By George Polgar
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Nissan’s upmarket premium Infiniti division has burnished its performance credibility with extensive technical involvement in the 4-time Champion Formula 1 team Red Bull.
In simple consumer terms – Infiniti makes hot, sporty cars!
Even faster than the cars has been the succession of top US executives at Infiniti in recent years.
The management shuffle made news again last week with the sudden departure of ranking US Infiniti exec Michael Bartsch, who largely carried on the aggressive brand strategy of earlier chief Johan de Nysschen, the outspoken and strong willed former US boss of Audi, now heading up Cadillac.
Enigmatic NISSAN honcho Carlos Ghosn and other company executives have made no secret of the negligible contribution Infiniti has made on the booming drive of the Japanese car-maker to overtake arch rival Honda as America’s # 2 top selling import.
While Infiniti started 2014 strong with sales increases up 13.6 percent in the first half of the year, ahead of the NISSAN brand 12.8 percent growth, the surge bottomed out with Infiniti sales declines through the end of the year.
From behind the wheel of the new high style and performance Infiniti QX70 AWD crossover, all the corporate palace intrigue is worlds away.
Despite it’s SUV profile, the QX series – due for a major redesign next year – still cuts a striking contemporary look enhanced by aggressive sports styling cues.
Impressively tech and luxury amenity loaded for just under $60K, a boisterous 325 horsepower V6 and sports car handling make the QX70 a wonderfully satisfying driver’s car.