As part of Infiniti's rebranding, familiar names are being jettisoned for a supposedly more simplified naming structure. Hence, last year's M37 and M56 become the 2014 Infiniti Q70, offered in five trims including a powerful V6, potent V8 and surprisingly quick hybrid, along with two all-wheel-drive (AWD) trims. Name changes aside, the Q70 is one very imposing luxury sport sedan. Far from being a simple Audi or BMW knockoff, the Q70's unique combination of style, performance and technology makes for a truly enjoyable driving machine.

Inside, the Q70 wraps its occupants in traditional Infiniti luxury amenities, including a long list of standard items that cost extra on many of the Q70's competitors. A back-up camera, Intelligent Key keyless entry and start, and heated front seats all grace even the most basic model, and there are several attractive option packages.

About the only gripe we can find with the 2014 Q70 is the lackluster choice of exterior colors that border on various shades of black, white or silver, without a vivid red or a brilliant blue in the bunch. A car this exciting shouldn't be dressed in such a dull wardrobe.

What's New for 2014?

A new name marks the major change for the 2014 Infiniti Q70.

What We Like

Elegant styling; lovely interior design; lots of high-tech features; good fuel economy in hybrid models

What We Don't

High prices and poor fuel economy in V8 models; narrow front seats; lackluster color choices

How Much?

$50,405-$75,405

Fuel Economy

The base Q70 3.7 is powered by a smooth and lively 3.7-liter V6, good for 330 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. In the hybrid model, an older 3.5-liter version of this engine is mated to a 50-kW electric motor. The hybrid's combined output is slightly better than the standard V6, producing 360 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The Q70 5.6 uses a powerful 5.6-liter V8, good for 420 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque. All but the hybrid can be equipped with Infiniti's Intelligent All-Wheel Drive. Similarly, all Q70s use the same 7-speed automatic transmission, which features manual shift control and Downshift Rev Matching. The transmission also comes with the Infiniti Drive Mode program, which offers four handling settings: normal, economy, sport and snow.

Fuel economy for the Q70 3.7 is rated at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, while the AWD version gets 17 mpg city/24 mpg hwy. The Q70 Hybrid moves those figures up to a very impressive 27 mpg city/32 mpg hwy. The V8-powered Q70 5.6 goes in the opposite direction: The rear-wheel-drive model delivers 16 mpg city/24 mpg hwy, and the AWD gets 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

There are five trims in the 2014 Q70 line: Q70 3.7, Q70 3.7 AWD, Q70 5.6, Q70 5.6 AWD and Q70 Hybrid.

The Q70 3.7 ($50,405) brings 18-inch alloy wheels, HID headlights, a power glass moonroof, front fog lights, Intelligent Key with push-button start and remote window control, power-folding heated side mirrors with tilt-down feature, rain-sensing wipers, an auto trunk closer, leather seating surfaces, 10-way power driver and passenger seats, heated front seats, AM/FM/CD stereo with six speakers, iPod and USB interface, Active Noise Control, Bluetooth, a power tilt-telescopic steering wheel, a rearview monitor, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control and rear console-mounted heat vents.

The Q70 3.7 AWD ($52,555) has the same content as the 3.7 plus Infiniti's Intelligent All-Wheel Drive.

The Q70 Hybrid ($56,455) adds a hybrid electric/gasoline engine and the same standard content as the 3.7.

The Q70 5.6 ($62,905) adds climate-controlled front seats, Infiniti voice-activated navigation, a Bose 10-speaker audio system, Infiniti Connections telematics, a rear sonar system and a heated steering wheel.

The Q70 5.6 AWD ($73,405) has the same content as the 5.6 plus Infiniti's Intelligent All-Wheel Drive.

Options packages for the 3.7 trims include the Premium Package that brings navigation, Bose Premium audio, climate-controlled front seats, a heated steering wheel and a rear sonar system. The Sport Touring Package adds the 16-speaker Bose Studio Surround system, the Forest Air air-purification system (it detects foul odors or noxious fumes and closes the system to outside air, then recirculates air through a Plasmacluster purifier, at which point the clean air is pumped through the cabin at various speeds, simulating a gentle outdoor breeze) and a power rear sunshade.

Available on all trims is the Technology Package that brings Blind Spot Warning and Blind Spot Intervention, Lane Departure Warning and Prevention, Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist, Forward Collision Warning and Adaptive Front Lighting. The Deluxe Touring Package brings semi-aniline leather seating, a Bose Studio surround system and premium soft-touch features with enhanced wood and leather trim. Finally, a Sport Package includes 20-in wheels, magnesium paddle shifters, sport brakes, sport suspension and a sport steering wheel.

Safety

Infiniti equips the Q70 with standard traction and stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes and a tire-pressure monitoring system. The passenger compartment is protected by front, front-side impact and front- and rear-side curtain airbags.

The Q70 is so well-constructed that it earned a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Q70 can be equipped with numerous features designed to aid the driver, all of them bundled with the Technology Package. Topping the list is Intelligent Cruise Control, a system that uses radar to keep a safe distance between the Q70 and the traffic ahead. The Lane Departure Warning and Prevention system alerts the driver when the car is crossing out of its lane and will even nudge the vehicle back over if the driver isn't paying attention. Blind spot Intervention warns of cars in the driver's blind spot, and Adaptive Front Lighting turns the headlights in the direction that the vehicle is steering.

Behind the Wheel

We drove all three models. The V8-powered Q70 5.6 is the one for power junkies, but we also found the V6 and hybrid models more than sufficient in acceleration and passing. The Q70 is a marvelous driving machine, striking the correct balance between a comfortable ride and adept handling. The Sport Touring Package's taut suspension and active rear steering push the Q70 into BMW territory. The 20-in wheels and tires and the firmer suspension, however, turn the Q70 into a car that enthusiasts will love, but luxury-oriented buyers will likely find too harsh.

The 7-speed transmission can be a real buzzkill at times. In automatic mode, we found it slow to downshift, sometimes seeming as though it were taking its time trying to figure out the best gear for the rpm. We prefer the manual mode for aggressive driving.

Other Cars to Consider

Audi A6 -- The A6 may be the only car with a more elegant interior than the Q70, but its base 2.0-liter turbo engine can't match the Infiniti's V6 for hp or torque, and nothing comes close to the 5.6's V8 power.

BMW 5 Series -- The 6-cylinder 5 Series costs a bit more than the Q70, but it's not as powerful or roomy. We also like the Q70's interior design and layout better than that of the 5 Series.

Hyundai Equus -- The Equus is the surprise player here. Although it doesn't carry the lofty brand image portrayed by Infiniti, you get similar power and fuel economy pound for pound, with more passenger and cargo volume. But the Equus isn't available with AWD.

AutoTrader's Advice

Driving purists with big bank accounts will likely insist on the Q70 5.6 with the Sport Touring Package, and who could blame them? For the rest of us who are looking for good performance in an elegant package that spoils its owner, we'd go for the Q70 Hybrid. The hybrid has all the comforts of the stock Q70, sacrificing only some trunk space for the battery pack. With the hybrid, you get the same performance as the gasoline-only V6, plus better fuel economy.

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