There are cars that are so great they are popular with everyone. There are others whose numbers tell us right away that there can be no competition. Then there are polarizing cars, which we spend too much time fussing over. One model that arouses many passions at the moment, within the small journalistic community of Quebec, is the Infiniti Q50.
More precisely, this is the 2020 Infiniti Q50 Signature Edition AWD. For $ 47,445 plus taxes and preparation, we have a relatively well-equipped luxury compact sedan, housing a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 producing 300 horsepower. and 295 pounds of torque.
Many find her pretty good, and yet she has difficulty making it onto any sales charts. Theoretically, it rivals the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus IS, Cadillac CT4, Genesis G70, as well as the Acura TLX.
There is also the Q60 – two-door version of the Q50 – available with the same engines. She has as much difficulty selling herself as her four-door sister.
So here are, in our opinion, the reasons why people shun this duo of Japanese compacts.
The importance of the brand?
Some say that the Infiniti products listed above, and you could almost say Infiniti in general, do not sell because they are Infiniti vehicles. In this category, people would attach too much importance to the crest on the hood. Is it true?
One might tend to believe it. Take Genesis for example. It's a brand that makes exceptional products, and you couldn't blame a buyer for getting a Genesis G70 in place of a Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Yet hardly anyone buys from Genesis, basically. because the brand still has to go a long way to convince typical customers of German luxury cars.
Could there be a bit of the fact that buyers of these brands like the image their car projects more than its behavior? Let's not go too far on this slippery slope. Let's just say that maybe it is a factor.
Infiniti doesn't have the Genesis problems. It has been in our market long enough to gain notoriety. And with products as capable as the G35 and G37 of a few years ago in its portfolio, it doesn't have to convince people that it only makes Nissan in their Sunday best. However, its notoriety is not yet equivalent to that of German luxury goods.
Is the problem ultimately with the product?
It’s hard to say, then, that the Q50 and Q60 are being left out because they are Infiniti products. It is true that the Q50 and Q60 are luxury compacts, a segment that has been losing momentum in recent years to the benefit of SUVs, but let's say that these cars are doing quite a bit more than their rivals.
Unfortunately, it just looks like these products just don't measure up.
Look at the design, for example. From the outside, we can see two very nice cars. The Q50 is undeniably elegant, and the Q60 looks like a futuristic sports coupe, also very refined. However, when you go inside, this is where it gets spoiled. The design is simple, but not clean. There are two screens, a lot of buttons, and you definitely don't feel like you're sitting in a luxury or prestige vehicle, as is the case with Audi, BMW, or Lexus.
Then there is the driving. Management, more precisely. You see, the Q50 and Q60 are solid, and you can sense, when you push them, the Nissan GT-R DNA behind their platform. But the management comes to spoil everything.
It is artificial, literally. The steering wheel is not connected to the wheels as in a conventional car. You turn the steering wheel, a computer registers the gesture, and sends the information to an electric motor which activates a kind of rack to move the wheels. The automaker said when it launched this technology, it was aimed at reducing fatigue and improving the driving experience! In fact, we do not feel any vibration in the steering wheel, and the car automatically makes the micro-corrections that we do all the time automatically, in order to keep its lane. So, without realizing it, you get less tired behind the wheel of the Q50 and Q60 than in a "normal" car.
But when you want to drive with enthusiasm, it doesn't do the trick. You don't feel the limits of the car and the connection to the road is artificial, it can get frustrating.
This is a problem the average driver will ignore. But the average driver doesn't want a sporty luxury compact.
When Infiniti introduced the G35, then the G37, it kicked in the backs of German cars. And rightly so, we saw plenty of them on our roads. This is no longer the case.