Premium large car; Built in Japan
  • 4-door sedan
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $6,500 – $16,300*

2002 Infiniti Q45

2002 Infiniti Q45

2002 Infiniti Q45 interior

2004 Infiniti Q45

2004 Infiniti Q45

  • Acceleration
  • Build quality
  • Quietness
  • Fuel economy
  • Navigation-system controls

Premium sedans must deliver effortless performance in an atmosphere of uncompromised, spacious refinement. Materials and workmanship of the highest quality, along with at-your-service ergonomics, are also essential when a car costs as much as the Q45. Despite a good reliability record, the Q45 doesn’t squarely hit any of these marks.


Nissan’s luxury division redesigned its flagship sedan for 2002. Wider and taller than the 1997-2001 model, the new Q45 rode a longer wheelbase that yielded greater interior space. New styling includes 7-lens headlamps that were claimed to be the world’s brightest.

Infiniti sought to revive the Q45’s performance roots by installing a 4.5-liter V8 that delivered 74 more horsepower than the prior generation’s 4.1-liter. A five-speed automatic transmission, with manual shift gate took the place of the previous four-speed unit.

Antilock four-wheel disc brakes with full power assist were standard, along with antiskid/traction control, 17-inch wheels, front and curtain side airbags, and leather/wood interior trim. An in-dash information screen served an available navigation system, and there was standard voice control for audio, climate, and navigation functions.

A Sport Package option for the base Luxury model added 18-inch wheels, wider tires, and auto-adjusting shock absorbers with firmer sport mode. The Premium Package included a power-reclining rear seat, rear audio/climate controls, and a TV camera that displayed a view of the area behind the car when Reverse was selected.

Radar-based Intelligent Cruise Control became available during the 2002 season. With the Q45, Infiniti competed against the BMW 540i, Lexus LS 430, and Mercedes-Benz E430/E500.

Yearly Updates

2003 Q45
Nissan’s luxury-brand flagship sedan touted extra features for 2003. Added as standard were a power trunk lid closer, door-mirror “puddle” lights, and a one-slot in-dash CD changer (replacing a glovebox-mounted cartridge unit).
A Luxury sedan served again as the base model. The Premium version included heated front/rear seats, a power reclining rear seat, rear audio/climate controls, and a rear-view TV camera that worked when the gear selector went into Reverse. Newly standard for this year’s Premium sedan were front-seat fan ventilation, power open/close trunk lid, chrome or titanium-colored 18-inch wheels, and digital satellite radio with choice of XM or Sirius service. A Sport Package remained available.
Nissan’s Intelligent Cruise Control, a separate option, was designed to automatically adjust speed and maintain a safe following distance. Finally, the Q45 was newly certified as a Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV), a numerically higher rear-axle ratio was used, and minor trim changes occurred inside and out.
2004 Q45
Available in Luxury and Premium trim, the Q45 gained a standard rear-view TV camera and monitor as its only significant change for 2004. It used the same display screen as the navigation system and audio/climate functions.
Premium sedans had 18-inch wheels rather than 17s, an adjustable suspension, heated/cooled front seats, and reclining heated rear seats. Also included were the navigation system and Intelligent Cruise Control. A Journey option for the Luxury sedan added Intelligent Cruise Control, the navigation system, and run-flat tires.
2005 Q45
Q45 gets a mild facelift and some equipment revisions for 2005. Recalibrations to the transmission for ’05 are intended to improve response and smoothness. A Premium package adds heated and cooled front seats, reclining heated rear seats, satellite radio, and 18-inch wheels in place of standard 17s. It also includes radar cruise control designed to maintain a set following distance from other traffic.
2006 Q45
The flagship of Nissan’s luxury brand adds a Sport version for 2006. Like the base model, it has a 340-hp V8 and a 5-speed automatic transmission with manual shift gate. The Sport model uses a nonadjustable sport-tuned suspension and includes Infiniti’s Rear Active Steer system that steers the rear wheels slightly to improve handling. Hands-free cell phone connectivitity is also standard for 2006.


longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

All Q45s in this generation use the same powertrain: a dual-overhead-cam, 4.5-liter V8 engine that produces 340 horsepower, driving a five-speed automatic transmission.

dohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.5/274
Engine HP 340
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 333
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic



Road Test

Accelerating with haste from a stop, the Q45 also delivers good highway passing and merging power. A test 2002 Q45 ran 0-60 mph in 6.7 seconds, versus Infiniti’s claim of 5.9 seconds. A lower final-drive ratio promised to make the 2003 a bit punchier. Unfortunately, the transmission suffers frustrating early upshifts and tardy downshifts at full throttle.

Intelligent Cruise Control works as intended, but it’s most useful on uncrowded highways. Fuel economy is so-so. Early test cars averaged 15.9 to 16.6 mpg in a city/highway mix, and 19 mpg in mostly highway driving. A 2004 model average 18 mpg for similar usage. Premium fuel is required.

While the Q45 rides comfortably in standard form, it fails to reach the top of the class. The suspension allows some float and bounce, yet impact harshness over small, sharp surface flaws is higher than the luxury norm. Little freeway thump is evident, though. Optional auto-adjusting shock absorbers have modest effect, though Sport mode may increase harshness.

A Q45 corners acceptably for its size and weight, but it’s less agile than most rivals. Steering feels rather vague, too. Auto-adjusting shocks, in Sport mode, might lessen body lean just a bit. Available 18-inch tires tend to wander along road grooves. Strong brakes make short, stable simulated-emergency stops.

Road and wind noise levels are low overall, yet higher than expected for this class. The Premium model’s 18-inch tires rumble more than 17s. The engine is smooth and quiet, even at high speeds.

Crystal-clear gauges are pleasing, but the unnecessarily complex climate/audio/navigation setup takes time to learn and aggravates simple tasks like changing radio stations. The system often misinterprets voice commands, too. Interior materials are of good quality, but don’t stand out for feel or visual panache.

Front seats are comfortable, with generous head and leg room. Undersized outside mirrors hamper lane changes, but unique seven-lens headlights are among the brightest on the road. The standard power tilt/telescope steering wheel eases driver positioning.

Infiniti’s available rear-view TV system is outstanding in design and operation–best at revealing small objects just behind. However, the trunklid-mounted camera lens can be compromised by direct sunlight, heavy dust, raindrops, or salt spray.

Although the Q45 trails an LS 430 or E-Class for stretch-out space, the back seat is surprisingly cozy, with just-acceptable six-footer head and leg room. The transmission hump and cushion shaping preclude a middle adult. Premium models add comfort-enhancing seat heating and a power reclining backrest.

Trunk volume is below class-average, and intrusive trunklid hinges are an embarrassment at this price level. Cabin storage is plentiful.


Model Tested: 2002 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 - 4
Ride Quality - 7
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 7


Controls/Materials - 7
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 2

Total: 56


4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
113.0 199.6 72.6 58.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.7 21.4 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.4 36.4 44.0 37.3
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A


(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 N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Description: The tops of the doors on cars built before February 2002 were rusting along the hem. (2002)
Engine noise
Description: The idler pulley for the accessory drive belt becomes noisy and may get lose enough to throw the belt requiring replacement of the pulley, its bracket and belt. (2002)
Suspension noise
Description: Cars with electronically controlled suspension may develop a noise from the front caused by the spring coils clashing. (2002)
Description: The headlamp low beams (HID) may quit working due to failure of the ballast. (2002)
Description: The original dipstick was a cable and hard to read and traditional flat dipsticks are available for the asking. (2002)
Interior trim
Description: The plastic brackets for the rear sunshade break. (2002)

Recall History

Description: Due to a faulty crank position sensor, the “service engine soon” light may come on and the defect may also cause engine failure. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
Description: Brake light switch on certain cars may malfunction, causing brake lights to fail to illuminate when brake is applied.
Description: Taillamps may inadequately illuminate. Dealers will replace the rear combination lamp assemblies free of charge.
Description: Improperly positioned brackets at power rear seat (if so equipped) may cause difficulty in attaching some child seats.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


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