AND A BMW
A review of the Infiniti Q70, as featured in OX Magazine
Take 10 friends, two cars, 2,000km and a long bank holiday weekend and what do you get? An epic road-trip, worthy of stories to be told years down the line? Drunken nights doing dangerous things?
Perhaps 10 years ago, maybe even 5 years ago for some of us.
No, we’re grown ups now and things have changed. Those of us who still drink don’t get drunk, and it’s more likely to be a glass of wine with dinner than a bottle of Lambrini at the park. We do the washing up. We make the beds. We have beds, even. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the reliance on cars.
We’ve all been on this particular trip a few times. A Fiat Punto 1.2 petrol and a VW Polo 1.4 petrol from the first trip were upgraded to a Renault Laguna 1.8 petrol and VW Golf GTi 1.8 petrol down the line. Granted we were all smaller so the compact hatchbacks didn’t seem as small. And now here we are with an Infiniti Q70 2.2d and BMW 330e, two very capable mile crunchers and similarly priced as well.
This is an Infiniti blog so I won’t dwell too long on the BMW. It’s a very nice car and suits the needs of it’s owner well – the combination of the performance it delivers along with the environmentally friendly plug-in hybrid aspect of it make it ideal for him, not to mention the fantastic M-sport package it has. I will of course focus on Q70… it makes a lot of sense to make some comparisons but it’s not a direct comparison review.
With the 2.2d engine we were worried that 4 days of driving in France would become a problem with warnings of a fuel ‘crisis’ in France as everyone was on strike. The plug-in option of the BMW looked by far the safest option. Our worries were unfounded as with the large tank capacity we still had half a tank by the time we got back to England, despite hauling 5 people around at all times and with a well-utilised boot.
Let’s talk about that boot.
I overpack, I’ll admit it. What with the emergency kit, breakdown kit, French driving kit (required by law), snow shovel, spare shoes, spare waterproofs for passengers in event of an accident, spare bottles of water, screen wash, emergency diesel, spare towels, chocolate bars in case of emergency… and that’s what occupies my boot most of the time. Not to mention having the forethought to pack a large coolbox for the beach picnics, beach towels, a whole stack of board games and their huge boxes. It was going to be a struggle to get 5 people’s luggage in on top of all of that. And it was a struggle… but it fit.
The thing about the Q70 boot which is often overlooked is the fact that it is absolutely cavernous. Perhaps it might look about the same size as the boot on the 330e, but that has a battery where the Q70’s spare wheel would be which reduces space, as well as hinges inside the boot. The BMW is also a smaller car. So the fact that 3 suitcases could stand up in the boot of Q70 made the world of difference. No-one had to have their bags on their laps, no-one had to have anything in the footwells, and I didn’t have my view obstructed by things on the rear shelf. It was as comfortable as it could be.
Although with 3 tall guys, how comfortable can they be in the back of a car, squashed in there together?
Another surprising thing – quite comfortable. Okay it worked out better when we had one of the smaller people of the group swap into the middle seat in our car from the BMW, but for some of the longest journeys we had 3 guys dozing in the back of the car. Again I have to reiterate that the other one is simply a smaller car, but it’s worth noting that they simply didn’t fit into that one.
here are two things I’ve not commented on yet (who would ever have thought the first few things would be MPG, boot size and comfort) and those are the traditional selling points of cars; the performance and the sound system. Speak to me 10 years ago and the first thing I would have asked was how fast it could go.
Well here’s the answer – 110km/h on the motorways, 50km/h in town (where we were at least). Yes it can go much faster, and at times the power of the car was put to good use, but with 4 friends inside and another car to keep in convoy with it never even crossed either of our minds to drive any faster than the legal limit, despite it being lower than what we’re used to in the UK.
So why haven’t I focussed on the performance? I know from driving this beast for the past few months that it’s more than capable of competing with it’s peers, especially using paddle shift gear changes in Sport mode so surely that’s a great thing to talk about? No, this is a taste thing, and I didn’t want performance for this trip I wanted comfort. A bit more refinement and class. Give me ventilated, air-conditioned seats over acceleration. Give me lumbar support, memory seats and steering wheel, welcome lighting and intelligent cruise control over horse power. Give me that thing where you can have all the windows and sunroof open when I’m walking towards the car over the scream of a V6. Everyone’s tastes are different, so I at least got in a mention about the performance.
Although everyone’s tastes were quite aligned when it came to the sound system.
Yes I’m a lucky so and so, I had the Bose Premium Sound System in my car because I was driving a Sport Tech (think all the bells and whistles, no options). Everyone remarked on the speakers embedded into the front seats at ear level for surround sound and the fantastic sound quality. But rarely did we ever have the road-trip playlist above speaking volume. Because when there’s 5 of you in the car, all chatting and sometimes even having multiple conversations, what’s more important is that you can hear your friends over the sound of the road and the wind. And as if Infiniti anticipated this very trip, the car has double-glazing front and back for a whisper-quiet journey. As standard.
So far it might sound like I’m retired, but I’m 28 like most of the group. I’m not exactly the poster-child for youthful abandon but at the same time we were as active as every other 28-year-old; we hit the beach and had a barbecue, drove to more beaches and harbours, had dinner in town etc. But gone are the days of spending 8 hours twisted sideways with suitcases on our laps, of shouting above the engine/road/wind noise, of caring more about the speed and handling of the car than the comfort of our passengers.
I said it on the trip that if I were spending my own money I’d buy this over the 330e. Very similarly priced in cash (a few £000 more cash price) but by far the cheaper of the two on finance. Not everyone would agree with the choice – that taste thing again – but all of my passengers would wholeheartedly agree.
This is a new generation of driver, and we want different things from our cars… without making any compromises. Lucky Infiniti is on hand to cater for our ever-growing list of demands then.