Tuesday before last, I left Gwendolyn, my 2000 Infiniti I30, at the local dealership, requesting about $1400 worth of repairs. This sounds like a lot, I suppose, but there wasn't anything on my list that I really wanted to postpone. As usual, the dealership sent me off in a loaner, a Q50 — this is the car that replaced the old G35/G37 sedan — but instead of the hoary old Nissan VQ engine stuffed into the nose of my car, this Q carried the VR30DETT mill in its Standard Output form. It's the same size, give or take a cubic centimeter or two, but a pair of turbochargers feed the VR's intake, resulting in 300 horsepower instead of 227. It was difficult to get used to the Q's torque curve: when you're in the habit of running up to 4000 rpm to get anywhere, being able to do the same thing at 1600 rpm is something of a jolt. Then again, it's only a day or two, what could go wrong?

Eleven days later, nothing has gone wrong, exactly, but the Q is still here. The bottleneck seems to be the replacement of the passenger-side mirror, sheared off by an eighteen-wheeler in a hurry one morning. The parts have arrived, as I might have expected: so far as I know, the only parts for which no spares can be had fron Nissan are the wiper blades and the rear brake rotors, and the aftermarket has adequate substitutes. But the mirror cup is unadorned black plastic. Gwendolyn, however, is some not-exactly-#FFFFFF shade called Aspen Pearl White, and the dealer group's body shop apparently is having trouble matching this paint. Had I thought they were actually going to paint the damned thing, I'd have let it go with the black, or ordered a black cup for the opposite side.

The inside of the Q is not exactly high-lux, but most things are where you'd expect them to be, and there's no fake wood to be seen. There is, I think, perhaps too much shiny stuff on the dash, and someone in Japan was persuaded that what we want is more eye candy. So when you push the start button and the usual panoply of warning lights gets tested, both the tach (9000 rpm) and speedometer (180 mph) needles go into full deflection before dropping back to zero, and some brand-identification animation appears between the two dials. I suppose one only has to look at it once. And the standard Infiniti analog clock has been replaced by a simulated clock on the top of the stack, which disappears in reverse gear to make room for the backup camera. Bose logos are deployed at every speaker grille. And there is a proper knob for the volume control — assuming you haven't changed its function to something else. Not having a copy of the owner's manual, I left it the hell alone.

Shiny stuff is also the rule on the outside. These days, it's de rigueur to place a simulated-chrome bar just under the logo, high on the deck lid; the Q50 has a second simulated-chrome bar along the bottom of the deck lid. I wouldn't swear to it, but I suspect the Q has a bigger logo out back. Up front, there's no doubt. This is the standard grille for the 2000 I30:

2000 I30 grille

About 2002, Nissan must have decided that this was too subtle, and ever since, this has been up front:

2017 Q50 grille

I suppose a car in the thirty-thousand-plus range has to draw a certain amount of attention to itself. Those of us who would just as soon not draw attention to ourselves are just out of luck.

The Vent

  9 September 2017

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