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1996 INFINITI Q45 Overview
Five years after its debut, the INFINITI Q45 luxury sedan is still a relatively rare sight on most North American roads. Although this is an excellent car in almost every way, The Q45's slow market acceptance has to do with decisions made during the marketing launch. Following the success of Honda's Acura experiment, the luxury-car divisions of Toyota and Nissan made their debuts close on one anther's heels in mid-1989. Toyota's Lexus LS 400 sedan was an immediate hit; the INFINITI Q45 built sales momentum slowly, thanks largely to an ad campaign that showed pictures of rocks and tranquil ponds rather than the car. Another factor was - and still is - price. On opening day, the Q45 carried a $38,000 sticker. Increases have pushed the tab well beyond the $50,000 mark, putting the car head to head with some strong European competition, as well as its arch rival from Lexus. Still another cause of the Q45's sluggish start in the luxury-sedan sales race can be attributed to those responsible for its concept and design. Although the design team deserves credit for attempting to do something original, in contrast to the Mercedes-derivative approach taken by Lexus, the result verged on anonymity. As it first appeared, the Q45 was plain, almost austere, inside and out. No frills, no grille, no distinctive styling touches - not much there to attract the attention of passersby. Or the attention of potential buyers. Even so, those who did buy it, and the critics who tested it, loved the original Q45 for its performance, agility and painstaking quality. And even more people from both camps love the current version, which has been touched up in highly visible ways. The new, warmer and more inviting Q45 was a 1994 arrival carried over virtually unchanged for 1995. Even if your initial take on the Q45 is that it remains too restrained and does not adequately advertise its owner's investment to the outside world, we advise you to take a second look and a test drive. The Q45 is one classy automobile. The model we tested, a Q45t with Touring Package, was equipped with a 10-disc CD changer, heated seats and performance alloy wheels, which put the price at $56,250.