by Bob Cowan
I have an affinity for Infiniti. Full disclosure a 2007 Infiniti M35X sits in my driveway when I’m not test driving what’s new in showrooms. It’s the best car I’ve owned and in terms of maintenance it’s bulletproof. I’ve had it for 7 years and outside of one brake job I pretty much just put in gas and change the oil. I’ve heard the same from other Infiniti owners and hopefully the quality control continues in 2018 because the Q50 is one fun car!
I’m not a fan of red cars but I gotta say the Dynamic Sunstone Red on my test unit was absolutely beautiful. It had a depth and glow to it that I have never seen with this or any other paint. It better be that beautiful! Scanning down the options list I see that colour costs one thousand dollars! The Q 50’s design is also striking from every angle. The changes for 2018 are minimal but the front end gets a few tweaks with a more aggressive grille and LED headlights that are now standard.
The real standout for me was the power and handling of this car and I’m reviewing the lower output 300 hp 3.0 litre twin turbo Sport version. You can bump up to a 400 Sport version but I’ll think you’ll find this one more than adequate. It is incredibly responsive and agile. All wheel drive is standard with four power train choices. We’ve already mentioned two and the other choices are a 208 hp 2.0 litre turbo and a 3.6 litre V6 hybrid. Infiniti’s Drive by Wire steering called Direct Adaptive Steering is close to perfection in its second generation. It makes up to a thousand steering adjustments a second to enhance the Q50’s precision. The 7 speed transmission is equally smart with Adaptive Shift Control. In addition to manual shifting, it features a learning algorithm that senses your driving style and adjusts automatic shift points. This is a very sophisticated system. It is synchronized with the navigation system to anticipate the shifts needed for the road turns ahead.
The suspension system is digital as well and can be tweaked with a user input in the console. The selector gives you six driving modes: Standard, Sport, Sport+, Eco, Snow and Personal. I cycled through all but spent the most time in Sport. The system adjusts the engine, steering performance and firmness of the ride to your preference. The Sport version of the Q50 also comes with paddle shifters and sport braking.
‘Fuel’ for Love
For a sedan with this much oomph it’s not a bad fuel sucker. The real world numbers are surprisingly good. I was averaging 9.1 L/100 km with mostly highway driving and that matches the advertised number. That doesn’t happen very often! The specs are listed below.
It’s what’s inside that counts
The interior has a snug but comfy cockpit with a nice console layout. The sport leather seating looks and feels great. The leather stitching and trim are worthy of the sticker price. There is a controller dial placed beside the shifter which controls most screen functions if you don’t want to lift your arm to the touch screen, or screens I should say. Infiniti was one of the first manufacturers to introduce dual displays. The idea behind the Infiniti InTouch screens is that the lower screen gives you all the apps along with entertainment, climate, and phone settings so the upper screen can be dedicated to navigation. In most other systems the navigation is made smaller in a multi zone layout. I would rather have just one bigger screen. The extreme example would be Tesla’s 15 to 17 inch touch screens. Infiniti has actually hinted that they are headed in that direction but its two or three model years away. In the meantime the Q50 has plenty of apps in its infotainment system, just not the ones you’re looking for. There are plans to include Apple CarPlay and Android but they are not available in this Q50 or any other Infiniti product.
Playing it Safe
While the hybrid version of the Q50 hybrid comes with a full suite of standard safety tech, the same features are available optionally in the Sport version. For $2000.00 the Pro Assist package gets you back up collision warnings, 360 degree camera view, forward emergency braking, forward collision warning, front and rear parking sensors and blind spot warning. I feel the last two items really should be standard equipment across the lineup.
There are many choices to research and compare from old competitors like the BMW 3 series, Lexus IS and Audi A4 to new, like the Alpha Romeo Giulia which has been winning a lot of fans. The Q50 easily competes with these however and its edge may come down to the Infiniti’s low maintenance costs I mentioned.
2018 Infiniti Q50 3.0t Sport AWD
Base price $52,695.00
As tested $61,666.00
Power train 3.0 litre V6 twin turbo electronic 7 speed transmission
Mileage L/100 km city/highway 12.3/9.1