Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: April 4, 2016
Some cars are meant to be driven, and some are meant to be driven in. So when someone asks, “who in the world buys a long-wheelbase luxury sedan?” It’s the people who think legroom in the back seat actually matters. And it is not just Americans that adore them, even China loves the wealth of extra interior space, revering them as status symbols: the bigger the better.
In Canada, there are only a select few luxury sedans that do offer this prized wheelbase stretch: BMW 750Li, Audi A8L, and the Jaguar XJL just to name a few. But these executive cars cost well over $100,000, leaving the middle class with nothing more than a knee-scraping back seat.
Infiniti seems to have a solution. Back in 2014, they introduced the Q70L to the North American market, filling an unusual void in the automotive sector: spacious rear accommodation at a relatively low price. The Q70L is essentially a standard mid-size Q70 sedan with an extra 150 mm added to rear seat kneeroom. It may not seem like a lot, but to the rear passenger, 150 mm (around the length of an iPhone 6 Plus) makes a world of a difference.
In total, the Q70L offers 1,062 mm of rear seat legroom, which is 92 mm more than the Kia K900, 74 mm more than the BMW 750i, 77 mm more than the Hyundai Equus, and also 36 mm more than the brand new Cadillac CT6. In fact, I am six feet tall and I can sit back there, cross my legs and not even come close to hitting the front seat. It’s that spacious.
The big news for 2016 however lies under the hood. For the Canadian market, the Q70L used to only come with one engine flavour: the massive and gas guzzling 5.6-litre V8 producing 416 hp and 414 lb-ft. This year, Infiniti has fitted their smaller 3.7-litre V6 engine as standard equipment, but is it enough to get this 1,885 kg yacht up and going?
In truth, the new V6 engine has ample acceleration and provides incredibly smooth power delivery, but it’s sluggish and you really do feel the weight under you. The Q70L weighs around 133 kg more than the standard length Q70, so it’s not exactly what you would call breathtaking get-and-go speeds. In fact, below 4,000 rpm the V6 falls below expectations, but once the needle swings past that threshold, the engine wakes up and gives quite the sucker punch.
You never feel like the Q70L is dragging you down, but you will struggle to get up to speed in the same fashion as the bigger V8. Be that as it may, the V6 application will suit any driver, just as long as they refrain from any police chasing antics. If you are into that kind of thing, the V8 is still available for an extra $4,500.
Despite the well-insulated cabin (thanks to active noise cancellation and better seals), a bit of the V6 howl does seep into the cabin, which I really enjoy. It’s a nostalgic and unique pitch from Infiniti’s V6s that we’ve experienced through and through in other examples such as the QX50 and G37.
Mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive, the Q70L can comfortably and confidently plows through rough weather terrain, but the most notable feature is its suspension. The Q70L has been tuned for comfort, and the elongated wheelbase helps soak up more bumps as well for a floatier and more majestic ride than the standard Q70.
Cosmetically, the Q70 has already been given a refresh for the 2015 model year, and nothing has changed for 2016. Hermosa Blue stands as one of our favourite blue shades in the segment, matched with the well-proportioned 20-inch tires. Sporting a long hood with muscular shoulders, the Q70L looks both menacing and assertive on the road.
Most people I talked to commonly confused it with the smaller Q50, but who can blame them? They both share common elements such as the arched grille and squinty headlights. Even the stretched out wheelbase has been cleverly integrated behind the B-pillar, resulting in a sleek and tailored look without appearing like a stretched-out limo.
For such a value oriented vehicle, it is not surprising that the Q70L’s rear cabin is not as special as a BMW 750i or Jaguar XJ. There is no armrest control center like the Kia K900 either, or even side window sunshades, only a rear one that is exclusively controlled from the driver’s seat.
Rear passengers are however treated to lovely heated seats with a high and low setting, and a generous amount of head and legroom but that’s about it. No HVAC controls, USB plug (only a power outlet), or a reclining seat. Yet when being chauffeured around town, it never bothered us, as we turned our attention to the soft semi aniline leather caressing our bottoms. We also loved the soft close doors (rear doors only) and Bose speakers perched on each of the front seat’s shoulders, creating that premium surround sound experience.
The rest of the interior feels all too familiar: huge font-sized gauges flanked by a 90’s looking screen, analog clock, and waterfall dash littered with buttons. On the bright side, the Q70L comes fully loaded right off the bat with its $64,300 base price, including safety equipment such as blind spot warning, lane departure warning, intelligent cruise control, and distance control assist. These features in your rivaling BMW would cost you an extra kidney.
And that is what makes the Q70L so appealing. The value that it represents versus the luxury sedan status quo is phenomenal. Though certain areas are in dire need of refreshment such as the interior design and tech, the Q70L stands its ground with classy looks and impressive rear seat accommodation.
While the long-wheelbase Q70L certainly won’t gain as much appeal in Canada as it will overseas in Asia, we are confident that it will win some customers over with value-oriented mid-level luxury. It doesn’t hurt to be in the driver’s seat either. The optional V8 engine is more rewarding to drive, but the smaller V6 fits the role just fine. Either way, you can’t go wrong with a rear seat stretch. Sometimes, bigger is better.
型号 Model: 2016 Infiniti Q70L AWD
顏色 Paint Type: Hermosa Blue Pearl
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $64,300
試車售價 Price as Tested: $64,300
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 3,051
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,131 / 1,845 / 1,515
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,885
引擎 Engine: 3.7-litre V6
最大馬力 Horsepower: 330 hp @ 7,000 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 270 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 7-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway ) L/100km: 13.2 / 10.2
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 11.9
輪胎尺碼 Tires: Pirelli Sottozero; 245/40R20