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2004 new car guide, model guide, new car reviews, by brand

2004 INFINITI LINE-UP

InfinitiThe upscale line of Infiniti, developed through Nissan of Japan but with sophisticated automotive technology applied, consists of five distinct products in the 2004 class, each canted toward performance and fitted with premium equipment.

Infiniti's elegant Q45 flagship sedan leads the line as a full-size luxury car rigged with a powerful V8 engine mounted up front with all muscle directed to the rear wheels for classic rear-wheel-drive (RWD) format. The Q-car projects aggressive body styling outside while draping the spacious passenger compartment with ultimate features for comfort and convenience.

Shrink the Q one size to reach Infiniti's M45 performance sedan, which stocks Q45 drivetrain components. It draws on a 340-hp V8 and has four-wheel independent suspension, high intensity discharge (HID) xenon headlights and vehicle dynamic control (VDC) with traction control system (TCS).

Next step down in size leads to the I35 midsize luxury sedan, motivated by Infiniti's 3.5-liter V6 that develops 255 hp in this instance through a four-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission and standard TCS.

Infiniti's alphanumeric model designations extend further to the G35 series with a premium sports sedan and spirited two-door 2+2 sports coupe variation. Both can romp, thanks to the twin-cam 3.5-liter V6 aboard - the sedan achieves 260 hp but the coupe punches output to 280 hp through a six-speed manual transmission or five-speed electronic automatic with manual shift mode.

For a sport-utility vehicle, Infiniti shows two dramatic designs with powertrain variations for the new FX series of crossover wagons. Riding on Nissan's Front Mid-ship (FM) platform with RWD and all-wheel-drive (AWD) organization, the two Infiniti wagons share the chassis with G35 sedan and coupe. FX35 also gets the coupe's 3.5-liter V6 worth 280 hp, while FX45 has the Q's 4.5-liter V8 with a rating of 315 hp.

The QX4 SUV, derived from Nissan's Pathfinder, fades to history this year, but in the oven is a yet-unnamed full-size SUV propelled by a 5.6-liter twin-cam V8. The new Infiniti wagon, spinning off Nissan's 2004 Pathfinder Armada, will come together at Nissan's new $1.43 billion Mississippi assembly plant and should reach the market early in 2004.

Infiniti Q45
2004 Infiniti Q45

Classy exterior styling -- hard cut lines and sensuous curves carved from painted metal and glittery chrome, plastic and glass -- along with cushy interior appointments -- supple leather hides and high-gloss hardwoods plus a host of high-tech electronic gear -- portray an image of premium refinement for an ultimate luxury sedan for the Infiniti flagship.

However, it's also feisty and so enthused in spirit that Q45 behaves like a superior sports machine. Hardware driven by microcomputers also consorts to effect the controlled handling traits. Further, Q carries Infiniti's VSC computerized anti-skid controller. The V8 engine displaces 4.5 liters and knocks out 340 hp. It connects to an electronically-controlled five-speed automatic with manual shift gate.

The expansive Q45 cabin scores with world-class luxuries and elegant appointments, along with high-tech gear and power-motivated gizmos that make the experience of driving and riding safe and comfortable, even fun. Leather covers seats and door panels, with strips of bird's-eye maple wood running across doors and dash, console and steering wheel.

 

The Infiniti signature of an oval analog clock mounts at the center of the dash above the console, and a high center pod contains controls for audio and climate systems plus the LCD screen of a vehicle information system. This screen is also used to display the optional DVD-based navigation system or images from a bumper camera that projects rearward views when using the reverse gear.

Special equipment includes premium Bose audio, voice recognition system for controlling audio, climate and navigation systems, and extra safety gear such as side-mounted air bags and curtain-style side air bags.

Optional gear brings the Journey Package on Luxury models with navigation equipment, power sunshades, an intelligent cruise control and run flat tires. Royal Pewter is the latest Q color for 2004.

Infiniti M45
2004 Infiniti M45

Infiniti's midsize luxury sedan stands at the top of its class for pure muscular power. It easily beats all of the midsize luxury sedan competitors typically equipped with six-cylinder engines, but also out-powers pricy V8 rivals. Combine the V8 power with favorable price points and you end up with a luxury bargain.

Actually, the M45 amounts to an abbreviated version of the Q45 flagship sedan. It packs the powertrain and transmission of Q45, similar mechanical hardware including a four-wheel independent suspension system, even the same configuration for a luxury-laced passenger compartment. Differences between the two cars only become apparent with rulers and scales, as the Q runs about three inches longer and wider and it's an inch taller.

With more mass, it weighs more by perhaps a hundred pound or so. Those extra inches of space show up primarily in the rear seat of Q45 as additional legroom, while the weight difference favors M45 because it translates into even quicker acceleration and performance numbers.

In the plush cabin standard equipment includes a Bose premium audio system with seven speakers, sport bolstered bucket seats clad in luxurious Sojourner leather plus frontal and side-impact air bags as well as curtain-style side air bags.

New gear for 2004 editions ranges from a standard tire pressure monitor system to a six-disc CD changer mounted in the dash and an optional package combining Infiniti's DVD-based navigation system with a voice recognition system.

Infiniti I35 Sedan
2004 Infiniti I35

The midsize luxury sedan from Infiniti behaves in an aggressive manner when prompted, while serving up the taut handling attributes typical among expensive European touring sedans. It carries the 3.5-liter V6 used in G35 cars, as rated for 255 hp with a four-speed electronic automatic transmission.

In the five-place cockpit the I35 feels extravagant with indulgent comforts extending beyond necessity. Plush Sojourner leather covers all seats and wood-tone trim applies to the center console. Bright electro-florescent analog gauges for speedometer and tachometer stand out with legible faces, and an analog clock studs the dash. Also aboard is a 200-watt Bose audio system.

Several items have been added as standard equipment in 2004, such as a sunroof, power sunshade for the rear window and body side sills. A fresh paint tint is Desert Platinum.

Infiniti G35 Sedan
2004 Infiniti G35 Sedan

A spirited premium sports sedan from Infiniti measures to midsize dimensions off a stiff RWD platform outfitted with a sport-tuned suspension and strong muscle developed through a 3.5-liter V6. Worth 260 hp, the plant elicits an aggressive personality from the otherwise practical concept of a four-door sedan.

Hang on for a wild ride because the G35 romps -- and it's downright addictive to drive. This is the smallest sedan in the Infiniti fleet as well as the line's price-leader. A sleek format -- windswept lines with muscular shoulders and flat flanks chiseled from painted metal and glittery chrome, plastic and tinted glass -- convey an aggressive image of strength and power and speed. Yet the five-place cabin, with form-fitting seats and electronic gizmos governing navigation, communications, safety, stereo sound and the interior climate, denote refinement and comfort.

G35 stocks a long list of safety features, including frontal and side curtain-style air bags, and it carries a smooth automatic five-speed transmission with manual shift mode. A close-ratio six-speed manual transmission is also available.

Enhancements for 2004 include new standard heated exterior mirrors and 17-inch wheels, a tire pressure monitor system for all models and a rear limited-slip differential standard on the Leather 6MT edition.

Infiniti G35 Coupe
2004 Infiniti G35 Coupe

This is a genuine GT sports coupe, keen in shape and as slick as glass, with two doors on the flanks of a snug 2+2 cockpit and a high-powered engine below the stubby prow pushing all kinds of torque to the big wheels in back.

Infiniti calls it the G35, same name as the midsize four-door Infiniti sedan. Both coupe and sedan share a rear-wheel-drive (RWD) chassis and the juicy six-pack engine borrowed from Nissan's no-nonsense 350Z fastback sports coupe that looks similar in shape and style.

Infiniti's coupe measures a bit longer and taller than the Z car, however, and it carries a two-place fold-down rear seat in the cabin. It also packs aboard extensive luxury equipment. And it can run up to high speed quickly but also lay down some daring maneuvers on a wiggly course. The 3.5-liter V6 engine produces 280 hp and connects to a smooth electronic automatic five-speed transmission with convenient manual shift mode or, in the performance edition, a six-speed close-ratio manual stick lifted from 350Z.

Standard 17-inch wheels use ultra wide P225/50VR17 tires in front with P235/50VR17 rounds in back, but a Performance Tire and Wheel Package adds seven-spoke alloy 18-inch wheels with Michelin Type S tires, 225/45 up front and 245/45 in the rear.

Also aboard are sophisticated electronic controls for safety, including VDC and TCS, with a dash-mounted switch so the driver can disconnect these reins for moments of sporty hands-on maneuvers. There are three variations. Base issue, labeled Coupe 5A/T, stocks the five-speed automatic and has cockpit seats upholstered in cloth fabric. Cover the seats in soft leather hides to reach the next edition, Coupe 5A/T Leather. Top sport edition retains the leather and adds the six-speed gearbox as the Coupe 6M/T.

Optional equipment clusters in packages. The Premium Package brings a sunroof, twin zones for climate controls, driver's seat memory and a Bose 225-watt audio system. The Performance Tire and Wheel Package adds a limited-slip differential with the 18-inch wheels and tires, and the Aero Package installs a tail spoiler and diffusers. Also, a DVD-based navigation system comes with a retractable dashboard monitor, and satellite radio is available from either XM or Sirius subscription-based service.

Read our Review: Infiniti G35 Coupe

Infiniti FX
2004 Infiniti FX

The two new sport-utility vehicles from Infiniti look sleek with aerodynamic lines and a sporty stance where wheels push to corners, leaving scant overhangs front and rear and lots of space between to emphasize the stretched wheelbase.

Forget boxy parameters of a typical two-box SUV design because these vehicles, riding on the car-based Nissan FM platform that also underpins the G35 coupe and sedan, seem more akin to slinky sports cars than lumbering SUV hulks.

They act more like sports cars too, with sporty suspension settings and high-tech electronic controls like VDC with TCS. And both can run effortlessly in the fast line with the two worthy powertrains. FX35 uses the G35 coupe's 3.5-liter V6 with 280 hp, and FX45 totes a version of the 4.5-liter V8 off Q45 and M45 but tuned to 315 hp. Both plants include a five-speed electronic automatic transmission with manual shift mode.

FX35 comes with either RWD or AWD traction, while the FX45 uses the AWD system exclusively. The AWD equipment employs an electromagnetic clutch and normally divides engine torque half and half between front and rear wheels, although it's an intelligent system that can vary the split as needed, even sending all power to rear wheels as road conditions warrant.

Both versions carry a cockpit designed for the hands-on kind of driver with sporty front buckets, trimwork in genuine aluminum and multiple accessory options, such as a rearview video monitor, tire pressure monitoring system and intelligent cruise control. New options for 2004 FX models extend to aluminum roof rails and huge 20-inch chrome-plated wheels.

Read our Review: Infiniti FX

 

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