Road Tested: 2017 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400
>SEATTLE, March 17, 2017 – Infiniti has always been the most performance-minded luxury auto brand out of Japan and its 2017 Q50 Red Sport 400 looks to continue that legacy. When the Q50 model was first launched, a few years ago, its design language took a subjective turn for the better and since then, Infiniti has launched various models of this great-looking, good performing sedan.
What sets the Red Sport 400 apart from the other Q50 models is its twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V6 engine that has a rated output of 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. Paired with the dual-clutch transmission, it propels this car from zero to 60 in about 4.3 seconds. In sort mode, the car really gets responsive with more aggressive shift points and tighter steering – which provides for a very sporty feel to the overall driving dynamics.
While the engine’s “kung-fu” in regards to its power is strong, what isn’t is the 7-speed automatic transmission it’s paired with – sorry folks, no manual transmission available. Its laid-back “attitude” when it comes to shifting quickly, is really an achilles heel to this car. Why Infiniti didn’t opt for a dual-clutch option is baffling.
Infiniti doesn’t simply stop at engine tweaks, either as the interior also has sporty trim details such as a leather-wrapped steering wheel, magnesium paddle shifters, supportive seats up front for taking those corners a “bit faster than the posted speed” and a good-sounding audio system that has all the bells and whistles.
Its infotainment and control system is split between two screens and while it can take a bit to get used to this arrangement, it does make things easier to view and use, once you get acclimated to it. In fact, other automakers have implemented a dual-screen setup in their vehicles as well – it’s an easier way to do things rather than try and fit it all on the same screen.
For some reason, Infiniti continues its use of Bose as its premium sound solution which doesn’t make much sense in that there are better-sounding solutions out there from Infinity, Harman Kardon and even Alpine.
Front seat comfort is a nice blend of cozy meets performance. It’s just stiff enough to have its bolsters hold you rather well around fast corners yet soft enough for comfort in those extended trips you might want to take.There is ample rear leg-room for kids, teens and even two adults, however, the adults and late teens may start to feel a bit cramped if it’s a trip longer than 2 hours at a time.
The way this car handles around the corners is where it really shines. Its suspension deals with hard corners with ease, offering a near-perfect balance of stiffness and comfort. Of course, it’s a bit tighter than most passenger cars but then again, the Q50 Red Sport 400 isn’t your typical passenger car. It’s a four-door sports car that’s price in such a way to make it an attractive option for those in the market of a good-looking, good performance sedan that can tote around the family or business clients and do so quickly.
In the end, the Red Sport 400 is a very fun car to drive by many measures, however, its lack of a better transmission is holding it back and you can tell that after spending some time driving it. Sure it sounds great – makes a sweet growl from the exhaust – has minimal turbo-lag and handles extremely well but it really needs a dual-clutch transmission or a manual.
If Infiniti can offer a better transmission, next year, then the car – in many ways – would be a no-brainer. If has a stellar interior, great electronics, style and poise to position itself as a class-leader in its segment.