2018 Infiniti Q50 Review: On the ragged edge of driving satisfaction

    The Q50 is Infiniti’s best-selling mannequin, even besting its well-liked QX60 crossover. It is out there in no fewer than 12 totally different fashions with 4 powertrain decisions, and the choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. You will get a no-nonsense commuter with simply over 200 horsepower, and even an all-wheel-drive V6 hybrid. However should you like your sport sedans to pack a correct wallop, you will need to take a look at this Q50 Crimson Sport 400.

    Crimson sizzling, however there’s an issue

    In Crimson Sport 400 guise, the Q50 makes use of a three.Zero-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that throws 400 horsepower to the rear wheels — nice for testing alongside my super-secret again roads outdoors Oakland, California. With a complementary 350 pound-feet of torque (which comes on low from simply 1,600 rpm), energy is robust and all the time out there. With its adaptive suspension set to Sport Plus, the Q50 willingly dives into tight turns and blasts out with unbelievable poise.

    But, one thing’s a bit… off. My check automobile has Infiniti’s Direct Adaptive Steer system, nonetheless the one digital steer-by-wire expertise in the marketplace. Not like different steering setups, there isn’t a mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the Q50’s entrance wheels. As a substitute, steering inputs are fed to a pc, which then tells the wheels what to do. The benefit right here is faster response to inputs, higher isolation from harsh impacts like potholes, and a richer set of driver’s aids, which I will get to in a minute. The disadvantage is an entire lack of analog suggestions. You simply do not do not know precisely the place the tires are or how a lot grip they’ve organically, you solely have simulated suggestions. Some drivers in all probability will not discover a distinction, however fans virtually actually will. Steering really feel is without doubt one of the most necessary traits of a efficiency automobile, and it is an space the place this Q50 dearly suffers — even after quite a few makes an attempt to repair this distinctive expertise.

    The EPA charges the Q50 Crimson Sport 400 at 22 mpg metropolis, 26 mpg freeway and 20 mpg mixed. By my week of testing, I see a mixed readout of 20.7 mpg, which is not nice, however contemplating all my backroad antics and heavy proper foot, it is also nothing to complain about.

    Nice tech, however there’s one other drawback

    The Q50’s suite of accessible driving help methods could be very wealthy. Heading again into San Francisco, I allow adaptive cruise management, which retains the Q50 at a constant distance behind a lead automobile, even bringing it to a cease and pausing briefly earlier than taking off once more. An additional bit of accessible help comes by way of Infiniti’s Distance Management tech, which slows the Q50 down if I am following a lead automobile too carefully. In stop-and-go visitors, it permits one-pedal driving. Coupled with lane-keep help shepherding me into the middle of my lane, it is easy to breeze by means of the toll plaza and out onto the San Francisco Bay Bridge.

    Hey there, pretty!

    Emme Corridor/Roadshow

    Whereas on the bridge, my cellphone buzzes with a textual content message. And whereas I would usually be capable to have it learn aloud by way of Apple CarPlay, the Q50 would not characteristic this smartphone-mirroring expertise, nor does it have Android Auto. That is an enormous ding in opposition to the Q50’s InTouch infotainment system, although removed from its solely drawback.

    There are two screens contained in the Q50: an Eight-inch high show for navigation, and a 7-inch unit under that for automobile menus and controls. Each are touchscreens, although the highest might be managed by steering wheel buttons or a multicontroller on the middle console. The decrease display screen has default shortcut buttons for audio, local weather and residential screens, and solely features by way of contact response.

    Since this tech hasn’t been considerably up to date for fairly a while — particularly the highest display screen — I am caught with outdated graphics and a ton of menus and submenus. There are some attention-grabbing options throughout the InTouch system, like a driving efficiency display screen with a g-meter and eco-drive report card, however the entire interface may use an intensive rethink.

    Comfy and classy

    Thank goodness the remainder of the Q50’s inside is beautiful. The eight-way adjustable seats are supportive and supply 4 ranges of warmth, excellent for a cold-all-the-time gal like myself. There’s high-quality leather-based in every single place, and the cabin’s design is modern. You may match 4 adults in right here simply superb, although do not forget that it is a smaller sedan, so it is in all probability not the perfect should you ceaselessly put adults within the rear seats, particularly for greater than quick jaunts.


    A comfortable cabin makes commuting straightforward.

    Jon Wong/Roadshow

    My Q50 Crimson Sport 400 tester has the beautiful Dynamic Sunstone pink paint, which is tremendous wealthy and completely definitely worth the $800 premium. The Crimson Sport mannequin will get just a few design tweaks that separate it from decrease trims, but it surely takes a eager eye to identify them. The air intakes are barely totally different and the entrance bumper is a little more aggressive in its form. Darkish-finish trim items spherical out the outside adjustments, and all-in, I believe this automobile seems nice.

    How I would spec it

    The 2018 Infiniti Q50 begins at $34,200 for a base, 2.Zero-liter mannequin with rear-wheel drive. The Crimson Sport is available in at $51,000, and if you’d like all-wheel drive, add one other $2,000 to that.

    Since I dwell in California, I would in all probability move on the all-wheel drive. And whereas I need to spring for the $2,700 Proactive Package deal, which incorporates all of the cool driving aids like adaptive cruise management and Distance Management, it additionally bundles the aforementioned Direct Adaptive Steering, which I hate. Moreover, the Proactive Package deal requires the acquisition of the $2,650 Sensory Package deal, which affords a 16-speaker Bose sound system. With no efficiency upgrades in both of those choices, I would possible stick to straightforward Crimson Sport spec.

    Good, however flawed

    The Q50 is only one choice in a crowded sport sedan phase. The BMW three Sequence begins at a comparable value and might be optioned with a guide transmission. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class affords a bit extra customary energy and has a extra premium-feeling cabin, but it surely prices extra. When you’re on the lookout for a relative cut price by comparability, strive the Kia Stinger — the GT mannequin is almost as highly effective because the Crimson Sport, but it surely’s extra capacious and it begins over $12,000 much less.

    Ultimately, it is powerful to decide on the Q50 over its many rivals. It is fairly and opulent, and comes near being a terrific sport sedan. The engine is robust and its characteristic set is spectacular. If it weren’t for the InTouch infotainment system and that awful steering setup, it would be a lot simpler to suggest.

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