Let's be honest: The 2017 Infiniti Q50 has an uphill battle on its hands. It has to draw attention away from a trio of German-made luxury sedans that dominate both critical acclaim and the sales charts. It's also up against a handful of other would-be competitors from every corner of the world, all vying for the hard-earned dollars of those seeking an alternative to what everyone else buys. So, how does it do?
Well, the Q50 remains a value-rich choice, boasting more power and equipment for the money than those German rivals. At the same time, its uniquely curvaceous styling won't be confused for anything else, meaning that just because you're cost-conscious doesn't mean you have to get something cookie-cutter or drab.
It also provides compelling performance. Indeed, the Q50 offers a unique selection of engines, each providing a clear performance step-up from the last. There's the base 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, good for 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It returns 26 mpg combined (23 city/31 highway). Next up is the 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that produces 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. It gets 23 mpg combined (20 city/29 highway). An enhanced version of that V6 produces 400 hp and 350 lb-ft in the Red Sport model and returns 22 mpg combined (20 city/26 highway). All feature a seven-speed automatic transmission and standard rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is an option. Choosing it does result in a slight fuel economy reduction.
Another powerplant option is the Q50 Hybrid, which pairs a 3.5-liter V6 with a 50-kW electric engine for 360 hp. The hybrid choice returns 29 mpg combined (27 city/32 highway), which obviously is a fuel-economy improvement. Its powertrain is prone to unsettling and unpredictable lurches, and the brakes suffer from a lack of smoothness and stability. It also comes standard with Infiniti's drive-by-wire Direct Active Steering system, which provides a disconcertingly unnatural feel.
Regardless of engine choice, the Q50 comes with a compelling amount of equipment for the money: LED headlights, keyless ignition and entry, a rearview camera, two USB ports and Infiniti's dual-touchscreen interface come standard on all models. The Sport trims available with each engine step things up with upgraded brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, metal shift paddles, leather upholstery and sportier seats with adjustable bolsters. The typical assortment of comfort, convenience and safety tech features are available as options.
Certainly, that features-for-your-buck attribute is a main reason to consider the Q50. Ultimately, however, it underwhelms in comparison to many competitors. It's hard to pinpoint problem areas, but it's also hard to identify those areas in which it excels. It's very much middle-of-the-road: You'll probably be happy with it, but there's a good chance you'd be happier with one of the many other luxury sedans. Whether it's the Q50 or another choice, Edmunds is here to help you find that perfect car.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.