As Infiniti’s entry level car, the Q50 has the daunting task of going head to head with the BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-class. The Q50 has actually been around since 2014, but 2016 saw a host of new changes. With the G-series of the last decade, Infiniti proved they were capable of producing a sport sedan that was a worthy adversary to its German rivals, if lacking a bit in overall refinement. But if you are going to compete here, standing still is not an option, and with the 2016 Q50, it is evident Infiniti is no longer playing catch up.
While it took Infiniti well over a decade to decide what an Infiniti should look like, thankfully we now have a design language that resonates across the line. And it is a look that is unique to Infiniti-no copy cat looks here. With the Q50, what this translates to is a look that is sporty, elegant, and downright sensual. The organic curves of the side profile are simply delicious, and different from other cars the Q50 competes against. And while absolutely contemporary, there is nothing faddish going on here, and I suspect the Q50 will age gracefully.
The plasticky interiors of the first G-series cars are now a distant memory. Driver and occupants are greeted with a warm, welcoming cabin. Everything you touch has a premium feel. The eye is delighted with a tasteful combination of leather, brushed metal and wood. The swooping lines of the exterior continue inside, and the result is stunning. If you are going to buy a premium car, the interior needs to give you the sense you are sitting in something special, and the Q50 excels here. Great looks are nothing without the substance to back it up, and thankfully the Q50 delivers excellent comfort. The perfectly sized steering wheel is a pleasure to hold, and the beautiful gauge faces serve to remind you this is a sport sedan. Cramped rear quarters have often been a draw back of sport sedans, but the Q50 has a rear seat for real adults, along with a decent sized trunk.
The big news for 2016 was the introduction of new engines. For the first time, the Q50 is available with a 2.0L turbocharged four rated at 208hp. Next up is a 3.0L turbocharged V-6 rated at 300hp. Still not enough? The Red Sport provides 400hp. There is also a hybrid Q50, and a diesel is available in Europe. All Q50’s are paired with a 7-speed automatic, and are rear wheel drive. Regardless of which engine you choose, all wheel drive is available. Our test car had the four cylinder with all wheel drive. On paper, 208hp does not sound like much, but thankfully our car moved with authority, the turbo four never sounding harsh or winded. And EPA fuel economy ratings of 22/28 MPG city/highway is pretty good for an all wheel drive luxury car. When the Q50 debuted in 2014, reviews of the steering were lukewarm, but for 2016 Infiniti addressed this concern. From my experience, the Q50 is an absolute joy to drive. Steering is well weighted and lightning quick, while when pushed the car delivers superlative handling, and never at the expense of ride comfort. The Q50 is easy to live with everyday, but is ready and willing when twisty roads call.
The Q50 is offered in five trims, starting with the base 2.0t to the Red Sport 400. Our test car was the 2.0t Premium. Standard equipment includes LED headlights, leatherette seating, power front seats, moonroof, rear view monitor, and Bose audio. Our car’s sole option was the Premium Plus package, which added navigation, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, memory driver seat and auto dimming exterior mirrors. Including destination, MSRP totaled $42,705USD, which represents a strong value for a well equipped premium sport sedan.
With the Q50, Infiniti has built a car that not only stands on its own, but makes no excuses or apologies for itself. With the choice of four or six cylinder engines, rear or all wheel drive, and different trim options, buyers have the freedom to choose which Q50 best suits their needs and budget. Boasting distinctive exterior styling, a knock-out interior and excellent handling, the Q50 is hard to fault. In a segment where buyers mindlessly flock to BMW or Mercedes, the Infiniti Q50 demands a closer look.