2015 Q50 New Car Test Drive
INFINITI Q50 is a luxury four-door sedan that competes with the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS, Lexus IS, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
The Q50 was launched as an all-new model for the 2014 model year and replaced the INFINITI G37 sedan. Little else has changed for the 2015 model year except that the 2015 INFINITI Q50 offers a new Performance Wheel Package with 19-inch superlight forged aluminum-alloy wheels with 245/40R19 front and 265/35R19 rear summer tires.
The INFINITI Q50 features sophisticated design, a powerful V6 engine, and comes loaded with technology. The Q50 delivers sporty handling, a benefit of its rear-wheel drive. It isn't quite as sharp as a BMW 3 Series sedan, but the Q50 is more engaging to drive than a Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
The Q50 comes standard with a 328-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 and is available in Q50, Q50 Premium, and sporty Q50 S models. The Q50 Hybrid combines a 3.5-liter V6 with a 50-kilowatt electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack for a net output of 360 horsepower. Both standard and hybrid Q50s are available with all-wheel drive, and all models come with a 7-speed automatic transmission.
Q50 delivers quick acceleration performance, especially in Sport mode with the Q50S, and the brakes are confident. Handling rivals that of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class or Lexus IS, particularly around town, though the steering lacks feedback and feels numb and when pushed hard in corners, it slides and leans.
Fuel economy for the INFINITI Q50 with rear-wheel drive is EPA-rated at 20/30 mpg City/Highway, 20/29 mpg for Q50 Premium and Q50 S models. That's comparable to the efficiency of the V6-powered competition. With all-wheel drive, fuel economy drops to 19/27 mpg City/Highway. Hybrid Q50 Premium models achieve 29/36 mpg City/Highway, while Q50 S hybrids get 28/34 mpg. Fuel economy dips to an EPA-estimated 28/35 mpg for Q50 Hybrid AWD and 27/31 mpg for Q50S Hybrid AWD.
Interior execution is well done, with a simple and elegant cabin design. The Q50 interior looks cleaner than a BMW 3 Series interior, and feels more inviting than the Audi A4's stark, Bauhaus-style cabin. Seats, however, are good for large males but are a little large for an average-size female.
The INFINITI InTouch infotainment system uses two large screens in the center stack. One displays the map, and another controls audio, navigation, phone, apps and vehicle settings. This setup lets users access other information while still being able to see where they are on the road. The interface is a combination of touchscreen, hard buttons, and a round control knob on the center console. For the most part, it's easy to use, though we found some functions laborious to access, and voice recognition was mediocre at best.
INFINITI Q50 3.7 ($37,150) and Q50 3.7 AWD ($38,950) comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control, leatherette seating surfaces, eight-way power front seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel (with heated function on AWD models), cruise control, pushbutton start, the INFINITI InTouch user interface with two color screens, a 6-speaker audio system with CD player and satellite radio capability, two USB ports, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, rearview camera, automatic LED headlights, LED foglights and 17-inch alloy wheels. A sunroof is optional.
Q50 3.7 Premium ($40,000) upgrades with heated front seats, a moonroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror, HomeLink transceiver, and upgrades to a 14-speaker Bose audio system. Q50 3.7 Premium AWD ($41,800) also gets a heated steering wheel.
Q50S 3.7 ($43,650) and Q50S 3.7 AWD ($45,450) upgrade further with leather-appointed front-seat upholstery, a sport driver's seat with power lumbar, front-seat thigh extensions, aluminum-accented pedals, magnesium paddle shifters, a sport-tuned suspension and 19-inch alloy wheels with summer performance tires.
Q50 Hybrid Premium ($44,400), Q50 Hybrid AWD Premium ($46,200), Q50S Hybrid ($46,800), and Q50S Hybrid AWD ($48,600) are equipped nearly identically to their gasoline-powered counterparts, but come standard with leather seating, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and INFINITI's Direct Adaptive Steering, which offers four adjustable settings.
Options for Q50 Premium and Q50S models include a Deluxe Touring package ($3,100) with power tilt-and telescoping steering wheel; driver memory for seat, mirrors and steering wheel position; maple wood interior trim; a 60/40 split-folding rear seat with center pass-through; rain-sensing windshield wipers; auto-dimming outside mirrors; 360-degree camera with moving object detection; and Direct Adaptive Steering. The Technology Package ($3,200) adds adaptive front lighting with auto-leveling headlights, automatic high beams, distance control assist, blind-spot warning and intervention, predictive front collision warning, forward emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with full-speed range (can brake or completely stop the car if a collision is deemed imminent), lane departure warning and prevention, and an upgraded climate control filtration system with air purifier. Also optional for Premium and Sport models are a navigation package ($1,400) and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat ($450). Hybrid models can get a Technology Package ($5,000).
Safety features on all models include front side airbags, side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, and rearview camera. Optional safety features in addition to all-wheel drive include front and rear parking sensors, a 360-degree camera system, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, lane departure warning, forward and back-up collision warning (which will automatically apply the brakes if a collision is deemed imminent) and Active Lane Control, which can automatically make minor steering corrections if a driver swerves out of his or her lane. All-wheel drive can enhance handling stability in slippery conditions.