The Infiniti Q50 premium compact sedan is in its second year, still offering thrilling performance, eye-catching design, high levels of connectivity and personalization, and some world’s first technologies.
These technologies include Infiniti Direct Adaptive Steering for enhanced steering feel, Active Lane Control and Predictive Forward Collision Warning.
For 2015, Infiniti offers a new Performance Wheel package ($1,800), with 19-inch super-light forged aluminum-alloy wheels with low-profile summer performance tires and a spare tire kit.
Q50 is offered in 10 trim levels, with prices ranging from $37,150 for a basic Q50 3.7 to $48,600 for a Q50S Hybrid AWD.
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The 3.7-liter V-6 produces 328 horsepower, and the Hybrid features Infiniti’s Direct Response Hybrid System with Intelligent Dual Clutch Control. All models are equipped with a seven-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode, with steering-column-mounted solid-magnesium paddle shifters available for some models.
The 3.7-liter V-6 and the 3.5-liter V-6 Hybrid models are available with either rear-wheel drive or Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, in a range of well-equipped trims, including versions with special sport appearance and performance features such as sport brakes and suspension tuning.
For this report, I drove a Hagane Blue RWD Q50S 3.7 V-6 with Stone leather interior, riding on the performance wheels. The RAYS wheels were a few shades darker than the body of the vehicle, with an interesting twisted-Y five-spoke design.
The combination of wheel and tire is designed to get the most from the Q50S sport-tuned suspension, adding a higher level of handling performance and a unique, sporty appearance.
Infiniti Q50 comes in seven other premium exterior colors: Chestnut Bronze, Malbec Black, Liquid Platinum, Graphite Shadow, Black Obsidian, Venetian Ruby, and Moonlight White.
Distinctive LED headlights with daytime running lights, LED fog lights and signal lights in the lower front fascia, LED signal lights on the heated outside mirrors, welcome lighting on the body-color chrome-trimmed door handles, LED rear combination lights, a sport front fascia with a signature double-arch chrome grille, dynamic arched roof silhouette, crescent-cut C-pillar, chrome accent bars on the trunk lip, a power/sliding/tinted moon roof, and dual chrome exhaust tips dressed the sporty, aerodynamic exterior.
My tester was spacious and comfortable, with a driver-oriented center stack and console, luxurious ergonomically designed heated sport seats with power lumbar and side bolsters for the driver and manual thigh extensions for both front seats, and dual-zone automatic temperature control.
The seating surfaces were perforated leather, and the door armrests, center console padding, both center armrests, steering wheel and shifter boot were charcoal with gray contrast stitching.
Subtly textured Kacchu aluminum (inspired by traditional Samurai armaments) highlighted the center console, center stack, instrument panel and doors, and aluminum accented the sport pedals
We had plenty of legroom in the front at 44.5 inches. Headroom was 39.5 inches. Rear passengers had 36.8 inches of headroom and 35.1 inches of legroom. Entry and exit in the rear was easy thanks to wide rear door openings.
The rear center armrest pulled down to expose a pass-through to the trunk, which came in handy for transporting some five-foot garden hooks.
Infiniti’s InTouch next-generation Human-Machine Interface (HMI) uses two touch screens on the center stack – one eight inches, the other seven inches – to connect the driver and/or passengers to the outside world. It has hands-free phone, moving map navigation, entertainment systems, and smart phone apps (Facebook, Google search, email, calendar functions) safely and easily used even while the vehicle is in motion.
The screens utilize touch and hand gestures as well as the Infiniti controller to connect and operate various functions. Audio, Bluetooth, SMS, and vehicle information also use voice recognition. Climate and some audio controls were actual buttons.
My tester had Infiniti InTouch with navigation in a $1,400 package with SiriusXM Traffic, Infiniti Connection and voice recognition for navigation.
InTouch combines navigation, convenience, security, and entertainment to help protect, guide, and keep in touch.
You can find addresses or places of interest, get traffic information, make phone calls, access hundreds of music and news channels, get weather information, access your Google calendar, or talk to a live personal assistant. InTouch has more than 30 features, apps and services. Infiniti Connection features automatic collision notification, drive-zone monitoring, Google calendar, and destination assistance via Infiniti personal assistant.
Infiniti’s next-generation Studio on Wheels by Bose comes with an instrument panel speaker array and a total of 14 speakers throughout the vehicle. Infiniti’s first application of Advanced Staging Technology assured all seating areas enjoyed concert-quality sound.
The audio system of my Q50S included satellite radio, two USB ports for iPod and other compatible devices, and auxiliary audio and video inputs. We also enjoyed music streaming via Bluetooth.
Standard Infiniti InTuition stores climate, audio, driving position (if equipped), navigation (if equipped), telematics, and instrument-panel/driver-assistance/drive-mode settings to each Intelligent Key, for up to four drivers.
Settings can be changed using the touch-screen displays. Infiniti Drive Mode Selector with snow, eco, standard, sport and personal settings is standard and is part of the InTuition system, allowing drivers to create unique settings for engine, suspension and steering (when equipped with Infiniti Direct Adaptive Steering).
My Q50S had power-assisted vehicle-speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion steering, four-wheel antilock braking, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.
Advanced Vehicle Dynamic Control with Active Trace Control provided more confidence in turns with enhanced dynamic cornering ability, automatically applying braking to each wheel to help keep the vehicle on the cornering line as steered – without thought or action on my part.
Safety and security were covered by Infiniti’s advanced air bag system with occupant classification sensor, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side-impact supplemental air bags, roof-mounted side-curtain air bags for head protection, LATCH for child safety seats, tire-specific pressure monitoring, vehicle security system and Infiniti vehicle immobilizer system.
The immobilizer system will not allow the engine to start without the presence of a proper Intelligent Key. The security system visually and audibly signals if the door, hood or liftgate are opened when the system is armed.
The automotive columns of Emma Jayne Williams have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 2007. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.