hundred litres, taking it to 350.

In comparison, the Audi A6 Saloon has 530 litres, the Jaguar XF up to 540, the BMW 5 Series Saloon 510, 480 in the Volvo S80 and 490 in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Engine & transmission

The Q70 comes with a choice of three powerplants: a 3.7 litre V6 petrol, a 3.5 litre v6 petrol-electric hybrid and the version I tested; a 2.2 litre turbo-diesel.

Driving the rear wheels, the 2.2D is a 4-cylinder inline, 16-valve engine producing 168 bhp between 3,200 and 4,200 rpm, as well as 295 lb ft (400Nm) of torque between 1,600 and 2,800 rpm. Mated to this is an electronically-controlled 7-speed automatic transmission with ‘driver-learning algorithm’.

0 to 62 mph is undertaken in 8.9 seconds, and it will go on to a 137 miles-per-hour top speed. Official UK mpg stats are: urban: 47.9, extra urban: 64.2, combined: 57.6, withy 129 g/km CO2 emissions.

Fuel economy information screen 2015 Infiniti Q70 2.2D Sport Tech

Realistically, average fuel readings I got over the test period are as follows: on a short six-mile journey I drive regularly, which takes in a mix of 30 and 40 mph zones through winding small urban roads, T-junctions, a few roundabouts, and a mile straight, with reasonably light traffic, I managed a rather staggering 57 miles-per-gallon average.

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On a motorway run over sixty miles or so, the Q70 2.2D returned a reasonable 46.3 mpg, but the car was laden with four adults and a boot absolutely packed to bursting. That’s rather reason economy I believe, and if it was just a driver in the car, I believe that figure would lift to around 50 mpg.

Ready to roll? Let’s drive!

Up to now, the Infiniti has been okay. Interior? Not bad, need a bit of improvement here and there. Fuel economy? Rather good, actually. However, I wouldn’t buy the Q70 with the 2.2D engine, and here’s why; it’s noisy.

The first time I started it, I was only sat for a minute before I drove away, so I put it down to perhaps it would be quieter once warmed up. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. At standstill, it’s almost cringe-worthily agricultural, producing a clattery, unrefined noise, and when the stop-start system kicks in, it’s a relief that the 2.2 diesel has stopped. It’s not how loud the engine is, but how coarse it sounds; like an old-school 4-cylinder diesel. When you go to move off again and the engine fires back into life, it does so with a rather unlikeable, lumpy jolt.

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Once you’re moving along at a steady speed and the Q70 2.2D settles into a higher gear and the revs lower, the diesel engine is actually fairly quiet. However, even with all the windows up, as I accelerated from a standstill up the steep, winding North Yorkshire roads, the clattery 4-pot became way too obvious once more.

That sort of unrefined noisiness is simply not acceptable on a luxury saloon, and if you put it next to a rival like the Jaguar XF 2.2 I4 turbo-diesel, there’s simply no comparison in noise or refinement levels, and the Jag beats it hands-down. I disliked the Q70’s 2.2D noise so much that I’m recommending you try either the petrol or hybrid versions instead.

Right, onto the performance side of things. There’s bags of low-down grunt produced from the 2.2D, and it’s noticeably torquey at the bottom end of the rev range, and it delivers in a smooth-but-strong way when you want to accelerate past traffic from slower speeds. The power is spread nicely across the rev range too, and the needle climbs the rpm gauge in a light and slick manner.

Steering wheel shifter 2015 Infiniti Q70 2.2D RWD Auto Sport Tech review

I don’t really get on with Infiniti’s 7-speed automatic transmission, and found the same issues as the one in the QX70 I reviewed previously. The trouble is, the ‘driver-learning algorithm’ system just isn’t quick enough to react to the input from your right foot under certain circumstances.

For example, say you’re travelling along a section of road where not many changes are needed, but then you come to a steep, winding hill or much higher speed limit and you floor the accelerator, instead of the Q70 quickly dropping a couple of gears, it will annoyingly sit in the same gear and labour the engine. After what seems like ages, it will decide to change down, but it’s absolutely not a quick enough system. And before you argue it’s sluggish ‘because it needs time to adapt’, the Range Rover uses a similar system – except there’s no issue with that one.

Thankfully, you can click the gear lever into sports mode and either use it to shift up and down, or put the paddle shifters to use. Something I noticed when in manual mode though, was that under hard acceleration, for whatever reason the gearbox will choose to completely ignore your up-changes, and will sit in the same gear until it decides the time is right to react to your command.

So, instead of being able to ride a wave of satisfying low-down torque by changing early, the Q70 will ignore you and change only when the revs have climbed high. Extremely bizarre, and it entirely takes away the fact you even have a ‘manual’ mode.

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If you’re cruising about gently, the 7-speed auto seems fine, but all the above makes for rather erratic changes when you want to speed up and even the down-changes felt lumpy and obvious when slowing for roundabouts etc from higher speeds. Overall then, you’ll have gathered it’s not a nice gearbox to work with.

The Q70 sits nicely when cruising at motorway speeds, and you can cover good distances with ease, especially taking into account those comfortable seats. I’m kinda sick of saying this but there’s yet another however here. I believe the huge 20-inch alloys are to blame here, but the road noise is much, much higher than I expected from the Infiniti Q70.

Quoting from the press release; “Infiniti engineers have added noise insulation materials, increased the sealing, and stiffened the wheels, resulting in a reduction of road noise on urban roads [and] the isolation feel at highway speeds on the long wheelbase version is a class-leading 77%”. That may be the case, but I found road noise coming into the Q70 Sport Tech’s cabin to be way above what I’d expect from a luxury car. Again, the rather lovely-looking 20″ wheels are likely to blame for this, and the 18″ versions may rid much of the unwanted road noise.

Something I did notice was than on a motorway run in lashing rain, the Q70 wouldn’t allow me to set the Distance Control Assist cruise control, and even once it had gone but the roads were wet it still refused to allow cruise – on the journey home in the dry it worked fine, though. Either that’s a clever safety feature, or the sensors simply couldn’t read the road because of the spray.

Alloy wheels 2015 Infiniti Q70 Sport Tech

The low-speed ride is pretty good, and the suspension setup is a good mix of sporty and decently silky, but again those 20-inch alloy wheels and low profile tyres take away from it, making it feel firmer than it would with a set of the 18s fitted.

With the Q70, Infiniti pride itself offering a luxury car that provides a dynamic drive too, and actually the Q70 Sport Tech handles rather well. The Q70s engine is pushed back so it sits behind the front axle, helping to give the car a advantageous 55/45 front-rear balance. As with the QX70, I found the Q70 provides a fun, lively drive when you want it, and pushing the car hard down my familiar favourite road, I was surprised by how well it handles itself around higher-speed bends, and it really seems to relish tackling them.

The Q70 Sport Tech 2.2D hides its hefty 1,896 kilogram (4,180 lbs) kerb weight exceptionally well, and there’s a confidence-inspiring planted feeling as you push quickly into the curves. Rather than rolling and squirming about, the Q70 Sport Tech chassis feels taut and satisfyingly sorted for such a big car. Kudos to Infiniti for that.

On the issue of safety tech, the Q70 Sport Tech is absolutely packed with the stuff. Prepare for a lengthy read here, as it has: 6 airbags, 4-wheel hill-start assist, ABS, EBD, TCS, VDC, Dynamic Safety Shield (DSS) pack which includes Intelligent Cruise Control (ICC), Low-Speed Following (LSF),  Blind Spot Warning (BSW) and Blind Spot Intervention, Distance Control Assist (DCA), Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) and an Around View Monitor (AVM) with moving object detection. That’s an impressive amount of kit right there!

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While I found the Around View Monitor system to be excellent – especially for parking in tight spaces or seeing past high walls at blind T-junctions – Infiniti really need to overhaul the utterly awful parking guidance system, which takes an absolute age to figure out how to use, and is so over-complex that I gave up trying to put it to use in the end. It’s not a self-park system, just ‘assists’, which I don’t get really.

Unfortunately, overall the Q70 2.2D Sport Tech is just too much of a mixed bag for my liking. Sure, it handles and goes well enough, and the fuel economy is good, but there are simply too many negatives going against it for it to compete again rivals of the same price: the 7-speed automatic transmission is sluggish to learn and adapt, it bizarrely ignores ‘manual’ changes, and you can down-changes feel lumpy when you’re slowing to a stop.

The there’s the overly-noisy, diesel engine that sounds so unrefined it’s almost agricultural both at a standstill and on the move, a ride which is too firm on the 20″ rims, and because of those big wheels and wide tyres, there’s way too much road noise penetrating into the cabin.

Price

The Infiniti Q70 ranges from £33,400 to £47,350, and the test car I was sent came in at a shade under £39,000 (but £40.5k with options). Does it feel worth it? Yes and no. Yes, because you get a fairly decent amount of kit as standard, and overall the interior and build quality is high, but no if you take into consideration the rackety diesel, road noise and weird auto transmission of the 2.2D I was sent.

Similarly-priced rivals include the BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF, Audi A6, Volvo S80 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. If you’re looking at buying only diesel, the rivals should tempt you more than the Infiniti.

2015 Infiniti Q70 2.2D RWD Auto Sport Tech verdict & score

Overall, the Infiniti Q70 2.2D Sport Tech is a real mixed bag. I absolutely love the exterior design of the car, and it’s certainly one of the best-looking luxury saloons on the market currently.

The interior is well-appointed and refined in many areas, with superbly comfortable seating front and rearm made from soft, sumptuous leather, a high level of spec inside, and an overall feeling that you’re getting a good level of quality for your money.

Open door 2015 Infiniti Q70 2.2D RWD Auto Sport Tech review

But there are still areas that need improving in the cabin such as some trim quality that fall short of the mark, and the sat nav graphics are outdated by today’s standards, and there’s also the boot space which loses out to rivals.

The 2.2 litre turbo-diesel engine smoothly delivers good torque and power, and is surprisingly frugal on fuel for such a heavy car. The Q70 Sport Tech also handles well too, and I found it was a real pleasure to push it hard around my favourite twisting country roads.

Here’s where things go dramatically downhill for the Q70 2.2D though. I really dislike the horribly unrefined racket from the diesel engine, and the fact the transmission is pretty much awful unless you’re cruising about gently. The ride is too firm on the 20-inch alloys, and considering this is meant to be a luxury car, the amount of road noise from the big, low-profile tyres is far too invasive at higher speeds.

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I seem to have really torn a strip off the Q70 2.2D, but I’m only being honest with my findings. Besides that, it thoroughly deserves it, because it disappointed me massively when I so absolutely and genuinely wanted it to be a great car, and there’s lots of potential for it to be just that. Rivals like the Jag XF diesel utterly trounce it on the points in the previous paragraph though, and I honestly can’t see why you’d have the diesel Q70 above that or other rivals.

If you’re set on a Q70 for its individuality, good looks or whatever else, do yourself a big favour and test either the petrol or hybrid version on 18-inch alloys.

Do you own a 2014> Infiniti Q70, or have questions about it? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below! Read more of our Infiniti reviews here.

Exterior  9
Interior  7
Engine  5
Gearbox  4
Price  6
Handling  8
Ride  6
Overall Score  6.5 / 10 

Specs

Model (as tested) 2015 Infiniti Q70 2.2D RWD Auto Sport Tech
Spec includes   20″ alloy wheels, premium leather seating, heated & ventilated front seats, 16-speaker Bose Premium Surround Sound system with Engine Harmonic Cancellation tech, Bluetooth, USB/iPod and Aux-in, Forest Air system with air purifier, Around-View Monitor, Active Trace Control, ABS, EBD, TCS, VDC and more See website for more detail
Options you should spec  18″ alloys wheels
The Competition  BMW 5 SeriesJaguar XF, Audi A6Volvo S80 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Price  (Nov. ’15) £33,400 to £47,350
Engine  2.2 litre turbo-diesel, 4-cylinder (inline), 16-valve, DOHC
Power, Torque  Engine: Power: 168 bhp @ 3,200 – 4,200 rpm | Torque: 295 lb ft (400Nm) @ 1,600 and 2,800 rpm
Drive, Transmission (as tested)  Rear wheel drive | 7-speed automatic
Boot capacity  450 litres
Top Speed, 0 – 60 mph, Euro NCAP  Max speed: 137 mph | 0 – 60 mph: 8.9 seconds | Euro NCAP rating: Not tested
Fuel economy (UK mpg), CO2  Urban: 47.9, Extra urban: 64.2, Combined: 57.6 | CO2: 129 g/km
Weight (Min. kerb) 1,896 kilogram (4,180 lbs)
Websites  Infiniti UK, Infiniti USA, Infiniti global

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies, Matthew Davies

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