Infiniti keeps the ball rolling into 2017

The Infiniti Q50 is a relatively fresh face in the world of compact luxury sedans, evolving from the G-Series model line as recently as 2013. But while the nameplate might be new, it still brings that time-tested combination of snappy good looks, high-tech features, and healthy performance potential – exactly what you’d expect from a prime segment contender. Consequently, the Q50 is one of Infiniti’s most popular models in the North American market, with sales numbers that seem to be growing all the time. To keep that momentum rolling, the Q50 just got a light refresh for the 2017 model year, including new paint options, a new interior package, and upgraded infotainment.

Of course, all that is on top of the major update implemented just last year, which included revised suspension tuning, and a few very impressive engine options. However, the biggest attention-grabber is undoubtedly the 400-horsepower twin-turbo V-6 that takes top honors on the trim level totem pole. While far removed from the 560-horsepower, GT-R-derived, M3-eating Q50 Eau Rouge concept we were all hoping for, rest assured the range-topping Q50 is still no slouch.

Does Infiniti have what it takes to bring the fight to the Germans? Read on to find out.

Updated 10/04/2016: Infiniti was at the 2016 Paris Motor Show with the refreshed Q50. Check out the review for all the latest on the 2017 model year.

Continue reading to learn more about the Infiniti Q50.

  • 2016 Infiniti Q50
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V6
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    400 @ 6400
  • Torque @ RPM:
    350 @ 1600
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    33950
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Infiniti Q50 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 659879
The tail is rounded and wide, finishing the profile with a moderately raked stance.

For the 2016 update, Infiniti was content to leave the Q50’s exterior essentially unchanged. The easily recognizable Infiniti front fascia is retained, including a distinctive 3D mesh double-arch grille. Taut creases along the hood add a sense of muscle-bound poise, drawing back into the roofline, shoulder line, bottom door line, and rear bumper. Chrome is used for the side window surrounds, door handles, and trunk, echoing the front grille for a top-shelf appearance. The tail is rounded and wide, finishing the profile with a moderately raked stance. Finally, LEDs are utilized for the headlights and daytime running lights.

In order to make the top-of-the-line, 400-horsepower Q50 (aka the Q50 Red Sport 400) stand out amongst its lesser brethren, Infiniti added unique exhaust tips and exclusive 19-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in summer performance run flat tires. The tires are staggered at 245/40 in the front, and 265/35 in the rear.

The 2017 update is pretty mild on the aesthetics, with nothing more than the addition of three new metallic paint colors – Midnight Black, Pure White, and Dynamic Sunstone Red. The new red replaces Venetian Red in the catalog, offering up new mechanical and manual paint application techniques for an enhanced luster. Finally, new red brake calipers were added exclusively to the Q50 Red Sport 400 trim level.

Interior

2016 Infiniti Q50 High Resolution Interior
- image 659877

For the 2016 model year, the cabin design was more or less carried over from the outgoing model. Gently curving lines and premium materials are used throughout. The central tunnel is once again split corner-to-corner, with the top half occupied by the shifter and driving controls, and the bottom occupied by twin cup holders.

The steering wheel comes with three spokes and dual multi-function pads, as well as an optional heating function

The steering wheel comes with three spokes and dual multi-function pads, as well as an optional heating function and paddle shifters made from magnesium. The front seats are also available with a heating function.

Dual touchscreens are found on the center console, with an 8-inch unit mounted above, and a 7-inch unit mounted below. Infotainment options include the latest Infiniti navigation system, SiriusXM traffic, and voice recognition.

All told, you won’t be left wanting when it comes to interior features, just so long as you choose the appropriate package options.

Speaking of which, the 2017 update brings with it a few new interior features for the cabin look and sound system. First up is the addition of a new Designer Pack, which offers either Graphite or Java Brown for the color scheme, plus quilted semi-aniline leather upholstery, open-pore dark wood veneer panels, dark chrome trim, and a black roof liner.

Audiophiles should also check out the new Bose Performance Series sound system, which offers the same 16-speaker set-up as the Q60 coupe.

Drivetrain

2016 Infiniti Q50 High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 659948

The drivetrain is where you’ll find the real meat of the matter when compared to the 2015 model year. The old naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V-6 (aka the VQ) is no more, but that’s to be expected – after more than 20 years and a huge list of applications, the VQ is getting more than a little long in the tooth, even if it is a superb six-cylinder. In its stead, you’ll find four engines to choose from. Let’s start at the top.

New for 2016 is an in-house developed 3.0-liter V-6 equipped with two turbochargers and direct injection.

New for 2016 is an in-house developed 3.0-liter V-6 equipped with two turbochargers and direct injection. It’s called the VR30, and it’s offered in two states of tune. The most powerful option puts out 400 horsepower at 6,400 rpm, and 350 pound-feet of torque between 1,600 rpm and 5,200 rpm. Below that is a detuned option with 300 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque between 1,600 rpm and 5,200 rpm.

The VR30 uses a new turbine speed sensor and optimized turbine blade design to sharpen throttle response and dish out additional ponies, with turbine speeds upped to a dizzying 220,000 rpm. Additionally, valve timing gains a new electric motor for even more response.

While touting a fat torque curve, the VR also boasts higher fuel economy. Infiniti claims the VR is the cleanest, most efficient V-6 it’s ever made, with upwards of 28 mpg on the highway for the range-topping Q50.

Between the two VR powerplants is a hybrid drivetrain, which carries over to 2016 and 2017 unchanged. Making the bang is a 3.5-liter, 24-valve, DOHC aluminum V-6, which on its own produces 302 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Electrification is provided by a 50-kW electric motor and lithium-ion battery, which produce 67 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque. Net horsepower is a healthy 360. Infiniti says the hybrid’s priority is performance, but decent fuel economy is still possible.

Finally, 2016 introduced a new base engine for the Q50 – a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 208 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque at only 1,500 rpm. If those figures sound familiar, it’s because it’s the same engine found in the Mercedes-Benz CLA. The block, head, and crankcase are made from aluminum, cutting weight, while direct injection, multi-spark ignition, and a variable camshaft design on the intake side all contribute to greater fuel efficiency. The 2.0-liter also offers an idle start-stop system – a first for the Q50.

Each of the four engines mates to a seven-speed automatic transmission, which includes electronically controlled “manual” shifting, adaptive shift control, and multiple drive modes. Buyers can get either RWD or AWD for each trim level.

Chassis And Handling

2016 Infiniti Q50 High Resolution Exterior
- image 659881

Going into 2016, Infiniti went to great lengths to improve the Q50’s steering, offering up its next-generation Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) system as an available option on models equipped with either the twin-turbo 3.0-liter, or hybrid powertrain.

DAS is a digital steering system that comes with a variety of customization options

Essentially, DAS is a digital steering system that comes with a variety of customization options, including a setting that feels more like a conventional steering system. Steering assistance, feedback, and steering ratio are all adjustable, offering light feel in slow-moving traffic, and less assistance at high speeds. It’s also faster than a mechanical system, capable of 1,000 steering adjustments per second. DAS will intelligently select appropriate feedback to send to the driver, which gives a clearer idea of the road surface and chassis behavior, while simultaneously reducing driver fatigue.

DAS also offers more steering modes for the 2016 model year, including Personal (a.k.a. customizable), Standard (default), Snow, Eco, Sport, and the recently added Sport+. These are all pretty self-explanatory, but it does bear mentioning that Sport+ essentially does all the things Sport does (faster ratio, more feel), but more (hence the name).

Standard equipment on models equipped with the twin-turbo 3.0-liter and hybrid powertrain is an electronic power steering rack, which was updated for the 2016 model year to offer a more linear feel, and includes multiple customizable driving modes. Finally, models equipped with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder get a standard speed-sensitive hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering system.

Further 2016 updates included a revised Dynamic Digital Suspension (DDS) system. Various settings were tweaked to strike a new balance between prowess and comfort, while the stabilizer bars were revised for flatter cornering. Double-wishbones are still in front, and a multi-link is still in the rear. Copious aluminum was used to cut weight. As you can imagine, DDS is electronically adjustable and includes multiple driving modes, but it also self-adjusts while on the move to compensate for variable body pitch, roll, and bounce rate.

Safety And Convenience

2016 Infiniti Q50 High Resolution Exterior
- image 659880

The Q50 is equipped with a variety of semi-autonomous safety features, both optional and standard. These include active lane control, which counteracts crosswinds and uneven road surfaces to keep you between the lines, as well as forward emergency braking, blind-spot warning, around view monitor, and moving object detection. More details can be found in the Prices section.

The NHTSA gave the 2017 Q50 five out of five stars in rollover tests, but has not yet rated the model for frontal impacts, side impacts, or given it an overall rating. Check out the details here. Meanwhile, the IIHS has given the 2016 Q50 it’s top “Good” rating in every category except the headlights, which received a rating of “Acceptable. Check out the details here.

For European buyers, Infiniti is now offering an updated Telematic Control Unit going into the 2017 model year. This lets owners use their smartphone for various safety and convenience features, such as remote engine start, car locater, and stolen vehicle locater.

Prices

2016 Infiniti Q50 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 659879

There are a total of trim levels to choose from: the Q50 2.0t, the Q50 2.0t Premium, the Q50 Hybrid Premium, the Q50 3.0t Premium, and the Q50 Sport. Each trim level is subdivided into both RWD and AWD models, whereas the 2015 model year came with RWD as standard and AWD as an available option.

The base model retails from $33,950, while AWD bumps MSRP to $35,950. The Premium 2.0t trim retails for $37,650 with RWD, and $39,650 with AWD. The V-6-powered Hybrid Premium starts at $47,050 with RWD, and $49,050 with AWD. Opting for the Q50 3.0t will set you back $39,900 in RWD form, and $41,900 in AWD form. Finally, the Q50 Sport retails for $43,900 with RWD, while the range-topping Sport AWD is set at $45,900.

There are also several packages available, listed below with their respective features.

Premium Plus Package – includes auto-dimming exterior mirrors with electric memory function, an electrically adjustable steering wheel with memory function, navigation with a one-year complimentary subscription, navigation-synchronized adaptive shift control, SiriusXM traffic, voice recognition, a 60/40 split rear seat, driver’s seat electric lumbar support with memory function, a heated steering wheel, and heated front seats. When equipped on 3.0-liter Sport models, this package also adds remote engine start.

Technology Package – includes auto-leveling adaptive headlights, high-beam assist, adaptive cruise control, distance control assist, Eco pedal, advanced climate control, front seat pre-crash seat belts, blind-spot intervention, lane departure warning, and lane departure prevention with active lane control.

Driver Assistance Package – new for 2016, this package includes forward emergency braking, blind-spot warning, back collision intervention, cross-traffic alert, predictive forward collision warning, and around view monitor with moving object detection.

Model Engine/Drive MSRP
Q50 2.0t 2.0-liter I4 Turbo / RWD $33,950 USD
Q50 2.0t AWD 2.0-liter I4 Turbo / AWD $35,950 USD
Q50 2.0t Premium 2.0-liter I4 Turbo / RWD $37,650 USD
Q50 2.0t AWD Premium 2.0-liter I4 Turbo / AWD $39,650 USD
Q50 Hybrid Premium 3.5-liter V6 Hybrid / FWD $47,050 USD
Q50 Hybrid Premium AWD 3.5-liter V6 Hybrid / AWD $49,050 USD
Q50 3.0t Premium 3.0-liter V6 Twin Turbo 300 hp / RWD $39,900 USD
Q50 3.0t Premium AWD 3.0-liter V6 Twin Turbo 300 hp / AWD $41,900 USD
Q50 Sport 3.0-liter V6 Twin Turbo 300 hp / RWD $43,900 USD
Q50 Sport AWD 3.0-liter V6 Twin Turbo 300 hp / AWD $45,900 USD

Competition

BMW 3 Series

2016 BMW 3 Series High Resolution Exterior
- image 629340

Without a doubt, the Q50’s greatest competition comes from the Bavarians. The 3 Series is consistent in the way it outsells just about every challenger, and that doesn’t look like it’ll change any time soon. The options are plentiful, including gas, diesel, and hybrid drivetrains, sedan and wagon bodystyles, and even a manual transmission. This is still the benchmark for the segment.

Read out full review here.

Mercedes C-Class

2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class High Resolution Exterior
- image 536024

The 3 Series might lead the charge, but the C-Class isn’t far behind. Technology and refinement are two characteristics you won’t find lacking, no matter the trim level. You can start with 241 horsepower, or splurge on the 503-horsepower AMG edition if so inclined. Pricing, however, remains far above that of the Infiniti.

Read our full review here.

Conclusion

2016 Infiniti Q50 High Resolution Exterior
- image 659878

It looks like Infiniti did things right with the Q50. Instead of futzing around with styling tweaks and cabin button arrangements, the automaker spent time where it mattered – under the skin. The steering and suspension changes alter the way the car drives and feels, which is far more important than aesthetics at this point in the game. It’s what makes the difference when you actually test drive the thing.

Speaking of test drives, I think the various engine options will delight most potential buyers, especially when 400 horsepower is on tap. And while I’m definitely not alone in my desire for the ballistic Eau Rouge, I understand it’s not the kind of model Infiniti needs to steal sales from BMW and Mercedes.

The real kicker here is pricing. Starting at around $34,000, the Q50 is very attractive when placed alongside its German equivalents, and while its not easy to topple the 3 Series or C-Class, the Q50 definitely has the goods to put up a fight.

  • Leave it
    • Still no Eau Rouge
    • Mercedes and BMW are defending champs for very good reasons

Updated History

Updated 05/17/2016: Infiniti continued offering us prices for the new Q50, and this time it went with the 3.0t models. Full details on the "Prices" section below.

Updated 03/09/2016: Infiniti announced prices for the new Q50 2.0t and Q50 Hybrid Premium models which are now on sale at dealers nationwide. Full details on the "Prices" section below.

Updated 02/11/2016: Infiniti just confirmed four engine options for the new Q50 at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, including a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder, hybrid 3.5-liter V-6, and a new twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 available in two states of tune – 300 and 400 horsepower. Check out the Drivetrain section for all the details.

Press Release

INFINITI has enhanced the 2017 Q50 sports sedan with new exterior and interior design features and the adoption of new in-car technologies. The upgraded 2017 INFINITI Q50 will make its World debut at the 2016 Paris Motor Show (Mondial de l’Automobile) on 29 September 2016.

The Q50 sports sedan has been further developed to offer buyers a higher level of personalization and driving engagement, bringing INFINITI’s signature design, empowering driver technology, and exhilarating performance to the sports sedan segment.

The enhancements come at a time of significant momentum for the Q50. Global sales of the car have grown 6 percent in the first eight months of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, with more than 144, 675 sold from January to August.

Design: new colors and customization options
The 2017 Q50 is available with a trio of new metallic exterior colors: Midnight Black, Pure White, and – replacing Venetian Red – Dynamic Sunstone Red. The latter color is the result of a new paint application process developed by INFINITI which employs a combination of coating machinery and manual techniques to achieve the deep, lustrous finish.

Red brake calipers have been added to Q50 Red Sport 400 models, powered by INFINITI’s all-new 400 hp 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo "VR" engine.

Inside the 2017 Q50, buyers can now specify a new Designer Pack for the cabin, which includes new Graphite or Java Brown colors for the quilted semi-aniline leather cabin upholstery, a new open-pore dark wood veneer, dark chrome trim and a black roof lining.

Technology: comfort, convenience, and connectivity
Buyers of the 2017 Q50 can specify a new Bose® Performance Series sound system, which features 16 speakers and all-new electronic architecture with high-performance components. Other than the Q60 coupe, the Q50 is the only car worldwide to feature this high-powered, custom-engineered system. The fully-immersive Bose audio system is engineered to transform the cabin into the driver’s very own audio haven, and features an ’industrial’ design, adding an even more distinctive, high quality look and feel to the cabin.

For European markets, INFINITI has equipped the 2017 Q50 with a new Telematic Control Unit, allowing the owner to control elements of their car remotely via INFINITI’s InTouch Services smartphone app, for greater security and convenience. New features include remote engine start, car locator, and stolen vehicle tracking.

The 2017 Q50 goes on sale in selected markets later this year.

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