Test Drive: 1996 Infiniti Q45 (G50)

On November 13, 2011, I took a test drive in a 1996 Infiniti Q45 at California Auto Land in Corona, California. The Infiniti Q45 had about 167000 miles, and the asking price was $3991. The exterior and interior colors are beige. This car has the VH45DE engine, which is a 4.5 liter V8 that produces 278 horsepower @ 6000 rpm and 292 lb-ft of torque @ 4000 rpm. It is the only engine that was used in the 1990-1996 Infiniti Q45. This car that I test drove was the base model. There is also the Infiniti Q45t (touring), and the Q45a (active suspension). This car had a 4 speed automatic transmission. In Japan, this body style Infiniti Q45 was known as the Nissan President, which had square headlights and a rectangular grille. The back of the President looks similar to that of the Q’s; except for some chrome trim and a large President emblem. Let’s get back to the Q45. The day before I drove it, I went to go look at the car, but there was some work being done on it. A salesperson told me that he thought the air filter and an oxygen sensor needed to be replaced. I decided to go back to the dealer the next day to take a test drive in it. The car had some scrapes and dents on the front and rear bumper, the driver’s door panel were faded, and the driver’s seat had some cracks in the leather. The rest of the interior was in good shape. While I was driving the car, I noticed that the transmission would give a hard kick when shifting from first to second gear. I also tried to open the sunroof, but it wasn’t working. Those were the only two faults that I noticed in the car. I also discovered something that I thought was unusual for a car like this. It had no cup holders! Ok, I would expect an economy car that age to not come with cup holders, but we’re talking about what used to be a $50,000 luxury automobile! That would be so inconvenient! Anyway, I was able to drive the car down the 91 freeway for a few miles, which I liked. The car had some power, and the steering was good. It didn’t feel like a big car, and it felt a little bit sporty. After the test drive, I was curious how much the car would cost total after taxes and fees. The dealer said about $4500. Another salesperson asked me what he can do to sell me the car today, but I told him I wasn’t planning on buying today. If I were to buy it, I would have offered no more than $3500 out the door. That same day, I found a green, 1995 Q45 with 97000 original miles that was for sale by owner on Craigslist, and the owner was asking for $2350! After seeing that, I thought that $4500 would be a rip off. I also watched a video on YouTube about the 1994 Infiniti Q45. I then realized that it did have cup holders. The problem is that it’s hidden inside the center console! So, I was wrong about it not having cup holders. About a week after I looked at the Infiniti Q45, I test drove a 1996 Lexus LS400, so that I could have a better comparison between the two cars. The LS400, as you may know, is from Toyota. The Q45 as mentioned earlier is from Nissan. The two cars both debuted in 1989 as 1990 models, and have been butting heads since. The Infiniti Q45 is a better car when it comes to performance, but the LS400 has more of a luxury car feel. The Lexus did feel like a big car, but it has better fit and finish then the Q45. It also holds its resale value better than the Q45. If I have to choose between the two, I would pick the LS400. The Infiniti is nice, sporty, and affordable; however, the Lexus is more modern. I believe that the LS400 would give a nicer appearance and impression on others. It looks more original than the Q45, which to me looks similar to a Jaguar XJ. That’s just my opinion, but I still like the Infiniti. Overall the Infiniti Q45 is a decent car. If you want a full sized luxury car that’s not too expensive and doesn’t feel so much like a big car, then this car would be good for you. I wouldn’t mind owning one, but I’d probably buy the LS400 over the Q45.

Pictures were taken by California Auto Land.


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