Amazing vehicle - I miss it very much
I purchased this car in Atlanta when nearly new -- back when those weird commercials aired where the car wasn't even shown. As a younger man near my peak in agility and driving-ability, I had actually gone to look at the Nissan-350Z for a serious performance car, but decided I wanted a 4-door with the same kind of performance, if I could find it. The Nissan dealer was also the new Infiniti dealer, and directed me next door where I stumbled upon this attractive, sleek automobile that was being used as a dealer demo vehicle.
The salesman took me for a ride in the new "active" model, and I wrote a check immediately after driving it -- it was amazing! This thing was the closest thing to a 4-door Porsche I'd ever driven!
I had come off of a 1986 Mercedes 500-SEC, but the Q45a drove and handled better than anything I've driven before (or since) except a Porsche, but at a much better price-point, even with the expensive active-option. (Notice, this makes a HUGE difference in handling from either the base or T/touring models.) Plus, it seated four adults in comfort and was nearly as luxurious as the Mercedes.
Other than some minor problems over the years, I racked up more than 70k miles over 8 years and loved this car. I do have to say the dealerships in San Diego, Dallas and Florida (where I lived and moved during that time) deteriorated rapidly in service quality, and even today have generally poor service (opinion derived most recently in Raleigh, where my wife now services her M45).
My number-one biggest complaint, however, is that no matter how many times I have expressed interest in purchasing one of their newer models (i.e., M45 or M56), if only they would return the option for active suspension, they have never brought it back, nor does it look like it will return any time soon!
I was prompted to write this "glowing compliment" of the full-active suspension option after reading a less-than-glowing review written by someone who still drives an active-model, but who CLEARLY does not have it correctly operating. ANYone who is a serious performance driver, and who actually drove one of these back when new, surely still longs for something comparable in production today. As an aggressive driver of Italian heritage, the only car I've found that comes very close is the new Porsche Panamera. (I have not just yet, however, been able to part with the nearly $130k required (with tax) for one.) And options prices for the new Panamera make the active option seem like a bargain!
Anyway, in 1999, as a newlywed, I traded the Q45a in on a much-slower Volvo for my fairly new and pregnant wife, when she arrived home one day completely exhilarated about how quickly it accelerated from 60mph to 120mph when a cop had started to make a u-turn half a mile behind her (presumably to issue her a citation for speeding in a 40mph zone... Obviously, I had several concerns here and wanted her in a safer, slower car immediately!)
So, I have since tried several others, including two Lexus models, but have never found one I liked as much as my Q45a. Today, I alternate between a Chevy Suburban (needed for towing and hauling things), driving my wife's current M45 (which cannot EVEN come close to comparing), an old 560-SEC I picked up about 6 years ago that I still really enjoy driving, and a 1930s Ford for fun. I'm still thinking about that Panamera S, but I plan to wait a little longer until I'm sure it's the only car that can truly replace my Q45a...
In short, if you have a well-maintained Q45-active from the early years (and a good Dealer to keep it running perfectly), it still seems the best bargain around today for THE performance-luxury sedan.
-- Dr. P.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th July, 2010