THE INFINITI Q45’S LUXURY MAY SEEM ROUTINE NOW, BUT IT’S STILL SPECIAL
In the early 1990s, I was young, and so was Infiniti. The brand born from contemporary trends rather than necessity, with more allusions to Japanese notions of nature than automobiles, headlined a late-century renaissance of the luxury car market. It was a noble experiment for Nissan to dabble in luxury, and to shift focus from the everyday market to the exclusive. It was a brilliant idea. At the center of the product offensive was the Q45, the flagship that no American enthusiasts were aware of. It was stately in a way that the Maxima was not, and it caught your attention from the first moment it rolled by.
Despite a marketing campaign that placed greater precedence on nature than actual cars, it worked. I wanted the sedan that no one else yet had: The one with the exotic-sounding features and the rounded, subdued, almost owl-like design. I loved that the -45 in the name corresponded to the displacement of the sweet-sounding V-8. And how many other luxury sedans – or any car at all – came with a badge on the hood that looked more like Byzantine Empire cloisonné art than automotive brightwork?