- Great, communicative steering
- Excellent handling
- Strong brakes
- Firm, supportive sport seats
- Too much road and engine noise
- Unimpressive gas mileage
- Lack of rear headroom
- Lumpy shifts (automatic)
The 2015 Infiniti Q40 is, literally, last year's model. Alongside the new Q50 it offers a compelling, more vivid driving experience -- albeit with far less refinement.
Between the 2015 Infiniti Q40 Sedan and the 2014 G37 Sedan, you'd be hard-pressed to pick out the differences. They're essentially the same car. It's a rather unconventional move by Infiniti, especially for a luxury brand, to carry over an older model in this way; but it functions as an entry model that will likely be popular for lease deals, while shuffling those who want to drive what's new and cutting-edge over to its 'replacement,' the Infiniti Q50.
There's definitely a good argument for keeping the 2015 Infiniti Q40 née G37 Sedan around. While the new Q50 is a technological tour de force, and a world ahead in terms of refinement and cabin details, it's the Q40 that keeps its primary selling point: as a focused traditional sport sedan. Without much regard for interior refinement, the Q40 offers up extraordinarily well-balanced handling, nicely weighted steering, and perhaps most importantly, communicative steering—all things that you'll find to some degree in the BMW 3-Series and Cadillac ATS, but not in such a full and proper place setting.
While those other models (and the Q50, if you count its Q50 Hybrid version) now offer fuel-efficient new powertrains, the Q40 moves forward with what it has -- that's a 328-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6, with, a seven-speed automatic transmission. The engine sounds raspy and simply isn't as smooth as most luxury-car powertrains, and the transmission feels at its best snapping off quick shifts, ordered through the paddle-shifters. Add that up with the excellent steering, dynamics, and poise, and the Q40 provides seat-of-the-pants thrills and a certain kind of driver satisfaction that's otherwise possessed only by sports cars and performance coupes.
Styling-wise, the Q40 still looks handsome and nicely proportioned; but with this version as it stands dating back to the 2007 model year, it's become a little dated in the details. Luckily, the sheetmetal was sculpted beautifully in the first place, and it's one of best, timeless designs in this class. We'd point to real sports cars as the G37 Sedan's main influence inside. With a low seating position and low center console between contoured bucket seats, with a strong beltline that wraps around to the doors, plus big, round dials in a hooded gauge cluster, the G37 sets a sporty tone that you won't forget. Top and center, a screen (and supplemental controls beneath) -- about the only interruption to the very purposeful design -- accesses audio and climate functions.
As much as you might expect the G37 sedan to feel like a luxury model--or even see it as one -- it's hard to overlook all the noise, vibration, and coarseness, from the road and from the engine, that you hear and feel in the cabin. The upgraded front seats you get in the Sport model are excellent, but back-seat space is a little tight in headroom -- due to that coupe-like roofline.
Infiniti hasn't yet fully outlined the Q40's standard-feature set, but it notes that the feature set will include leather upholstery, eight-way power heated front seats, Shodo aluminum trim, electroluminescent gauges, the Intelligent Key system, a Bluetooth hands-free interface, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Major options include a Bose Studio on Wheels system, a hard-drive-based navigation system with voice recognition, and a rear-view monitor.
The 2015 Infiniti Q40 will only be offered in four colors: Liquid Platinum, Graphite Shadow, Black Obsidian and Moonlight White.