Market research should be banned – especially when it drives all other types of research. ‘Softer, Sharper, Smoother’ seems to be the mandate for the Q50 from the marketing gurus at the Infiniti HQ. Where, from a brainstorming room lit up with bright ideas, someone threw the old blueprints of the G sedan out the window. And replaced it with a glossy new image of a desirable car – desirable to more buyers than the G sedan could ever hope for.
After all, if some regressive souls chose to lament the departure of crude emotions in favour of refinement and sophistication, they should be brainwashed clean of their delusions – someone bring those marketing spotlights on!
UPSIDE: Steering feel, Ample torque, Plenty for the buck
FLIPSIDE: Feedback low, Boot space, Some regional features are pending
THE PRICE: AED 139,500 and AED 155,000 (Inclusive of insurance and service)
SPECS: 2.0L, 4-cylinder Turbo charged, 210 hp, 320 Nm, 7-speed Automatic, 17” alloys
FEATURES: Rear view camera, Hill start Assist, Tire Pressure Monitor, Engine start-stop, Front and rear parking sensors, BOSE 14 speaker system TOP MODEL: Pre crash seat belt, Forward collision avoidance, Distance control assist, Lane departure prevention, Blind spot intervention, Back collision intervention, Around view monitor
According to the brain cells that commissioned the Infiniti Q50, the new car is a great improvement on the G sedan. Going by the fructuous pursuit of technology that managed to nip away the old-fashioned metal link between the steering and the axle; or by the bookings that are keeping Hong Kong happy, I see the point in their claim.
As for those who might take a while to embrace change, well, they can still find marginal solace in the new 2.0L Turbo version of the Q50. It’s got nothing to do with the 210 hp that this Q50 makes. The G 25 had eight horses more. Sure, it helps that the 320 Nm torque has bite, unlike the G25 sedan, which only had 253 Nm.
However, what I am talking about here is the drive-by-wire steering that hasn’t found its place in the entry level Infiniti Q50. It continues to use the crude mechanical contraption to turn the wheels below as you turn the one above. Among the Q50 options, that should make the 2.0L Turbo version the true heir to the G sedan. Especially when Infiniti has already completed a recall of the new drive-by-wire device.
That said, the Q50 is rather different in character. The steering is pretty detached when compared with the G sedan, and the ride isn’t as stiff. Keeping with the turn of events elsewhere, the car is ‘silent and smooth’ even on run-flat tyres, with little feedback. Wired or unwired.
Said too soon, I think, as the Q50 floats along the glistening tarmac. It sure reeks of refinement but where is the engaging connect that drivers wanted less of in the G sedan? The apparent lack of traction is complemented by the brilliantly responsive steering that disallows a casual hand of correction on the road – it’s almost oversensitive! But then these are woes of petrol-heads and can be safely ignored amidst the improved space in the rear, glossy appointments and the glossier dual screen on the console.
Polished ride and gadgetry galore
So this is where I stop lamenting and sit up to enjoy the comforts that are served in plenty – like the whole dose of gadgetry and leather you have envied in those premium badges that levy tons in premium. I won’t be the one to complain about the feature that stopped the car twice while backing up towards an approaching threat. No complaints either about braking in time for a car ahead or warning me of overstepping the lane markings, or even the blind spot warning that blipped in the interest of my safety. I would be presumptuous and ungrateful to do that.
The aggressive grille and the sharper look should please the G sedan fan but the smoother ride should make the Q50 instantly endearing to the family. The rear seats are spacious but their backrests cannot be tilted like the G sedan’s. The new car lacks in boot space but that helps keep the compact, sportier profile of the sedan.
The essential Infiniti Q50 2.0L Turbo
As expected, the Q50 with the famous 3.7L engine is the hotcake in the Infiniti range. That said, the new Q50 2.0t might not be a V6 but it has way more power than the G25 along with the ability to keep the communication more real, in a language petrol-heads understand. Until the hydraulic steering planned for the Infiniti Q50 shakes up the scene again, I dare count the torque-rich 2.0t as the continuing link in the G sedan lineage.