Nissan created its luxury brand with the US market in mind, and the first Infiniti, the Q45 sedan, debuted at the 1989 North American International Auto Show. Happy 25th!
For their anniversary, Infiniti brought the show's best paint job to Detroit on the Q50 Eau Rouge, but back in 1989, the Q45 was facing a far bigger challenge: Creating a Japanese luxury sedan "with an international identity and presence."
In English, that meant something that could compete with the Germans, Cadillac and Lincoln, or Acura and Lexus, another Japanese luxury brand that debuted in '89 with the LS400.
The Q45 tried to be different by keeping it simple. The pre-production show car had no oversized front grille or wood trim in the interior. What it had was a 4.5 liter V8 rated at 278 horsepower and 292 lb ft, giving it a 0–60 time of 6.7 seconds.
The press liked its handling, and with a Bose sound system, power adjustable front passenger seats with two position memory, power windows, digital climate control and keyless entry system surrounded by a contrasting, padded leather upholstery, it was luxurious indeed.
Today, the former CEO of Audi America runs Infiniti, and they want to be the best by using a dash of "Latin temperament" in the luxury segment.
Will that be enough for another 25 years? In the meantime, here's another Infinity from 1989: