The Infiniti Q50 is a mid-sized upmarket saloon designed to compete with the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class. It presents buyers with an alternative to the Lexus IS and its characterful styling and long list of standard equipment are both very appealing. For those who don’t now Infiniti is Nissan’s luxury division, much the same as Lexus is to Toyota.
Interior and comfort:
Quiet and comfortable to drive, the Infiniti Q50 is at home in town and on the highway.
The Q50 uses an active noise-cancelling system to drown out unwanted engine din, so it’s pretty quiet once you’re up and running. Unfortunately, the setup doesn’t work too well under hard acceleration so you still get quite a noisy, rough-sounding note from the four-cylinder diesel. The petrol and hybrid models are far better in that respect, while the hybrid can run near-silently on electric power at low speeds.
The Infiniti Q50 has a large 500-litre boot – bigger than what you get in the BMW 3 Series or Audi A4. The rear seats fold down to increase luggage space and non-hybrid models get a ski hatch, too.
The back seats are very roomy and will comfortably fit adults. You can specify a steering system that lets you adjust the weight and speed of the steering, which helps when driving in town, but as it’s not a simple touch-of-a-button system, it won’t be massively useful for quickly nipping into a parking spot.
The styling is bound to split opinion, but the interior has a high-tech feel though and the ride is smooth enough. A good effort overall, but not enough to topple the class-leaders.
How does it Drive:
What’s less appealing is the driving experience. The steering provides a very disconnected feel between your fingertips and the road and the engine range is limited compared those of its closest rivals. There’s one diesel, which is our top choice, as well as a fairly expensive hybrid and a less efficient petrol.
Performance and efficiency aren’t too far off the BMW and Audi, while the Infinity’s interior and build quality feel good enough to compete as well. However the noisy diesel engine and odd steering feel will put off some buyers.
Infiniti’s hopes that the Q50 would be more exciting to drive than the brilliant BMW 3 Series have been dashed by its steering. There’s very little feedback transmitted through the front wheels to the driver, and as such this car is unable to offer the same sort of involving drive you get in most of its rivals.
2.0T Petrol = 155kW/350Nm
2.2 Diesel = 125kW/400Nm
3.5 V6 Hybrid = 261kW/536Nm
Pros: Well equipped; Plenty of rear legroom; Quiet and comfortable inside
Cons: Steering lacks feel; Noisy diesel engine;
The Q50 is a good executive sedan, but not really a match for the Germans.
Infiniti is only available on order at the moment as their sales figures are not looking good at all in South Africa, such a pity as the Infinity is a great brand.