2014 Infiniti Q50 first drive
New name, new technology, same great sports sedan
Photo: Petrina Gentile
Boston, Mass. — Infiniti is paving the way to a brighter future. And it’s doing so by launching a major product overhaul, beginning in 2014. It all starts with new names. Say goodbye to Infiniti’s halo G37, the JX35, and the EX37. Under the new strategy, all Infiniti cars will start with a “Q” and all CUVs/SUVs will begin with QX followed by numbers. The first vehicle to wear the new nomenclature is the Q50, which will replace Infiniti’s top-selling G37 sports sedan.
After that, global Q-based nameplates will follow: the Q60 (replacing the G coupe and convertible), the Q70 (replacing the M sedan), the QX50 (the former EX), the QX60 (the former JX), the QX70 (replacing the FX line), and the QX80 (replacing the QX56). To further complicate matters, the numbers don’t correspond to the engine displacement. In the past, the 37 in G37 stood for the 3.7-litre V6 under the hood. Now, the 50 in Q50 refers to the vehicle’s placement in the lineup relative to its price point. Confused, yet? In the long run, it’ll make sense.
Hybrid available with AWD
Photo: Petrina Gentile
The Q50 sedan is available in rear- or all-wheel drive with a choice of two power plants: a 3.7-litre V6 engine or a gas-electric hybrid. The V6 pumps out 328 horsepower and 269 lb.-ft. of torque. The hybrid gets a 3.5-litre V6 coupled with a compact lithium-ion battery and a one-motor/two-clutch motor control. The V6 produces 302 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, while the 50 kW electric motor pumps out 67 hp and 214 lb.-ft. of torque for net power of 360 hp. Only one transmission is offered – a refined seven-speed automatic with manual shift mode. A manual will no longer be offered. While that’s a disappointment, the automatic is smooth and responsive. My Q50S 3.7 AWD tester comes with big, solid magnesium paddle shifters that let you shift through the seven gears seamlessly, and provide good feedback. The ride is sporty, quick, nimble, and retains the G37’s dynamic driving characteristics. Tweaks include a new engine intake and exhaust, a new rear axle final-drive ratio, and a new rear suspension with revised geometry with coaxial shocks and springs.
Personally, I’d take the Q50 Hybrid in a heartbeat. The ride and handling are impressive. It’s powerful, secure and sure-footed on the road. And it doesn’t feel like a hybrid – it handles like its gas-powered sibling with a sporty edge, especially with the RWD configuration. Plus, it has the added bonus of better fuel mileage. The Q50 RWD Hybrid averages only 6.4 L/100 km and 7 L/100 km for the AWD (combined driving) compared to the Q50 3.7 which averages 8.8 L/100 km for the RWD and 9.4 L/100 km for AWD.