New & Used Infiniti Q50: In Depth
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The Infiniti Q50 was the first Infiniti to adopt the brand's new naming convention. Rejecting the past, the badge numbers no longer correspond to engine displacement, but instead to relative position in the lineup. Car models get Q names, while crossovers and SUVs carry the QX prefix.
The Q50 is the luxury brand's mainstay sedan, though it's only been on sale for two years. It was introduced at a time when Infiniti decided to rebadge all of its cars, applying the Q50 label to the model replacing the popular G37 sedan. (To add to the confusion, that car actually lives on this year as the Q40.)
The Q50 is a rival for vehicles such as Audi's A4, the Lexus IS, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3-Series, and 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 in this price class. Its faults were a tight interior and a tendency to be a bit louder than competitors.
The Q50 has an obvious design link to its G37 predecessor but brings the design up to date with a very modern, sleek profile and an interior with much higher detailing. Its looks suggest a sportier car, even if the old car's focus has been fuzzied in the changeover. Infiniti debuted a new infotainment setup in the Q50, with dual stacked center screens showing different types of information; more important info is up top and finer controls live on the lower touch display. The new setup throws its hat into the ring with systems like BMW's iDrive, MyFord and MyLincoln Touch, and Cadillac's CUE. It's neither the best nor the worst implementation of a complex infotainment system; it can be difficult to remember where to expect or look for info or controls between the two screens, but the most important items are relatively easy to access.
The Q50 can be had with two quite different V-6 powertrains and a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive with each. Standard-issue models make use of a 328-horsepower version of the company's tried-and-true 3.7-liter V-6 paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. There's also a hybrid model, featuring a 3.5-liter V-6 with an electric motor system, two clutches, and a lithium-ion battery pack—essentially the same as the setup that debuted in the M35h hybrid—altogether making a total 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 active noise cancellation in the Q50 helps reduce both 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 disconnected feeling that the system produces. It's unfortunate, especially given the G37's prowess there. Thankfully, the system is an option and can be easily avoided.
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.
There were few changes made to the Q50 for 2015. The most significant is a new Performance Wheel package available for the Q50S, which adds lightweight 19-inch RAYS aluminum wheels and more aggressive performance rubber. Otherwise, the Q50 carries on in its second year of production.