The nav system shows maps in what Infiniti calls Birdview, with converging lines of perspective, and the rearview camera, which is mounted just below the lip of the trunklid, displays similar lines overlaid on the screen to give the driver a sense of where to aim. And get this: The car features an optional Visteon-developed voice-recognition system that enables the driver to call the shots regarding audio and climate settings, as well as navigational matters. You just press a button on the wheel and order up./media/61/assets-image-020603203724jpg-photo-10994-s-inline-image.jpgp>

“Navigation off!” we commanded imperiously. It replied, “Navigation on.” Huh? Well, with any luck, the system should be working properly with the arrival of the first cars late in April. From about July 2001 on, Q45s will also offer adaptive cruise control with laser-based range finding./media/61/assets-image-020603203724jpg-photo-10994-s-inline-image.jpgp>

There is more space inside this new Q45, owing to increases in height, width, and wheelbase. Yet its drag coefficient has improved from 0.32 to 0.30, and Infiniti says the body is 40 percent stiffer in torsion than its predecessor./media/61/assets-image-020603203724jpg-photo-10994-s-inline-image.jpgp>

The exterior design is clearly a matter of taste, but the front end is nothing if not contentious with those giant headlamps and their high-intensity Gatling-gun seven-lens low-beam clusters. Still, the rest of the body is pretty swoopy, and the Audi A6 like taillights work very well, we think. The car looks great equipped with 18-inch wheels and tires (both options). Seventeen-inch units are standard equipment, with 17-inch run-flat tires available later this year as an option./media/61/assets-image-020603203724jpg-photo-10994-s-inline-image.jpgp>

Altogether, the Infiniti Q45 offers performance, styling distinction, and equipment levels that should get everyone’s attention. With prices starting at $51,567 and peaking at a loaded $59,867, this car promises to be a serious contender./media/61/assets-image-020603203724jpg-photo-10994-s-inline-image.jpgp>

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