2017 Infiniti Q50

2017 INFINITI Q50 Red Sport 400 Review

The Q50 lineup represents a strong and sporty alternative to German luxury sedans.
author
by Mark Takahashi
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The 2017 Infiniti Q50 is up against some very accomplished competitors in the luxury sport sedan class. But for those looking to buck the trend, the Q50 represents a viable alternative, delivering strong performance, plenty of features and a competitive price.

The 2017 Q50's interior design is showing its age — it is very similar to the G37 sedan that it replaced a few years ago — but the use of quality materials and sturdy construction keep it in favorable territory. That said, the competing Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class have all undergone more recent and significant redesigns, pushing them to the front of the class and perhaps taking the Q50 down a few notches. As a result, we suggest checking out all of the offerings in this competitive class.

As with many of its rivals, the Q50 is offered in more luxurious or sporty trims and with a choice of engines. There's also a hybrid model, but we need to evaluate it ourselves to see if it's been improved enough to escape the disappointment we experienced with a previous version.



What's new for 2017

For 2017, the Infiniti Q50 2.0t gains new Sport and Sport AWD trim levels. There is also a minor shuffling of some features between trim levels and option packages.

We recommend

The 2017 Infiniti Q50 with the 3.0t engine delivers strong performance and comes with more luxurious features. Its price is reasonable, too. Choosing between the Premium or Sport trim will depend on your driving style, but many of the Sport's features can be added as options. If nothing else, going with the Premium gives you a little more flexibility. The options aren't exorbitantly priced, but they are bundled in large packages. We were rather unimpressed with the last Q50 Hybrid we evaluated, but recent changes may have addressed some of the issues we encountered.




Trim levels & features

The Infiniti Q50 is a luxury sport sedan with seating for five. It is available in four main trim levels: the 2.0t with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (208 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque); the 3.0t with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 (300 hp, 295 lb-ft); the more powerful Red Sport 400 that uses the same V6 engine (400 hp, 350 lb-ft); and the Q50 Hybrid model that uses a 3.5-liter V6 paired with a 50-kW electric engine (combined 360 hp). A seven-speed automatic is the only transmission available, but buyers can choose between rear- and all-wheel drive.

In addition to the main trim choices, there are further variants. The main two are Sport and Premium, but there's also a base model for the 2.0t.

The 2.0t base model's feature highlights include 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and foglights, automatic wipers, selectable drive modes, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, twin touchscreen displays (8-inch upper and 7-inch lower), and a six-speaker CD player with two USB ports and satellite radio.

The 2.0t Premium and 3.0t Premium trims add a sunroof, a 16-speaker Bose premium surround-sound system and an advanced air filtration system. On top of these items, the 2.0t Sport and 2.0t Sport AWD trims include wider 19-inch wheels with summer performance tires, auto-dimming outside mirrors, upgraded brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, magnesium paddle shifters mounted to the steering column, leather upholstery, manual thigh extensions for the front seats, power lumbar and side bolster adjustments for the driver, driver-seat memory functions, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and 60/40-split folding rear seats. The 3.0t Sport trim is similarly equipped and adds an adaptive suspension. The Red Sport 400 also gets the suspension upgrade as well as wider rear tires (but not for AWD models) and, of course, red brake calipers.

The Hybrid Premium includes most of the Premium trim features and adds 19-inch wheels, the auto-dimming mirrors, an adaptive steering system, remote ignition, the sport-tuned suspension, a power-adjustable and heated tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated front seats, driver-seat  lumbar adjustments, a navigation system, Infiniti InTouch emergency telematics and wood interior trim. Also included are advanced safety features such as a forward collision warning system with automatic braking, a surround-view camera system, front and rear parking sensors, and a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert. The folding rear seats are not available.

Most features are available on supporting models in bundled option packages. Other add-ons include adaptive cruise control, adaptive steering, a lane departure warning and prevention system, adaptive headlights, automatic high beams, and interior upgrades such as premium leather upholstery and wood accents.



Trim tested

2014 Infiniti Q50 Sport Sedan (3.7L V6; 7-speed automatic)

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Infiniti Q50 has received some revisions to its engines, transmission, suspension and steering. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Q50, however.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall

Comfort

4.0 / 5

Seat comfort5.0 / 5
Noise & vibration3.5 / 5

Interior

4.0 / 5

Ease of use3.0 / 5
Getting in/getting out4.0 / 5
Roominess4.0 / 5
Visibility3.0 / 5
Quality3.5 / 5

Utility

4.0 / 5

Small-item storage3.0 / 5
Cargo space4.0 / 5

Driving

The Q50 is a highly competent luxury sedan that's enjoyable to drive. It drives like a smaller car, and that's a compliment. The Q50 Sport trim, in particular, is able to demonstrate its true capability thanks to sharper handling.

Acceleration

The older 328-horsepower V6 we tested back in 2014 provided strong acceleration, and the seven-speed automatic shifts were quick and the cabin remained quiet. We considered it a standout powertrain in its class. Both of the 2017's available turbo V6 engines are similarly powerful.

Braking

The brakes have a good feel and are easy to modulate, delivering consistent distances at the track. Panic-stopping distances are about average for summer-tire-equipped cars in this class.

Steering

The steering feels quick and precise and builds effort well, though it's a bit light for our tastes. Q50s with the adaptive steering option are less impressive.

Handling

The Q50 Sport's summer tires and firmer suspension tuning help turn the Q50 into a formidable sport sedan. It's sharp and capable and inspires confidence with high levels of grip and composure.

Drivability

The 2014 Q50 we tested was a very pleasant and intuitive car with a willing and capable powertrain. It exhibited good manners in typical driving circumstances and a natural demeanor. We expect similar qualities for the 2017 Q50.

Comfort4.0

This older Sport variant rode better and was equipped with better seats than other trims. It was comfortable and generally quiet, though road noise was still noticeable.

Seat comfort5.0

The seats in the Q50 Sport were more comfortable and more supportive than the base seats thanks to more prominent, but not obtrusive, side bolstering.

Ride comfort

The ride in the older Q50 (before the suspension changes in 2016) was more compliant than in the base Q50 equipped with run-flat tires. The ride was calmer, absorbing pavement imperfections more adeptly. We characterize it as firm yet compliant.

Noise & vibration3.5

There was good isolation from wind noise, but road noise was still noticeable. Engine noise was better muted than in previous G37 iterations.

Interior4.0

The Q50's cabin makes use of admirable materials and sturdy construction, but the design hasn't changed much from the G37 in over eight years. Conventional controls fall easily to hand, but the touchscreen has some drawbacks. Still, it remains a pleasant and spacious place in which to spend time.

Ease of use3.0

Most systems are controlled via the split touchscreens, which can sometimes be confusing. Input reactions are quick and menus are intuitive, but the displays are often obscured by glare and fingerprints.

Getting in/getting out4.0

The Q50's low step-in height and wide seats facilitate easy entrances and exits. As an added bonus, the doors swing open with surprising ease.

Roominess4.0

The airy cabin and the contoured dashboard provide a usefully large space. Six-footers can occupy the backseat with headroom to spare.

Visibility3.0

The forward view is expansive through the windshield, but the higher beltline and relatively high rear decklid reduce the view over your shoulder and out the rear window. The optional surround-view monitor eliminates any guesswork in tight spaces.

Quality3.5

Even though it's showing its age, the Q50 maintains high standards for materials and craftsmanship. Compared to newer luxury sport sedans, the Infiniti looks and feels about average for the class.

Utility4.0

The Q50's cargo capacity is decent for the class, but interior storage for your personal items is somewhat lacking by contemporary standards.

Small-item storage3.0

Interior pockets, bins and cupholders are adequately sized to stow your personal effects, but they're not as generous as those of a few rivals.

Cargo space4.0

Cargo volume is ample at 13.5 cubic feet, and the wide opening makes for easier loading. It's important to point out that the option to add a conventional spare tire reduces cargo volume somewhat.

Technology3.0

It takes a little time to get used to the dual touchscreens, but most users will find the menus intuitive. Reactions to inputs are quick, and the Infiniti InTouch system updates have kept it relevant.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.