Last year, the Infiniti Division of Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A. introduced a luxury sport utility vehicle (LSUV) that promised to be a fierce competitor in this rapidly expanding market segment - the Infiniti QX4 luxury sport utility vehicle. The QX4 surpassed all of Infiniti's initial expectations, carving a sales niche in the LSUV segment and capturing top honors in the 1997 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study (IQS) with a ranking of Best Compact Sport Utility Vehicle.
For 1998, the QX4 remains the same top-tier vehicle, combining quality with value; rugged characteristics amidst coddled luxury; and brawny sport utility strength with engineered finesse - all found only in a premium luxury vehicle. Priced under $40,000, the QX4 offers an abundance of standard equipment, including: advanced All-Mode 4WD®, system, unique MonoFrame™ body construction and front strut suspension, Sophisticated Optimized Fuel Injection System (SOFIS), stylish exterior design and a luxurious interior cabin.
"The QX4 is a vital addition to the Infiniti Division and has beaten even our own sales projections," said Tom Eastwood, vice president, Infiniti Division. "We are especially proud of the QX4 ranking Best Compact Sport Utility in the 1997 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study, as this further validates the quality and stamina of this vehicle - traits that will continue to dominate in the 1998 model year."
Unique All-Mode 4WD System
Each Infiniti QX4 comes equipped with All-Mode 4WD. This unique system offers a combination that takes Infiniti - and the LSUV class - into unmarked territory, providing a superior driving experience, on pavement or off.
Derived from the advanced ATTESA E-TS all-wheel drive system used in the high-performance Japanese-market Nissan Skyline GT-R sports coupe, the QX4's All-Mode 4WD was uniquely developed to enhance traction and stability, and to react more quickly than any other 4WD system in rugged off-road conditions.
The heart of the All-Mode 4WD mechanical system is a wet multi-plate clutch in the center differential. Managed by an advanced computerized electronic control unit, the multi-plate clutch precisely and instantly allots the right amount of torque, as conditions warrant, to the front and rear axles. The unit gathers information from front and rear driveshaft sensors (to determine wheel slippage), a throttle position sensor, an engine rpm sensor, a transfer unit lever selector and the anti-locking braking system (ABS) control unit.
While some SUV 4-wheel drive systems offer a choice of part-time or full-time 4-wheel drive with an electronic shift-on-the-fly function, the QX4's All-Mode 4WD was designed to instantly distribute torque to the front wheels - up to 50 percent can go to the front wheels on demand - resulting in optimal traction with improved fuel economy and enhanced cornering capability.
All-Mode 4WD offers drivers the opportunity to choose the drive mode most appropriate for a particular driving surface. The various modes are enacted simply, using the instrument panel-mounted rotary switch to select automatic or manual operation, or the floor mounted transfer lever to engage and disengage low range (4Lo). When the driver selects a particular mode (2WD, AUTO or LOCK), the control unit adjusts the torque split as required. A dash-mounted drive mode display informs the driver which mode is selected. Switching between 2WD, AUTO, and LOCK takes only one tenth of a second (0.1 sec.).
The system should be left in the AUTO mode for normal daily operation, requiring no driver intervention. The AUTO mode is recommended for most driving conditions except for severe or extended off-road driving. In All-Mode 4WD the system automatically directs engine power to the axle that has the most traction. The torque split may infinitely vary from zero percent front/100 percent rear to 50 percent front/50 percent rear. When accelerating from a standstill, torque is distributed to the front wheels based on throttle opening, wheel slippage, and road speed. Once the QX4 is moving approximately six to 12 mph, all power is sent to the vehicle's rear wheels (unless slippage is detected).
The 2WD mode is primarily used for operation on clean and dry pavement and allows operation of the QX4 as a 2-wheel drive vehicle, with 100 percent of the torque transferred to the rear wheels. In 2WD mode, no amount of wheel slippage will result in torque transfer to the front wheels.
The LOCK position sets a constant 50 percent front/50 percent rear torque split to provide exceptional traction on slippery surfaces. LOCK is not recommended for extended use on dry pavement as it may result in unnecessary wear on the vehicle's tires and drivetrain. A selector lever, located next to QX4's floor-mounted transmission selector, selects high- r low-range in QX4's transfer case. Leaving the lever in "H" (high) position provides high-range operation for daily driving and normal off-road 4WD conditions. Pulling the lever back into "4Lo" (low) position - with the vehicle stopped and in neutral - engages low-range for low-speed, off-road conditions that demand maximum traction.
"Infiniti's use of the unique All-Mode 4WD system in the QX4 is a highly attractive and usable attribute. The system is ser-friendly and delivers excellent handling options for most types of road conditions," said Eastwood.
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.
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 draws from both unibody automotive design and body-on-frame truck design to produce a hybrid that combines the best elements of both.
A MonoFrame body 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 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. All QX4s are equipped with a standard electronically controlled 4-speed automatic transmission mated to the advanced All-Mode 4WD system.
The QX4's engine utilizes SOFIS, resulting in better fueeconomy, more power and lower emissions output than that of comparable engines equipped with conventional fuel injection systems. This electronic 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.
Suspension for Both On- and Off-Road
The QX4's advanced suspension offers the best of both on-road comfort and off-road durability. The independent front strut design provides exceptional driving feel and enhanced stability, along with a tight turning radius and a long stroke for exceptional suspension travel which helps each wheel maintain contact with the ground. over uneven terrain and, in turn, minimizes wheel spin and enhances stability and traction.
The refined 5-link coil-spring beam suspension provides long suspension travel, enhanced 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 vehicle-speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering provides precise control and driver feedback.
The QX4 also features power-assisted front-vented disc brakes and rear drum brakes working in conjunction with the load sensing valve to determine how much weight is inside the vehicle, and 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, thereby 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.
A sophisticated exterior and luxurious cabin appointments are as important to today's LSUV owners as is a supple ride capable of traversing even the most difficult terrain. In today's competitive market, owners not only desire everything - they demand it. Knowing this, Infiniti set out to create the luxury division's first sport utility vehicle - a LSUV that would be a segment leader in all respects.
The outer design of the QX4 was conceived with the desire to impart a unique style and feel. The designers sought to uphold the Infiniti image and personality, maintain a car-like ride and feel, and offer a stylish, luxury vehicle equipped with superior all-terrain capabilities.
The exterior of the QX4 uses a sculpted design, giving it a unique appearance, and incorporates the key design goals: strength, sportiness and elegance. The QX4's frontal design became a primary area of attention when "designer's intellect" produced the vehicle's distinctive front "face." Here, the hood volume flows down through the QX4's powerful grille; wide grille openings accent the vehicle's robust width and stance; bumper fascia proportions emphasize functionality and stability; bold integrated foglights enhance the overall look of strength and unity; heated body-colored dual remote-controlled power mirrors blend with the vehicle body; the front bumper flows into large integrated fender flares and textured, integrated side step rails with a slip-resistant insert; and the windshield wiper area is sculpted with a deep channel design that directs water flow away from the side windows.
The rear of the QX4 completes the feeling of sportiness and sophistication. The curved tailgate accentuates the sculptured lines that began on the sides of the vehicle, while the rear bumper fascia mimics the front for a sense of completeness and balance, also matching the curvature of the tailgate for even more cohesiveness. The designer's attention to detail can be seen everywhere, such as the step portion of the rear bumper which mirrors the pattern found on the step rails.
The QX4's large, 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with three wide spokes catch the eye and match the wheel and tire proportions to those of the body, while their lightweight design provides better ride and handling characteristics by reducing "unsprung" weight. Not to depart from the overall look, the full-size spare tire has a matching alloy wheel and the tires are all-season P245/70R16 H-rated Bridgestone covered by front and rear splash guards.
The QX4 does not disappoint with its attention to detail and unabashed elegance inside the cabin. An occupant will become engulfed in the amply padded leather seating surfaces, complete with a grain pattern and natural appearing wrinkles. Leather accessories complete the feel with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift levers and parking brake. Wood-tone trim surrounds the interior. Lighting is provided by a centrally located interior dome lamp, overhead console mounted map lights and cargo area lamps. There is also a locking glove compartment, front ashtray and large center console complete with a dual level storage area.
A Bose® 150-watt 6-speaker audio system with AM/FM cassette/CD-player emits only exquisite sound. The system was specifically designed for QX4's interior acoustics and the speakers are placed to provide maximum sound quality for all vehicle occupants.
Extra attention was given to the seating (5-passenger capacity), which includes an 8-way adjustable 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 with a driver-side one-touch auto-down feature and power door locks with selective unlocking are also standard, along with an advanced 6-way keyless remote entry system, digital automatic temperature control with CFC-free air conditioning, rear-seat heater ducts, cruise control with steering wheel mounted controls, front and rear dual cup holders and front and rear 12-volt power outlets.
An array of storage spaces and areas add extra convenience and versatility. Among them: sunglass storage in the overhead console with temperature and compass display; front seatback map pockets, and front-door map pockets; a convenience net; and three cargo-area storage bins. A retractable/removable cargo area cover helps keep objects from view. Special attention was given to all switches and controls to ensure comfortable visual placement and ease of operation.
"One of the main goals in the development of the QX4, which was an especially high profile undertaking, being Infiniti's first entry into the highly competitive luxury sport utility vehicle arena, was to achieve an overall sense of balanced luxury. To be balanced, this particular vehicle needed to be strong yet luxurious, durable but elegant, and to be perceived as nothing less than high-class, while maintaining a competitive price," exclaimed Eastwood. "We feel we've blended the structural and design components in a truly exemplary fashion and developed a vehicle worthy of the Infiniti nameplate."
Outstanding Safety and Security
The QX4 includes a long list of standard safety 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 remote keyless entry and vehicle security system with indicator light.
Driver and passenger confidence is accentuated with an extensive list of body-incorporated safety features including: an energy-absorbing steering column, front and rear structure crumple zones, hood buckling creases with safety stops (to help avoid intrusion into the passenger compartment), special "outrigger" box-section bodyside reinforcements and a shift interlock system.
Simple Yet Luxurious Options
The new Infiniti QX4 comes fully equipped to please even the most discerning luxury tastes. Options include the popular Sunroof Preferred Package, which includes a power sliding tinted glass sunroof with tilt feature and sliding sunshade, a 6-disc CD changer installed under the passenger seat and a rear window wind deflector; the Sunroof Preferred Package plus heated seats; a Premium Sport Package, which adds all the above equipment plus a limited-slip rear differential (LSD); and the sunroof only.
On the 1998 QX4, there is a choice of two leather-appointed interior colors: Grey and Stone Beige.
The QX4 is available in seven exterior colors: Harbor Blue, Tuscan Beige, Black Obsidian, Bordeaux Pearl, Silver Sage, Ancient Bronze and a two-tone Dover White/Silver Sage.
Comprehensive Warranty/Total Ownership Experience
Like all Infiniti models, QX4 is protected by some of the best warranties in the industry: a 4-year/60,000-mile Basic New Vehicle Limited Warranty; a 6-year/70,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty protection for major engine and driveline components; a 5-year/50,000-mile New Vehicle Emission Control Limited Warranty; and a 7-year/unlimited mileage Corrosion Limited Warranty.
As part of the ongoing commitment to customer care known as The Total Ownership Experience®, Infiniti also provides buyers with a 48-month, 24-hour roadside assistance program - one of the most comprehensive available. A free Infiniti loan car is provided at participating retailers during the basic warranty period when requested with scheduled service/warranty appointments (subject to availability). Infiniti's satellite parts network also minimizes delays in service.Experience®.”