2018 Q50 New Car Test Drive
Abundantly equipped and available with a range of powertrains, including the powerful Red Sport version, the Infiniti Q50 sedan has been the most popular model from Nissan's luxury division. Launched for 2014, it succeeded the G37. For the 2018 model year, modest exterior restyling and interior refinement are accompanied by a reshuffled trim-level lineup.
Front and rear fascia are new, tailored to each trim level.
The Q50 Pure has replaced the prior base model, available only with Infiniti's 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Luxe replaces the Premium version, offered with either the 2.0-liter four, a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, or in Hybrid form with a V6 gasoline engine. The Sport model gets stylish trim and a standard V6, while the Red Sport continues with a 400-horsepower rendition of the V6.
The 2.0-liter turbo four makes 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 comes two ways: rated 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet in regular models, escalating to 400 horsepower and 350 pound-feet in Red Sport 400 tune. The Q50 Hybrid uses a combination of 3.5-liter V6 and 67-horsepower electric motor, with total system output of 360 horsepower.
Each engine mates with a 7-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional.
Pure and Luxe models get specific appearance details. The Sport and Red Sport 400 look somewhat more aggressive. New 18- and 19-inch wheels vary with the model.
Neither federal regulators nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have tested the 2018 Q50. The IIHS gave the 2017 model Good ratings for side and moderate front overlap collisions.
A suite of advanced active-safety systems is available. Included are adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Some safety systems require purchase of Direct Adaptive Steering, which gets a mixed review.
Distance Control Assist, if installed, can maintain a safe distance to the car in front, when the driver lets up on the gas pedal. If that vehicle is slowing or stopped, DCA will maintain a safe gap or, if appropriate, bring the Q50 to a full stop.
In addition to option packages, the Q50 is available with plenty of advanced technology to supplement its ample list of standard equipment in each trim level.
The 2018 Infiniti Q50 2.0t Pure ($34,200) gets the 2.0-liter turbo four and rear-wheel drive, plus 17-inch alloy wheels, rearview camera, LED headlights, drive mode selector, leatherette-upholstered power front seats, 8.0- and 7.0-inch infotainment screens, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, and six-speaker audio. 2.0t Luxe ($36,550) adds a moonroof, maple wood trim, and 18-inch sport wheels. Two option packages are available. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
All-wheel drive is optional ($2,000) for all models. Front-wheel drive is standard.
3.0t Luxe ($38,950) upgrades with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6.
3.0t Sport ($40,650) includes more aggressive appearance details, 19-inch run-flat tires, and aluminum interior trim. Leather-upholstered seats include thigh extensions.
Red Sport 400 ($51,000) upgrades to a 400-horsepower version of the 3.0-liter V6. Included are navigation, paddle shifters, aluminum pedals, staggered 19-inch wheels, a surround-view camera, quilted leather, and a heated steering wheel.
Hybrid Luxe ($50,600) is equipped similar to 2.0t Luxe, but substitutes a battery/gasoline powertrain with 3.5-liter V6 engine.