More than 100 hp and 30 years separate the two
There’s no doubt automotive technology has come a long way since the 1980s, but have you ever wondered how one of yesterday’s most advanced sports cars would stack up against a more pedestrian vehicle from today? Senior features editor and “Ignition” host Jonny Lieberman did, which is why he decided to pit a 2017 Infiniti QX30S crossover against a 1987 Porsche 928 S4.
Before we get to the uncommon track matchup, Lieberman first talks about the QX30 and how similar it is to the Mercedes-Benz GLA on which it’s based. As we can see, the engine bays, including the engine cover and hood supports, are virtually identical. Both cars use the same 208-hp, 258-lb-ft turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 mated to a seven-speed transmission and ride on Mercedes’ front-wheel-drive-based platform. Though the two vehicles are almost the same under the skin, their exterior designs couldn’t be more different. Lieberman gives the edge to the Infiniti, which he calls Nissan chief designer Shiro Nakamura’s “best design to date.” The QX30S is also the better driver of the two — despite being front-drive only — with its 0.6-inch lower ride height and better-bolstered sport seats. But can it hang with a 1980s Porsche?
Through the magic of video editing, Lieberman is transported to Willow Springs International Raceway with a Porsche 928 on loan from a friend. This model makes 316 hp from its 5.0-liter V-8 and has the advantage of rear-wheel drive. Motor Trend wheelman Randy Pobst takes both for a lap around Big Willow to find out which is fastest. Who wins? Find out in the episode below.