by: Mike Ginsca,
The market is saturated with luxury compact sedans. There’s the German trio of BMW 3-series, Mercedes C-Class, and Audi A4. The Americans have the Cadillac ATS and Buick Regal. From Japan there’s the Lexus IS and even the Koreans have the Genesis G70. So how does the Infiniti Q50 stack up to the competition?
Engine – The Q50S gets the same engine as it’s 2-door brother, the Q60, which is a 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6. It produces 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque from a very low 1,500 rpms. In everyday driving the engine barely goes past 2,500 rpms when accelerating from a stop or overtaking on a highway but the power is there should you ever want to feel like a kid again. However like the Q60, it is a thirsty engine. The best fuel economy figure I could achieve with the Q50S was 13.6 L/100km during my week with it. I did do a bit more highway driving with this than the Q60 but they’re basically the same.
Transmission – A 7-speed automatic is the only transmission available with the Infiniti Q50S. As far as automatic transmissions go, this one is very good. Smooth in normal driving modes and fast in the more sporty driving modes. On downshifts, it blips the engine like how a dual-clutch transmission would for smoother shifts. This particular feature of the 7-speed auto is not the smoothest when compared with other vehicles that do this, like the Lexus ISF, but it does make for a more engaging and sporty drive. Paddle shifters would have been a nice feature to have on this Signature trim however they are available on the Sport and Red Sport trims.
Braking – Under normal driving conditions, the brakes on the Q50S are good. They’re easy to modulate for providing smooth deceleration with minimal effort.
Handling – The Q50S has electro-assisted power steering but not the new Direct Adaptive Steering system found in the QX50 and Q60. Yes, this type of system is available on the higher Q50 trim models though but it’s not the best feeling system for spirited driving. The standard electro-assisted steering provides better feedback in this Q50S than the DAS system in the Q60 even though they’re essentially the same cars but with different bodies. Unfortunately for more keen drivers, the Infiniti Q50S still isn’t as joyous to drive as an equivalent BMW or even a Mercedes. The Q50 focuses more on providing a comfortable drive rather than a sporty one. Maybe the Red Sport 400 is different.
Ride Comfort – This SIgnature Edition Q50S does not have the electronically adjustable suspension of the Q60 (but it is available on the higher trims). Even so, the ride is smooth and bumps are ironed out nicely. As said earlier, it’s the sportiest of drives but the upside is a comfortable daily commuter.
Interior Space – The front seats offer a good amount of comfort and adjustability with the driver also having adjustable side bolsters. The rear seats are spacious enough for kids or smaller adults over shorter trips as leg room can be a bit tight for 6-foot plus adults.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – Like other Infiniti models, the Q50S doesn’t display any signs of poor build quality through squeaks or rattles. Everything inside the cabin feels well put together. On highways, the noises coming from the road and wind are not excessively intrusive into the cabin.
Interior Design – Like the Q60, the Infiniti Q50S boasts a similar interior design layout. A dual touchscreen infotainment is the predominant feature on the dashboard with leather and aluminum trim lining the rest of the dash and center console. My only gripe with the interior design is the shifter which is a bit too tall to comfortably rest your hand on.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – The 2019 Infiniti Q50S Signature Edition stands in an odd place in the trim lineup. The Luxe trim below it and the Sport and Red Sport trims are available with blind spot sensors, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross traffic alert as option but this Signature Edition trim is not available with these options. It does have forward collision alert and emergency braking as standard but you can’t opt for more active safety features. It just seems odd to me.
The dual screen infotainment works well with the bottom screen being much more responsive than the upper screen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not supported and the whole system is showing its age. However, there are rumors that a new infotainment system is being developed but that it won’t arrive until maybe 2020 or 2021.
Exterior Design – The outside of the Q50S has not changed all that much since its introduction in 2014. It’s had a few tweaks here and there but the overall look is still the same as it was 5 years ago. In all honesty, I think it looks ok. It’s not trying too hard but it still exudes luxury.
Overall the Infiniti Q50S is not a rival to the big German 3 or even some of the other luxury cars in this segment in terms of driving enjoyment. But it is right near the top for comfort and daily commuting. It’s also nicely priced at $46,495 CAD for this Signature Edition. However, I’d recommend you save the $1,500 and go for the Luxe trim. It has everything you could need.
Thank you to Infiniti Canada for providing the vehicle. www.Infiniti.ca
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.