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2015 Infiniti Q50

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/30/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

A new Performance Wheel package features staggered Rays 19-inch forged alloy wheels wrapped in summer performance tires.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Infiniti Q50 is a compact luxury sports sedan available in rear- or all-wheel-drive configurations. A 328-hp 3.7-liter V-6 is the base engine while an available 360-hp hybrid powertrain combines a 3.5-liter V-6 and an electric motor. A seven-speed automatic gearbox is the only transmission available in all Q50 variants. Fuel economy is average for the class in car with the 3.7-liter V-6, achieving 20/29-30 mpg city/highway in rear-drive guise and 19/27 mpg with all-wheel drive. The Q50 Hybrid is significantly more fuel-efficient than the base model despite having more power, with rear-drive models achieving 28-29/34-36 mpg while all-wheel-drive models get 27-28/31-35 mpg, depending on whether the sportier S model is selected.

Overview

Despite its V-6 engine carrying over from the outgoing G37 sedan, the 2015 Infiniti Q50 accelerates well but falls behind competitors with forced-induction engines like the BMW 335i and Audi S4. Handling is respectable but the available steer-by-wire system detracts from the car's overall driving dynamics because it doesn't provide much feedback. The automatic transmission, on the other hand, isn't as responsive as it could be. Additionally, the Q50's throttle response is leisurely, preventing the driver from getting the most out of the 3.7-liter V-6's 328 hp. Hybrid models perform respectably but the brakes don't inspire driver confidence because of its poor pedal feel and unrefined transition between regenerative and mechanical units. Those looking for a more aggressive Q50 should consider the Q50S, which comes standard with a sportier suspension tuning when equipped with the 3.7-liter V-6, sport seats, 19-inch alloy wheels, paddle shifters, sport brakes, a 10-way power adjustable driver's seat, and unique sport front bumper.

Fit and finish inside the 2015 Q50 is on par with the class and comes standard with leatherette upholstery—leather is optional—and aluminum accents. Wood trim is available and comes with the Deluxe Touring package, which also adds memory seats and an Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection and Front and Rear Sonar System. Navigation is available as part of a standalone package and comes with an eight-inch upper and seven-inch lower touchscreen. Infiniti's Studio on Wheels by Bose 14-speaker premium audio system comes standard in the Q50 Premium, and Q50S trims.

A host of safety features are available as part of the Technology package in the Q50S and Q50 Premium. These include Distance Control Assist, blind spot warning, backup collision intervention, adaptive cruise control, predictive forward collision warning, forward emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane departure prevention with active lane control. The NHTSA gave the 2015 Infiniti Q50 a five-star overall safety rating (out of a possible five stars) and is considered a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS, scoring Good in four categories, Acceptable in the small overlap front crash test, and offering Superior forward crash prevention (Good is the highest possible score, and forward crash prevention designations include Basic, Advanced, and Superior).

What We Think

While the 2015 Infiniti Q50 is a good choice as a daily driver, it doesn't deliver the same level of performance and handling as its competitors. In a comparison against the IS 350 F Sport, the Q50S lost because of its sluggish transmission, lazy throttle response and underwhelming drive-by-wire steering system. Driving through twisty roads, the lack of steering feel and the Q50's tail-happy tendencies made it less confidence-inspiring because it forced the driver to continue fighting with the car. The Q50 Hybrid, on the other hand, lacks refinement as we said in a 2014 Q50S Hybrid First Test review, where the abruptness of the transition between regenerative and mechanical braking was considered "unacceptable."

You'll Like

  • Good fuel economy on hybrid models
  • Powerful engine options
  • Extensive number of available safety aids

You Won't Like

  • Sluggish throttle response in non-hybrid Q50s
  • Steer-by-wire system detracts from the driving dynamics
  • Hybrid's brakes don't transition smoothly from regenerative to mechanical braking

Key Competitors

  • BMW 3 Series
  • Audi A4
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  • Volvo S60
  • Lexus IS 250
  • Acura TLX

Rating

3 star

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