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2003 Infiniti Q45 Sedan

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  • $61,600 original MSRP
Printable Version

2003 Infiniti Q45 Sedan

Printable Version

2003 Infiniti Q45 Sedan


2003 Infiniti Q45

Source: New Car Test Drive


The Infiniti Q45 is an outstanding value among performance luxury cars. Its powerful V8 engine delivers excellent performance and makes a wonderful growl. Like BMW and Mercedes cars, the Infiniti Q45 uses rear-wheel drive for better handling. It's balanced well for driving on twisting roads and it's very stable at high speeds. Its ride quality is firm yet sophisticated.

The Q was completely redesigned last year (for 2002). For 2003, the Q45 gets a number of refinements, including a numerically higher final-drive ratio for quicker acceleration.

More standard equipment has been added to both Q45 models this year. Heated front seats, puddle lamps, and a full-size spare tire are now standard on all 2003 Q45s. Premium models come standard with satellite radio and climate-controlled front seats.

Model Lineup

Infiniti Q45 comes with a 4.5-liter twin-cam V8 producing a very healthy 340 horsepower and 333 pounds-feet of torque. The transmission is a five-speed automatic with a manual shift mode.

For 2003, the Q45 is available in two trim levels: Luxury ($52,000) and Premium ($61,600). Both come with a high level of standard luxury and convenience features. All interior surfaces are covered in rich textured materials, including soft leather and genuine Bird’s Eye Maple wood.

The Luxury model comes with a long list of high-end electronics, including traction control (TCS), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), tire pressure monitors, high-intensity xenon headlights, and Voice Control for the climate control system. The eight-speaker, 300-watt Bose stereo includes a six-disc CD changer. Heated front seats and a full-size spare tire are now standard as well.

The Premium version adds an adjustable sports suspension, 18-inch titanium-color alloy wheels, 245/45VR18 tires, a power sunshade for the backlight (rear window) and manual sunshades for the rear windows, climate controlled front seats with heating and cooling functions and perforated leather inserts, DVD navigation with a seven-inch LCD display, satellite radio, heated power-reclining rear seats with memory, rear controls for audio and climate and rear climate vents in the B-pillars and front seatback grips. Also included are the RearView Monitor and Intelligent Cruise Control, features we will explain later on.

Options include chrome-finished 18-inch wheels ($1600). The navigation system is available on the Luxury model as a stand-alone option. The new Journey Package ($4,000) includes the navigation system, Intelligent Cruise Control and sunshades, plus 17-inch run-flat tires (eliminating the full-size spare).


The Infiniti Q45 has a presence that draws second looks, if not stares. We stopped in front of a hotel and porters were all over it. It's being promoted as a big car that feels small, but its styling says full-size luxury all the way. It's the same overall length as the previous-generation (2001) model, but slightly wider, taller and longer in wheelbase, increasing interior space from 97.4 to 102.1 cubic feet.

Huge headlamps make the Q especially distinctive from the front. There are 18 bulbs within two big sealed lenses shaped like right triangles with fat edges. The four largest bulbs are for high beams and parking. The other 14 are high-intensity xenon-fired low beams, seven highly visible bulbs on each side forming a circle like a Gatling gun.

Such a radical appearance brings radical expectations, the ability to turn night into day. Infiniti claims the Q45's lights are among the world's most powerful, twice as bright as those on the $73,000 Mercedes-Benz S-Class ("Warning: high voltage," declares the manual). Infiniti says the low beams are the industry's brightest, based on lumens (a measure of light intensity), and have a better dispersion pattern, providing long range illumination in a narrow beam, as well as wide-angle illumination in the foreground, making fog lamps unnecessary. (Most factory fog lamps are nearly worthless anyway.) The pattern of the low beams is designed to reduce glare to oncoming drivers by cutting the beam sharply on the left side. A switch on the dash allows the driver to adjust the angle of the headlights, a feature we liked. Four positions seemed like overkill, though; we either aimed them high for max visibility or low for traffic or fog (they do indeed eliminate the need for auxiliary fog lamps). The problem will be that it's easy to forget where the lights are aimed.

Overall, the front view of the Q presents a handsome shape, a sweep, as if the lines were poured on. No chrome. A wide-mouthed grille, fully but sparsely filled by four long horizontal titanium-colored slats, with a chrome Infiniti emblem in the center. A subtle front bumper and fascia includes natural-looking air intakes at the bottom.

The silhouette suggests the Chrysler Concorde, although Infiniti reps were slightly aghast when we suggested that. We think the rear end is clean and nice. You can see Nissan all over it: Altima or Maxima on a luxury scale, and a bit racier. The roof seems to have more rake when viewed from the rear.

The wheels are a nice touch, a confident statement, spidery six-spoke 17-inch alloys or more spidery eight-spoke 18s.

Interior Features

The Infiniti Q45's plush interior is swathed in Italian leather and warmed by Bird's Eye Maple burl wood. Lots of glass, including a large sunroof that comes standard, lightens the cabin by day. Cool, functional electroluminescent gauges come out at night.

The seats are luxurious, big and firm, with 10-way power adjustment including lumbar, great for long freeway trips. But there's not enough bolstering to keep you from sliding around during the type of cornering the car is capable of.

The console is massive, thanks mostly to the navigation system, using switchgear that's a combination of big black buttons and silvery dials. Big plush armrests and two sizes of concealed cup holders complement the big firm seats. There's a hatch under the center armrest for flat things, below which lies another deeper compartment.

Back-seat passengers are provided with plush armrests with cup holders. Side curtain airbags that deploy from the roof protect both the rear- and front-seat passengers. There's an optional power sunshade in the backlight (rear window).

Trunk space measures only 13.6 cubic feet, about two-thirds of what the Lexus LS430 offers.

The Q comes with a ton of interior features, some of them bordering on the fantastic. Infiniti put a lot of effort into making its navigation system more useful. Like most of these systems, however, there is a learning curve and it's extremely important to avoid letting yourself get distracted while driving. A quick reference guide is provided and Infiniti designed the system so you can't program it while the car is moving. You turn the display off by going into the settings menu, and selecting Display Off, but it would be easier if there was a button you could hit in one step. Infiniti's system features a cool, three-dimensional bird's-eye view, like looking down at an illustration of the ground from a hang glider. Like many navigation systems, it offers a choice of routes: shortest time, shortest distance, it can even point you to the nearest ferry, should you prefer to travel by sea. It will also tell you the location of the nearest ATM, hotel, restaurant or rest area. When running low on gas, it will ask you if you want it to find the nearest gas station, a feature we've found useful. The standard Vehicle Information System screen is a 5.8-inch unit, but that expands to 7.0 inches when you order the navigation system.

On Premium models, the navigation display also provides a view to the rear on the monitor. When you're in reverse, the screen shows where you're going, eyed by a tiny camera over the license plate. Unlike the video on shuttle buses, it's in living color. the backup lights aren't bright enough for the camera lens at night, and in the sunshine it's hard to see the screen. Still, it can be useful for spotting children on tricycles and other objects that you want to avoid.

The climate control system responds to voice commands. Press a button on the steering wheel, wait for the beep, tell the dashboard what you want, and a woman's voice replies in the perfectly efficient tone of a super-secretary, "Climate control temper-a-ture, six-tee seven degrees." We felt silly trying the use the system without knowing how. People begin to stare when they see you shouting commands at your car. The future will tell whether this becomes a desirable feature.

You can program all sorts of things to set themselves when you get in or out. The steering column lifts, the driver's seat adjusts, interior lights illuminate or delay, or not.

We liked the tire pressure sensor a lot. It doesn't identify which tire has which pressure, so it reveals the numbers (37, 38, 37, 36 on our car) in a column on the VIS screen, rather than in an intuitive rectangle.

Driving Impressions

Overall, the Infiniti Q45 represents an excellent effort that entirely succeeds with its engine performance and handling balance. We enjoyed plenty of seat time in both models, both of which offered distinction and character.

The ride quality is firm yet sophisticated. Compared to the previous generation, the latest Q45's four-wheel independent suspension features revised geometry up front, and a redesigned multi-link system in the rear that is lighter and has less friction. Infiniti claims somewhat hyperbolically that the Q45 feels like a car "half its size," and although the Premium model's handling was responsive (with its sport suspension and 18-inch wheels), we had little doubt of the car's size when we were cornering. Still, when you pitch this big baby it stays with you. It's easy to control when the tires squeal, and doesn't fight you for control. We found the speed-sensitive power-steering rate to be a bit insensitive, reacting slowly when the input was subtle, as on long curves.

In terms of ride quality, the suspension levels out the bumps really well on a straight road. But when the bumps get more complex, and come in turns, the suspension seems to dip at the corners and sides, and you get subtly rocked. This feeling could be from the limited seat bolstering, however.

The Premium model's adjustable suspension can be set in a Sport mode, but we couldn't feel much difference between the Normal and Sport modes when the driving was sporty. Normal mode was firm enough to be good in the twisties. But we did feel a big difference over sharp bumps. You don't want to be in Sport mode over potholes or at slow speeds. So we couldn't find much use for Sport. If Normal were softer, then both modes would be used.

Run-flat tires (17-inch only) are also available. Nissan says they can run 50 miles at 55 mph after a puncture. They might significantly change the feel of the ride, making it harsher, but this is speculation as we have not tried them out. Run-flat tires have very stiff sidewalls, bit tire makers continue to improve the ride quality.

The 340-horsepower engine really starts to kick ass at 3000 rpm. A computer (Electronic Torque-Demand Powertrain Control) keeps much from happening from a dead start, but at 3000 rpm it sets the engine loose. The mid-range response is great, with a whopping 333 pounds-feet of torque at 4000 rpm. This year's numerically higher 3.133:1 final-drive ratio makes the Q45 feel livelier still. The engine makes a wonderful growl, which you can mostly hear only with the window down. It is, after all, a luxury car.

On paper, the Q45 wins the power-to-weight race against the BMW 540i and Lexus LS 430. The Infiniti's 32-valve engine features continuously variable valve timing, a variable flow intake manifold, titanium valves, microfinished camshafts and crankshaft, and lightweight pistons.

The sweetest thing about the Q45 is its full-throttle upshifts at about 6500 rpm. The current model's five-speed automatic transmission is 50 pounds lighter than the four-speed it replaced, with the extra gear improving acceleration and fuel mileage. The new transmission is also designed to handle more power. On the downside, it shuddered on us at slow speeds, upshifting into second gear, as if it were confused by a throttle signal ("What does this guy want?"), which may have been the case.

The manual mode is to the right of the Bird's Eye Maple shift lever, and moves forward and back, engaging with a satisfying click. But "manual" is rarely if ever taken literally with transmission designer/programmers, and we found the program shifting more than we wanted it to, overriding our wishes and plans, so we pretty much stopped using it, and just let the transmission shift where it wanted to. It did fine, but we were disappointed that manual gear selection had been offered, then effectively taken away from us. We wanted to play more.

The four-wheel anti-lock vented disc brakes are big. The system includes Electronic Brake-force Distribution, which balances front and rear brake force depending on the load. Passengers and cargo upset the brake balance in any car, and EBD is designed to correct this, stopping the car quicker and more controllably. There's also Brake Assist, which reduces pedal effort under hard braking. It's a simple mechanical system that reduces pedal pressure during panic stops when ABS is activated, unlike the German electronic systems that take over your brake pedal, presuming to know better than you what you want your car to do. Infiniti says that during testing of the system, stopping distances were reduced by 10 percent to 15 percent, which can make the difference between hitting that rear bumper and not hitting it.

Vehicle Dynamic Control reduces power and applies the brakes at individual wheels when traction is lost at any wheel. We pushed the Q45 until the VDC corrected us, which it did subtly on a hard, sharp curve with loose gravel over pavement; we would have slid a few feet, but VDC caught the car. There's also a traction control system, which we liked better than the Mercedes system because it doesn't cut the throttle so radically or for so long.

Infiniti also offers Intelligent Cruise Control, which will maintain a set distance between your Q45 and the car ahead of you. Look ma, no feet. It works very well, but you still need to pay attention to your driving.


According to Infiniti, the Q45 represents a total revision and rethinking of the flagship performance luxury sedan. That's no small thing. Yet the Q45 delivers value and technical innovation in this highly competitive segment. Infiniti Q45 offers horsepower, technology, freshness, and styling. It's also an outstanding value in the performance luxury class.

Model Line Overview

Model lineup: Luxury ($52,000); Premium ($61,600)
Engines: 340-hp 4.5-liter dohc 32-valve V8
Transmissions: five-speed automatic with manual mode
Safety equipment (standard): dual front airbags, dual front side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags, ABS, electronic brake force distribution, Brake Assist, traction control
Safety equipment (optional): RearView Monitor
Basic warranty: 4 years/60,000 miles
Assembled in: Tochigi, Japan

Specifications As Tested

Model tested (MSRP): Infiniti Q45 Premium ($61,600)
Standard equipment: automatic dual-zone air conditioning with outside temperature display, air filtration system, remote keyless entry, automatic entry/exit system, illuminated entry/exit fade-out system, first-aid kit, xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps, analog clock, power sunroof, 300-watt Bose AM/FM/cassette sound system with dash-mounted six-disc CD changer, 10-way power driver's seat, perforated leather seating surfaces, climate control for front seats, wood trim, pre-wiring for cellular phone, tire pressure monitor, power windows with express up/down, leather-wrapped steering wheel with wood trim and audio controls, dual power heated mirrors with memory and automatic reverse tilt, full-size spare tire, DVD-based navigation system, satellite radio, power rear window sunshade with rear control switch and manual rear door window sunshades, active damping suspension with driver-selectable sport mode, 18-inch alloy wheels with speed-rated tires, RearView video monitor, reclining rear seats, power rear entry assist and cancel, rear seat audio and climate controls, rear B-Pillar face vents
Options as tested (MSRP): splash guards ($130)
Destination charge: ($545)
Gas guzzler tax: N/A
Price as tested (MSRP): $62,275
Layout: rear-wheel drive
Engine: 4.5-liter dohc 32-valve V8
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 340 @ 6400
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 333 @ 4000
Transmission: five-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy: 17/25 mpg
Wheelbase: 113.0 in.
Length/width/height: 199.6/72.6/58.7 in.
Track, f/r: 62.6/61.8 in.
Turning circle: 36.1 ft.
Seating capacity: 5
Head/hip/leg room, f: 38.4/56.5/44.0 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m: N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r: 36.4/55.0/37.3 in.
Trunk volume: 13.6 cu. ft.
Payload: N/A
Towing capacity: N/A
Suspension, f: independent
Suspension, r: independent
Ground clearance: 5.8 in.
Curb weight: 3977 lbs.
Tires: P245/45VR18
Brakes, f/r: disc/disc with ABS, EBD, Brake Assist
Fuel capacity: 21.4 gal.

Unless otherwise indicated, specifications refer to test vehicle.
All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices (MSRP) effective as of November 15, 2002.
Prices do not include manufacturer's destination and delivery charges.

N/A: Information not available or not applicable.
Manufacturer Info Sources: 1-800-NISSAN-1 - www.thenewq.com

Copyright © 1994-2003 New Car Test Drive, Inc. 

Printable Version

2003 Infiniti Q45 Sedan

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Std
Active Suspension System Std
Tire Pressure Monitoring System Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Std
Side Head Air Bag Std
Rear Head side Air Bag Std

Road Visibility

HID Headlights Std
Electrochromic Rearview Mirror Std
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Accident Prevention

Back-Up Camera Std


Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2003 Infiniti Q45 Sedan

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 4 Years/60,000 Miles
Drivetrain 6 Years/70,000 Miles
Corrosion 7 Years/Unlimited Miles
Roadside Assistance 4 Years/60,000 Miles

Infiniti Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

Infiniti Certified Pre-Owned 6 year/100,000 mile limited warranty from the original in-service date of the vehicle. Includes free CARFAX® vehicle history report with a 3 year Buy Back Guarantee (no-registration required), emergency roadside assistance for the duration of the 6 year / 100,000 mile limited warranty, complimentary service loan car, towing coverage, rental car assistance and trip interruption benefits.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 4 model years or newer & less than 60,000 miles.
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection 167 point comprehensive Certified Pre-Owned Inspection and reconditioning. Inspection includes OEM service bulletins and recalls, diagnostic trouble codes, powertrain/chassis, body frame, road test, interior and body exterior.
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes for the duration of the 6 year/100,000 mile limited warranty from the original in-service date of the vehicle.
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty No/Yes with the purchase of the CPO Wrap Coverage at time of sale. Fee to transfer unknown at this time = more than likely a fee will apply and it will be estimated $50.
Warranty Deductible $50 per claim

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2003 Infiniti Q45 Sedan

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