In late 1989, the Infiniti Division of Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A. turned the automotive world upside down with the arrival of the original Infiniti Q45 -- a design that took the word "compromise" out of the luxury sedan lexicon by establishing a true balance of performance and luxury, indulgence and value, and innovation and reliability. For 1997, Infiniti promises to do the same in the growing luxury sport utility vehicle (LSUV) segment with the debut of another aptly named "Q" -- the Infiniti QX4.
The all-new QX4 offers a unique combination of style, strength and advanced engineering, including the exceptional performance of its advanced All-Mode 4WD™ system, at a price targeted at under $40,000.
And, as befitting an Infiniti, the QX4 comes fully equipped with leather-appointed interior, Bose® audio system, wood-tone trim and other luxury accoutrements, as well as 16-inch alloy wheels, integrated side step rails, V6 engine, ABS, dual air bags and the unmatched level of customer service and support known as The Total Ownership Experience®.
"The new QX4 is absolutely the right vehicle for today's growing sport utility marketplace," said Tom Eastwood, vice president, Infiniti Division. "It offers the luxury appointments that our customers demand, along with the versatility and durability of a state-of-the-art sport utility. With its unique styling, sophisticated All-Mode 4WD and long list of standard features for under $40,000, the QX4 instantly makes Infiniti the new benchmark in the LSUV segment."
And while the majority of current sport utility vehicles have evolved from truck platforms, the new QX4 was conceived and created as a true luxury vehicle -- with the ride, feel, features and performance of an Infiniti, yet with the added versatility and all-season/all-terrain security of a next generation SUV.
Key to the design of the QX4 is the combination of "refined but strong" systems, including MonoFrame™ body construction (which draws from both unibody automotive design and body-on-frame truck design to produce a hybrid that combines the best elements of both), laser-etched Durasteel® body, comfortable riding strut front suspension, 16-inch all-season radial tires on stylish alloy wheels, its high-performance sports coupe-derived All-Mode 4WD system and styling that is sculpted as if from one seamless piece to appear sporty, purposeful and luxurious.
"The QX4 designers set out not only to build an exceptional sport utility vehicle, but to create a classic luxury vehicle," said Eastwood. "A few minutes behind the wheel will convince you they did just that."
Using exterior appearance as a key differentiator in the growing LSUV segment, the designers focused on imparting a strong sense of style and quality in the look of the new QX4. Targeting a look that would be "rich and personal," they started with a simple, original shape of the front with a sculpted hood, solid front grille with distinctive center bar, wide lower grille openings and large, integrated fog lights.
Functional and aggressively styled wide front fender flares, covering the QX4's lightweight, polished three-spoke alloy wheels, blend into standard integrated side step rails. Energy-absorbing, body-color cladding gives an added sense of strength to the bodyside, while a large greenhouse provides a visual openness -- whether viewed from inside or out. The wide rear fender flares sweep into a large rear bumper (with a textured step surface that matches the side step rails) -- concealing the underbody-mounted full-size alloy wheel and spare tire. The sculpted rear tailgate features taillights that are integrated into the body panels.
Other QX4 exterior details include a "water management" deep channel windshield like that used on the new Q45 sedan, aircraft-design doors with a tight fit to reduce interior wind noise, durable 3-coat/3-bake paint and a standard roof-mounted luggage rack.
Where the visual statements made in the exterior design of the QX4 are bold and intended to encompass both a sense of luxury and sportiness -- the QX4 interior is awash in elegance and luxury.
From the standard leather seating surfaces and wood-tone trim to the six-speaker Bose® audio system with AM/FM/cassette/CD-player, driver and passengers alike are surrounded by the classic conveniences associated with luxury sedans.
Extra attention was given to the seating, which includes an 8-way power driver's seat with 2-way manual lumbar support and a 4-way power front passenger's seat. The rear seat is a 60/40 split fold-down design with fold-down center armrest, an elevated seat base to enhance the forward view from the rear seat and reclining seat backs to enhance comfort. The QX4's seating surfaces are covered by the same high-quality leather that is used in the flagship Q45 and I30 luxury sedans.
Built into the driver's side sun visor is the Integrated HomeLink™ Transmitter for remote opening of garage doors and gates. Power windows and door locks are also standard, along with an advanced 6-way keyless remote entry system, digital automatic temperature control with CFC-free air conditioning, cruise control, front and rear dual cup holders, and front and rear 12-volt power outlets.
Engine and Chassis
The QX4 is powered by a 3.3-liter SOHC 12-valve V6 engine that produces 168 horsepower at 4,800 rpm and 196 ft-lbs of torque at 2,800 rpm. Over 90 percent of the engine's torque is available in the 1,500 - 1,800 rpm range -- providing exceptional power for low speed off-road driving and maintained power at higher engine speeds for throttle response while accelerating, towing or cruising over long distances.
The QX4's engine utilizes the SOFIS (Sophisticated Optimized Fuel Injection System). This sequential multi-point fuel injection system optimizes the air/fuel mixture under all driving conditions by sensing and correcting fuel flow delays inside the intake ports. The result is better fuel economy, more power and lower emissions output than that of comparable engines equipped with conventional fuel injection systems.
To provide a stable platform, reduced noise and vibration, improved ride and handling and improved body fit, the QX4 is built with rigid MonoFrame construction. This technique reduces weight and improves space efficiency while also being considerably more resistant to torsional and bending stresses than conventional body-on-frame SUV designs.
The QX4's advanced suspension offers the best of both on-road comfort and off-road durability. The front independent strut design provides exceptional driving feel and stability, along with a tight turning radius (important for both parking and off-road trail running) and a long stroke for exceptional suspension travel -- which helps each wheel maintain contact with the ground over uneven terrain (which in turn minimizes wheel spin and enhances stability and traction).
The refined 5-link coil spring rear suspension provides long suspension travel, stability and control of body roll, along with reduced noise and vibration. Stabilizer bars are featured front and rear for improved handling and driver control, while power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering provides precise control and driver feedback.
The QX4 also features an advanced 4-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with a special G-sensor which measures the deceleration rate of the vehicle and interacts with the ABS control unit to help ensure that ABS does not interfere with braking during low-speed, extreme angle off-road maneuvers. In addition to the ABS system's logic control unit, the All-Mode 4WD control unit communicates with the ABS computer, allowing the two systems to cooperate -- further enhancing traction and performance.
A limited-slip rear differential, which helps provide enhanced performance on slippery or uneven traction surfaces and during hard cornering is available as an option.
Safety and Security
The QX4 is designed to provide outstanding occupant safety with a long list of standard equipment, including dual air bags, adjustable front shoulder belt anchors, 3-point rear outboard passenger seat belts, energy-absorbing steering column, child-safety rear door locks and keyless remote entry and vehicle security system.
Additional driving confidence is gained with an extensive list of "designed in" safety features including: front- and rear body structure crumple zones; hood buckling creases with safety stops (to help avoid intrusion into the passenger compartment); and special "outrigger" box-section bodyside reinforcements.
Model Availability/Total Ownership Experience
The new Infiniti QX4 comes fully equipped to meet even the most discerning luxury tastes. Only three options are available: power operated tinted glass sunroof with tilt feature, heated front seats (requires sunroof), and a Premium Sport Package, which includes both of the above options plus a limited-slip rear differential (LSD).
And, like all Infiniti models, including the flagship Q45 luxury sedan, J30 personal luxury sedan and the I30 luxury sedan, the new QX4 comes with the peace of mind provided by The Total Ownership Experience (TOE).
Beginning with the relaxed, pleasurable atmosphere found at a network of more than 145 Infiniti dealerships and extending to Infiniti's industry-leading warranty and ownership programs, TOE includes a new 30-day price assurance policy, free 48-month, 24-hour roadside assistance program, a free Infiniti loan car with scheduled service/warranty appointments and expedited parts via a satellite parts network.