2014 Infiniti Q50 3.7 Premium Full Test

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2014 Infiniti Q50 Sedan

(3.7L V6 7-speed Automatic)
  • 2014 Infiniti Q50 - Action Front 3/4

    2014 Infiniti Q50 - Action Front 3/4

    The Q50 is the next generation of the G37 with a different name. | July 18, 2013

34 Photos

A New Name for a Well-Known Sedan

Coming up with clear automotive model nomenclature is a thankless job. Names are hard to conjure up and nearly all the letters in the alphabet are taken.

Infiniti was at a point where its current system had become unsuitably awkward, so it binned the whole approach and started over. This is why the 2014 Infiniti Q50, while bearing a brand-new badge on the rump, is a mix of new and familiar parts.

The Q50 is effectively the next-generation G37, but it's not that simple. Infiniti feels like the Q50 is actually a modest step up from the G37 in terms of refinement, style and equipment. "It's the finest sedan we've ever built," company officials like to say.

So it's not a direct replacement in the traditional sense, but a whole new idea of what the company's midrange sport sedan should be.

2014 Infiniti Q50

Major Changes to a Familiar Car
Like the G37, the Q50 will be offered in rear- or all-wheel-drive variants, now separated into three trim levels (base, Premium and the zoomier S). New wrinkles in the G/Q transition include the availability of the Q50 Hybrid, and the fact that no Q50 configuration will include a manual gearbox.

Blame for the latter can be spread equally among consumers and Infiniti. For their part, buyers shunned manual-equipped Gs. On the flip side, Infiniti offered them half-hearted manual gearboxes that only soured the people that did give them a shot.

Our Q50 test car was a rear-wheel-drive Premium model equipped with only two options, leather seating and navigation. Infiniti said this was a typically equipped configuration so its sticker price of $42,805 is close to what you'll see at dealers.

Tiresome Tires
The Q50's overhauled body is 2 inches wider and rides on the same wheelbase as the G37. It's also underpinned by a new rear suspension and wider rear track. Both are notable changes, yet it's the decision to adopt run-flat tires across the board that arguably has the most influence on the way the Q50 drives.

In our case, the Q50 rolled on 225/55/17 all-season Bridgestone run-flats that were hopelessly overmatched by the chassis. There is so little grip that it's as though somebody accidentally mixed clay into their carcasses instead of silica. As a result, when given the mere suggestion of spirited cornering, the front tires protest audibly and early before washing out into understeer. This lack of enthusiasm was reflected in its meager skid pad performance of 0.79g and lackadaisical 60.9-mph slalom result.

2014 Infiniti Q50

Curiously, the Q50's ride quality dispatches truly bumpy pavement well, but is slightly fidgety on roads with prominent irregularities. It's not that the Q50 rides poorly — it doesn't — it's just that the busy-ness never quite settles out on freeway drives.

This would be a totally reasonable ride-handling tradeoff were this a red-blooded sport sedan capable of demolishing back roads with impunity. But the Q50 in non-S trim like our test car is not that car, and the reason hinges largely on its tires. If you want summer tires — and our experience indicates that you should — you need to step up to the Q50S.

Outstanding Powertrain
So, our Q50 tester gives up more handling than it gains back in ride quality. But it's still quite a pleasant car in which to spend time. The hydraulic steering (Infiniti's Direct Adaptive Steering steer-by-wire system was not present on our test car) is wonderfully precise and builds effort naturally as you turn around center, even if its effort overall is a shade light. Noise levels have also been dialed back on every front.

2014 Infiniti Q50

Its 3.7-liter V6 and seven-speed automatic powertrain, while largely carried over, remains a standout. The V6 boots the 3,603-pound sedan forward with such authority that you might mistake it for a V8. It's tremendous. The stats alone of 328 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque don't sufficiently convey its hugely flexible power delivery, or the rapid rate at which it turns that truck lumbering in your lane into a dot in the Q50's mirror.

That power is backed by a sharp, capable transmission calibration that's not afraid to drop a few gears and tap into the engine's ability to rev. In our testing the Q50 finished the 0-60-mph sprint in 5.5 seconds (5.2 with one foot of rollout like on a drag strip) and ran the quarter mile in 13.7 seconds at 102.8 mph.

The brake pedal is slack-free and offers excellent modulation around town. Drop the anchors as hard as possible and you'll discover another limitation of its all-season tires — the Q50's stopping distance from 60 mph is 123 feet, a far cry from the 107 feet of the summer-tired G37S we last tested.

Looks Better Than Ever, Inside and Out
Outside, the styling trades the soft, amorphous forms of the G37 for a far more sinewy stance that recalls its M — soon to be called Q70 — stablemate. To our eyes, the new sheet metal is a big step forward and its tip o' the hat to the Essence show car, one of the dead-sexiest show cars in quite some time, was wisely considered.

The cabin, too, sees upgrades in materials and presentation which make it a more noticeably more luxurious space. There's a bit more shoulder room inside as well, a result of the Q50's greater width. Six-footers can sit in back comfortably without brushing their heads, so it remains a true five-passenger sedan.

2014 Infiniti Q50

There's a new center stack that features a double touchscreen interface, one below for the audio/climate controls and one above for the navigation screen. Both are responsive and fairly intuitive, but neither can avoid the usual touchscreen drawbacks of suspectibility to fingerprint smudges and washout on sunny days. Thankfully, there are hard buttons along the side of the screens if you prefer more traditional controls.

The layout is simple, elegant and easy to get comfortable with. Our only real gripe was the standard seats. The base seats of our test car were short of lower thigh support, and the flat bottom induces road butt in just a couple of hours. Upgraded sport seats come with the "S" trim and are likely a noticeable step up.

Almost There
The sticker on our Premium test car was $2,850 more than the base Q50 which undercuts the current G37 Journey by a hair. Suffice it to say that prices have crept upward but not drastically. In the bargain, EPA fuel economy sees an improvement to 20/30 city/highway mpg, a gain of 1 and 3 mpg respectively over the G37.

2014 Infiniti Q50

There are a lot of reasons to like the Q50, as it brings tangible improvements to an already excellent car in virtually every area. Comfort, space, refinement and efficiency have all stepped forward, and the powertrain is terrific. That word "virtually," though, has our curiosity piqued for the S version which promises to put all of the pieces together in a more convincing fashion.

Comments

  • quickster7_ quickster7_ Posts:

    The Q50 styling really looks so nice unfortunately, the interior looks like it came directly from Hyundai Sonata. When you charge that much money it should be more substantial.

  • se_riously se_riously Posts:

    I remember that when the current Infiniti M came out, the "S" versions were deemed too harsh, and the non-S tires/wheels were the way to go. It sounds like Infiniti overcompensated the other way around this time. I wonder if the run-flat decision was for weight and trunk space savings.

  • niss_lover niss_lover Posts:

    @quickster7 Hyundai clearly jacked some of Infiniti interior design elements on the Sonata. And if you take a look at the current F you will see that the Q50's interior is a mix of that and the M. Infiniti has been using the whole double wave design for a

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    Fail. No grip, no sale. No spare, REALLY no sale. It could do 12 s standing quarters and 45 mpg and I still would not want it.

  • herrstreet herrstreet Posts:

    I don't want to belittle the work that the engineers put into this car, but didn't they basically just add swoopy to the outside (and make it wider in the process but no more roomy). The motor is the same. The design of the interior is basically the same but with some newer tech. The platform is pretty much the same. What got better?

  • throwback throwback Posts:

    Sounds like Infiniti has stepped it up a bit. The price also seems pretty reasonable in a time when a 3 series sedan can top 50K. I still don't get the new naming convention.

  • emajor emajor Posts:

    Slap some decent tires on this thing and it looks like you're good to go. But how do you screw up the front seats on a $42K sport sedan, Infiniti? Even Toyota makes seats with thigh support now. That dashboard is a dead ringer for the Sonata. Hyundai may have lifted some general design language from prior Infinitis, but Infiniti hit right back by copying Hyundai's use of piano black and silver plastic to make it look like a photocopy of the Sonata's center stack. Doesn't bug me, really, it's a good design and the materials are miles ahead in the Q50.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    I can't believe this is what the G35 has evolved into. Complete destruction of brand equity with this new, confusing nomenclature; elimination of the manual transmission option and a poor tradeoff between ride and handling. Is this really progress?

  • carguy949 carguy949 Posts:

    I'd love to see a three-way comparison between a Premium on the base 17's like the one here vs Premium on the factory optional 19's and summer tires vs a Sport which would then add the sport suspension. How much difference do the bigger wheels and summer tires make, and how much more, if anything, does the firmer suspension add? Would be interesting to see both the track test results and subjective comments about handling and ride.

  • aspade aspade Posts:

    Skinny, rock hard tires are an EPA inflicted problem, just like not giving you a spare to save 40 lbs and 0.2 mpg. Infiniti has to play the EPA's game like everyone else, that being the case I'd much rather they do it with tires that a buyer can cheaply and easily fix than with neutering under the hood which they can't.

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    That's an interesting, and reasonable perspective Aspade. Still, it's genuinely disappointing that I would be forced to immediately spend $1,000 on new tires after dropping $40k plus on the car itself.

  • frank908 frank908 Posts:

    "There is so little grip that it's though somebody accidentally mixed clay into their carcasses instead of silica." Jigga wha?

  • lions208487 lions208487 Posts:

    I don't see why people are making a big deal out of the name change. I don't see people screaming bloody murder over BMW's decision to change the 3 Series coupe to a 4 Series nameplate. Looks are subjective, and I prefer this over anything else in it's class. I was invited to the Monrovia, CA Infiniti dealer for a first look and test drive, and the new Q50 handled much better than the IS350 or 335i in my opinion. Perhaps the newly paved roads in the area prevented what Edmunds is reporting as too harsh of ride, but the car had excellent driving dynamics, and the interior/ exterior design is just what I would want in an intro luxury car.

  • lions208487 lions208487 Posts:

    @herrstreet- The same could be said for the A4, 3 Series, & C Class. Minor exterior changes keep the car from looking too dated. Porsche and BMW are perfect examples of this. You maintain the appeal of it's targeted buyer (me), and unless a car like t

  • lions208487 lions208487 Posts:

    @quickster- Hyundai is the #1 copy cat in the industry. They stole the design from the G coupe and called it the Genesis coupe, they stole major design cue's from BMW to make their Genesis and now Equus sedans, and the obviously ripped off Mercedes when

  • expert7 expert7 Posts:

    Nice design, but stop enlarging - I'll buy a M if I want a bigger car. Also - Corvettes have used runflats with very few issues since 1997, they saved me from crashing in my 2004 when I tire quickly lost all pressure so I'd rather have runflats.

  • jederino jederino Posts:

    Disappointing results. I was hoping for handling and steering feel to rival the 3-series, but this trim doesn't seem to do that. My G35 seats are OK, but totally pale in comparision to my wife's Fusion seats. The Q50S has some faults to correct...

  • zoomzoomn zoomzoomn Posts:

    I think that this renaming game is a mistake for infiniti. The G was well recieved, popular in it's segmant and has a history and faithful following. I would think that the confusion alone is not worth the risk. Nice enough car, though.

  • niss_lover, umiru bolno.

  • lions208487, diaff thx.

  • AJT123 AJT123 Posts:

    What was so "unsuitably awkward" about their old naming system? Infiniti started the whole thing! Other than Lexus, which used two letters, in 1990 there were no cars that I can think of off the top of my head that used the "letter" naming system. This has got to be the worst marketing fail since the renaming of the Sears Tower! Great looking car however! Hopefully they refined the V6 so you don't feel your fillings rattling out when you near the redline, though.

  • shadow101 shadow101 Posts:

    Some of the blame for a lack of manual gear box must lie with the dealers. I looked for a manual trans G35 and then G37 and there were none in San Diego County. Lately, I've been surprised that one manufacturer or another has discontinued manual gearboxes in that I never knew they offered them in the first place. If they'd let people know they're available, people just might buy them.

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    except for the complaint about the tires (how does a manufacturer let it get to this point anyway--anyone drive the thing?), it looks pretty good. I don't know why they are changing the names of their cars--just confuses dopes like me that just figured out Lincoln's nomenclature. 'G' and 'M' were good enough. There used to be a 'Q' but it was a bigger car. Alphabet soup... Anyone else see a snaggle-toothed face in the steering wheel/dash photos?

  • lions208487 lions208487 Posts:

    @fe5295929 8765309...etc. STFUFE, thanks champ.

  • stkntraffic stkntraffic Posts:

    Sorry, I stopped reading the article when it said the car would be automatic-only.

  • jederino jederino Posts:

    Rename the Q50 as "Skyline". We speak english, so why can't we have the same name the Japanes home market enjoys?

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    the people complaining about the tires don't understand the the average infiniti owner is just going to buy the cheapest tires in that size they can get their hands on or will turn in their lease before the tires are halfway worn. Infiniti is making a smart move by choosing tires based of of tread life and moving to a more relaxed car design the "sport sedan" segment is very crowded right now and infiniti realized this and took a chance capitalizing on the lack of smooth riding compact luxurys.

  • empoweredbc empoweredbc Posts:

    Infiniti has successfully run into many problems. 1. If this $36k sedan is "The best dean we've ever built", and you've been in business for almost 25 years, you've got issues! If that's the case, then why buy the Infiniti M? 2. The car looks a lot like the Infiniti M, and is not much different in size, inside and out, so again, they are undermining their current "flagship", for lack of a better word. 3. They are keeping the old G37 around for what? Nostalgia? I can see keeping the G37 coupe, since this doesn't replace that. But the sedan? Really? Is the G37 sedan a fleet model with a contract that hasn't run out? 4. Changing everything to Q WOULD HAVE MADE SENSE 20 YEARS AGO! You had true a flagship sedan called the Q45, which you stupidly dumbed-down to the Q41. But who makes all of their vehicles names from one letter? Who ever built a great brand with that strategy? AMERICANS HATE THE LETTER Q ANYWAY! Infiniti has done just as bad a job as Acura, and has successfully ruined their brand. Now the only question is when will they give up, pack it in, and close it down. Acura and Infiniti are 3rd-rate, on their best day. Lincoln's future looks brighter.

  • dfelix70 dfelix70 Posts:

    $42k for .79g? Not so much. There are SUVs that do better than that. The styling is starting to grow on me despite that hideous C-pillar. But the interior still leaves me cold. Mixture of Sonata and previous-TL center stack, and 3-Series center console. It doesn't look driver oriented, and I've seen pics where the two center screens are completely washed out in the sunlight.

  • skalster skalster Posts:

    always loved Infiniti vehicles, and here im eagerly awaiting the purchase of both the q50 and the jx35 (or) qx60 hybrid...and the 1st review of the q50 talks about the de-merits of the run-flats...and the jx35 review doesn't talk highly about its CVT or uninspired performance, with the qx60 retaining it for 2014....why, infiniti, why - striking out on 2/2. bummer.

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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2014 Infiniti Q50 in VA is:

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