Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The 2015 Infiniti Q50S: The Brand's Midsize Luxury-Performance Sports Sedan



Highlight: The Q50 is available as a hybrid, too.

Test vehicle’s MSRP: $47,755 (base model $38,055)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: air bags; ABS; electronic brake system; a rearview camera; a traction control system; and a tire pressure monitoring system

Standard Equipment (base model): 17-inch wheels;  a 7-speed automatic transmission; an automatic temperature control system; a push-button keyless ignition starter system; a manually operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a remote keyless entry system; power front seats; a leather wrapped steering wheel; leather-like seats; and run flat tires (no spare)

Upgraded Standard Features On (S model): 19-inch performance summer tires; a power sliding moonroof; an automatic dual temperature zone control system; chrome front grille; a 14-speaker audio system; a sport tuned front and rear suspension system; and a sport front fascia.


Optional Features On Test Vehicle: a navigation system and a 19-inch performance wheel package (which includes a spare tire kit)

Other Trim Level:

Q50 3.7 Base

Q50 Premium

Q50 AWD

Q50 hybrid

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD with a satellite radio system

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

iPod connectivity:  Yes
                                                                                                
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 60,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 6 years or 70,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 3.7-liter, 6-cylinder/328-hp

Recommended Fuel: Premium

Standard Fuel Mileage:

20-city/30-hwy

What’s New: With the Q50 joining the line up in 2015, the only major change this year is the addition of the 19-inch new performance wheel package.

Pros: The Q50 is the brand’s number one best-selling vehicle. The Q50S is the brand's answer to the performance-oriented BMW 3 Series and 4 Series. The Q50 is available in three configurations: a rear wheel drive, an all wheel drive and a hybrid.

The Q50 was slated to be the replacement for the Q37, which is now known as the Q40, until Infiniti product planners decided to hang on to the highly decontented vehicle a little while longer, keeping the vehicle in its portfolio. The stylish Q50, which is available with the standard 3.7-liter, 6-cylinder engine pushes out 328 horses.

The five passenger Q50 was outfitted with an easy-to-use infotainment system, which housed both the audio and navigation system.

The Q50 is available in a variety steering modes: economy, personal, sport and snow.

And Infiniti’s midsize luxury vehicle is available with the latest safety driving aids: an adaptive steering system, an active lane control system and a predictive forward collision system. In fact, the Q50 is so highly evolved the vehicle can predict the stopping pattern two cars ahead of it. Yes, this is a sign we’re closer than we think to placing drivers behind the wheel.

Moreover, for those seeking more of a firm sports car ride, they can opt for the S package like we did, which offers a sports tuned suspension system along with optional 19-inch summer tires and wheels.

Cons: The stylish Q50 lacked several convenience features we would have expected in a midsize luxury vehicle. So, while the vehicle is classified as a midsize luxury car, there are too many features the vehicle lacks to make it a serious contender in the segment. The Q50 is really more in line with the entry-level luxury competitors, since it lacked such features as an 8-cylinder engine, memory seats, a heated steering wheel and a power operated tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel.

Another gripe of ours is that our test vehicle lacked such common features in most luxury vehicles as blind spot technology. Infiniti needs to repackage their safety package, making this feature available at a lower price point level or in a separate bundle. In order to get the blind spot technology along with other advanced safety features, shoppers will have to shell out $3,200 for the tech package, which includes adaptive cornering lights, a radar-activated cruise control system, a lane departure warning system, a lane departure prevention system, a forward collision braking system and back up collision intervention.

Furthermore, unlike like other Infinitis we’ve reviewed in the past, the Q50S performance-handling package altered our driving experience, especially on rough driving surfaces, with the 19-inch summer tires. In the next Q50 vehicle we review, we will forego this option. We prefer comfort over experiencing every bump when driving over a rough driving surface. And not it doesn't  drive or handle like a BMW.

Lastly, while the Q50S is available in a hybrid configuration, we expected a longer driving range off of a full tank coupled with better gas mileage.


Verdict: While the Infiniti is not really in the same league of most of the midsize luxury sedans it aspires to compete with, it is a worthy competitor when slotted against most of today’s entry level luxury sedans. In fact, the vehicle offers a variety trims, high tech safety features and driving configurations to navigate all types of road conditions. Moreover, the Infiniti offers a more engaging driving experience than its Asian competitors.

Competition: Acura TSX; Audi A4; BMW 3-Series; Chrysler 300S; and Volvo S60 T60

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