Infiniti needs a few tweaks to be truly successful.
Nissan's luxury brand, Infiniti, has always been a bit of an automotive afterthought. The company has built many excellent, well-known cars such as the G35 and G37. When it comes to sales, the Japanese automaker lags behind its German competitors and fellow Japanese automaker, Lexus. Infiniti has shown spurts of greatness, but it hasn't strung together a cohesive model lineup to entice buyers in different price brackets and consumer groups. We think we can fix the Infiniti brand and help the company sell more cars with just five improvements.
Our first order of business would be to replace the QX70 SUV (formerly the FX37/50). The QX70 was killed off in 2017, but we think it is hugely important to Infiniti's success. Crossovers are all the rage right now, and Infiniti needs a crossover with some sporty flavor. The QX50 and QX60 are great for family duties, but we have seen a growing trend in the market towards performance oriented SUVs. When the FX first debuted, it proved Infiniti could build an interesting SUV with real performance.
Though we placed a priority on replacing the QX70 SUV, the Q70 is also in desperate need of a replacement. Crossover sales have been taking away from sedan sales, but this shouldn't stop Infiniti from competing. Formerly known as the M37/56, the Q70 has been on the market since 2010. Even though it has gone eight years without a major refresh, we still think it is one of the prettiest sedans on the market. It is also one of the last to be available with a naturally aspirated V8. Based on what we've seen from the Q80 concept, the Q70's replacement should continue to be one of the best looking cars in the midsize luxury segment.
The Q50 sedan and Q60 coupe were both highly anticipated replacements for the G37. We love the way both cars look, but they are let down by a lack of driving pleasure. This is mainly due to Infiniti's steer-by-wire system, which replaces the traditional mechanical connection of the steering wheel with a computerized system. While it is great for packaging purposes, the system feels very artificial and overly assisted. If Infiniti has any hopes of targeting enthusiasts away from Audi, BMW, or Mercedes, it better have a rethink on this steering system.
Infiniti has worked hard developing new engines for its future models. The company's new variable compression ratio engine captured a lot of headlines when it was introduced in the QX50, but it isn't overwhelmingly more powerful or more efficient than other 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines. In order to really be competitive, Infiniti needs to hit its goal to add electrification to its models by 2021. Hybrid versions of new Infiniti models could achieve better fuel efficiency than competitors and more power as well.
Our final suggestion is for Infiniti to finally build a true performance rival for the likes of AMG, M and Audi Sport. The company dabbled with the Infiniti Performance Line (IPL), but only built a single model. We don't think IPL had enough brand recognition to warrant being brought back, but perhaps a Black Sport model on top of the current 400 horsepower Red Sport would do the trick. Infiniti has expressed interest in building a performance variant of the Q60 coupe, so we really hope the company follows through. If this model is a success, Infiniti can expand its performance engine to other models in the lineup.