Infiniti’s Stretch-Out Q70L

Sit back, stretch out, and relax in the back seat of Infiniti's flagship sedan.

You have to thank the Chinese when you luxuriate in the commodious rear seat of Infiniti’s fancy limo-like Q70L sedan.

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When it comes to transportation, it seems most wealthy Chinois much prefer to sit in the back and be driven than shuffle the steering wheel themselves.

So when Infiniti wanted a flagship model for China, it took its leather-lined Q70 and stretched it by 7.3 inches, increasing rear-seat space by an impressive 5.9 inches.

It’s the difference between being able to cross your legs in the back seat. And not.

As we Americans are known to be rather partial to automotive interior volume – yep, I’m talking about you Cadillac Escalade ESV – a year or so ago the marketeers at Infiniti USA decided the Chinese shouldn’t have all the luxury.

So they started offering the Q70L here as a 2015 model, and with just a $1,500 premium over the standard-wheelbase version.

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After just spending a week piloting this new Infiniti Q70L – and occasionally persuading my wife to drive while I sat in the back – I pose the question ‘Why the heck would anyone want a standard-wheelbase Q70?’

It really has nothing to do with being a captain of industry and giving up driving so you can be chauffeured to the office – though you can do that in a Q70L as well.

No, this stretched Infiniti is all about surprise and delight. It’s the surprise and delight of picking up friends to go to a restaurant and seeing their smiles as they slide into the back.

“Wow, this is so luxurious back here. You can take the long way if you like,” said one of our back-seat guests on a short drive to the movies. “If you think you’re going to get me out of here, you’re mistaken,” said another while being given a ride to the airport.

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And it’s not just about stretch-out legroom; the rear cabin of the Q70L is like being in a suite at The Four Seasons. Our test car was slathered in best-of-the-best semi-aniline leather together with Japanese White Ash wood trim that shimmered with sprinkles of genuine silver mixed into the lacquer. I kid you not.

Bigger interior volume also justifies having an awesome stereo system. And the Infiniti rocks-out with its 16-speaker Bose surround sound system.

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I can’t believe however they don’t offer reclining rear seats, even as an option. Nor can you get chilled rear cushions. Front seats, yes. Rear seats, no. Here in Florida, that’s almost a deal-breaker. A massage function for those rear pews? That would also be a no.

But if you have to drive and not be driven, this BMW 5-sized Q is a gem of a car, especially if you opt for the flagship version powered by Infiniti’s honking 5.6-liter 420-horse V8.

I love this engine. It’s smoother than a Michael Bublé ballade, more hushed than a snoozing kitten, and more muscley than Stallone in his prime. Coupled to a Teflon-smooth seven-speed automatic, the big V8 will punch the Q70L from rest to 60mph in a mere 4.8 seconds.

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No, this new Q not a Mercedes S550, nor a BMW 760iL – the two kings of stretch. But at around $66,000, or $75,000 absolutely loaded, it won’t stretch your bank balance either.

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