Infiniti Wants to Recapture the Q45’s Magic With Its New Qe Electric Sedan
Posted on November 2, 2023
It’s a little weird to think about a relatively young automaker like Infiniti in terms of its history. But with recent offerings failing to captivate and nostalgia for ‘90s Japanese cars at an all-time high, it’s easy to see why the luxury brand would look backward for inspiration. After all, its first car—the high-tech Q45 sport sedan—turns 35 next year, and it referenced that car and the immensely successful FX crossover in its intro spiel for the new Vision Qe, an electric fastback sedan concept that previews the brand’s first EV. I caught up with Infiniti’s senior design director Taisuke Nakamura at the Qe’s unveiling ahead of the Japan Mobility Show to get his thoughts on Infiniti’s electric future, through the lens of its present and past.
The Q45 went on sale in 1989 as a 1990 model alongside the Lexus LS400 and second-generation Acura Legend; three unprestigious companies mounting Japan’s first serious challenge to Mercedes and BMW’s full-size sedans. It was praised for its dynamics, with a complex active-suspension system and optional four-wheel steering keeping its size in check. While the Q45’s grille-less “belt buckle” front end treatment was controversial at the time, it looks downright classy and understated today. Despite never selling in the numbers of its rivals, its engineering sophistication and sleek looks earned mentions in rap lyrics and a sort of cult following.