By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 8.0
The 2014 Infiniti Q50 carries forward all that we loved about the G37 and wraps it in a seductive new skin fitted to a choice of gasoline or gasoline/hybrid models. When it comes to performance, the Q50 continues to gun for the gold standard BMW 3 Series, but there's also a softer side to this sedan, one clearly aimed at Audi and Mercedes-Benz. More luxury features and a host of advanced electronics push the Q50 in a new direction. Some will love the changes while others, especially purists turned off by overly-complex touch-screen controls and electronic driver assists, will lament them. No one, however, will quibble with the Q50's sub $40,000 starting price. That's why we named it one of the 10 Best Luxury Cars Under $40,000 for 2014.
If you're all about handling and speed, but you also desire comfort and luxury when you're not tearing up the twisties, the Infiniti Q50 offers the best of both worlds.
Enthusiasts won't like the omission of a proper manual transmission. Those easily flustered by overly complex touch-screen controls may not enjoy the Q50's double LCD setup.
KBB Expert Ratings
Besides its new name, the Infiniti Q50 sedan offers bold new styling, a powerful hybrid model and a host of new features including dual LCD touch-screen controls, Direct Adaptive Steering, Active Lane Control and Predictive Forward Collision Warning.
Driving Impressions We've always been pleased with any Infiniti vehicle powered by the company's 3.7-liter V6, and the Q50 is no exception. More interesting is the 3.5-liter V6 teamed to an electric...... motor in the Q50 Hybrid. With a combined output of 360 horsepower, this is one hybrid that won't become the punch line of anti-environmentalist jokes. Both cars enjoy the option of all-wheel drive (AWD) for improved handling on both wet and dry pavement, as well as Infiniti's new 4-mode Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS). DAS allows independent control of tire angle and steering input, telegraphing the driver's intent to the wheels quicker than any mechanical setup. Even on its most comfortable setting, DAS offers surprisingly heavy steering feel. Standard on Hybrid models, DAS further snuffs the stereotype that such mileage-maxers must sacrifice performance for fuel economy. Sport models feature unique sport seats with manual thigh extenders and, on the driver's seat, adjustable side bolsters.
ACTIVE LANE CONTROL
This camera based lane-departure warning system not only corrects for lane drift, but looks ahead for possible unintended lane drift. It can also make minor course adjustment based on the effects of road surfaces and crosswinds.
STUDIO ON WHEELS BY BOSE AUDIO
Great tunes are an integral part of any great road trip and the Q50 sedan's 14-speaker Studio on Wheels by Bose system delivers. USB inputs for iPod and standard HD radio further expand the listening experience.
The highlights of the Q50's interior are the dual LCD touch-screen panels that operate both primary and secondary functions. Replacing most of the cabin's traditional knobs and switches, the system is divided into two sections. The larger 8-inch upper screen is where the most-used functions are controlled, including navigation and audio. The two screens work in conjunction, so, for example, while the upper screen is showing the navigation map, the lower screen can be used to input destination data or points of interest.Exterior
The 2014 Infiniti Q50 sits low and wide, touting Infiniti's new double-arch front grille making a bold statement. LED bulbs make up the front headlights, fog lights and daytime running lights as well as the rear taillights. Standard 17-inch wheels look sharp, but the upgraded 19-inchers really set up the Q50's flowing lines and sports car stance. Cameras mounted in the grille, side mirrors and rear deck give a 360-degree view when equipped with the optional AroundView monitor.
Standard equipment on Infiniti's 2014 Q50 sedan includes leatherette seating surfaces, power-adjustable seats for the driver and front-passenger, Infiniti InTouch dual-screen display, Intelligent Key entry and push-button start, 6-speaker audio with HD radio and CD player, two USB and one auxiliary input, rearview monitor, Bluetooth with voice recognition, 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic temperature control, and the center-console-mounted Infiniti controller. The Premium trim adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, a power glass moonroof, rear trunk pass-through, and Bose audio, while AWD models gain a heated steering wheel.
A fully-loaded 2014 Q50 includes leather upholstery, Adaptive front lighting, Intelligent Cruise Control, front sport seats with manual thigh extension and driver-side adjustable side bolsters, AroundView 360-degree monitor, Advanced Climate Control with Plasmacluster air purifier, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, voice-activated Infiniti InTouch navigation, Direct Adaptive Steering, Active Lane Control, Predictive Forward Collision Warning, and Lane Departure Warning. Due to the placement of the battery pack, the hybrid models exclude the rear-seat pass-through.
For 2014, the Infiniti Q50's all-aluminum 3.7-liter V6 employs dual overhead camshafts (DOHC) and a sophisticated variable valve timing and lift system designed to deliver peak power without compromising fuel efficiency. The Hybrid model uses a slightly older but still potent 3.5-liter V6 teamed to an electric motor and 50kw lithium ion battery pack to deliver up to 36 mpg on the highway. Both cars offer only one transmission choice: A 7-speed automatic with rev matching and manual shift mode.
3.7-liter V6 (Q50)
328 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm
269 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 mpg (rear-wheel drive), 19/27 mpg (AWD)
3.5-liter V6 + electric motor (Q50 Hybrid)
360 horsepower @ 6,800 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/36 mpg (rear-wheel drive), 28/35 mpg (AWD)
The 2014 Infiniti Q50 sedan has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $37,500 for the base model, just breaking $40,000 for the Premium trim, and topping out around $54,000 for a loaded Sport trim. All-wheel drive adds another $1,900 to the bottom line. The Q50 Hybrid runs from just over $44,500 to a high of $51,000. For comparison, the Audi A4 with a 4-cylinder turbo and continuously-variable automatic transmission starts around $34,700, while the Cadillac CTS 3.6 Luxury starts closer to $42,000. Less expensive but also less status oriented choices might include the Hyundai Genesis and Chrysler 300C. Meanwhile, the G37 lives on as a lower-priced and less-feature-rich sedan than the new Q50, with a starting price of $33,455. To make your best deal on a Q50, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price that shows what others in your area are paying for their cars. As for resale, we expect the Q50 sedan to retain the same traditionally excellent long-term value held by its G37 predecessor.