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Always looking Forward: The History of Infiniti

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On: Mon, Aug 11, 2014 at 4:45PM | By: Teddy Field

Always looking Forward: The History of Infiniti

If you want a luxury car that isn't entirely boring to drive, then you've probably heard of Infiniti. This luxury division from Nissan offers a wide range of premium models like the Infiniti Q50, Infiniti Q70, and Infiniti QX60. From their luxury SUVs to their sport coupes, each Infiniti is engineered to excite the driver while coddling them in luxury.

Back in the 1980s, Japan's 'Big 3' (Honda, Toyota, and Nissan) decided to enter the American luxury car market. It was the biggest game in town, and winning there would put your company on the map. Honda struck first, launching its Acura brand in 1986. Toyota's Lexus division followed three years later, and Nissan's Infiniti brand finally debuted for the 1990 model year. Their flagship Infiniti Q45 was the most technologically advanced luxury sedan available, and it garnered numerous awards right off the bat. It was powered by a 4-cam V8 with variable valve timing and an 'advertised' output of 278hp (the actual horsepower was closer to 300). This zen sanctuary could rocket past the Acura Legend and Lexus LS400, then zip through the twisties thanks to its innovative computer-controlled active suspension.

Although the original 'Q-ship' was a technical tour de force, the U.S. Market didn't embrace its minimalist styling. It soldiered on at the bottom of the luxury pack while Infiniti introduced a range of smaller models throughout the 90s. Their first real success came in 1996, with the introduction of the Infiniti QX4. At the beginning of the SUV craze, Infiniti took a Nissan Pathfinder and turned the style-dial up to 11. The inside was fitted with the finest leathers and wood veneer, and a real 4WD system was employed to give it some actual off-road capability. American buyers snapped up QX4s by the boatload, and Infiniti was finally on the map.

Infiniti launched their next hit, the G35, in 2003. Sales for the brand were already increasing, and the midsize Infiniti G35 helped to put them on a level playing field with Acura and Lexus. This new car was designed to perform, and shared its platform with the Nissan 350Z. Combine that with a heavy dose of modern style, and you had an ES300/TL alternative that was actually exciting. That car lives on today as the Infiniti Q50, and offers a world-class combination of style and performance.

Today, Infiniti car models all begin with the letter 'Q', and their SUVs carry the 'QX' prefix. The corresponding number is said to represent that model's maximum price point. There are many exciting models in the Infiniti portfolio, including the Infiniti Q60 Convertible, and the 360hp Infiniti Q50 Hybrid which can hit 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds.

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