Infiniti – Automobile http://www.automobilemag.com No Boring Cars - Automotive Magazine Tue, 26 Jul 2016 22:04:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.2 Report: Infiniti Preparing Variable Compression Ratio Tech http://www.automobilemag.com/news/infiniti-working-on-v-6-with-variable-compression-ratio-tech/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/infiniti-working-on-v-6-with-variable-compression-ratio-tech/#respond Mon, 18 Jul 2016 16:52:51 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=968477 Infiniti will bring out a replacement for its aging QX50 crossover by late next year or early 2018, according to Autocar. The small crossover may receive Infiniti’s revolutionary new engine with variable compression ratio technology, the report says. When it arrives in Infiniti’s lineup, the engine should be the first of its kind in the...

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Infiniti will bring out a replacement for its aging QX50 crossover by late next year or early 2018, according to Autocar. The small crossover may receive Infiniti’s revolutionary new engine with variable compression ratio technology, the report says.

When it arrives in Infiniti’s lineup, the engine should be the first of its kind in the world. Sources say it’s close to production, and that it should offer “high levels of refinement,” as Autocar put it. Other than these few details, we don’t know much about the upcoming engine.

The Infiniti QX50 currently offers a 3.7-liter V-6 engine that produces 325 hp and nets 17/24 mpg city/highway. It was refreshed with a few updates for 2016, but it hasn’t been completely redone since its debut for the 2008 model year, when it was called the EX. Although we don’t know exactly what to expect from the replacement, the QX Sport Inspiration Concept that debuted at this year’s Beijing auto show may provide some hints as to a future design direction. The concept featured dramatic exterior lines and a free-flowing dashboard, and likely previews the replacement for the QX70.

Infiniti has ventured on a healthy product roll-out spree, entering new segments with the Q30 hatch and QX30 small crossover this year. Meanwhile, the automaker has also updated its Q50 lineup with new engines for 2016. A Q60 Coupe is also coming to market soon, and it should provide a much-needed update to the current Q60, which is almost a decade old.

2016 Infiniti QX50 front view in motion 2016 Infiniti QX50 front three quarter in motion 02 2016 Infiniti QX50 front three quarter in motion 01 2016 Infiniti QX50 front three quarter 01 2016 Infiniti QX50 front end Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept rear three quarter 02 Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept rear end 01 Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept side profile

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2017 Infiniti QX30 First Drive http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-infiniti-qx30-first-drive/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2017-infiniti-qx30-first-drive/#respond Mon, 18 Jul 2016 04:01:55 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=967845 Seattle is a city perpetually on the rise. From its port-city beginnings to its current tech industry boom, the city’s shape, culture, and people are constantly evolving. It gives the impression of always up and coming, never wanting to be complacent. As such, the location was perfect for the introduction of the new 2017 Infiniti QX30...

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Seattle is a city perpetually on the rise. From its port-city beginnings to its current tech industry boom, the city’s shape, culture, and people are constantly evolving. It gives the impression of always up and coming, never wanting to be complacent. As such, the location was perfect for the introduction of the new 2017 Infiniti QX30 as it attempts to pull the rest of the brand upwards.

Infiniti, like Seattle, is always looking towards the future, or so they now say. Decades of futile Nissan stewardship has pointed the premium automaker to the brink. Lackluster cars with barely indistinguishable interiors to their Nissan counterparts felt as if Infiniti would become just another mid-2000s Lexus, when its Toyota brethren were barely different.

The new QX30 aims to correct those dark years. It’s a breath of fresh air in the stale air of the brand, and this is largely thanks in part to the bones of the QX30 being of not Nissan descent, but Mercedes.

2017 Infiniti QX30 front three quarter 03

Haven’t We Seen You Before?

While the artsy sculpture of the body is defiantly Infiniti, the basic shape comes from Mercedes’ GLA crossover. To look its part, however, Infiniti’s designers have breathed upon the QX30 to shed its less-than-appealing roots, creating a shape that’s more evocative and speaks to the younger clientele the brand is going after. Standing just a few feet from the QX30, you get the impression that the designers saw the GLA, and thought, “God, that’s unfortunate. But it has the right architecture to build something sort of beautiful.”

The flowing haunches, subtle curves, and even the divisive trademark Infiniti grille work. We know as a matter of principle, we should hate the crossover design given that it’s just a high-riding car with little more space than its lower-to-the-ground car cousins, and that a wagon or a full-size SUV are more practical. But Infiniti’s designers did such a superb job that those nagging opinions can be shooed away. It’s a damn pretty car. Maybe it doesn’t have the beauty of a pageant queen like a Ferrari, but unlike most in this segment, it has a unique shape that’s both wonderful and distinct. The interior, though — that’s a little less incomparable.

2017 Infiniti QX30 cabin 08

Seriously, Haven’t We Seen You Before?

Infiniti will tell you until the company is blue in the face that the interior is its own. It isn’t. Pull the QX30 up next to its Mercedes cousin, jump from one car to the other, and you’d be hard-pressed to find many differences.

The steering wheel, the door window switches, the central speedometer screen that literally uses Mercedes graphics, the door locks, the center infotainment stack, and even the car’s key are all from the GLA. But you know what? You shouldn’t care, because it feels like a Mercedes product should feel. Those pieces of trim are weighted properly and the leather supple, giving them a far more expensive feel, even though you’re in an entry-level premium car.

2017 Infiniti QX30 instrument panel 2017 Infiniti QX30 shifter 2017 Infiniti QX30 infotainment 2017 Infiniti QX30 menu selection knob

There are, of course, areas where the QX30 has obvious Infiniti parts, such as the more premium leather inserts and some of the design flourishes. But for the most part, the interior is pure Mercedes.

The seats, which are also from Mercedes, are comfortably plush. The wonderful memory foam padding did the job so well that, while our driving partner pootled along our route, we almost immediately fell into a deep, calm sleep. Even the sporty AMG-derived seats in the Sport trim are comfortable despite their bolstered thigh and mid-section padding.

We’re glad Infiniti didn’t do much to make the interior more its own. As it sits, the QX30 is the perfect tool to entice new buyers. Where the QX30 slightly missteps, however, is in the transmission calibration.

2017 Infiniti QX30 front three quarter in motion 01

We Recognize You, But Something Is Different…

Seattle and the surrounding area are staggeringly beautiful. It’s an explorer’s dream, with deciduous rain forests, babbling estuaries, and plant and animal life galore. Within minutes of the heavily populated city, you’re transported to another world — one of adventure, sparse accommodations, and Mount Rainier greeting your gaze. The gorgeous tree-lined back roads necessitate frequent stops, not because you’re fatigued from driving treacherous roads, but due to their sheer beauty.

Yet, as the outside world was perfect and surrounded us through the panoramic moon roof, the mechanics of the car were not.

For the QX30, Infiniti still uses the same turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 as the Mercedes. It develops the same 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and is coupled to the same seven-speed dual clutch transmission, which is where things go wrong. With access to the transmission’s computer, Infiniti’s engineers felt they could do better than Stuttgart. They couldn’t. As such, when under harder acceleration, the transmission hangs near redline for entirely too long. When it finally shifts, and there’s no preordained pattern for how long you wait, the resulting shift in power jerks the car rather abruptly and reduces the luxury feel they so adeptly obtained. It is important to note that what we drove was a pre-production vehicle, which gives Infiniti ample amount of time to devise a solution before the car goes on sale.

Inside the city limits, Seattle is remarkably hilly, closely resembling San Francisco. Here however, and along the waterfront and historic Pike Place market, the transmission feels perfectly adept. The shifts are smooth, and almost unnoticeable. And even when you encounter uneven pavement, the ride remains pleasant as this is where most of this car’s buyers will spend their time, just scurrying around a city center.

2017 Infiniti QX30 badge 01

A Premium Crossover For Broke Millennials

According to Infiniti, the company’s target demographic is under 40 and aspires to have an active lifestyle. However, those buyers are trending younger and younger each year. And buyers want something premium without the premium price tag, as most don’t make enough yet to afford a more premium car. Infiniti is set to capitalize on this trend with the QX30, as it will likely become the brand’s most popular offering.

As the QX30’s on sale date draws closer, Infiniti will likely release the car’s final pricing. When pressed, the company stated that the base model will start near $29,950, making it an absolute bargain for those wanting Mercedes-level comfort at Infiniti prices. And it’s not like Infiniti skimps on the premium feel, either. Leather is standard, there are wood flourishes throughout, and it’s equipped with plenty of other creature comforts and safety systems that would have you believe you’re in a car that costs twice as much. For further levels of safety, Infiniti’s Technology Package offers Mercedes levels with forward emergency braking, high beam assist, intelligent cruise control, forward collision warning, blind spot detection, and lane departure warning.

Even a well-equipped QX30 Sport will come in under $40,000 before tax, license and destination. One option we highly recommend to audiophiles is the premium 10-speaker Bose stereo.

For a time, Bose was everywhere and it was the class leader in audio systems. However, in subsequent years, other makes such as Bang & Olufsen or Meridian have become the dominant makers of high end, quality stereos. In the QX30, the Bose unit is nearly flawless, with clear fidelity, and only becoming muddled at the very edges of eardrum injury. In short, it’s banging, and a clear bright point inside the car’s cabin.

2017 Infiniti QX30 seats 01

A Company Once Again on the Rise

When Renault-Nissan announced its technical partnership with Daimler Mercedes, we were very much interested in what would come out of the relationship. Seeing and feeling the finished product gives us hope that, like the city of Seattle, Infiniti is on the rise. The 2017 QX30 is a car that, as gearheads, we shouldn’t like on principle. But as people who appreciate a brilliantly executed vision, this is a high point. The Mercedes DNA makes this car feel more premium than its price tag, and the uniquely Infiniti touches add personality to the Germanic neutral undertones found in the GLA.

This car has potential energy. Energy that’s stored, waiting to be unleashed. When Infiniti finally does unleash this car to the public, it could be the car that propels the company forward into the future, shedding its apathetic history for something bold, and exciting. It also doesn’t hurt that it will likely sell like gangbusters.

2017 Infiniti QX30 rear three quarter 03

2017 Infiniti QX30 Specifications

On Sale: Fall 2016
Price: $29, 950 (est)
Engine: 2.0L DOHC 16-valve I-4/208 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 258 lb-ft @ 1,200-4,000 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Layout: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD/AWD crossover
EPA Mileage: TBD
L x W x H: 174.2 in x 71.5 in x 60.2 in
Wheelbase: 106.3 in
Weight: 3,280-3,346
0-60 MPH: 6.9 sec (est)
Top Speed: N/A
2017 Infiniti QX30 front three quarter 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 front end 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 grille 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 rear end 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 rear end detail 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 side profile 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 badge 07 2017 Infiniti QX30 exhaust 2017 Infiniti QX30 badge 05 2017 Infiniti QX30 headlamp 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 badge 06 2017 Infiniti QX30 rear three quarter 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 front end 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 badge 03 2017 Infiniti QX30 grille 03 2017 Infiniti QX30 tail lamp 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 rear end 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 badge 04 2017 Infiniti QX30 front three quarter 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 exterior detail 03 2017 Infiniti QX30 rear three quarter 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 wheel 03 2017 Infiniti QX30 wheel 04 2017 Infiniti QX30 side profile 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 grille 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 tail lamp 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 badge 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 headlamp 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 exterior detail 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 wheel 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 exterior detail 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 wheel 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 exterior detail 04 2017 Infiniti QX30 cabin 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 cabin 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 cabin 03 2017 Infiniti QX30 interior detail 2017 Infiniti QX30 cabin 04 2017 Infiniti QX30 cargo space 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 cargo space 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 center stack detail 2017 Infiniti QX30 center stack 2017 Infiniti QX30 cabin 06 2017 Infiniti QX30 seats 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 cabin 07 2017 Infiniti QX30 engine 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 interior detail 03 2017 Infiniti QX30 infotainment 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 seats 03 2017 Infiniti QX30 engine start push button 2017 Infiniti QX30 engine 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 interior detail 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 rear seat 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 rear seat 2017 Infiniti QX30 seat detail 01 2017 Infiniti QX30 seat detail 02 2017 Infiniti QX30 cargo space 03 2017 Infiniti QX30 cargo space 04 2017 Infiniti QX30 engine 03

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Ignition Takes a Look at the 2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/ignition-takes-look-2016-infiniti-q50-red-sport-400/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/ignition-takes-look-2016-infiniti-q50-red-sport-400/#respond Mon, 06 Jun 2016 15:45:26 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=952743 In the latest episode of Ignition, host Jason Cammisa takes a close look at the refreshed 2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400. The car is powered by Nissan’s new VR family 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 rated at 400 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque paired exclusively to a seven-speed automatic transmission. However, Cammisa isn’t interested specifically...

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In the latest episode of Ignition, host Jason Cammisa takes a close look at the refreshed 2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400. The car is powered by Nissan’s new VR family 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 rated at 400 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque paired exclusively to a seven-speed automatic transmission. However, Cammisa isn’t interested specifically because the updated sedan has a new engine. Instead, he’s taking a closer look at the Q50 because it has a new version of Infiniti’s Direct Adaptive Steering system, which is essentially steer-by-wire.

Cammisa explains that the Q50 is the first car to have this kind of the steering system and explains that it’s a “building block towards autonomous driving” and that it’s one step closer to getting rid of the steering column.  A motor on the steering rack turns the wheels and it can make over 1,000 corrections per second while another motor turns the steering wheel and provides resistance for the driver. Cammisa likens the experience to that of to a video game controller. Infiniti’s steer-by-wire system not only adds weight to the steering but also changes the front wheels’ movement and how quickly the car responds to driver input.

Check out the video below to find out the verdict on the 2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400.

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http://www.automobilemag.com/news/ignition-takes-look-2016-infiniti-q50-red-sport-400/feed/ 0 Ignition Takes a Look at the 2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 in Latest Episode - Automobile Host Jason Cammisa takes a look at the 2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 to see if the new steer-by-wire system makes the car better. Infiniti Q50
2016 Infiniti Q50 3.0T Priced from $40,805 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2016-infiniti-q50-3-0t-priced-40805/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2016-infiniti-q50-3-0t-priced-40805/#respond Wed, 18 May 2016 15:10:18 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=942570 Infiniti has priced the 2016 Q50 3.0T from $40,805 including destination for the rear-drive Premium trim. Adding all-wheel drive bumps the car’s price up by $2,000. Moving up to the Sport trim brings the car’s price up to $44,805 in rear-drive configuration, and $46,805 when equipped with all-wheel drive. Powered by Nissan’s new VR 3.0-liter...

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Infiniti has priced the 2016 Q50 3.0T from $40,805 including destination for the rear-drive Premium trim. Adding all-wheel drive bumps the car’s price up by $2,000. Moving up to the Sport trim brings the car’s price up to $44,805 in rear-drive configuration, and $46,805 when equipped with all-wheel drive.

Powered by Nissan’s new VR 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 with 300 hp and 295 lb-ft, the Infiniti Q50 3.0T is positioned as the middle trim. The Q50 3.0T Sport can be had with an updated version of Infiniti’s Direct Adaptive Steering, and driver selectable Dynamic Digital Suspension system. Additional standard features on the Q50 3.0T Sport includes larger brakes, leather sport seats, 19-inch alloy wheels, paddle shifters for the seven-speed automatic transmission, and a unique front fascia.

Pricing for other members of the Q50 range were announced earlier this year. The Q50 2.0T, which is powered by a 208-hp 2.0-liter turbo-four, starts at $34,855 while the Q50 Hybrid is priced from $47,955. The Q50 Hybrid is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 mated to an electric motor for a combined output of 360 hp. Finally, the range-topping Q50 Red Sport 400, which comes with a version of the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that makes 400 hp and 350 lb-ft, starts at $48,855.

2016 Infiniti Q50 front end in motion 2016 Infiniti Q50 interior 2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 engine 03 2016 Infiniti Q50 rear end in motion

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Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration Concept Shows Brand’s Future SUV Designs http://www.automobilemag.com/news/infiniti-qx-sport-inspiration-concept-shows-brands-future-suv-designs/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/infiniti-qx-sport-inspiration-concept-shows-brands-future-suv-designs/#respond Mon, 25 Apr 2016 03:30:59 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=928992 SUVs and crossovers are increasingly important to automakers worldwide, and Infiniti will show its plans for future models with the QX Sport Inspiration concept. On display at the Beijing auto show, the company says the QX Sport Inspiration “explores Infiniti’s vision for a premium mid-sized SUV.” Like the previous QX80 Inspiration sedan concept, the QX...

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SUVs and crossovers are increasingly important to automakers worldwide, and Infiniti will show its plans for future models with the QX Sport Inspiration concept. On display at the Beijing auto show, the company says the QX Sport Inspiration “explores Infiniti’s vision for a premium mid-sized SUV.”

Like the previous QX80 Inspiration sedan concept, the QX Sport builds upon Infiniti’s Powerful Elegance design language. At 181.1 inches long and 64.9 inches tall, it has low, rakish proportions, a visual trick enhanced by striking creases and character lines that run the length of the car. It is, overall, not too big a departure from current Infiniti SUV styling language, with a sloping roof, the company’s signature crescent-cut kinked rear pillar, and a prominent roof spoiler.

Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept front three quarter 03 Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept rear three quarter 02 Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept side profile Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept front end 03

Up front, Infiniti’s usual large grille opening sits between swept-back triangular headlights, while strakes on the hood are intended to transmit visions of sportiness. Ultimately, Infiniti says the QX Sport is supposed to signal the proportions and stance of a coupe, rather than a crossover, though the high beltline and chunky fender cladding betray its true aspirations.

The 2+2 cabin surrounds the driver with all he or she needs to, well, drive: A tall center console separates driver and passenger, while a sporty D-shaped steering sits ahead of fully digital instruments. There’s also an infotainment display atop the dashboard. High-quality materials include an ultra-suede headliner, real metal shift paddles, and various leathers with silver stitching. A panoramic sunroof lets in plenty of sunlight but has shading to keep rear-seat passengers from being blinded or scorched on sunny days.

Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept seats Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept side window Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept cabin Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept door mirror

There is no mention of powertrain options or of when a model like the QX Sport Inspiration would come to market. Given that Infiniti says it previews a “premium mid-size SUV,” this concept most likely points toward the next version of the QX70 (previously known as the FX.) For now, take a look at the stunning concept car in the gallery below.

Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept wheel 02 Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept doors Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept front end 01 Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept front end 02 Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept front three quarter 01 Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept grille 01 Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept grille 02 Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept headlight Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept rear end 01 Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept rear end 02 Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept rear end 03 Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept rear three quarter 01 Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept rear three quarter 03 Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept tail lamp Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept wheel 01

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The 10 Cheapest Convertibles You Can Buy in 2016 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/10-cheapest-convertibles-can-buy-2016/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/10-cheapest-convertibles-can-buy-2016/#respond Fri, 15 Apr 2016 17:00:03 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=921492 That wind-in-your-hair feeling. A more visceral driving experience. Whatever cliché you want to pick, there’s something great about driving with the roof down. Spring it washing its warm glow across the country, and our thoughts are turning from all-wheel-drive crossovers with heated seats to visions of open-air jaunts in our favorite roadsters. The good news is...

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That wind-in-your-hair feeling. A more visceral driving experience. Whatever cliché you want to pick, there’s something great about driving with the roof down. Spring it washing its warm glow across the country, and our thoughts are turning from all-wheel-drive crossovers with heated seats to visions of open-air jaunts in our favorite roadsters.

The good news is that the virtues of a convertible transcend price tags and horsepower ratings; you can enjoy the joy of top-down motoring just as easily in an affordable, reasonably powered convertible as you can in a 200-mph, six-figure exotic. So long as you can lower your car’s roof and set off for a drive, the type of convertible doesn’t matter.

With that in mind, here are the 10 most affordable new convertibles you can buy in 2016. Any of these cars would be the perfect companion for taking advantage of beautiful days to soak up sunshine and scenery.

2016 Fiat 500C Pop: $21,390, including destination

2015 Fiat 500c 1957 Edition front three quarter1

Customer enthusiasm for Fiat’s teensy 500 and 500C has cooled over the years, with sales falling steadily, but that doesn’t mean there are no reasons to consider the cheery 500C. Compact enough to fit into any parking space—and we mean any parking space—the 500C is perhaps the most sensible drop-top for city dwellers. The standard car comes with a 101-hp, 1.4-liter inline-four engine; we’d want to upgrade to the feistier turbocharged Abarth variant, which has 160 hp and an exhaust growl straight out of a Group B rally race.

2016 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4×4: $24,890

Jeep Wrangler Sport rear three quarter 02

The iconic off-roader comes with a folding fabric roof, though many owners choose to fit a hardtop instead. Yet with the Wrangler’s roof lowered, it’s easy to see why 202,702 Americans bought one last year: It can take you anywhere, with several trim levels offering varying components such as locking differentials and disconnecting anti-roll bars for scaling rugged terrain; it can seat four people; and if you unbolt the doors, you’re even more exposed to the elements than in a traditional convertible. Time is running out to get this version of the Jeep Wrangler, however, as an all-new model is likely to debut in 2017. Fortunately, Jeep plans to keep building the old one for a short time even after introducing the next-gen Wrangler.

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Sport: $25,735

Mazda MX 5 Miata rear three quarter in motion 01

We may have mentioned that we like the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Perhaps it was when we took the new car and its predecessors on a road trip through northern Michigan, when we thrashed it around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, or when we named it a 2016 AUTOMOBILE All-Star. The fact is, the Miata remains one of our go-to recommendations for anyone who wants an affordable, fun-to-drive roadster. Though its 2.0-liter engine makes only 155 hp, the Miata’s lightweight design—starting below 2,400 pounds—contributes to the car’s zesty acceleration, lithe handling, and strong braking. While cargo space is minimal and there are only two seats, it’s hard not to enjoy driving the MX-5.

2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 1.8T S: $26,310

2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune side

Channeling nostalgia for the original air-cooled model, the Volkswagen Beetle Convertible trades practicality and cargo space for serious open-air charm. The power-operated top can be raised or lowered in just 9.5 seconds and speeds up to 31 mph, and buyers can pick a 170-hp or a 210-hp turbocharged engine. (The optional TDI diesel is not currently available for sale.) There’s even a funky Beetle Dune convertible (pictured) that channels visions of old-school Baja Bug racers. After we spent a year with a Four Seasons Beetle Convertible, we concluded that it was at its best when the top was lowered: “Flaws and all, it managed to charm us with its classic Beetle looks and fun-loving character. It just needs a warning: meant for top-down driving only.”

2016 Mini Cooper Convertible: $26,800

2016 Mini Convertible Cooper S top view 04

The latest Mini Cooper Convertible, introduced to the U.S. in November 2015, is a little larger and more spacious than before, though the 2+2 layout still doesn’t provide that much room for back-seat passengers. Still, it has all the cute, funky style of other Cooper models, with buyers able to pick between a fuel-sipping, 135-hp, 1.5-liter inline-three turbo engine, a 189-hp, 2.0-liter turbo-four for S models, and a racy 228-hp John Cooper Works model.

2016 Ford Mustang V-6 Convertible: $30,545

2015 Ford Mustang GT convertible front three quarter view

When you think of taking three friends on an ice cream run on a summer day, the Mustang convertible may be the car you have in mind. Long one of America’s most iconic cars, the Ford Mustang coupe and convertible were updated for the 2015 model year with a fresh design, new technology, new engines, and perhaps most significant of all, independent rear suspension. We’re huge fans of the revamped Mustang and named it a 2015 AUTOMOBILE All-Star. While we prefer the Mustang GT‘s traditionalist 5.0-liter V-8 engine, shoppers can save money by picking the 3.7-liter V-6 or the 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbo-four engine. Whichever powertrain you pick, the Mustang convertible is a great choice for top-down summer jaunts.

2016 Volkswagen Eos Komfort: $32,860

2015 Volkswagen Eos Final Edition front three quarter in motion 02

Volkswagen’s Eos, with its power hard top, soldiers on for another year, offering buyers an affordable, stylish, and reasonably spacious way to drop the top. Production of the Eos ends this November, and the car’s price was slashed significantly this year as VW tries to sell off the remaining stock. The Eos was first introduced in the U.S. at the 2006 Los Angeles auto show, so it’s one of the most dated entries in Volkswagen showrooms, and sales have fallen over the past years. In 2015, Volkswagen sold only 2,993 Eos convertibles, down 12.3 percent from 2014.

2016 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible 1LT: $33,695

2016 Chevrolet Camaro RS Convertible homepage

America’s other classic ponycar, the Camaro, charges a bit more than the Mustang for open-air pleasure. As with the Camaro coupe, a new platform (called Alpha and shared with the Cadillac ATS) shaves significant weight. As with the Mustang, there are three engine choices—a turbo-four, a V-6, and an old-school V-8—plus a choice between manual and automatic transmissions. The Camaro convertible‘s power softtop lowers in seconds at speeds up to 30 mph and can even be opened or closed remotely (when the car is parked) via the key fob. As on the Mustang convertible, cargo space suffers a bit compared to the Camaro coupe, although styling is enhanced by the automatically deploying tonneau cover that conceals the fabric roof when it is lowered. “With the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro convertible, the soul of the car remains in place,” we wrote in March. “Instead of a one-dimensional parade car, the Camaro convertible remains a driver’s car, only one with a bigger, more well-rounded personality.”

2016 Buick Cascada 1SV: $33,990

2016 Buick Cascada Convertible side in motion

Forget memories of the early 2000s dance-music band by the same name. The Buick Cascada is a rebranded, Americanized version of the Opel drop-top of the same name. Designed as a style-first model that brings topless driving to more people, it prioritizes comfort and looks over sporty driving. As a boulevard cruiser, though, we found the Buick Cascada to be an impressive new addition to America’s convertible lineup. “On the road, the 2016 Buick Cascada is a viceless car, performing every task well but never exceptionally so,” we wrote when we first drove it. “It’s surprisingly quiet with the top up, very tolerable with the top down.”

2016 Audi A3 Cabriolet 1.8T: $36,525

2017 Audi A3 cabriolet European Spec front three quarter 01

Just like the smart four-door A3 sedan, the Audi A3 Cabriolet is based on the same modern MQB component set as the Volkswagen Golf GTI. With space for four, a 170-hp 1.8-liter turbo-four as standard or an optional 220-hp 2.0-liter turbo engine, the A3 Cabriolet is a stylish and sensible way to take friends for a blast through the great outdoors. All-wheel drive comes standard, too, for year-round traction whether the top is up or down, as does a backup camera, parking sensors, heated mirrors, and heated washer nozzles. And although it’s still not especially spacious, the A3 Cabriolet even offers more rear legroom than a Ford Mustang drop-top.

Honorable Mentions

2017 Smart Fortwo Cabriolet profile 1 2017 FIat 124 Elaborazione Abarth front three quarter 2017 Mazda MX 5 Miata RF side profile 01 2017 Mazda MX 5 Miata RF on stage rear side view top folding

Over the coming months, we’re looking forward to learning how much we’ll pay for several other new convertibles. The 2017 Smart Fortwo Cabriolet looks to combine the model’s city-smart sizing with the thrill of topless driving. The standard Fortwo coupe starts at $16,890, so expect a price tag somewhere close to that for the drop-top. Fiat is set to launch its 124 Spider later this year. Based on the Mazda Miata, the Fiat 124 Spider will also spawn a much racier Elaborazione Abarth model with upgraded suspension and brakes. And speaking of the Miata, Mazda will broaden the car’s appeal by opening order books for the Retractable Fastback model this summer. With a power-folding hard top and gorgeous flying buttress styling cues, the Miata RF will probably cost about $2,000 more than equivalent soft-top versions.

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Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration Concept Teases New SUV Ahead of Beijing Show http://www.automobilemag.com/news/infiniti-qx-sport-inspiration-concept-teases-new-suv-ahead-beijing-show/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/infiniti-qx-sport-inspiration-concept-teases-new-suv-ahead-beijing-show/#respond Thu, 14 Apr 2016 13:39:06 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=924597 One look at Infiniti’s current stable shows a brand that’s in a clear state of transition. On the one hand there is the up-and-up Q60 coupe, with its elegant sportiness and updated twin-turbo V-6 engine. On the opposite side of the spectrum are aging models with dull styling, many of them SUVs like the QX50 and...

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One look at Infiniti’s current stable shows a brand that’s in a clear state of transition. On the one hand there is the up-and-up Q60 coupe, with its elegant sportiness and updated twin-turbo V-6 engine. On the opposite side of the spectrum are aging models with dull styling, many of them SUVs like the QX50 and QX70. Infiniti will take the first steps to bridging this gap with a new mid-size luxury SUV concept—the QX Sport Inspiration—which the automaker is teasing ahead of its debut at the Beijing auto show at the end of April.

All Infiniti has revealed is a portion of the QX Sport Inspiration’s front end, but that (and the name) is enough to conclude that this luxury SUV concept will draw heavily from the gorgeous Q80 Inspiration concept (pictured below) that broke cover at the Paris auto show in 2014. The same wide, round-edged grille is featured up front with lots of chrome outlining, along with sculpted air intakes in the front bumper as well as under the headlights. The headlights are positioned as an extension of the grille’s upper corners, designed with a frameless edge composed of solid and segmented LED lighting. We also expect the QX Sport Inspiration to share the Q80 concept’s extremely low and fast A-pillars, while the liquid-metal look for the side mirrors appear to share much with the ones we saw on the Q60 Concept from last year’s Detroit show.

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept front three quarter view 2

“The QX Sport Inspiration expresses a power and purpose that is uniquely Infiniti,” Infiniti executive design director Alfonso Albaisa said in a statement. “With a flowing, natural aesthetic, this concept demonstrates how Infiniti can offer something new and exciting with future QX SUV models.”

Given that Infinti says this is a mid-size SUV concept, the QX Sport Inspiration can be seen as an early look at a replacement for the Infiniti QX70. Right now the QX70 has one one powertrain option, a 325-hp 3.7-liter V-6 with a seven-speed automatic. We expect the concept to use the same 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that’s been rolled out in the Q50 and Q60, potentially with an all-wheel-drive hybrid system and a nine-speed automatic, as we saw in the Q80 Inspiration concept.

Check back soon for more details on the Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration concept following its debut on April 25 at the Beijing auto show.

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept front view Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept front three quarter view 1 Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept rear three quarter view 2 Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept above rear three quarter view Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept rear view Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept driver head lamp Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept cockpit 3 Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept cockpit 1 Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept cockpit 2 Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept rear seat Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept passenger door panel Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept above view Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept front and rear seats 2 Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept body detail Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept front passenger wheel rim Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept above rooftop view 2 Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept rear three quarter view 3 Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept driver profile with door open Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept front view with doors open Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept front three quarter view 4 Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept front and rear seats 1 Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept rear three quarter view 1 Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept driver profile Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept front driver side wheel rim Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept above view with doors open Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept nose Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept rear three quarters

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2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport Priced To Sell from $48,855 http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2016-infiniti-q50-red-sport-priced-to-sell-from-48855/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2016-infiniti-q50-red-sport-priced-to-sell-from-48855/#respond Fri, 08 Apr 2016 17:28:41 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=920682 When we sampled Infiniti’s new Q50 Red Sport 400, we were dutifully impressed by the almost instantaneous torque from its new 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine and its brilliantly composed chassis, but less so with its intrusive traction-control system. Finally, the company had built something out of the Q50 sports sedan that more resembles something from...

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When we sampled Infiniti’s new Q50 Red Sport 400, we were dutifully impressed by the almost instantaneous torque from its new 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine and its brilliantly composed chassis, but less so with its intrusive traction-control system. Finally, the company had built something out of the Q50 sports sedan that more resembles something from Germany. With that said, when the company introduced the car a few months ago, it neglected to state how much the highly anticipated car would cost. Infiniti would only go so far as to say, “It will start less than $50,000.” Now, we have our answer.

The 2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 will start at $48,855 for the RWD version, and $50,855 for the AWD version, which if our math is correct, means the rear-driver just slips under that $50,000 mark. So, for “around” $50,000, the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 comes with new sportier brakes, a new electronic steering rack (which if we’re being honest, wasn’t that great), exclusive badges, brushed exhaust tips, 19-inch aluminum wheels, and a host of other items. There’s also an optional Direct Adaptive Steering system that solves much of the problems with the standard electronic rack. Perhaps the biggest news of all is a newly engineered 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that develops 400 hp and over 350 lb-ft of torque, allowing the Q50 Red Sport 400 to clip 60 mph in under 5 seconds.

2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 side in motion autocross

In addition to the Red Sport 400 engine, Infiniti will also offer the Q50 with a new 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder, a 3.5-liter V-6 hybrid, and a detuned 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that features just 300-hp. The Q50 2.0t is on sale now and features  a starting price of $33,950. The 3.0-liter twin-turbo 3.0t’s price will be announced at a later date.  The 2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport will become available later this year.

2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 engine

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Range-Topping 2017 Infiniti QX70 Limited Revealed in New York http://www.automobilemag.com/news/range-topping-2017-infiniti-qx70-limited-revealed-new-york/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/range-topping-2017-infiniti-qx70-limited-revealed-new-york/#respond Mon, 21 Mar 2016 13:00:38 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=905013 There’s a new luxury crossover in New York, as Infiniti’s QX70 adds a Limited trim level at the top of its range. Like the previously revealed QX80 Limited, the 2017 Infiniti QX70 packs unique visual components to help it make a splash in the crowded crossover segment. Infiniti says showing the QX70 Limited at this...

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There’s a new luxury crossover in New York, as Infiniti’s QX70 adds a Limited trim level at the top of its range. Like the previously revealed QX80 Limited, the 2017 Infiniti QX70 packs unique visual components to help it make a splash in the crowded crossover segment. Infiniti says showing the QX70 Limited at this week’s New York auto show was a natural fit, given that the crossover is extremely popular in the New York area.

The transformation begins with a new front fascia, with LED running lights, a new grille design (that will also trickle down to other 2017 QX70s), a stainless-steel rear bumper trim piece, 21-inch wheels, and darkened taillights. Moving inside, the 2017 Infiniti QX70 Limited adopts a dark headliner, open-pore wood trim, pillow quilting on the center console, aluminum pedals, and standard heated and cooled front seats.

2017 Infiniti QX70 Limited front three quarter 2017 Infiniti QX70 Limited front interior 2017 Infiniti QX70 Limited center console 02 2017 Infiniti QX70 Limited center console 2017 Infiniti QX70 Limited rear interior 2017 Infiniti QX70 Limited wheels 2017 Infiniti QX70 Limited badge

That pretty much sums up the changes to the QX70, as it has no mechanical changes compared to the regular one. The only powertrain choice is a 325-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 engine with a seven-speed automatic, though buyers can pick between rear- and all-wheel drive. Available safety features include adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera, and lane-departure prevention.

The 2017 Infiniti QX70 Premium goes on sale this summer. Pricing, though not yet confirmed, could begin north of the $60,000 mark.

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2016 Infiniti Q50 2.0T and Hybrid Premium Pricing Revealed http://www.automobilemag.com/news/infiniti-q50-2-0t-and-hybrid-premium-pricing-revealed/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/infiniti-q50-2-0t-and-hybrid-premium-pricing-revealed/#respond Wed, 09 Mar 2016 15:56:37 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=898926 Infiniti released detailed pricing information for its Q50 2.0T and Hybrid model lines, with prices beginning in the mid-$30,000 range. If your goal is to park a brand-new Infiniti Q50 in your driveway, the path of least resistance is the 2016 Infiniti Q50 2.0T, which starts at $34,855, including destination. In the Infiniti Q50 2.0T, the...

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Infiniti released detailed pricing information for its Q50 2.0T and Hybrid model lines, with prices beginning in the mid-$30,000 range.

If your goal is to park a brand-new Infiniti Q50 in your driveway, the path of least resistance is the 2016 Infiniti Q50 2.0T, which starts at $34,855, including destination. In the Infiniti Q50 2.0T, the Mercedes-sourced turbocharged four-banger sends 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission. Want that power sent to all four wheels instead? The Q50 2.0T AWD will set you back an additional $2,000, at $36,855. Standard equipment on both versions includes power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a touchscreen infotainment system, and 17-inch alloy wheels.

2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 front three quarters 02 2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 interior 2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 front wheels 2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 front interior seats

If you want more luxury and premium features, but like the four-cylinder engine, Infiniti offers the Q50 2.0T Premium and 2.0T Premium AWD at $38,555 and $40,555, respectively. This is a price hop of $2,000 over the regular 2.0T and the AWD model.

If four cylinders aren’t enough, the Q50 is available in V-6 form as well. The automaker says the pricing for the 300-hp Q50 3.0T and the 400-hp Q50 Red Sport (pictured here) pricing will be revealed at a later date, but did give us the price tag for the Q50 Hybrid, which packs the older 3.5-liter V-6 engine. Power is still prodigious, with 360 hp sent to either the rear or all four wheels. The Hybrid model combines its V-6 engine with a 50-kW electric motor and returns up to 28/34 mpg with rear-wheel drive.

Prices for the Q50 Hybrid Premium begin at $47,955, and a $2,000 price jump to $49,955 for the AWD Hybrid.

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