New & Used Infiniti Q50: In Depth
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The Infiniti Q50 is the luxury brand's mainstay sedan, though it's only been on sale for two years. That's when Infiniti decided to rebadge all of its cars, and applied the Q50 label to what was the popular G37 sedan. (Which actually lives on this year as the Q40).
The Q50 was the first new Infiniti to adopt a new naming convention. Rejecting the past, the badge numbers no longer correspond to engine displacement, but instead to position in the lineup.
The Q50 is a rival for vehicles like the Audi A4, the Lexus IS, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and the Cadillac ATS.See our 2015 Infiniti Q50 review for more information, including photos, news, and driving impressions
Of all of Infiniti's nameplates, the G lineup, and specifically the G37, probably had the most brand recognition, so the move to new naming is especially confusing with this model. The G37 was known for its steering and handling, an all-around gratifying driving experience for enthusiasts while still offering the luxury that is expected. Its faults were a tight interior and a tendency to be a bit louder than competitors.
As for the new Infiniti Q50, it's clearly an evolution of the G37; but striking sheetmetal, an attractive profile, and an expressive new cabin styling all add up to one of the most visually appealing—and cohesive—new sport-sedan designs. At the center of the dash is a new infotainment system that aims to rival Cadillac's CUE, MyFord Touch, and the latest iDrive interfaces; with twin screens over two levels of the dash, it aims to separate out important and frequently used functions and place them on the upper-display.
For its first year, the Q50 comes with two quite different V-6 powertrains, and a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. First, there's a 328-horsepower version of the company's tried-and-true 3.7-liter V-6—with a seven-speed automatic transmission. Then there's a hybrid model, featuring a 3.5-liter V-6 with an electric motor system, two clutches, and a lithium-ion battery pack—essentially what's been previously installed in the M35h hybrid—altogether making an output of 354 hp. We've felt in prior model years that the 3.7-liter can be a bit too raspy for luxury sport sedan duty, but in the Q50 active noise cancellation helps damp road and powertrain noise.
While the G37 (now called the Q40) was known for its great steering and handling, the Q50 decidedly takes a step back from those accolades. Infiniti introduced a first-of-its-kind steer-by-wire system as an option on the Q50, called Direct Adaptive Steering. It lets drivers choose from four steering settings, each with its own weighting and ratio, but none of them can get over the unnatural, video-game feeling that the system produces. It's unfortunate, especially given the G37's prowess there.
Inside, the Q50 builds on a G Sedan–sized package—meaning that rear legroom may still be on the tight side for adults—although Infiniti has pushed the B-pillar slightly forward to allow for easier entry in back. And while we've thought of the aggressively bolstered seats in the outgoing G37 to be among the best in the class for long-distance or performance driving, Infiniti says that it's redesigned these front seats for more comfort. The Q50 comes with run-flat tires in all its variations, which helps free up more cargo space. Hybrid models will lose some cargo space nevertheless, but there's quite a bit of space in either model (14.1 cubic feet for the hybrid, versus 18.0 for the others). Trims build on the plush, modern look of the M sedans, with new 'Kacchu' aluminum and maple wood detailing.
The Q50 builds on the G37's already-great reputation for incorporating active-safety technologies without too much interference for the driver. Look for Intelligent Cruise Control with a full speed range, plus the world's first application of predictive Forward Collision Warning, as well as Blind Spot Intervention, Back-up Collision Intervention, Active Lane Control, and other accident-avoidance aids. A rear-view monitor and an Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection are also standard across the model line.
The Q50 offers a new InTouch infotainment system, with dual touch screens and gestural support; and it's the first Infiniti model to offer Infiniti Connection—a security- and concierge-related telematics service that has a companion smartphone app and provides remote monitoring (of teen drivers, for example), SOS call and collision notification, as well as a personal assistant service.