The Q50 is the small luxury sedan from Nissan’s upscale brand. It’s sporty but not a sports car, and comfortable but not super luxurious.
Infiniti first introduced the Q50 sedan for the 2014 model year and it’s already been updated several times. For 2018 it gets some exterior and interior styling tweaks and the addition of several driver assistance technologies. The Q50 is aimed at the likes of the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Lexus IS and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
The Q50 is available in four trims: Pure, Luxe, Sport and Red Sport 400. Starting prices range from $34,200 to $53,000. The Red Sport 400 has a sportier look and is more performance-oriented. There’s also a Hybrid version of the Luxe. All are available with rear- or all-wheel-drive.
The Pure and Luxe models are powered by a new engine, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The Luxe is also available with a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 that makes 300 hp and 295 pound-feet. The Red Sport gets a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 that makes 400 hp and 350 pound-feet. All are paired with a seven-speed automatic.
The Red Sport 400 has plenty of power. It’s quick off the line and energetic when merging and passing at freeway speeds. The ride is smooth and composed; In fact, it’s easy to find yourself going much faster than you thought you were. Steering is pretty sharp so you’ll enjoy traveling on twisty back roads. Performance isn’t as athletic as a BMW but it’s still pretty darn fun!
Fuel economy isn’t good for the class. EPA ratings for my tester are 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway with a combined rating of 22 mpg. I got 20 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The interior is pleasant with nice materials. It’s not the most luxurious cabin in the class but it does have quality materials and comfortable seats. The Red Sport 400 models get snazzy contrast stitching—red, of course—throughout the cabin.
Front seat passengers have decent leg- and headroom. The backseat may feel a bit tight, especially for taller adults, but they should be fine for shorter trips. The floor hump in back will make it tough for an adult to sit in the middle seat.
Standard features include push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, rearview camera, Bluetooth, HD Radio, satellite radio, two USB ports, and Infiniti’s InTouch infotainment system with voice recognition, an eight-inch upper touch screen, seven-inch lower touch screen. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are not available.
Options include a moonroof, surround-view camera, navigation, 16-speaker Bose audio system, Wi-Fi hot spot and an upgraded climate control system with an air purifier. Several driver assistance technologies are also available including front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, blind spot intervention, adaptive cruise control, backup collision intervention, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, forward emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist with active lane control. The Q50 also offers predictive forward collision warning, which can detect speed changes in the vehicle that’s two cars ahead of you to alert you that the driver ahead may be getting ready to slow down or stop.
The infotainment system takes some getting used to. There are two touch screens; each one controls different functions. While the menus are logically laid out and graphics are large, the displays can be hard to see in sunlight, and fingerprints can be quite noticeable depending on the lighting. At least there are buttons and knobs for many functions.
The Q50 Red Sport 400 has 13.5 cubic feet of trunk space which is pretty good for the class. Split-folding rear seats are optional.
Base model is relatively low priced for the class
More trunk space than many rivals
Want an air purifier? You can get one in the Q50!
Lots of driver assistance technologies are available
Poor fuel economy
Interior not as plush as many competitors
Infotainment system takes some getting used to
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay aren’t available
My tester starts at $53,000. The Sensory Package (Sport) is $2,650 and includes the 16-speaker Bose Centerpoint surround sound system, power tilt and telescopic steering column, dual-occupant memory for driver’s seat, steering column and outside mirrors, advanced climate control system, enhanced interior ambient lighting and auto-dimming outside mirrors. The Proactive package is $2,700 and includes Intelligent Cruise Control, Direct Adaptive Steering, lane Departure Prevention with Active Lane Control, Distance Control Assist, Adaptive Front Lighting System with auto-leveling headlights, high beam assist, front pre-crash seat belts and eco pedal. The Infiniti illuminated kick plates are $465. Infiniti radiant grille emblem is $400. Carbon Fiber Package is $1,500 and includes Carbon fiber decklid spoiler and Carbon fiber exterior mirror covers. Destination charges are $995 bringing the grand total to $61,710.
Is it built for comfort or speed? The Q50 does many things pretty well but doesn’t really stand out as either a small sports sedan or a luxury sedan. Maybe that’s the selling point—it’s a bit of both.