Auto123 puts the 2020 Infiniti Q50 to the test.
Nissan and its premium brand Infiniti have been hit by a storm of late, to put it mildly. The pandemic hit all manufacturers hard last spring, but the Japanese firm was perhaps the most affected, as its sales were already down before that date. Worse, its fleet continues to age. Many new models and generations are expected, but for now the future is at stake: the cavalry is on its way, but it has not yet arrived.
Looking specifically at the Infiniti brand, it's clear that much of that future lies in SUVs, as the recent presentation of the QX60 Monograph gave us some insight. Likewise, we'll likely hear a lot about electric mobility at Infiniti, because, well, almost every automaker is taking steps in that direction.
So what about the Q50 (sedan) and Q60 (coupe) sports cars? For now, they continue to make up the brand's entire lineup, and so far Infiniti is not providing too much information about their future.
So we will stick to what has been said so far. For the moment. In 2020, the Q50 range welcomes the Pure variant. It, as well as the Sport and I-Line Red Sport versions are fitted with a V6 engine, the 4-cylinder having been discontinued last year. A V6 as the production engine, which is not common in this segment. It delivers 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, and it works in conjunction with a seven-speed automatic transmission with manual mode. My test model was the Signature Edition, dressed in a very attractive iridium blue.
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On the outside, there is no change from the previous year, which is good because the Q50 is a well-proportioned car. It's low, which may make some people with back or knee problems growl as they go up and down, but it takes advantage of that aerodynamically. The model's stance is bold thanks to the wide radiator grille, angled headlights and sculpted hood.
The new base model Pure comes equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, daytime running lights, fog lights and LED lights, a passive keyless entry system, and even a welcome lighting. Inside, the (heated) steering wheel is wrapped in leather, but the seats are upholstered in faux leather. The two at the front are heated and electrically adjustable in eight directions. Amenities include dual-zone automatic climate control, dual-screen multimedia display, six-speaker audio system, and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Our test version, the Signature, is frankly the real starting point for anyone who wants a Q50 as high end as the model's price tag. It is fitted with 19-inch wheels (and tires), a sports front bumper, chrome accents on the front fascia and a rear spoiler that matches the body color. Inside, you enjoy a power sunroof in tinted glass, leather sports seats, front seats with an extendable seat, lumbar support for the driver's seat, a bench seat folding rear in two parts (somewhat surprising that this is not the case with the Pure edition) and remote start.
Then the Sport version offers the Direct Adaptive Steering system which eliminates the mechanical link between the steering and the wheels, dynamic suspension, sport brakes, intelligent cruise control and paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel. At the top of the range is the Red Sport I-Line version. It is equipped with a 3.0-liter, 400-horsepower V6 engine, a more exciting-sounding exhaust, uniquely designed 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels and red brake calipers.
Driving pleasure is undeniable with the Q50, its performance being largely as sporty as it looks. The acceleration at the start is impressive, with a 0-100 km / h speed that can be completed in 5.8 seconds. The car is nimble in the corners and hugs the road with determination.
My only caveat, and it is baffling, is with the steering of the model (in the Signature it is simply electric power steering, not the electronically controlled steering system mentioned above), which tends sometimes being nervous at highway speeds. Did I mention that it can be confusing? It's not a bad system. It offers good precision and is meant to be light, but at over 110 km / h, I want a more solid connection with the road, not too nervous and light steering which reacts too quickly.
But otherwise, the driving of the Q50 is not to be despised, especially since it offers excellent level of everyday comfort. Luxury falls short of what German brands do in the class, but this Infiniti stands up to the Genesis G70 and rivals Acura and Lexus, for example. If Infiniti could firm up the steering (literally and figuratively) and enhance the quality on board, it would have a formidable contender in the category.
Of course, this assumes that the company maintains its commitment to the model. Time will tell, but the problem for the Japanese automaker is that while the resources it has to modernize and improve its sedan are limited, the Germans continue to improve their products. It is not certain that Infiniti has the arsenal to win this kind of arms race. And that's without counting the arrival of the impressive Cadillac CT5-V.
We like less
Sleek, understated design
A decent sized chest
We like less
Average fuel economy
Sometimes nervous management
Need a refresh
The main competition
Alfa Romeo Giulia
BMW 3 Series
See also: Comparison: 2020 Acura TLX vs 2020 Infiniti Q50
Photos of the 2020 Infiniti Q50