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 2004 Luxury Buyer's Guide
by Martha Hindes

Ifiniti Q45
Infiniti Q45

As if parent company, Nissan, isn't perceived as aggressive enough with its fast-shift photos and blur of race-generated sand clouds. Now, its luxury Infiniti division is adding more aggression to the look of its updated Q45 flagship sedan.

Scan the checklist and there's a whole slew of "new." There are new bumper fascias, hood and grille, new headlamps and fog lamps, new trunk deck and a lot of what Infiniti calls "fine-line" chrome trim in the mix for an overall athletic appearance. Combining interior with exterior changes, Infiniti calls the whole package "indulgent." And the same 340-horsepower, 4.5-liter V-8 that's in Infiniti's M45 performance sedan maintains its road authority.

Among the differences for '05 are an improved, smoother five-speed transmission and active suspension, once solely premium territory, that's now extended to all Q45s. (Fear not, the Premium Package still has amenities all its own such as Intelligent Cruise Control, available 18-inch wheels, and standard SIRIUS or XM satellite radio. For other trim levels, that's an option.)

Inside, a myriad of updates include a more handcrafted look, with a hand-stitched, leather-wrapped steering wheel, large, luminous gauges, high intensity Bose sound wraparound and a key system nearly impossible to duplicate. The standard, high-mounted navigation system is driven by DVD packed with countrywide mapping data for route guidance, and displays backup pictures when the Q45's in reverse.

Premium amenities include a power rear sunshade and seatback-adjustable power rear seats for easy access. Infiniti has expanded its safety features with a new brake-launched "pre-crash" system that tightens seatbelts if it senses emergency stopping. Front seat active head restraints protect against whiplash.

The added punch of this yet-to-be-priced 2005 Q45 fits nicely into Infiniti's premiere lineup. Mated with the M45 performance sedan and the smaller, sportier G35, it promises to deliver a true luxury experience -- and a strong knockout punch all its own when it goes on sale Fall 2004.

Acura RL Luxury SedanJaguar XJ Long Wheelbase
BMW 645 CiLexus LS 430
Cadillac STSLincoln Town Car
Chrysler 300CMercedes-Benz S-Class
Infiniti Q45Volkswagen Phaeton