Redesigned and renamed in 2014, the INFINITI Q50 doesn't have the pedigree of its rivals from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, or Audi, but it does offer a balanced, likable approach to both performance and luxury. Its aggressive look, sporty powertrains, interior style, and handling prowess ensure that it means business. Now, the freshened 2018 model is here to solidify the Q50’s presence as a true sports sedan with even more athletic touches.
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2018 INFINITI Q50 Overview
What's New for 2018
For 2018, INFINITI has revised the sedan's look with a few new alterations. The entire lineup of Q50 sedans benefit from the automaker's signature double-arch grille, LED headlights, and slim LED taillights. Specific models get bigger changes, including the 3.0t Sport and Red Sport 400, which get a revised front fascia that has a wider, lower bumper and larger air intakes that are integrated lower on the bumper. The rear end of the sedans also received new touches, which includes dark metallic trim near the bottom of the rear bumper.
The Q50 Red Sport 400 also obtains bespoke 19-inch wheels, while the rest of the lineup, with the exception of the base Q50 2.0t Pure model, get a moonroof and heated exterior mirrors as part of their standard features.
The interior of the Q50 gets some new touches, as well, with leather-like materials with double stitching surrounding the instrument panel, while new wood trim is adorned on the dashboard. The sedan also received some sportier touches that the vehicle borrows from the Q60 coupe. There's a new steering wheel that has positions for the driver's thumbs and steering-wheel mounted gear-shifter paddles. A new leather-wrapped shift knob continues the double-stitched theme and is surround by a new piece of chrome trim.
While the Q50's powertrain has gone unchanged for 2018, INFINITI has revised the sedan's front and rear stabilizer bars, while adaptive shock absorbers, which the automaker calls Dynamic Digital Suspension, is available on the Q50 3.0t Sport as part of the Performance Package and is standard on the Red Sport 400 model.
Lastly, the Q50 lineup now features a new naming structure: Pure, Luxe, Sport, and Red Sport 400.
Choosing Your INFINITI Q50
Just like last year, buyers have three powertrain options for the Q50 sedan. Entry-level models are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four that generates 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired to a seven-speed automatic transmission that helps return 23 miles per gallon in the city, 30 mpg on the highway, and a combined rating of 25 mpg.
The twin-turbo 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 models churn out 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The engine is matched to an upgraded seven-speed automatic transmission, helping this more potent Q50 score 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, which results in a combined rating of 23 mpg.
The range-topping Q50 Red Sport 400 has the same 3.0-liter V6 engine, but generates 400 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. With a more powerful engine, the Red Sport 400 loses some fuel economy over the other V6-powered models, as the sedan gets 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway that results in a combined rating of 22 mpg.
The Q50 is available as a hybrid (listed separately). There are five trims for the gas-only variant. All-wheel drive is a $2,000 option across the board.
While the Q50 is lauded as a sporty luxury sedan, opting for the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 is a must for consumers interested in doing any type of spirited driving. While the larger engine takes care of the sporty side, the 3.0t Luxe trim and the Sensory Package should provide a good amount of luxury. For drivers looking for one of the hottest sedans on the road without the expense or compromises of an ultra-high-performance BMW M or Mercedes-AMG, the Q50 Red Sport 400 provides a wonderful balance.
2018 INFINITI Q50 Review
The INFINITI Q50 is the brand's cornerstone, with bloodlines going back to the legendary G35 that catapulted the company into the spotlight. The 2018 INFINITI Q50 is a handsome sedan, with a nice interior and an array of engines and power outputs that can suit any need. While the Q50 is certainly a good car, it still falls a bit short of the German sport sedan titans it tries hard to compete against, albeit at a lower price.
The Q50 is a sports sedan, so we'd be kicking ourselves if we didn't go for the 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6. The Red Sport 400 may be a fantastic deal compared to the competition based on the ratio of horsepower-to-dollars alone, but nobody really needs 400 horsepower. Instead, we'd go for the standard 3.0-liter V6, with 300 horsepower to the rear wheels, continuing the Q50's lineage as a great alternative to the BMW 340i and its ancestors. Between the two 3.0t models, we'd go with the cheaper Luxe trim, as the Sport trim's interior isn't exactly inspiring.
As for options and packages, we lose access to the Performance Package by going with the Luxe, but we can also use the money we saved on some other packages like the Essential Package, which adds a lot of luxuries like a folding rear seat, navigation, voice-recognition, heated front seats and steering wheel, and a one-year subscription to the INFINITI InTouch vehicle service suite that operates like OnStar. We'd also spring for the Sensory Package, which requires us to also pay for the ProASSIST package with driver assistance features and INFINITI illuminated kick plates. While these packages bump the Q50's price up by almost $10,000, you'll still be paying less than you would for a base-level BMW 340i.
- Model: 2018 INFINITI Q50 3.0t Luxe
- Engine: 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6
- Output: 300 hp / 295 lb-ft
- Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
- Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive
- Fuel Economy: 20 City / 29 Hwy
- Options: Essential Package ($2,650, navigation, voice recognition, INFINITI InTouch Services for 12 months, SiriusXM Traffic for four years, folding rear seat, remote engine start, heated steering wheel, heated front seats, power lumbar support for driver), Sensory Package ($2,950, Bose 16-speaker audio system, power adjustable steering wheel, advanced climate control system, memory for driver's seat, leather seating, auto dimming mirrors, ambient lighting), ProASSIST Package ($1,650, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, 360-degree monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, rear collision sensors), INFINITI Radiant Illuminated Kick Plates ($465).
- Base Price: $40,145 (including a $995 destination charge)
- Best Value Price: $47,860
One of the biggest strengths of the INFINITI Q50 is with the power under the hood. The base level 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque and the mid-range 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that puts out 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque both significantly exceed power offerings from Audi or BMW at their price points. The Q50 Red Sport 400 turns this up a notch with 400 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque out of the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, giving it significantly more power than any other compact sport sedan in its price range.
On the other hand, the Q50 does come up short in other key performance areas. While it can handle well and maintain a comfortable ride, the Q50 tends to feel a bit disconnected from the road. The seven-speed automatic transmission also doesn't handle sporty driving as well, and it doesn't help add much character to the car, even on the Red Sport 400. The optional steer-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) adds to this issue, as it still isn't capable of transmitting accurate road feel to the driver without the direct connection to the road and can feel a bit loose in everyday driving. Thankfully, DAS is optional for all trims.
The Q50 manages to look upscale and sleek, with a handsome grille and good proportions. Amazingly, INFINITI designers have managed to avoid a busy and futuristic look like many cars these days, while also invoking movement even if the car is sitting still. It's not a stretch to call the Q50 one of the most attractive cars in its segment. The Q50's interior is much improved with the 2018 refresh, but the fit and finish of the materials doesn't match the competition. It feels a bit cheaper than a luxury car should, with switches and touch points that would feel more at home in an economy car. Of the lineup, the Luxe is the best looking model, with wood replacing much of the cheaper looking plastic trim. Additionally, the swoopy dashboard in front of the passenger is incredibly similar to the dashboard Ford put in the Mustang during the 1990s and early 2000s. That wasn't the most lauded period of design at Ford, so it's surprising INFINITI went that direction.
While the interior design may be a bit wonky, there are some home runs in other departments. The "Zero-Gravity" seats make the Q50 supremely comfortable, managing to be both soft and supportive at the same time. Great seats combine with the Q50's quiet interior to make it a phenomenal long-distance driver. There are also a wide range of advanced safety features across two option packages, although the more advanced features also have the Direct Adaptive Steering.
The Best and Worst Things
The Q50's best asset is the power. The mid-range 3.0t models compete with mostly four-cylinder turbos in other vehicles that just can't match the power of the twin-turbocharged V6. Meanwhile, the Red Sport 400 enjoys a 77 hp advantage over the Audi S4 and an 80 hp advantage over the BMW 340i, while still remaining price competitive. Additionally, the seats are incredibly comfortable and the car is quiet when cruising at highway speeds.
Unfortunately, the Q50 still feels cheap. The interior looks and feels plasticky in many places and the dashboard reminds us of a car that's often seen abandoned on jacks in the front yard. The Q50 also suffers from feeling too disconnected to the road, especially when equipped with the Direct Adaptive Steering.
Right For? Wrong For?
The Q50 is a great choice for those who previously owned a Mustang or a Camaro in their younger days but are now older and want to be coddled a bit more. The Q50 makes this compromise well, with straight-line power and speed and a comfortable interior. It may not handle as well or be as refined as the Germans, but it's certainly more powerful.
The Q50 isn't the car for someone who values luxury over performance. This is an area that it suffers in compared with other compact luxury sedans, and buyers may want to check out other options from Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Lexus, or Cadillac.
The Bottom Line
While the 2018 INFINITI Q50 is a solid luxury sedan with significant amounts of horsepower for the money, there are some areas that it falls short. It really boils down to how much you care about the quality of the interior trim. If you're looking for features and power, the Q50 can be a great choice.
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