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Falling in Love Again
the 2002 Infiniti Q45

by BJ Killeen

Falling in love isn’t something we women take lightly. We are at first cautious, then willing, and finally totally immersed in the relationship. On the other hand, we also believe in love at first sight. We know many couples who met and married quickly and still enjoy a long, happy relationship. My experience with the new Q45 from Infiniti was definitely love at first sight, and after driving it, I think we could be quite happy together. 

Seeing the great styling and hearing about how much power and features the vehicle had was akin to finding a single doctor who had just won the lottery. The Q45, much like that doctor, has it all.

Although the Q45 has been around as long as the Lexus LS430, it hasn’t achieved the same amount of respect, mostly due to its dismal advertising introduction; if you recall, the ad campaign showed rocks and trees, not the vehicle. The sad part was the first Q-ship was a truly wonderful vehicle, with handling and styling that made it a worthy adversary to the Lexus, Mercedes, and other luxury makes of the day. 

I’m happy to report that the 2002 Infiniti Q45 not only is more fun to drive than the first iteration (which is saying a lot), it’s also chock full of luxury features and technological innovations that make it worth every penny of its $50,000 price tag.

The new Q is instantly recognizable by its unique headlights: a cluster of seven high-intensity-discharge (HID) units in the shape of a gattling gun. It not only provides ample light on the road at night, but also helps deliver the “bionic cheetah” look Infiniti was aiming for. As a matter of fact, the headlights are so efficient, fog lamps are no longer necessary. The headlamp assembly blends nicely with the Q’s overall design: sleek, compact, and contemporary. For 2002, the new Q is wider with a longer wheelbase to provide more comfort and room inside the cabin. 

And while we’re inside, check out the luxury features: bird’s eye maple wood, leather, Infiniti’s beautiful signature analog clock, a Bose sound system, audio and dual climate controls for front and back seat passengers, and even adjustable seats for those riding in the back as well. 

Infiniti has done an excellent job of defining quality and luxury, and we would be quite happy spending hours in this cabin. Just think of it as a five-star hotel on wheels. But as soon as you turn the key and hit the throttle, the luxury part becomes secondary, and fun jumps to the forefront.

The Q is powered by a 340-horsepower 4.5-liter V-8 engine that produces 333 lb-ft of torque. It’s the most powerful V-8 in its class, and features titanium valves and other high-tech mechanical and electronic parts. All this power helps move this Q quickly down the road. No waiting for a turbo to spool up; just stomp on the throttle and take off.

The Q’s ride is tuned slightly more toward sport than luxury, which I prefer, meaning the chassis responds quickly to driver input, and offers excellent balance and stability at higher speeds. Of course, we did our high-speed driving on a racetrack, so don’t try this at home.

What is most impressive about the Q, though, is that this is a 2002 model that actually belongs in the 21st century. Voice-activated commands will adjust the climate, audio, and optional navigation systems, meaning less time with your eyes off the road. It’s quite Jetsonian, and we loved it. 

The other futuristic feature is the optional backup camera. While other manufacturers give you just an audible beep that something is behind you, the Q’s system is actually a small camera mounted at the rear that projects the image onto your view screen. This is something RVs have had for a while, but in this execution, it’s brilliant. It also paves the way for the future when we rid ourselves of those pesky side view mirrors and just rely on the camera’s eye to see what’s in the world behind us. No more accidents from vehicles hiding in our blind spots.

It’s almost not worth mentioning all the safety features, because if it’s not in here, it probably doesn’t exist yet. Everything from dual-stage airbags to the Vehicle Dynamic Control system is standard.