With a fresh look in 2014 and new turbocharged engines last year, the 2017 INFINITI Q50 has BMW and Mercedes defectors in its sights. But despite these improvements, the Q50 is not without its flaws, including limited performance capabilities and an iffy infotainment system.

Are its great looks and numerous powertrain options enough to overcome its issues and steal the hearts of the German sedan faithful? Continue reading to find out.

Pricing and Equipment

The 2017 INFINITI Q50 comes in a wide array of trims, ranging from $34,855 for the base, four-cylinder 2.0t trim to the $51,605 Red Sport 400 (both prices include a $905 destination fee). Like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3-Series, we’re expecting most Q50 consumers to select a well-equipped four-cylinder example. The 2.0t Premium ($39,305) includes the following as standard:

  • Sunroof
  • Sixteen-speaker Bose audio system
  • Advanced air filtration
  • LED headlights, fog lights, and taillights
  • Auto-dimming mirrors
  • Keyless ignition
  • Leatherette seating
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel

INFINITI is huge on packages, with some Q50s getting as many as eight for owners to choose from. We’d recommend selecting the $1,700 Technology Package (available on 3.0t Premiums and above) that includes lane-keep assist, adaptive lighting, adaptive cruise, and blind-spot detection. The Premium Plus Package adds navigation, remote engine start, and heated front seats, although prices vary depending on trim level – the 2.0t Premium version costs $2,150, the 3.0t Premium demands $1,650, and the Q50 Sport version, which covers the 2.0t and 3.0t Sport and the Red Sport 400, is going for $2,250. Finally, the $2,150 Driver Assist Package, available on Premium, Sport, and Red Sport 400 Q50s, adds automatic emergency braking, a 360-degree camera, forward collision warning, and blind-spot warning.

For those with deeper pockets and a heavier foot, the performance-oriented Red Sport 400 runs $51,605 and promises straight-line performance that bests the BMW 340i and can keep pace with the Mercedes-AMG C43.

Engine options are plentiful in the 2017 Q50, starting with the base 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder from the 2.0t. It produces 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The 3.0t models up the ante with a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V6 with 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Topping the non-hybrid range is the Red Sport 400 with its retuned 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 with 400 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Buyers seeking a greener luxury sedan can go with the Q50 Hybrid (listed separately).

Performance Pros

  • Responsive and agile – handling in 2.0t and 3.0t rival German-bred sedans on the daily commute.
  • Red Sport 400 delivers impressive straight-line performance, with an estimated 4.7 seconds to 60.
  • Sweet engine note from Red Sport 400

Performance Cons

  • INFINITI’s Direct Adaptive Steering has no mechanical link between the steering wheel and front axles, and yes, it feels as weird as that sounds. Little feedback and too weighty, regardless of the driving mode.
  • The Red Sport 400 can’t keep up with the Mercedes-AMG C43 on the straights, but lacks the same composure in turns.

Interior Pros

  • Swoopy, asymmetrical design is sporty and cockpit-like
  • “Zero gravity” seats are very comfortable, even on longer trips
  • Lots of desirable features for its price and plenty of options

Interior Cons

  • Rear head room is tight for six-footers
  • Dual-screen infotainment system is a polarizing feature

The Most Pleasant Surprise

INFINITI’s ability to create a modern and sharp-looking cabin without making it too over the top is impressive, but doing it without any big sacrifices in comfort and convenience is even more noteworthy

The Least Pleasant Surprise

While the entire Q50 lineup feels great on a daily drive and holds corners fine in normal driving conditions, it struggles when pushed hard.

The Bottom Line

The Q50 is a breath of fresh air in the luxury sedan segment, with modern and functional style and a comfortable ride. However, some drivers will hit the Q50’s performance limitations – even in the Red Sport 400 – too quickly. If you’re in the latter group, Germany’s sports sedans might still be the better choice.