Wednesday, January 21, 2015

5k: Silver Lining: 1999 Infiniti Q45 Y33

The Y33 generation Q45 (1997-2001) was a slower and steadier luxury cruising version of the venerable Q-car to come out of parent company Nissan for their Infiniti brand.  It was slower and less apt to turn than the previous G50 generation, but it did add some road hugging isolating mass that helped it drive more like the Lexus LS that was eating its lunch in sales figures.  Regardless, a lightly used Q45 makes a great luxury family sedan for the budget shopper.  Find this 1999 Infiniti Q45 Y33 here on eBay currently bidding for $3,950 reserve-not-met with 1 day to go, located in West Palm Beach, FL.


The Y33 generation Q45 isn't a bad looking executive sedan, and its chiseled features speak of a sporty nature that you won't find in the blob-styled Lexus LS.  Regrettably, the multi-link front suspension and quick ration steering from the previous generation was tossed for a strut setup tuned for comfort.  On the plus side, this thing should be great for soaking up the miles.


The Q45 (despite its optimistic badge numbers) is powered by a 4.1 liter VH41DE V8, that is rated for 266 horsepower and 278 ft-lbs of torque.  The Q45 will take 7.5 seconds to reach 60 mph, which wasn't great for 1999, but what do you expect with a 4-speed automatic transmission geared for economy.


The inside of the Q45 is a nicely done combination of faux wood trim and plastics that have survived the years with minimal wear/tear.  It would be tempting to remove the strange analog clock and original cassette player, but I'd leave them for the novelty.

See a cheaper pre-Y2k luxury sedan? tips@dailyturismo.com

13 comments:

  1. "I'd leave them for the novelty." I must admit that, although I read "I'd" my mind said "we'd" and I momentarily forgot which site I was reading...

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  2. Wow. Went for $4850.00. Probably about the same price as a mint dodge neon.

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  3. Nice riding cars and a lot of people have found you can modify a setup with S13 240sx front coilovers to lower this beast of a cruiser if that is your kind of fun.

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  4. No particular experience with this generation of Q, but I did own an earlier one, and while there was a lot good about it, there were also a lot of little gotchas and it's easy to see why Infiniti stumbled for a while.

    The good:

    It really was beautifully made and done with humongously expensive materials. I don't think I've ever seen a mass-produced industrial product quite as well put together.

    The design was simple and clean inside and out (except for that belt buckle in the nose) and (with a couple frustrating exceptions) the control layout was very nice.

    The VH45DE engine was a monster, made wonderful noises and pushed the thing down the road hard enough that the 145mph speed limiter came in with something of a thump.

    All Qs got the viscous limited-slip differential, which worked reasonably well.

    The bad:

    The driving position and seats were really made for someone about six inches shorter than I am.

    The 2.1-turn steering in the '90-92 cars was twitchy as hell, it was a very difficult car to drive smoothly on the freeway.

    That 'multi link front suspension' was an early effort at a tall-spindle SLA setup, and was shared with the 300ZX. It had some problems - many of the parts (the hydraulic bushings in the lower tension struts and the pivot bushings in the upper arms) were quite short-lived, and the car seemed very sensitive to tire construction in terms of noise transfer into the car - I think this may have had something to do with the upper arms being angled to the rear and bolted to the structure basically at the front footwells.

    Nissan also set up the transmission in the early cars to start in second gear which made it very slow off the line.

    The best of the original Qs was clearly the '93, which got slower steering and I think they'd also redone the transmission controls for first-gear start, but they hadn't yet jacked up the front end and stuck in the grille.

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  5. Did yours have the active suspension, mrkwong?

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    Replies
    1. No it was a base-model, no active suspension, no rear-wheel steering.

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    2. There's a rumor floating around that the rear speakers would occasionally burst into flames on these. Have you heard that one? Still, really neat cars. I absolutely loved the marketing and would have loved to have been at one of the meetings when they came up with it; "Hey, I know! Let's have a car commercial where you never see the car. Doesn't that sound like a good move?"

      And why the heck isn't the GT-R an Infiniti?!?

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    3. I can't say I ever ran into that one.

      A flaming speaker right there's not a great idea as the gas tank was at the front of the trunk behind the back seat...

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    4. I asked a friend of mine just now and he sent me this (sorry about the CAPS!):

      1991 Infiniti Q45
      Report Receipt Date: NOV 05, 1998
      NHTSA Campaign Number: 98V284000
      Manufacturer: NISSAN NORTH AMERICA, INC.

      SUMMARY:
      VEHICLE DESCRIPTION: PASSENGER VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH BOSE REAR SPEAKERS THAT HAVE AN INTEGRAL AMPLIFIER. A CONDUCTIVE BRIDGE CAN FORM BETWEEN TWO LINES OF THE CIRCUIT BOARD PATTERN WHEN THERE IS ACCUMULATED ELECTROLYTE LEAKED FROMA CAPACITOR AND HIGH HUMIDITY CONDITIONS. THIS CAN CLOSE A TRANSISTOR ON THE CIRCUIT BOARD WHICH CAUSES OVERHEATING.

      CONSEQUENCE:
      THIS CONDITION COULD RESULT IN SMOKE OR FLAME AND POSSIBLY THE SPEAKER CATCHING FIRE.

      REMEDY:
      DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE CIRCUIT BOARD WITH A NEW BOARD THAT HAS BEEN COATED.

      It sounds like a great party trick! Imagine what it would be like combined with this.

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    5. This sounds like something a parent would tell a teenager. If you listen to that rock and or roll music in my Infiniti, the speakers will explode into flames.

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    6. Ha! Maybe it was all a parental plot...conspiracy! There needs to be a special expose on this.

      Delete
  6. Fleetwood T. BroughamJanuary 23, 2015 at 11:12 AM

    That's one thing I recall about this generation when it was introduced. It baffled everyone why Infiniti lowered the hp (the 1st gen model was 278 hp) and increased the 0-60 by almost a second with this second generation.

    I believe that part of it was Inifiti, having seen the performance oriented Q45's clock cleaned by the original LS400, decided "if you can't beat em, join em" with this model and skewed more towards luxury.

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    Replies
    1. Nissan in general wasn't doing too well then. The Q45 had - well, not exactly flopped, but not lived up to expectations. They were selling rebadged Pathfinders and a melange of other Japanese-market product, the I30 (Maxima) was doing okay.

      They started taking money out of the Q before that, the '96 model lost the variable cam timing because Nissan's ECU couldn't handle both that and the mandated OBD-II so although it retained its '278HP' rating it was definitely a lesser engine.

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