Seattle, January 3, 2015 — As someone who has owned a couple of Infiniti cars during my life, it’s easy to have a soft-spot for them. There’s no other Japanese company producing more exciting performance cars than Nissan/Infiniti right now and the Q50s continues that excitement.
The 2015 Q50 the first sedan in the world to feature an optional “steer-by-wire” system. This means that there isn’t a mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the front wheels. Instead, there are sensors in the steering wheel that sends electronic signals to a set of servo motors that actually turn the front wheels left to right.
The tried and true 3.7-liter V6 powers this ride, developing 328-horsepower with 269 lb-ft of torque which feeds a standard rear-wheel drive setup (all-wheel drive is an option). This setup is good for a 0-60 time of about 5.3 seconds so the car is no slouch and definitely offers a very fun driving experience.
It’s mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission with titanium paddle shifters on the steering column that do not rotate with the turn of the wheel. It features adaptive shift control which “learns” your diving habits on the fly and will adjust in real-time, accordingly. Additionally, the manual mode also has downshifting rev matching. It shifts extremely well during acceleration but comes across as a bit hesitant while slowing down.
The recent body style makeover from Infiniti across its entire line-up is quite extraordinary. In this reviewers eyes, it’s quite easily the best-looking line of all the high-end Japanese automakers, surpassing the style of Acura and Lexus. It’s bold, well-stated, sexy, sleek, aerodynamic and unique.
The advancement of the quality level in the interior over the previous G-family of sedans is a very welcomed one. Two touch screens now set the stage of the center console and provide most of the controls for the infotainment-center, navigation, audio, apps and dynamic driving controls. What doesn’t make a lot of sense, however, is how Infiniti splits up some of the chores between a control knob next to the driver’s seat, push-buttons below the touch screen and actually using the touch screen. Why they couldn’t just put it all on the touch screens or control knob, makes no sense.
Infiniti’s continued use of Bose speakers is quite baffling as there are many better-sounding speakers available that’d help the audio system sound much better. While overall quality is good on the audio front, it could be much better, however, most folks will likely enjoy it just fine.
Front seat comfort is nearly spot-on and we experienced no driver fatigue, even after extended driving. The quality of both the front and rear seats is exceptional. Rear leg room is good but not super stellar as it’s not the largest sedan but should have no issues with accommodating two adults in the back for up to an hour or two at a time.
Ride quality, needless to say, is very “sporty” so it fits the “S” moniker rather well. In fact, it’s so sporty that it may turn off some potential customers as it does little to dampen bumps on the road. Infiniti equipped the “S” model with rather stiff springs which do wonders around hard corners but are far less forgiving for longer trips.
At the end of the day, what we’re left with is a very good performance sedan that corners well – perhaps too well for some drivers – is one of the better looking imports going and offers a very strong performance to price ratio proposition. It has no problems going up against the German imports and is one of the more fun cars we’ve driven in its respective price bracket.
There aren’t too many things to fault the Q50s with, even in the rear-wheel drive format we had. It will reward you with a very exhilarating driving experience and its all-wheel-drive version should make an ideal car for those who live in areas of inclement weather.
If you’re in the performance sedan market and have a $50k-ish budget to work with then you seriously owe it to yourself to test-drive this car. I’d have zero hesitation in pitting against even the mighty the Audi S4. There aren’t many sedans that can offer the level of excitement of the Q50s that does not cost tens of thousands more.