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2017 INFINITI Q70 Hybrid Overview
Combining luxury and style with decent fuel economy and low emissions, Infiniti’s 2017 Q70 Hybrid 5-passenger midsize sedan will again reflect many of the best attributes of its non-hybrid Q70 siblings as it stands poised to enter its fourth year on the market. Unfortunately, this high-end hybrid suffers from an aging though undeniably stylish profile, along with a number of outmoded interior features. And there's no sign of a major redesign in the foreseeable future--in fact, there are no hints of any changes whatsoever for the upcoming year, though this hopefully means Infiniti will keep the Q70 Hybrid’s attractive MSRP.
The Q70 Hybrid is actually one of three variations in a Q70 lineup that also includes the Q70 and the Q70L extended-length version. The L and Hybrid are each listed as distinct trim levels, with the hybrid edition employing Infiniti’s Direct Response Hybrid System.
Look for the Q70 Hybrid to pack a 302-hp V6 engine and a 50kW electric motor that together put out a total of 360 hp to the rear wheels. A dual-clutch arrangement works alongside the standard 7-speed automatic transmission to allow V6 and electric motor to run in tandem, putting out 258 lb-ft of peak torque. This means that the Q70 Hybrid will smoothly transition from engine power to electric power and back and can cruise at up to 62 mph on electric power alone. Judicious use of the electric motor can get you up to 1.2 miles of all-electric driving; Infiniti claims test results show this hybrid sedan operates on electric power alone nearly 50 percent of the time in mixed driving conditions.
At the heart of this gas/electric system is a lithium-ion battery array that can stash up to 400 volts of DC current. Regenerative braking and the V6 provide battery recharging on the fly, leading to EPA mileage numbers of 29 mpg city/34 highway/31 combined, not to mention a few zillion less carbon molecules in the air. As impressive as these figures may be for the Q70 Hybrid, however, Mercedes-Benz’s E250 with its BlueTEC 2.1-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel powerplant gets an even better 28/42/33 with rear-wheel drive.
It’s interesting to note here that Nissan, Infiniti’s parent company, has announced it will shortly team up with its Nissan Arc subsidiary to explore ways of boosting the power of its lithium-ion batteries. The automaker claims that these state-of-the-art batteries have twice the power of the old nickel-metal hydride batteries still used in certain other models.
The gas/electric system aboard the Q70 Hybrid obviously requires a little more monitoring for optimum efficiency than do more conventional engines. To that effect, the hybrid version boasts a 7-inch IT screen displaying battery charging, voltage metering, and other necessary information to the driver. Better yet, driver information can be interfaced with the Infiniti navigation system for a simulcast display via an 8-inch touchscreen mounted on the Q70 Hybrid’s center stack.
Outside, the Q70 displays a handsome visage, with a large, aggressive grille dominating a form-fitting front fascia. A sporty rear fascia features an integrated deck-lid spoiler, while chrome-clad dual rear pipes show a serious approach to the commute. Bearing in mind that this gas/electric sedan outweighs its non-hybrid Q70 siblings by a considerable margin, the Q70 Hybrid also packs a set of heavy-duty shock absorbers you won’t find on the other models.
A further peek inside the Q70 Hybrid’s cabin reveals all the bells and whistles midsize luxury sedan owners would expect, including full power accessories, heated power-adjustable front seats, memory for driver settings (audio, seats, steering wheel), automatic climate control, and Bluetooth hands-free communications.
Despite the available features, two noteworthy disappointments in the Q70 Hybrid’s cabin are the standard leatherette seats and the absence of Android Auto or Apple CarPlay smartphone capability with the otherwise fully capable Infiniti Connection infotainment system. Leather seats come optional, which is somewhat of a letdown in a premium-priced sedan, and there is currently no indication Android Auto and/or Apple CarPlay will be added for 2017. Thinking positively, Nissan’s 2017 Maxima family sedan is slated to get Apple CarPlay, so there may be hope that Infiniti will soon follow suit.
While trunk space in the non-hybrid Q70 lineup is an impressive 14.9 cubic feet, the hybrid variant offers only 11.3 cubic feet due to the bulky battery pack mounted underneath.
In addition to the mandated safety equipment that’s currently standard aboard all U.S.-made cars, Infiniti’s Q70 Hybrid comes with active front head restraints, turn-signal-integrated mirrors, front fog/driving lights, and a remote antitheft alarm. Available safety features include adaptive cruise control, forward and reverse automatic emergency braking, an Around View monitor (360-degree camera setup), and a helpful Approaching vehicle Sound system (vSp). The vSp feature allows the Q70 Hybrid, which runs silently in all-electric mode, to automatically emit a variety of warning sounds when moving at slow speeds. These warning sounds stop when the vehicle goes faster than 16 mph and resume when its speed drops again.
Giving credit where it’s due, the current Q70 Hybrid is among the safest automobiles out there, as proven by nearly flawless safety scores on both government and insurance-industry safety tests. The current Q70 lineup, including the hybrid version, was even awarded a best-possible grade of Good on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s small-overlap frontal-offset test, a distinction unequaled by most rivals.
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