1992 Infiniti Q45t: Time Machine Test Drive

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In 1989 I was four years old. Even for a guy born with gasoline and oil in his veins, that was much too young to know about, or even grasp how monumental the first-generation Infiniti Q45 was.

While I may have only been four years old, I was fortunate as my uncle bought a 1990 Infiniti Q45 and kept it until I was 15 years old. I grew up with it, and was able to learn its importance.

ALSO SEE: Time Machine Test Drive: 1996 300ZX Twin-Turbo

Unfortunately, my uncle sold that Q45 just before I turned 16, and I never had a chance to actually drive it on the road. [Side note: looking back, I was dumb and should have bought it from him as my first car. Mistakes were made.].

Late in 2014, 13 years later, I finally had the opportunity to drive what is likely the only brand-new first-generation Infiniti Q45 left in the world. It has a mere 3,788 miles on it. It's a car that few people would care about, but it makes my automotive bucket list.

1992 Infiniti Q45

1992 Infiniti Q45

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Brief history lesson

The first-generation Q45 was a revolutionary car in many ways. For starters, it didn't even have a grille. Infiniti engineers and designers realized the car didn't need a grille for cooling or aerodynamics, so they simply didn't put one on the car. Instead, there was what people referred to as The Belt Buckle Badge. It was a piece of art, but buyers couldn't seem to get past the unconventional grille-less front end, which is why the car received a grille with the 1994 refresh.

Even in base trim the Q45 was an over-engineered car, but the Q45t and Q45a models took things to the next level. The Q45t was the touring model and it featured four-wheel steering dubbed HICAS. It rotates the rear wheels along with the front wheels to make the Q45 feel smaller, and more nimble, than it actually is.

The Q45a model featured active suspension, which for a car in 1991 was pretty trick. Some say the system worked a bit too well, complaining that the car made them a bit sea sick. The reasons for the complaints stemmed from when you went around a corner. Your body would say the car should be exhibiting body roll, but it wasn't, it remained nearly flat.

READ: 2016 Mercedes-Maybach S600 First Drive

1992 Infiniti Q45

1992 Infiniti Q45

Enlarge Photo


Infiniti launched the Q45 with an aluminum V-8 engine rated at 278 horsepower and 292 pound-feet of torque. Power was sent to the rear wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission. With computer controlled electronic fuel injection, four cams, and 32 valves, it featured all the latest powertrain technology that you could hope for in a street car.

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