Premium large car; Built in Japan
  • 4-door sedan
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,200 – $3,300*

1991 Infiniti Q45

1990 Infiniti Q45

1995 Infiniti Q45

1994 Infiniti Q45 interior

1994 Infiniti Q45 engine

  • Acceleration
  • Antilock brakes
  • Passenger room
  • Ride
  • Steering/handling
  • Cargo room
  • Fuel economy

A worthy alternative to the big BMW or Mercedes, the Q45 lacks the charm of those European sedans but is beautifully built and lavishly appointed. It might not quite match Lexus for refinement, but you’d be wise to try both.


One of Infiniti’s first models, the posh, rear-wheel-drive Q45 was the flagship of the line. It came only as a 4-door sedan with a dual-cam V8 engine and 4-speed automatic transmission. A driver-side airbag and antilock brakes were standard. “Super HICAS” 4-wheel steering was the sole major option, part of a Touring Package that included a rear stabilizer bar and integrated decklid spoiler. All Q45s had automatic climate control, power driver’s seat, power sunroof, antitheft system, and power windows/mirrors.

Yearly Updates

1991 Q45
Two new options joined for 1991: a traction-control system, and the world’s first production “Full-Active Suspension (FAS)” In that latter setup, computer-controlled hydraulic actuators at each wheel generate forces in response to signals from 10 sensors to counteract body lean, nose lift and nose dive, and fore/aft pitch on wavy surfaces.
1992 Q45
Cars with the Full-Active Suspension were now named “Q45A.”
1993 Q45
Monotone interiors replaced the former 2 tones, and steering wheels and other items adopted color-keying.
1994 Q45
The ’94 Q45 arrived in spring 1993, adding a passenger-side airbag. The restyled front end featured a chrome grille and fog lamps. All Q45s now had front seatbelt pretensioners, softer leather seats, and wood inlays. Suspension bushings were softened for an easier ride.
1995 Q45
Except for new alloy wheels, the Infiniti flagship carried on without significant change.
1996 Q45
The high-cost Q45a dropped out, and V8 engines deleted variable valve timing. Q45 would be redesigned for 1997.


longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

Only one powertrain went into the Infiniti Q45: a 4.5-liter V8 engine with four valves per cylinder rated at 278 horsepower, and a 4-speed overdrive automatic transmission.

dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.5/274
Engine HP 278
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 292
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic



Road Test

Among the first items to be noticed behind a Q45’s wheel is its quiet, silky, responsive powertrain. Not only is refinement high, but you experience lively off-the-line pickup and the crisp-shifting transmission helps it thread easily through traffic. A sporty growl emanates from beneath the hood, but the V8 runs smoothly. Fuel economy is not a “plus.” We averaged only 16.6 mpg, even with a lot of highway miles, and costly premium fuel is required. Traction control is essential for preventing wheel slip on slick surfaces.

Though not quite as smooth-riding as an LS 400 or Jaguar XJ6, the Q45 easily equals the big BMW and Mercedes in that department, yielding a stable, comfortable highway experience. Handling and braking are good, though mild understeer (resistance to turning) is evident and body lean is noticeable. The big (11-inch) brakes work well in routine use.

Though spacious for four, a Q45 isn’t vast when you consider its outside dimensions. Entry/exit is a snap. Rear leg room is ample, but there’s no space for feet under the front seats. Though it’s wide and has a flat floor, the trunk isn’t very long or deep.


Model Tested: 1996 Infiniti Q45

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 7
Fuel Economy - 3
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 5
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 5
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 5

Total: 50


4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
113.4 199.8 71.9 56.3
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.8 22.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.2 36.3 43.9 32.0
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1996 Q45 4-door sedan


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 124
Injury 63
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Automatic transmission
Description: A campaign was conducted to improve automatic-transmission life by installing an inline filter and auxiliary oil cooler. (1991)
Description: To fix brake judder and/or a groaning noise when coming to a stop, new front brake pads were developed. (1990-94)
Engine knock
Description: A knocking noise when the engine is cold, is probably coming from the ASCD cable rattling in the bracket near the firewall and is corrected by tie-wrapping the cable to the bracket. (1990-93)
Engine misfire
Description: If the idle quality gradually deteriorates, feeling like the idle is set too low, a revised ECM (computer) should solve the problem. (1994-95)
Engine stalling
Description: Stalling during coast-down idling is due to a loose connection at the air-flow meter. (1990-96)
Description: The radiator filler neck was prone to breakage and the radiator was redesigned so that the neck is a one-piece, die-cast design. A new cap is also required. (1990-92)
Vehicle shake
Description: Engine vibration felt through the steering wheel, seat, and floor with the brakes on and the transmission in drive, may be corrected by replacing two motor mounts and engine-control computer. If the vibration is worse when the A/C is on, the compressor may also have to be replaced. (1990-91)

Recall History

1991-92 w/Bose speakers and integral amplifier
Description: Conductive bridge can form on circuit board due to electrolyte leakage in high humidity; can result in overheating and possible smoke, flame, or fire.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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