Nissan Fuga / Infiniti M-series / Q70


Debut: 2009
Maker: Nissan
Predecessor: Fuga Mk1



 Published on 16 Apr 2010
All rights reserved. 


Nissan thinks its executive large car is also a sport sedan... can the dual-purpose be achieved ?

Nissan large cars have been struggling to find an identity for long. Since the slump of the domestic large car market in the early 1990s, traditional nameplates like Cedric, Gloria and Leopard gave place to international ones bearing Infiniti badge. However, the road to build Infiniti as a premium car brand has never been smooth. It tried two generations of Q45 without success. Ditto the first generation I-series and G-series. Entering the new millennium, Nissan decided to concentrate all Infiniti efforts to the sole rear-drive platform that the company has, or so-called "FM" platform. No matter the new G-series, M-series (aka Nissan Fuga) or FX, all were built on the same architecture with common suspensions and V6 powertrains. This allowed not only better engineering but also a sporty driving character in the mold of BMW. Things started improving…

On paper, the second generation Infiniti M-series or Nissan Fuga is not much different from the outgoing car. Due to the same underpinning platform, its size and mechanical layout are mostly intact. However, as in the case of the second generation G-series, Nissan said it fine polished everything to make a more appealing car overall.



Nissan chose a muscular theme in the attempt to lure American buyers...

First of all is the new styling, said to be inspired by the 2009 Detroit concept car Essence, but the fact is actually reversed – how could a concept car shown in early 2009 inspired a production car destined to Japanese showrooms in late 2009 ? Normally, styling has to be frozen 3 years before production in order to leave enough time for development and type approval. This explain while the new M looks more flowing, more dynamic and therefore more interesting than the old car, it is not yet developed to the state of Essence, which is really striking. There is still some bulkiness in its appearance. Unlike the avant-garde designs of Jaguar XF, BMW 5-series or Mercedes E-class, Nissan chose a muscular theme in the attempt to lure American buyers. Does that work ? I'm not sure, but I do think it will get outdated quickly like American muscle cars.

The car rides on the same, 2900mm wheelbase as the old car. Its suspensions consisting of double-wishbones up front and multi-links at the rear are also essentially the same as before. However, fine tuning to the suspensions increased lateral stiffness to resist body roll, while new bushings improved NVH isolation. As before, 4-wheel active steering is optional. It is a useful device to stabilize high speed lane changing, but unlike rival systems (such as BMW's), its rear wheels do not steer in opposite direction at low speed, so it neither sharpens maneuver in the twisty nor shortens turning circle for parking. 4WAS works poorest at its threshold between 25 and 30 mph, where steering feel is mushy. Unfortunately, that is also the speed we usually encounter on mountain roads. On faster roads, the driving experience is much more satisfying - the steering is precise and linear, the chassis is well balanced and braking feels reassuring.



Standard suspension is a better compromise than sport suspension...

Sadly, the big Nissan does not offer adaptive suspensions of any kind, not even mechanical type. This is almost a sin in the large executive car segment. What it does offers are two different chassis tunings – a softer standard setup paired with 245/50R18 tires and a sport setup which comes with stiffer suspensions and aggressive 245/40WR20 rubbers. On the road, the standard setup is probably too civilized to the liking of keen drivers, while the sport setup results in harsh and noisy ride that we can hardly find in any other rivals. A medium setup would have been the best compromise.

The aggressiveness of the sport suspension package and the muscular exterior design reflect the performance bias Nissan wants to promote with this car, whether it is a smart judgement. To enhance performance further, Infinti M56 offers a new 5.6-liter V8 engine. The 5552 c.c. unit might be derived from Nissan's truck engine, but it has been upgraded with VVEL variable valve timing and lift system and direct fuel injection, resulting in a remarkable 420 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque. This not only eclipses the outgoing M45 by a massive 85 horses, but also topples any rivals in the class, e.g. BMW 550i (408hp), Mercedes E500 (388hp) and Jaguar XF 5.0 (385hp). We expect 0-60 mph to take around 5 seconds. Early road tests found its throttle mapping was not properly calibrated, so it was difficult to achieve a smooth launch. However, more fine tuning will sort out this problem.



VQ engine is no longer renowned for smoothness and quietness...

While M56 is the image flagship, its take rate is not supposed to exceed 15 percent in the USA. This mean the majority of sales will go to M37. In Japan, Fuga is offered with V6 engines only - either a 225hp 2.5-liter VQ25HR or 333hp 3.7-liter VQ37VHR. The latter is the same as the engine of M37 or G37. It is not short of high-end power, but its strength does not arrive until 3500 rpm, which means in everyday driving it does not feel as punchy as BMW 535i or the turbo diesel motors of most European rivals. The refinement of VQ37VHR is also in question. In the largest capacity form it is no longer renowned for smoothness and quietness, displaying more vibration and noise than you would expect for an executive car motor. In fact, the Japanese-bounded 2.5 V6 is actually better suited to its purpose.



Noise insulation is its weakest link... despite of active noise control

As you would expect, the Infiniti M or Nissan Fuga offers plenty of interior space. Its seats are plush and comfortable. Materials are classy, though the interior design is far from tasteful. Noise insulation is its weakest link, no matter road noise on sport suspensions or wind noise at motorway speed. You may also get tired of its engine noise, which is said to be deliberately inducted to the cabin for your joy. If you wish, active noise control can be activated to produce an opposite-phase sound to cancel the noise. It works pretty well in steady state cruise, but if you prod the throttle or make gearchange, ANC will not be fast enough to react, so it is not a replacement of a well insulated cabin.

Compare with Mercedes E-class, BMW 5-series and Jaguar XF, Infiniti M-series or Nissan Fuga is apparently a small scale investment. It lacks the sophistication and refinement to compete directly with those rivals, no wonder it opts for a sporty route. After all, an executive car derived from the platform of 370Z has no other alternatives.
Verdict: 
 Published on 16 Feb 2011
All rights reserved. 
Fuga Hybrid / Infiniti M35h



Nissan claims the Fuga Hybrid offers the power of V8 yet consumes the same fuel as a typical 4-cylinder engine. If you do not believe, read the following figures:
 
Japanese combined cycle:

Lexus GS450h 40.1 mpg
Toyota Crown Hybrid 44.6 mpg
Nissan Fuga Hybrid 53.6 mpg
 
US EPA consumption (Highway / City / Combined):

Lexus GS450h 22 / 25 / 23 mpg
Infiniti M35h 32 / 27 / 29 mpg

As seen, Nissan's first own proprietary hybrid technology is far more efficient than Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive. How can it achieve that ? The answer is a simple yet highly efficient transmission system. While Toyota and most other hybrids employ planetary CVTs to couple electric motors to the drivetrain, the Nissan makes do with the same 7-speed automatic transmission as the regular Fuga. However, in place of the power-consuming torque converter is a couple of computer-controlled clutches, one engages the engine and another engages electric motor. The electric motor is packaged neatly inside the transmission casing, sandwiching between the engine and transmission. Supply by a small, 1.4kWh lithium-ion battery, it produces a maximum 68 hp and 199 lbft of torque, capable of getting the Fuga to 100km/h (62mph) without firing the engine. The engine is not the same one as the regular Fuga (or Infiniti M37), but a smaller, 3.5-liter VQ35HR that runs on more thermal efficient Atkinson combustion cycle – i.e. its expansion stroke is made longer than compression stroke. VVEL variable valve lift mechanism has been ditched as high rev is the enemy to fuel economy. Still, the engine produces a respectable 306 hp. Net power of the whole system is 360 hp.



The car runs on battery alone under light load. When full power is required for acceleration or high-speed running, both the engine and electric motor are engaged by the clutches to power the car. When the battery is depleted, the engine is engaged to provide all the power, while the electric motor is also engaged but to work as a generator to recharge the battery. During deceleration, the engine is disengaged and the motor is engaged to implement regenerative braking.
 
On the road, the driving impression is pretty good. Although the twin-clutch design does not shift between power modes as seamless as its CVT counterparts, neither can it be described as unrefined. Nissan's engineers have done a good job to smoothen the transition with high-speed mechatronics, so you get only a short moment of power interruption. Compare to the regular Fuga 3.7, the hybrid displays much stronger bottom-end acceleration thanks to that 199 lbft of electric torque. It is even comparable to the V8-powered Infiniti M56, although it runs out of steam more quickly.
 
Handling is close to the regular car. Although it carries 110 kg more than 3.7, most of those extra weight (the battery) is put under the boot. Therefore its front-to-rear weight distribution is improved from 54:46 to 52:48. Moreover, the hybrid employs the same rubbers and suspension setting as the non-Sport setting regular car. The only downside is poor feedback from the brake pedal, a typical problem to hybrids.
 
However, like the regular version, the Fuga hybrid still fails to stand out from its class, no matter in terms of styling, driving dynamics or refinement. You will have more fun in a BMW 5-series or Jaguar XF, and more comfort in a Mercedes E-class or Audi A6. What it excels is purely fuel economy. If that means a lot to you, then you won't have a better choice.
Verdict:
 Published on 10 Jan 2015
All rights reserved. 
Infiniti Q70 and Nissan Cima


Despite of the new name, Infiniti Q70 is only a restyled M-series. The new front end, which has strong family resemblance to Q50, is unquestionably more distinctive than the old one. However, the rest of the exterior, the whole interior as well as the underpinnings are carried over from the old car. In other words, it is purely a “facelift”. For a 5-year-old model, that is not enough to keep the car competitive, especially when the M-series was never regarded as competitive.

The only mentionable change is the addition of a long-wheelbase model, or Q70L. Its wheelbase is extended by 150 mm to 3050 mm, matching an F-segment limousine like Mercedes S-class. This offers really vast of rear legroom for the boss to stretch his legs. That said, the Nissan, well, Infiniti, is not exactly an F-segment luxury car. No matter interior materials, craftsmanship, equipment or technology it remains in the ballpark of executive cars. See it as the equivalent of Chinese-market Audi A6L.



In fact, the long-wheelbase model is not exactly new. 2 years ago, Nissan reintroduced Cima at its home market. You might remember Cima used to be the Japanese version of the last 2 generations Infiniti Q45. Now as the large car no longer exists, the Cima badge falls on the long-wheelbase Infiniti M-series / Q70. Compared with the export version, it has a more prominent fascia to enhance the sense of dignity. The interior gets classier equipment like reclining rear seats (though the range of adjustment is limited), rear passengers entertainment system (with LCD screens incorporated at the back of front headrests) and a premium HiFi system. While the Q70L has 3 engine options, i.e. 3.7-liter V6, 3.5-liter V6 hybrid and 5.6-liter V8, the Cima is compulsory with the hybrid powertrain. It also lacks the AWD option of Infiniti. After all, only a few hundred units are expected to be sold in Japan annually.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Fuga 370GT /
Infiniti M37 / Q70 3.7

2009
Front-engined, RWD, 4WS
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4945 / 1845 / 1500 mm
2900 mm
V6, 60-degree
3696 cc
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT, VVL
-
-
330 hp
268 lbft
7-speed automatic
F: double-wishbones
R: multi-link
-
245/40WR20
1750 kg
155 mph (limited)
5.6*
13.9*
Infiniti M56
2010
Front-engined, RWD, 4WS
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4945 / 1845 / 1500 mm
2900 mm
V8, 90-degree
5552 cc
DOHC 32 valves, DVVT, VVL
-
DI
420 hp
417 lbft
7-speed automatic
F: double-wishbones
R: multi-link
-
245/40WR20
1827 kg
155 mph (limited)
4.7* / 4.6**
11.4* / 11.0**
Infiniti M30d / Q70 3.0d
2010
Front-engined, RWD, 4WS
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4945 / 1845 / 1500 mm
2900 mm
V6, 65-degree, diesel
2993 cc
DOHC 24 valves
VTG turbo
CDI
238 hp
406 lbft
7-speed automatic
F: double-wishbones
R: multi-link
-
245/40WR20
1845 kg
155 mph (limited)
6.6 (c) / 7.7***
21.8***




Performance tested by: *C&D, **R&T, ***Autocar





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine

Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power


Max torque

Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Fuga Hybrid / Infiniti M35h / Q70 hybrid
2010
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4945 / 1845 / 1500 mm
2900 mm
V6, 60-degree, Atkinson cycle + electric motor
3498 cc
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT
-
-
306 hp (engine)
68 hp (motor)
360hp (combined)
258 lbft (engine)
199 lbft (motor)
7-speed automatic
F: double-wishbones
R: multi-link
-
245/50VR18
1860 kg
155 mph (limited)
5.2* / 5.1**
13.0* / 13.6**
Infiniti Q70L 5.6 AWD
2014
Front-engined, 4WD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
5130 / 1845 / 1515 mm
3050 mm
V8, 90-degree

5552 cc
DOHC 32 valves, DVVT, VVL
-
DI
416 hp


414 lbft

7-speed automatic
F: double-wishbones
R: multi-link
-
245/40WR20
1978 kg
155 mph (limited)
4.8*
11.6*
Cima
2012
Front-engined, RWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
5120 / 1845 / 1510 mm
3050 mm
V6, 60-degree, Atkinson cycle + electric motor
3498 cc
DOHC 24 valves, DVVT
-
-
306 hp (engine)
68 hp (motor)
360hp (combined)
258 lbft (engine)
199 lbft (motor)
7-speed automatic
F: double-wishbones
R: multi-link
-
245/50VR18
1950 kg
155 mph (limited)
5.6 (est)
-




Performance tested by: *C&D, **MT





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