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Infiniti Q70 vs Lexus GS200t


Germans don't hold all the luxury high ground. Richard Blackburn assesses safe, less expensive medium sedans from Japan.

value

Infiniti Q70

It's substantially cheaper than the equivalent Germans and Infiniti has added extra gear at no cost over the previous model. Creature comforts include Bose audio, satnav with traffic updates, 10GB music storage, heated steering wheel and heated and cooled front seats with memory settings. Capped servicing is $1260 for three years or 30,000km. Drive more kilometres in that period and you'll be up for a costly fourth service at $801.

Lexus GS200t

Our Lexus's $7000 enhancement pack included a 17-speaker Mark Levinson audio, 12.3-inch screen, head-up display and sunroof (standard on the Q70). That made the price gap more than $10,000. Has adaptive variable suspension and five drive modes, including sports-plus, which changes the digital instrument panel display. Also gets adaptive high beam, electric rear sunshade, 18-way power driver's seat with memory and heated-ventilated front seats. No capped servicing but first 15,000km service is free.

design

Infiniti Q70

Big 20-inch wheels and a low-slung body give an imposing look. The Infiniti may not be to everyone's tastes but it makes a statement. Inside the quality of materials is first class but the dash design still betrays its Nissan roots. The infotainment controls are a bit fussy and the readouts don't look as modern as the Lexus. The boot is a good size and there's plenty of leg and headroom in the rear.

Lexus GS200t

Lexus has put the Germans on notice recently with its cabin quality. Seat materials and dash finishes look and feel luxurious while the big centre screen is a step up from the Q70. The enhancement pack‘s head-up display and awesome audio further lift the ambience. Pity the menu controller is fiddly. Rear seats are more snug than the Q70 but the boot is slightly larger.

technology

Infiniti Q70

Engine

The punchy V6 wins the arm wrestle, its 235kW delivering great off-the-line response, with a throaty exhaust note. The company claims a 6.2-second sprint to 100km/h, while Lexus says the GS200t takes 7.3 secs. You'll pay for that performance, though, as the Q70 uses 10.8L/100km, about 20 per cent more than a Falcon. It's far thirstier than that claim in city driving.

Lexus GS200t

Engine

It may not have the grunt of the Q70 but the Lexus is no slouch, thanks to an abundance of low down torque and a slick-shifting eight-speed transmission. The Lexus has a big edge in economy, using just 8.0L/100km. The engine also feels quieter and smoother. Unless you feel the need to win the traffic light drag, it's the better rounded engine.

safety

Infiniti Q70

Much of the recent upgrade has centred on driver safety aids. New tech includes 360-degree view camera and headlights that follow the road curve. Lane departure and blind spot warning upgrades include braking to stop drifing out of lane. There are active cruise, auto emergency braking and moving object detection — also when reversing for the latter two.

Lexus GS200t

Matches the Q70's impressive safety arsenal, offering blind spot and lane departure warning systems that will steer an inattentive driver back into the lane. Auto emergency braking, active cruise and rear cross traffic alert are standard, while the high-beams light the road ahead without blinding oncoming drivers. If all else fails, there are 10 airbags to the Q70's six.

driving

Infiniti Q70

The Q70's point of difference is four-wheel steering, which is claimed to improve responsiveness and high-speed stability. But in reality it feels too sharp and sensitive. Once you get used to it, the Q70 feels stable and composed in corners, with a surprisingly comfortable ride despite its big 20-inch rims.

Lexus GS200t

The Lexus is a great highway cruiser. It feels quiet and refined, with the auto shifting quickly and smoothly. The cabin is quieter than the Infiniti and the ride feels plusher on the open road. It also feels slightly more nimble through the corners. Around town at lower speeds, road joins can sometimes jar.

Verdict

Infiniti Q70

Lexus GS200t