Plenty of compact-to-midsize luxury sedans are available today, but only a handful make sporty performance a top priority. One of those is the INFINITI Q50 sedan from Nissan’s luxury division, which was redesigned and renamed for 2014. More than most competitors, the Q50 promises quick reflexes as well as eager acceleration, blended with the interior comforts of a plush cruiser. Categorized as a compact by the EPA, the Q50 comes with your choice of a four-cylinder or twin-turbo V6 engine. A Q50 Red Sport 400 debuted during the 2016 season, packing a high-output version of the 3-liter V6 that produces 400 horsepower. All versions can have either rear-drive or (for $2,000 additional) all-wheel drive.
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2017 INFINITI Q50 Overview
What's New for 2017
New 2.0t Sport and 2.0t Sport AWD models have joined the lineup. Red brake calipers have been added to Red Sport 400 models. Base models now include auto-dimming mirrors, HomeLink, and rain-sensing wipers. A new Design package is available for V6 Sport models. Premium versions add advanced climate control and a new Bose 16-speaker audio system.
Choosing Your INFINITI Q50
Buyers have two basic engine choices. A turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder engine develops 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, whereas the twin-turbo 3-liter V6 generates 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet. Topping the performance spectrum, the Q50 Red Sport 400 packs a 400-horsepower variant of the V6 that also yields 350 pound-feet of torque.
A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard for all Q50 models. Optional all-wheel drive adds $2,000 to each Q50’s price. A Direct Adaptive Steering system promises improved feel and feedback. INFINITI’s Dynamic Digital Suspension can adjust the Q50's ride toward either performance or comfort.
Each Q50 incorporates an idle stop/start system. Fuel economy with the four-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive is estimated at 22 mpg in city driving and 31 mpg on the highway (26 mpg combined). Models with the 300-horsepower V6 are estimated at 20/29 mpg (city/highway) and 23 mpg combined. The Red Sport 400 gets an estimate of 20/26 mpg (city/highway) and 22 mpg combined. All-wheel drive makes each version (especially the four-cylinder) a little less thrifty.
The Q50 is now available in six trim levels, each with rear-drive or all-wheel drive:
With its broad engine selection, the Q50 starts out competitively priced – almost like a compact luxury sedan rather than a midsize model. To approach a true luxury-car experience, we recommend the Premium trim level. INFINITI also offers a hybrid version of the Q50.
2017 INFINITI Q50 Review
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:
- 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).
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
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