Vital Stats

Engine:
3.7L V6
Power:
328 HP / 269 LB-FT
Transmission:
7-Speed Auto
Drivetrain:
Rear-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,675 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
13.5 CU-FT
MPG:
20 City / 29 HWY
Base Price:
$43,200
As Tested Price:
$46,285
Ten years ago, nearly to the day, I took delivery of a brand-new 2004 Infiniti G35 6MT. The sporty rear-wheel drive sedan, equipped with its throaty 260-horsepower V6, slick manual gearbox and limited-slip differential replaced my 2001 BMW 330i because the Japanese competitor touted a product that was roomier, better equipped, quicker and lower priced. The G35 trumped the German in nearly every measurable category – at least on paper.

The 2014 Infiniti Q50 is the direct descendant, albeit two generations later, of the car I owned a decade ago. It is dimensionally about the same size, but it has gained more than 300 pounds of mass thanks to numerous safety upgrades and technical innovations. The additional weight is largely dismissed by a larger and more efficient powerplant that delivers an additional 68 horsepower, a welcome arrival, but the manual gearbox that charmed enthusiasts has been pushed out of the picture by a mandatory seven-speed automatic transmission.

As it has in the past, Infiniti touts its all-new Q50 as a luxury sport sedan worthy of the title. Decades ago, impressive performance statistics may have sealed the deal. Yet there is much more to the assignment today, as the model must offer premium appointments, sophistication and engaging driving dynamics if it's going to entice and capture the next-generation of young, premium buyers – much like the G35 did for me ten years ago.
2014 Infiniti Q50S
2014 Infiniti Q50S2014 Infiniti Q50S

Infiniti launched its all-new Q50 sedan at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. The beautifully styled four-door successor to the G37 visually complemented the rest of the automaker's lineup and broke new technological ground with InTouch, a next-generation Human Machine Interface (HMI), and Direct Adaptive Steering and Active Lane Control, an innovative electronic steer-by-wire system that essentially eliminated the mechanical link between the steering wheel and the tires, a breakthrough that offered semi-autonomous driving capabilities.

There are seven different models in the Q50 lineup, but the two sportiest versions wear an S on their decklid badge.

Autoblog Executive Editor Chris Paukert took our First Drive of the new Infiniti last August. He considered it "well priced, attractive and fun-to-drive if you don't bring along the high-tech nannies" – his last reference was to the slew of driver's aids that Infiniti had loaded on its launch vehicles, albeit at the expense of the driver's engagement.

There are seven different models in the Q50 lineup, but the two sportiest versions wear an S on their decklid badge. The scripted red letter indicates a premium model fitted with 19-inch alloy wheels, high-performance brakes, 10-way sport seats, sport-tuned suspension, magnesium paddle shifters and a unique front fascia – there are two versions because the Q50S is offered in both rear- and all-wheel drive. A hybrid model, also with the 3.5-liter V6, is also newly available, but I didn't get time with that car.

2014 Infiniti Q50S2014 Infiniti Q50S
2014 Infiniti Q50S2014 Infiniti Q50S

An automotive enthusiasts' special model would likely mechanically mirror my Q50S 3.7 test car. The rear-wheel drive Moonlight White sedan arrived with a base price of $43,200 (plus $905 destination) and equipped with just four options: Cargo Package ($180), Spare Tire Package ($200), Navigation Package ($1,400) and the Illuminated Kick Plates ($400). The bottom line on the Monroney was $46,285 – very reasonable when its long list of standard equipment is taken into account. A quick glance into its well-appointed cabin reveals Graphite Leather and Kacchu-style aluminum trim. This means the four-door is missing the Deluxe Touring Package ($3,100), which includes the aforementioned Direct Adaptive Steering (it's only offered with maple wood accents).

Few will find fault with the Q50's front seats – the eight-way adjustable driver's throne provided plenty of support.

Few will find fault with the Q50's front seats – the eight-way adjustable driver's throne provided plenty of support for my frame in all the proper places. The seats in the Q50S are upgraded with a manual thigh extension, which benefits tall drivers, but oddly, that portion is not heated (most others in the industry heat the whole lower cushion). Second-row passengers will be equally as comfortable, as the seats are supportive and occupants enjoy fresh air from a center climate control outlet (lacking temperature adjustment) and a decent amount of legroom. Owners will really appreciate Infiniti's very effective rear floor mat, which continues to be a long one-piece unit that wraps over the tunnel on the floor, as its design prevents debris from sliding under the matt. Overall, the cabin is bright and airy, and outward visibility is a strength.

The Q50 cockpit wraps around the driver, who sits in front of a three-spoke multi-function steering wheel with magnesium paddle shifters mounted on its backside. There are countless small buttons to master, but they are placed in logical locations and easy to reach. Ergonomically, there is a lot going on, but it doesn't take long to become accustomed to the control layout. The new infotainment system, however, may be another matter.

2014 Infiniti Q50S
2014 Infiniti Q50S2014 Infiniti Q50S2014 Infiniti Q50S

Infiniti is most proud of its new InTouch system, which essentially splits vehicle and infotainment functions between two color digital screens. The upper screen is used for traditional navigation and car setup duties, while the lower screen controls audio, climate control and connectivity. The two screens are not identical. Instead, the upper screen is slightly recessed with a matte finish, while the lower screen is flush with a glossy finish – and it captures fingerprints galore. Unfortunately, operating InTouch effectively involves a learning curve. While the system would benefit from some refinement and improved functionality (many of its screens appear downright frivolous), it shows promise.

The naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V6 under the sedan's lightweight aluminum hood is a carryover from its predecessor.

The mechanical formula for making a G35... err... Q50 hasn't changed much over the past decade. The automaker's FM platform (still shared with the Nissan 370Z and Infiniti QX70, among others) is mated to a VQ-family engine. Suspension is independent all around, with a double-wishbone setup used up front and a multi-link system design hanging out back. There are disc brakes at all four corners, with sportier models boasting four-piston calipers in the nose and two-piston units in the rear. Forged 19-inch wheels, wearing summer tires, complete the recipe.

The naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V6 under the sedan's lightweight aluminum hood is a carryover from its predecessor. The familiar VQ-family (VQ37VHR) six-cylinder is shared across the Q50 lineup (the only exception is the Q50 Hybrid), and is rated at 328 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. Also standard is the seven-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels. Even with a 3,675-pound curb weight (slightly more than 55 percent of the mass is over the front wheels), the Q50S is quick. With its accelerator mashed to the floor, the sedan will sprint to the 60 mph benchmark in just over five seconds.

2014 Infiniti Q50S

Pressing the start/stop button fires up the VQ, but its unmistakable raspy exhaust note has been significantly muted. Thanks to a much more isolated cabin and new exhaust tuning, the engine settles down to a muffled purr with only a hint of a rumble from the tailpipes. The previous G-Series models at idle seems to encourage you to get driving, but the new Q50 didn't appear as eager – it patiently waits until you're ready to depart.

Many consider the hydraulically assisted steering to be the better choice in terms of feedback and reduced complexity.

Purists will miss the manual gearbox, but Infiniti's engineers have done a splendid job tailoring the automatic transmission to this vehicle. Launched from a standstill, the four-door hurries off the line without any hesitation. Most others in the industry have moved to forced induction, but the naturally aspirated V6 is a throwback to when engines liked to spin to a stratospheric redline (the VQ taps out at a dizzying 7,500 rpm). There is no sport mode on the gearshift lever, but the transmission may be manually shifted and the engine gleefully blips its throttle before downshifts. Most of time, though, it's just as well to simply spin the console-mounted Drive Mode selector to its aggressive 'Sport' position and let the computer shift.

Vehicles without the Direct Adaptive Steering arrive with traditional hydraulically assisted steering – many consider it the better choice in terms of feedback and reduced complexity. Even though the standard steering feels a bit light a first (use the Drive Mode rotary to stiffen things up), communication through the leather-wrapped wheel is good. It's not what I'd call razor sharp, but it's accurate and easy to place a tire on a precise spot on the pavement.

The Q50S is a splendid companion on the highway and it effortlessly ticks off the miles when allowed to stretch its legs. Wind, tire and exhaust noise is subdued, and there is plenty of passing power – even with a full complement of passengers on board. The automaker also offers a Technology Package ($3,200) with Intelligent Cruise Control and Active Lane Control that reduces the driver's workload significantly (too much?), but it wasn't fitted to my test car.

2014 Infiniti Q50S

Thankfully, this isn't a single-mission sedan – the Infiniti performs equally as well when the road turns twisty. Under more challenging conditions, the Q50's wide stance, sticky tires and good chassis balance allows it to effortlessly weave through Southern California's canyons. Throttle response from the V6 is immediate, requiring only minimal throttle skills to adjust the car's trajectory (defeat the stability control and oversteer is just a punch of the accelerator away). The big brakes are strong, initial bite after pedal application is exceptional and the sedan tracks well, even under panic applications. Despite a moderately aggressive workout, the Q50 emerged hardly panting.

Something still seems to be missing – the emotional connection. The new Q50S can't make me smile.

But something still seems to be missing – the emotional connection. The new Q50S can't make me smile.

Creating a driver-centric bond between human and machine is required in this sport sedan segment. And its prime competitors, quickly identified as the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and Lexus IS, all strive to involve the driver first and then toss in a fair share of the obligatory luxury and technical innovation. But Infiniti's recipe, as evident with its new sedan, seems to be just the opposite. Even stripped of its optional questionable steer-by-wire wizardry, the Q50's new mission seems to focus on driver isolation.

The Q50S has evolved into a genuine world-class luxury sedan, materializing as a much better car than the G37 ever was. But its heavy polish and refinement have stolen much of its sporty appeal. The third-generation Infiniti has unquestionably matured – but likely at the expense of its original youthful demographic.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 152 Comments
      John Smith
      • 10 Months Ago
      If you're going to do spinny (i.e. directional) rims, make the passenger side ones a mirror image of the driver's side. Otherwise, if all 4 wheels are going the same direction, one side of the car looks like it's moving forward, and the other looks like it's moving backward. Going backwards is a bad look for a sporty sedan. It's especially bad if they're high-end optional wheels on a near-luxury or better class car. If Infiniti can't afford to deal with an extra part number for mirror-image directional wheels, just make all four non-directional.
        • 10 Months Ago
        @John Smith
        [blocked]
        over9000
        • 10 Months Ago
        @John Smith
        That would be expensive to manufacture
      Nick
      • 10 Months Ago
      Many people posting on here seem to be very preoccupied about having no manual option, but may be forgetting that way early one, Nissan / Infinti execs revealed that there would be a delayed-release entry-level model with a turbocharged, directly-injected small (-er) displacement inline-4 that is being codeveloped with and/or will be produced by mercedes-benz. ... a la C250 ... this would allow them to compete more directly with the (C250,) 328i, A4 2.0T, ATS 2.0T, and forthcoming entry- level turbo- 4 cylinder lexus IS model... the point is also, that it is quite unlikely that there will be no manual transmission option offered with this 225-275 hp turbo four cylinder engine, as all of the current competition offer this with a proper manual transmission.. Yes. the big 3.7 V6 with a manual transmission may be fun, but the fact is that the market for such a car is so small that its nearly non-existent, and not cost-effective for development (meaning that it would bleed their profits)... what are they in business for after all? profit.
        Carlton
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Nick
        No excuses for Infiniti not offering a manual transmission; BMW and Audi both have manual transmissions. When I finally replace my 2004 G35 6MT, I won't be shopping at the Infiniti dealership.
      carguy1701
      • 10 Months Ago
      From an enthusiast perspective, I can't think of a single reason to buy this vs. a used G37 with the Sport package or manual (which has the sport package bits by default). Too remote and dumbed down. I'm also mystified as to why they didn't bundle the DAS with the Advanced Technology package, which would have made more sense, as I get the vibe that it's nominally intended to work best with the stuff in that package. Either way, no limited slip, no sale. Also, Mr. Harley, why is this car wearing 370Z Sport package wheels?
        Michael Harley
        • 10 Months Ago
        @carguy1701
        The wheels are apparently part of the new Performance Package, which includes the forged RAYS wheels, high-performance tires and new steering software. Of course, there is no mention of it on the test car's window sticker... - Mike
          ICantDrive88
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Michael Harley
          Thanks Mike! Nice to see some author participation on here! Really appreciate it.
          carguy1701
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Michael Harley
          Just checked cars.com. 19-inch wheels are listed as an accessory for $1,900. No mention of high performance tires though (the tires that come with the 19s are listed as being all-season run-flats).
          carguy1701
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Michael Harley
          No mention at all? That's odd. Must have been a recent addition.
        jtav2002
        • 10 Months Ago
        @carguy1701
        I actually prefer this styling to the G sedan. I've never been a fan of the G sedan. I've always liked the coupe, though.
      Adrian Elliot
      • 10 Months Ago
      Overstyled, overdesigned, overdecorated. How about some subtle elegance, Infiniti?
        kal_elkal
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Adrian Elliot
        Overdesigned and overstyled? Are you insane? Go look at Lexus and tell me Infiniti's design language isn't subdued.
          Adrian Elliot
          • 10 Months Ago
          @kal_elkal
          Lexus and Acura are just as guilty, yes. There seems to be this visual oneupsmanship amongst the big 3 Japanese luxury makers, each with more body curves, angles, creases, lighting elements, and interior surfaces than the last. I will say, however, that Lexus has the least offensive interiors of the 3.
        piggybox
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Adrian Elliot
        What do you think of the new style of MB then?
      ferps
      • 10 Months Ago
      The price for this car seems pretty reasonable, but the gas mileage is mediocre and Infiniti's interiors are still a step behind the competition.
      bK
      • 10 Months Ago
      New design is growing on me to the point where the G37 looks like a altima...
      Avinash Machado
      • 10 Months Ago
      Bring back the G name.
      ragtopdodge
      • 10 Months Ago
      Looks nice, but no 6MT? No knobs to control climate? Bah! I'll keep my awesome 03 G35 coupe w/a Stillen SC. $46k...that's 3-series territory. I think I'd rather have that so I can have a stick shift and knobs.
      Lachmund
      • 10 Months Ago
      really like this exterior. that interior though.. doesn't look very classy to me.
      Hi
      • 10 Months Ago
      As a G owner, the lack of a GTR drivetrain as a "IPL" option makes the Q50 a failure. They LEAST they would have done would have been to add the DCT option from the GTR. The Q50 needs a DCT and a twin turbo option with forged internals.
        pavsterrocks
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Hi
        Wait, did the G have that option?? ;) You're talking about a different car - if the GTR now costs over 100k, imagine how much a luxuried-up version would run - we are probably talking 991 Turbo prices. And I can't imagine anyone buying a fast infinity over a 911 if the price was equal.
          Hi
          • 10 Months Ago
          @pavsterrocks
          Google IPL package and stop making it obvious that you are clueless. The GTR launched with a $63,000 dealer invoice in 2009. The $40,000 price increase is PURE PROFIT for Nissan. Anyone here that is in the auto industry will tell you that $15k premium for the option of a GTR drivetrain for the G/Q would still net Nissan a nice profit on every car.
          Hi
          • 10 Months Ago
          @pavsterrocks
          You didn't even know that Infiniti offered an IPL option, and now you're pretending to have a clue about MY industry? Thanks for the laughs, junior.
          Hi
          • 10 Months Ago
          @pavsterrocks
          You didn't even know that Infiniti offered an IPL option, and now you're pretending to have a clue about MY industry? Thanks for the laughs, junior. Stick to your paving job and manual labor.
          pavsterrocks
          • 10 Months Ago
          @pavsterrocks
          Actually it's not all profit. It's called recouping sunken costs - or one time costs, also known as R&D. Go learn something about business. There is a reason why low-volume cars cost more.
          carguy1701
          • 10 Months Ago
          @pavsterrocks
          You don't work in the auto industry, Rob. If you did, you wouldn't be spouting off any of what you say, particularly your comments about Tadge being a liar, or that bit about engineers being salesmen.
        Fonin
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Hi
        Many cars cost less in 2009 than current day counterparts, especially when the vehicale has been advanced and upgraded. I\'m also upset that I cannot buy a new Mustang GT for 20k, because that is what they sold for in the early 90s.
          Hi
          • 10 Months Ago
          @Fonin
          Hey, stupid. What other Japanese car had a 65% price increase since 2009 ???? You trolls will argue against anything that anyone posts just to start drama. You must have a miserable life. FYI: New Mustangs were actually selling for $10,000 in the early 1990's. I know. I bought multiple 5.0 LX models and supercharged them while you trolls were still in your father's sacks.
        carguy1701
        • 10 Months Ago
        @Hi
        The same way the Corvette needs AWD?
      bonehead
      • 10 Months Ago
      I no longer find these Infiniti desirable. Back when the G35 came out it was attractive and not overly styled. It was for the person that wanted a 4dr 350Z with a little more luxury. And heck for a while they had a very inexpensive base model that could be had for around $27k. The styling is polarizing and its less of a 4dr sports car (help me new maxima). But with this latest iteration what i really hate is that interior! its like they went backwards with their styling. That interior looks exactly like a hyundai sonata interior. Do not like. compare this sonata interior to the infiniti http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2009/12/27-2011-hyundai-sonata-live.jpg
      normc32
      • 10 Months Ago
      I'd go for Regal GS AWD over this. Have it tuned with Trifecta which tunes the auto trans too and you could see 30+ mpg with better 6-speed auto that rev natches. and run rings around this. GS might be short on ammenities but is a larger car if you are not considering an smaller ATS.
        Frisky_Dingo
        • 10 Months Ago
        @normc32
        I wouldn't. This ain't no E90 3 Series or anything, but I'll still take rwd dynamics over a fwd-based awd system. Not to mention the Regal's somewhat cramped interior.
        leo
        • 10 Months Ago
        @normc32
        yeah right.. get your head out ur arse
        NightFlight
        • 10 Months Ago
        @normc32
        You recommend a Buick for everything, it is ridiculous. Random Person: "Well I was thinking about getting a F-250 to tow my track car" normc32: "You should definitely get a Verano Turbo with the six speed and get a Trifecta tune, it would be the perfect tow vehicle". What does a FWD biased Opel with a four cylinder have to do with a legitimate RWD sports sedan?
          Hi
          • 10 Months Ago
          @NightFlight
          Agreed. It's almost as laughable as selling a solid axle car in the 21st century. Now, who would do that?
          ponycargt
          • 10 Months Ago
          @NightFlight
          When dealing with fanboys (the GM loving variety in this instance), don't expect them to make rational statements
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