2014 Infiniti Q50 AWD Premium Navi + Deluxe Touring and Tech
3.7L V6 DOHC 24-valve
328 @ 7000
269 @ 5200
11.1 / 7.3
The Shield of Achilles was the shield that protected him during his fight with Hector and became an early example of “Ekphrasis”, a literary description of a work of visual art. Infiniti however has now created a shield that sits on wheels.
It is the new Q50, which promises to be your shield and also tries to be a work of art, bringing some interesting and dynamic design lines to the foreground. It also brings autonomous driving a step closer to reality and here is why; with the all-around cameras it can analyze its surroundings, the adaptive cruise control enables self acceleration and braking, the Adaptive Direct Steering means it can steer on its own, the Active Lane Assist recognizes lanes and the blind sport monitors can tell when it’s safe to cross over. The Forward Collision Prevention system can avoid dangerous situations and finally with the satellite navigation system it can navigate around knowing its current location and destination. In a nutshell, all the hardware needed for a self-driving car is on-board, here, on a car available for you to buy today. Of course it has not been built for autonomous driving but that is OK because I want to drive instead.
You can choose between RWD and AWD, normal petrol or hybrid and all variations come mated to a 7-speed automatic gearbox with rev-matching technology. It is longer, wider, lower and lighter than the outgoing G37 sedan but has also lost a bit of trunk space. Prices start at $37,500 for the Q50 RWD and can reach $51,750 for the Q50 Sport AWD Deluxe Touring and Tech. Our test Q50 AWD Premium with Navi, Deluxe Touring and Tech Package was priced at $49,100.
The list of safety systems on-board is impressive. The forward collision prevention system will identify hazards two cars ahead and either beep, cut your throttle or even fully brake for you. The lane assist will keep the car in the centre of the lane which can make the car feel weird, especially if steering is in quick mode. The blind spot monitor will also prevent you from switching lanes if a car is detected beside you. The adaptive cruise control can slow the car down to a complete stop before getting deactivated. Lane departure warning will beep and nudge you back in shape if you drift away but keep in mind that all these systems can be toggled on or off.
The interior is up to par with Infiniti standards, very well designed and ergonomically sound. Fit and finish are excellent and the materials used throughout the cabin are of high quality. All the convenience features are standard, like power heated seats, dual zone climate control and leather trim. The driving position is very sporty, the leather steering wheel has audio controls but no paddle shifters attached while visibility is good. The seats are supportive and comfortable and the roominess up front is adequate. The rear seats are a bit tight, but given the sporty nature of the vehicle, they are not worse than the competition. The trunk however is smaller than expected, at 352lt it is descent but nothing to write home about.
Under the hood, the 3.7lt V6 engine outputs 328 HP and 269 lb-ft of torque. It is double cream smooth and pulls strongly at all times. Very refined and not too loud, coupled with the paddle-shifters in the Sport model you will very often get aggressive just for the fun of it. 0-100km/h comes in 6.2” and the average fuel economy on our watch was 12.1lt/100km.
On the road, the suspension does a really good job over bumps and pot-holes, the 17” tires with the extra rubber on them feel rugged and provide a little extra softness without affecting the dynamic handling. With all shield features off, the car feels solid, athletic and agile. The steering is PlayStation precise and once you get over the fact that there is no physical connection to the wheels you will start enjoying it even more. Having the ability to adjust the quickness and weight to your preference is very cool, but switching back and forth can be confusing and potentially dangerous. The brake pedal is crisp, the gearbox does its best in sport mode and the chassis is willing to play non-stop. It blasted through our cone slalom controlling its weight well and around corners the active trace control did add points to the “train on rails” sensation. However, we did eventually switch everything off and had some fun. The brakes performed well as they brought the car to a complete stop from 100km/h in 46m (on winter tires).
The new Q50 is a very good car. It will take a little getting used to all the gadgets and gismos, but the important thing is that underneath all that it is a rock solid performer.
Potentially tricky gadgets