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Infiniti Erases Its Past, Starts Fresh With 'Q'

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2013 Infiniti G37 Convertible

2013 Infiniti G37 Convertible

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The Infiniti G37 is a great car, especially in sedan form. In fact, it's one of the best sports sedans on the road when outfitted with a manual transmission and the sport package. But it is no more. In fact, all of Infiniti's current models will cease to exist as of the 2014 model year.

Well, they'll cease to exist in name, at least. The cars will be the same, but they'll all be named Q-something. Why is Infiniti cashing in its naming strategy of the past 23 years for the moniker of the six-years-in-the-grave large sedan that launched the brand, the Q45?

The answer, according to Infiniti, is simplicity. Strictly speaking, that makes sense: one single prefix is simpler than the six current models (G, M, EX, FX, JX, and QX). But the principle doesn't hold up to the application.

How is that, you ask? Let us demonstrate. This is now a complete listing of Infiniti's 2014 models:

  • Q50
  • Q60
  • Q70
  • QX50
  • QX60
  • QX70
  • QX80
Now, is it clear to you which of Infiniti's current models correspond to the new 2014 names? It's not entirely clear to us, either, and we're looking at the key.

Here's the translation:
  • G Sedan = Q50
  • G Coupe/Convertible = Q60
  • M Sedan = Q70
  • EX = QX50
  • JX = QX60
  • FX = QX70
  • QX = QX80
You'll notice there is room beneath the 2014 Q50 for future smaller models, including the Infiniti version of the Mercedes-Benz A or B Class. You might also notice there are a few unexplained factors in the new hierarchy.

First, for example, the seven-seat JX will now be numerically smaller than the five-seat FX. Does this mean the FX will grow to fit (somehow) between the current JX and QX? If so, does that mean the EX will also grow? And could a smaller crossover then slot in as the QX40? But if that's the case, why is the G Coupe/Convertible (Q60) range numerically larger than the G Sedan (Q50)?

Adios, M56, hello 2014 Infiniti Q70

Adios, M56, hello 2014 Infiniti Q70

Second, what of engine displacements and drive configurations? At present, Infiniti offers two engine variants in the FX range (V-6 and V-8), and three in the M Sedan range (V-6, V-8, and hybrid). Currently, that translates to FX37, FX50, M37, M56, and M Hybrid. How will the new Q70 wear those distinctions? A Q70-37 would be rather inelegant, but a Q70 V-6 is not very informative. The Q70 Hybrid seems to be the only natural progression of the new naming scheme.

Add to the engine options the availability of all-wheel drive in many of the brand's models, now denoted with a lower-case "x" and AWD after the alphanumeric name. While this nomenclature could carry forward rather easily (for instance, Q50x AWD), we're right back to where we were with G37x AWD, aside from the substitution of different letters and numbers--and the complete lack of information as to the engine. Does that mean Q50x AWD V-6? Where's the simplicity there?

We have to assume that the simplicity has, simply, eluded us somehow, and that all will be made plain and clear at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, where we'll see the launch of the all-new 2014 Infiniti Q50.

Now which one was that again?
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