£32,300 - £48,820 Price range
31 - 65 MPG
Positioned as the replacement to the G37 saloon, the Infiniti Q50 isn’t just another ‘also-ran’. It has the segment leaders i.e. the BMW 3 Series, the Mercedes C-Class, and the Audi A6 in its sights, and on the whole, it looks like a strong proposition.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t prove to be superior in any area per se, which weakens its chances of rivalling the trio, but the Q50 still is an interesting alternative.
On the outside, the swooping lines, the distinct front, and the well-balanced silhouette mean the Q50 stands out. Looking beyond that, there’s the choice of petrol-hybrid and diesel powerplants, an optional steer-by-wire system, complemented by a comfortable cabin.
The Q50 has quite a job on its hands if it hopes to beat the best in its class in terms of interior quality and, sad to say, it’s a long way off the best.
Even against the BMW 3 Series – a car that’s long in the tooth in car terms – shows it the way in terms of expensive materials and ease of use, but the oozing-with-luxury Mercedes C-Class is on an entirely different level.
Next to its rivals the Q50’s interior is short on visual appeal with asymmetric shapes and old-fashioned-looking trim pieces that are garnished with far too many buttons that appear to have been wedged into either side of the stacked – seven and eight-inch – control screens. Nowadays simplicity is the new luxury when it comes to interior design and the Infiniti has a lot of catching up to do in this respect.
The same is true of the infotainment system, which does without a BMW iDrive style scroll knob – instead many of the car’s systems can be operated either via buttons on the seven-inch touchscreen, controls mounted to the steering wheel, or through voice commands. Even the graphics on the various screens are poorly laid out and aren’t as crisp as you’ll find in the latest rivals.
Infiniti Q50 passenger space
The Q50 feels a little cramped inside for a car of this class. There’s plenty of room in the front – the same is true for all rivals, though – but the rear seats suffer from a shortage of legroom and anyone sitting in the middle will be treated to a perched position and foot room that has been eaten into by the car’s transmission tunnel.
Infiniti Q50 boot space
Boot space is class leading, however, a 500-litre capacity means the Q50 holds a 20 litre advantage on its three main rivals – the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class. A floor that isn’t flat and a small opening means its still not the most practical to load, but then what saloon is…
Reviewers suggest that the Q50 is happier cruising along the motorway than it is attacking corners, but it still rewards enthusiastic driving with a good amount of stability. Grip levels are decent and body roll is said to be well controlled.
It’s worth noting is the optional, and maligned, steer-by-wire system can be skipped if you’re looking for a more direct steering. The feedback on the conventional unit is still minimal, but the steer-by-wire unit mutes the kickback (jerking of the wheel) when driven over bad surfaces, making driving the Q50 a more comfortable driving experience.
Infiniti offers three engine options with the Q50: a Mercedes-sourced 2.1-litre diesel, a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol, and a 3.5-litre Hybrid. All engines come with an automatic gearbox, but clutch-fans can specify a manual on the diesel.
Starting with the diesel, it’s very frugal but reviewers do complain about the lack of refinement, especially in terms of noise and vibrations. The turbocharged petrol appears to have those issues covered, but there’s an inevitable drop in fuel economy as well.
The most powerful of the three, the 3.5-litre V6 hybrid with an electric motor offers additional performance, the claimed fuel consumption lingers around that of the turbo petrol. Choose the four-wheel-drive system and the figure goes down even further. Then there’s the price – at about £10,000 more than the base version, it’s considerably expensive.
In addition to the car’s high speed stability, there are driver aids like ABS, traction control, and stability control to make sure the car stays in control even under tricky conditions.
Optional extras include a lane-departure warning system, which can also steer the car back into its lane should it start to deviate from its path. There’s also blind spot detection and a predictive forward collision warning system that continuously monitors what’s ahead of the car and alerts the driver if it senses a possible collision.
As for its crash safety – the Q50 received five-stars in Euro NCAP’s crash test. According to the test results, the car offers good amount of protection to occupants and pedestrian –the latter, owing to the car’s active bonnet. Also, Isofix child seat mounts are present, too.
The Q50 is competitively priced and, given that it’s well equipped, it stands a good chance against its rivals.
Infiniti Q50 SE
Entry-level SE models come with 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, a touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity and dual zone adaptive climate control.
Infiniti Q50 Premium and Premium Tech
This is the more luxury-focused model and it’s evident by the leather upholstery and heated front seats. The Premium Tech adds emergency autonomous braking, a Bose stereo with 14 speakers and DAB digital radio and park assist with an all-round view on the car’s display.
Infiniti Q50 Sport and Sport Tech
The name gives it away, but this trim is all about the driver – adaptive steering, sport seats, aluminium pedals, LED headlights and lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels. The Sport Tech adds the same features as the Premium Tech.
It’s more than just a luxurious Nissan. The Infiniti Q50 appears to be a worthy alternative to the conventional choices in the segment. While it lags behind its rivals in one (or more) aspects, on the whole it looks like a big improvement over its predecessor.