The 2015 Infiniti Q50 represents the second model year for this luxury sedan. This five-passenger rear-wheel drive model offers optional all-wheel drive. Six trim levels are available and a hybrid variant can also be ordered.
The Infiniti Q50 was introduced as an all-new model for the 2014 model year. It is an entry-level, real-wheel drive luxury sedan. All-wheel drive is optional and a hybrid model is also available.
The Infiniti Q50 offers a handsome presentation with a bold face, strong shoulders, sweeping lines and elegant touches. It shows a distinctly European countenance, comparable with what you would find in vehicles from BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
The front fascia is dominated by an upright mesh grille with a chrome surround. The wraparound jeweled headlamps are accented by boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights. Distinctive embrasures on both sides of the lower grille opening house the LED fog lights.
The Q50 features a double-waved hood, sculpted character lines, alloy wheels, crescent windows at the rear pillars and a notched rear deck. That deck is marked by a flared trunk that doubles as a spoiler. Wraparound taillights, chrome garnishment, rear fog lights and dual exhaust tips are also present. Larger wheels and a moonroof are available.
Credit must be given to Infiniti for designing interiors that match Europe’s finest sedans in terms of the quality of materials used, as well as fit and finish. At the same time, the cabin is fairly simple with special touches evident, including seat extenders for the driver and front passenger.
In the tested Q50S sedan, aluminum pedals are present. This model also comes with a tilt-and-telescopic steering column with steering wheel-mounted cruise, audio and secondary driver controls. Mounted to the steering column are a pair of oversized paddle shifters.
The instrument panel features a two analog layout with tachometer and speedometer readouts. Both flank a digital driver’s information center. The top of the center stack is occupied by a multicolor display. App-like controls are found beneath that along with switches and knobs for the climate control. A storage compartment is found at the base of the console.
Between the front seats are the transmission shifter and the drive mode controller. A pair of cup holders and an armrest that also does duty as a storage compartment are also present. A 12-volt outlet, auxiliary input port and a USB port are also present.
The driver’s seat is comfortable and is enhanced by the seat extender. Both the driver and front passenger enjoy excellent head, shoulder, hip and legroom. Rear-seat passengers have three-place seating, but this seat is best enjoyed by two with the center position pull down providing cup holders and storage. Nevertheless, there is room for three in a pinch. All seats are covered in leather; wood trim and metal accents are present.
The 3.7-liter V6 powering the Infiniti Q50 provides excellent performance, far exceeding the base engines found in the BMW 3 Series or Lexus IS. It makes 328 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque and comes paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission with Sport mode and downshift rev matching.
Off the start acceleration is strong, bringing this sedan to highway speeds quickly as the transmission shifts near seamlessly through all seven forward gears. Once on the highway, the Q50 continues to deliver optimum power while passing.
Steering and handling deliver what might be best described as an ‘out of this world’ experience. As mentioned below, Infiniti makes use of a drive-by-wire system that uses computer inputs to direct the wheels. The result is faster responsiveness, but without the constant feedback of a traditional steering column system. It doesn’t transfer road vibrations to the steering wheel, but the inputs are faster than normally possible. Most people won’t notice the change or care. Otherwise, the sedan stays poised on twisty roads and comes to a firm stop when the brakes are applied.
Like competing luxury brands, Infiniti provides a long list of technologies ranging from the InTouch navigation system to wireless charging. The InTouch system provides concierge services, with a personal assistant available 24/7 to help find hotels, restaurants and other services.
One technology unique to Infiniti is its direct adaptive steering system. It represents the world’s first production steer-by-wire system, which controls driver inputs wirelessly instead of by a mechanical system. In effect, it provides quicker steering response while mitigating vibrations that run through the steering wheel as when passing over a pothole.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Infiniti Q50 its highest Top Safety Pick+ award. The IIHS cited the sedan’s top scores of Good in all crash tests, as well as its Superior rating when equipped with front crash prevention technologies.
The Q50’s available lane departure prevention and active lane control system uses a forward-facing camera to sense when you’re moving out of your lane. This system issues an audible warning to alert the driver. If the warning is ignored, the system signals the sedan to move back into its lane.
All models come equipped with a suite of air bags, traction and stability control, brake assist and electronic brake force distribution. The advanced safety technologies are available with upper trim level models only.
With a starting price of $37,150, the 2015 Infiniti Q50 comes in a few thousand dollars higher than the BMW 3 Series and Cadillac ATS, but is within the range of a Mercedes-Benz C-Class. All-wheel drive models offer a modest price premium of $1,800. The hybrid model starts at $44,400.
A fully equipped all-wheel drive Q50S retails for under $50,000. A similarly equipped hybrid adds about $3,000 more.
The Infiniti Q50 is the newest model for Nissan’s luxury brand. Its looks are sharp, the interior is comfortable and refined, and performance is more than satisfactory. Not offering a manual transmission or other engine choices work against this sedan, but most buyers may not care.