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First Drive: 2014 Infiniti Q50S

2014 Infiniti Q50S

Have you ever found yourself walking through a parking lot, spotted a shimmering sedan, and thought “Damn, that’s one gorgeous car”? When this Infiniti Q50S showed up at our offices, that was our very first thought.

The Q50 is Infiniti’s latest creation that is sought out to bring life and passion back to the middle management drivers. And from the look of things, it certainly has peaked quite a bit of interest – especially from the many lookie-loos on the road. Arrived dressed in Chestnut Bronze, this Q50 is looking very snappy from all angles.  The sport enhanced aggressive front fascia makes it quite a looker. It reminds us of a shark with its livid LED headlamps, and fierce body molds; it even has a fin on its back to run donuts around its prey. But what really caught our eyes were the massive 19” Rays performance sport alloy wheels wrapped in Bridgestone summer run-flat tires.

But don’t think that this Q50 has lost its luxury side. There is plenty of chrome to be found around this sedan – against this bronze, it looks fantastic! With the addition of the LED tail lights you’re sure to give an everlasting final impression as you pull away. As will the signature Infiniti tune from the dual chrome exhaust.

So then we have the underlining question – is it just another pretty face? To find out we really put this Q50 to work. To start, it has all the right parts: a 328hp 3.7L V6 at the front, 7-Speed transmission with magnesium paddle shifters in the middle, and rear-wheel drive in the back. But that’s not all, the Q50 has a ‘Driver Mode Select’ – this allows the driver to choose between multiple drive settings: Personal, Sport, Standard, Eco and Snow.

For our test, we opted for ‘Sport’ – this makes everything much sharper and agile. The suspension gets tighter for hard cornering, the steering stiffens for precise handling, and the transmission becomes strident in the rapid gear changes. All of this adds up to one pleasurable sedan. With 268lb-ft of torque, it takes a brisk 5.2 seconds to 60mph all the way up to a governed 145mph top speed.

That is until you go into the driver settings and notice a ‘G-Meter’ – now what do you suppose that is there for? Start treating the Q50 likes a proper sports car and it will respond as such. The chassis feels solid and composed. The Q50 eats the corners as your pushing .5g’s. The stiff suspension holds a fantastic balance, that gives the Q50 a firm stance and level cornering ability that eliminates noticeable body roll.  Basically, the Q50 puts a big ole smile on your face.

But let’s get back down to earth and stuck in the morning commute on the highway were we travel 10mph every day. For this sake we put the Q50 in ‘Eco’ mode. The throttle response becomes sluggish and the whole car becomes restrained. But you won’t notice that over the harshness of the suspension. You can and will feel every single bump. As for every other day driving, ‘Standard’ mode makes everything, well… like driving a normal sedan – with a hard suspension. But don’t think that makes the Q50 hard to live with – you get used to it after a day.

If you’re careful you can get decent fuel mileage. 18 city and 30 highway is about what we averaged with an expected fuel range of 350ish miles – depending how economical you can be. Push the Q50 hard and that will drop faster than your bank account when you have to fuel it up – especially when you can see the trip computer and gas needle dropping.

While you are wedged between the slow pokes and the mini-van carpoolers, you can sit back and enjoy the comfortable sport-type leather appointed seats that wrap your body for a snug fit. The heated 8-way power adjustable driver & 6-way passenger seats allow easy access to comfort. Let’s not forget the dual-zone climate control that makes everyone cozy to their right temperature setting.

From behind the driver seat, the leather wrapped steering wheel feels good in the driver’s hand – the steering wheel controls are laid out nicely for easy functionality. The dash is attractively festooned with leather, white stitching, piano black trim, and impressionable silver carbon fiber accents. Infiniti mixed things up by adding a dual touch screen system. This system uses Infiniti latest software ‘InTouch’ that allows you easy access to the cars menus, navigation, and performance capabilities. The top screen is virtually a permanent navigation screen (lower models without navigation get an analog clock display) while the lower hi-def screen controls all the menus and functions using a tablet like interface and sensitivity. Controlling this system is surprisingly quick and easy while on the move. The voice activation software is tip top! If you spring for the Infiniti Connection (part of the $1,400 Navigation Package) you will get your own personal Infiniti Concierge that will do pretty much anything you need – driving directions, restaurant reservations or even order flowers.

Four adults can fit quite comfortably for a long period of time. The front seats are superbly relaxing with excellent lumbar support. The rear leg room may appear to be a bit scarce, but it’s actually fairly decent – 6’ tall passengers can fit nicely and with the low roof line there is enough headroom as well. Where you do loose quite a bit of space is in the trunk. Our Q50 came with the $200 optional ‘Spare Tire Package’ that narrowed the trunk capacity – thus meaning anything over 14” tall would have to go in the back seat. The rear seats also don’t fold – but there is a ski shoot in the center.

So, is the Q50 worth it? Sure, anything with 300+ hp and steering wheel paddle shifters is bound to be fun. But there is something about how the Q50 made us feel. It could be the rumbling tuned exhaust, the fact that it redlines at 7,500rpm’s or when you turn the traction control off – you can get it to misbehave. Other reviewers may think it’s just another sporty sedan, but we really liked this car. Certainly had a lot of fun driving it. If you’re in the market for an exhilarating small sports sedan, the Infiniti Q50S is surely one not to pass up.

Price (As-Tested):
2014 Infiniti Q50S: $43,200
Destination: $905
Featured Options:
Spare Tire Package: $200
Navigation Package: $1,400
Grand Total: $45,705


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