Initially known as the G35, then G37, the smaller sedan from Nissan’s luxury division adopted the Q50 designation for 2014. Ranked as compact by the EPA, the Q50 differs from most competitors by making sporty performance a prime priority. New four-cylinder and twin-turbo V6 engines go into 2016 models. New technical features include Direct Adaptive Steering, a Dynamic Digital Suspension, and an idle stop/start system.

Pricing and Equipment

Starting at $33,950 (plus $905 destination charge), the basic Q50 holds a new turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder engine, which makes 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Optional is a new twin-turbo 3-liter V6 that develops 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet. Midseason brought a third choice: the Q50 Red Sport 400, with a high-output 400-horsepower V6 that generates 350 pound-feet of torque.

All Q50 models use a seven-speed automatic transmission and can have either rear-drive or optional ($2,000) all-wheel drive.

Five trim levels are offered: 2.0t, 2.0t Premium, 3.0t Premium, 3.0t Sport, and Red Sport 400. A Q50 Hybrid also is available. Cars with 3.0t (V6) engine will be available later in the model year.

Standard INFINITI Q50 2.0t Premium equipment includes:

  • Leatherette seating surfaces
  • Eight-way power front seats
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Dual-zone automatic temperature control
  • Bose 14-speaker surround-sound audio
  • 17-inch run-flat tires
  • Satellite radio with Travel Link
  • Rearview camera
  • Moonroof
  • Heated steering wheel

Technology, Driver Assistance, and Premium Plus option packages are available, along with navigation and leather upholstery.

Performance Pros

INFINITI Q50 Side

Each Q50 stands ready to deliver eager acceleration, coupled with swift responses. Fuel economy with rear-drive, four-cylinder sedan is estimated at 23/31 mpg (city/highway), dropping to 22/28 mpg with all-wheel drive. With a V6, the estimate sinks to 20/26 mpg.

  • The 400-horsepower engine in the Red Sport 400 is delightfully willing, unleashing its abundant power readily at any speed, for easy highway passing. While accelerating, too, the top V6 emits a muffled wail as you push hard on the gas pedal.
  • Performance also excels with the Hybrid model, which produces 360 combined horsepower and offers nicely coordinated throttle response.
  • Available Direct Adaptive Steering reacts quickly, at least in Sport+ mode, with a more natural feel—though less than a mechanical configuration would provide.

Performance Cons

  • The Dynamic Digital Suspension, with its adjustable dampers, stiffens in Sport and Sport+ modes, though it’s more pleasing in Standard mode. Sport mode can make the Q50 a tad jiggly on the road, though the system does reduce body roll when cornering.
  • More than 300 settings are available in the Drive Mode Selector for personalization. That’s far too many. The system controls the engine, transmission, Direct Adaptive Steering, Dynamic Digital Suspension, and stability system. Most drivers only need one setting.
  • Tires can grip the pavement weakly with the Red Sport 400; even allowing the wheels to spin when attempting to pass another vehicle.

Interior Pros

INFINITI Q50 Interior
  • Seats are designed so pressure is distributed more evenly than is customary, improving comfort over long distances.
  • Slipping into and exiting from the rear compartment is quite easy. Even better, space back there is above average for cars in this class.
  • Equipped with dual display screens, the INFINITI InTouch system controls most infotainment and setup functions.

Interior Cons

  • Taller passengers might consider rear-seat head clearance and legroom to be on the tight side.
  • Folding back-row seats are optional, not standard.
  • Not everyone considers InTouch screens a benefit.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Overall excellence, with little to fault, even if individual attributes don’t overwhelm the competition. Good interior refinement and satisfying occupant comfort make the Q50 an appealing highway cruiser.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Included in the optional Technology Package is an Eco Pedal, which pushes back against your foot when you’re not driving with economy uppermost in mind. We endorse fuel-conscious driving, but this setup can annoy.

The Bottom Line

Apart from its comparatively sporty nature and rather sensuous design—akin to the larger Q70 sedan—the Q50 isn’t a full-fledged sport sedan in the sense of a BMW or Mercedes-Benz. Enthusiasts might not be totally satisfied with anything less than a $47,950 Red Sport, but plenty of other drivers are likely to be pleased with any Q50’s performance and road behavior.