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2018 INFINITI Q50

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2018 INFINITI Q50 Expert Review

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The freshly upgraded 2018 Infiniti Q50 remains one of the best values in a highly competitive field of sporty, small luxury sedans. Gorgeous, comfortable and boasting one of the lowest starting prices in its class, Infiniti’s best-selling model also has a distinct power advantage when outfitted with its most popular engine, a 300-horsepower turbocharged V6. There are trade-offs, too, but the 2018 Infiniti Q50 is a better luxury sport sedan than almost any segment shopper needs, even if it doesn’t offer everything everyone wants.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you like the idea of a gorgeous and comfortable 4-door with more power and lower sticker prices than more famous European competitors, put the Q50 at the top of your list then try to beat it.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you’re a stickler for nuanced driving feel, or you’re mostly in it for the badge, the Infiniti Q50 isn’t likely to set your heart aflame.

How It Ranks

#8

out of 12

Fuel Economy

#9

out of 13

Horsepower
View all rankings
2018 INFINITI Q50 Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

The current-generation Q50 debuted for the 2014 model year, but has undergone a steady stream of significant enhancements since. Exterior updates this year include revised front and rear styling along with new taillights across the board, with 3.0t Sport and Red Sport 400 models distinguished by a more aggressive front fascia. Interior changes include a new steering wheel, new shift knob and more stitching. The trim grades have also been rethought, with the lineup now divided into Pure, Luxe, Sport and Red Sport 400 versions. And if you were holding out until Infiniti offered the Q50 in a Mocha Almond coating, now’s the time to grab your checkbook and run to the dealer.

Driving the Q50
2018 INFINITI Q50 Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

While the sweet spot in the 2018 Infiniti Q50 lineup is the 3.0t -- an excellent blend of luxury, performance and value, and the best-selling model in the bunch --...

... our first taste of the updated 2018 Infiniti Q50 took place near the automaker’s U.S. headquarters in Tennessee, where we drove 400-horsepower Q50 Red Sport 400 models exclusively. The Q50’s 2018 update included few dynamic changes, so the car felt familiar. While the added power is entertaining and addictive, the overall performance driving experience isn't particularly satisfying. Our test vehicles were equipped with Infiniti's Direct Adaptive Steering, a technically and functionally impressive setup that does more for lower-speed drivability than higher-energy jaunts.

But unless you’re big into carving canyons and demand an unfiltered, telepathic connection between you, the car and the road, the 2018 Infiniti Q50 should be plenty sporty for you. And while it also tips the scales a couple hundred pounds heavier than the segment’s legendary driver’s car, the BMW 3 Series, the Q50 3.0t significantly overpowers its closest competitors with its 300-horsepower rating. In addition to the effortless and confidence-inspiring acceleration afforded by all that power, daily driving highlights include terrific seats and soft touchpoints that help create a palpable sense of luxury. To sit in the Q50 is to sink into it, but just enough to enhance the feelings of both comfort and control.

DYNAMIC DIGITAL SUSPENSION
The Infiniti Q50’s available adaptive suspension features adjustable dampers that allow you to choose between a more comfortable ride and sportier handling.

V6 POWER
We’re on board with the industry’s move to turbocharged 4-cylinder engines in place of thirstier, heavier 6-cylinder powerplants, but there’s much to be said for the buttery power delivery of a V6.

2018 INFINITI Q50 Details
2018 INFINITI Q50 Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Soft, high-quality materials, a performance-themed gauge cluster and a digitally enhanced, dual-screen center stack all come together in a passenger cabin that’s rich, sporty and contemporary at once. It’s an appealing combination that’s not easy to pull together.

There isn’t a whole lot of personal storage up front -- a common theme across the category -- but the cup holders are decent in size and placement, and there’s a useful bin under the center armrest.

The 2018 Infiniti Q50 is strong in tech overall, but it’s showing its age in the infotainment department. The lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is quickly becoming a bigger shortcoming as the list of competitors that offer a couple of our favorite features has grown to include the Acura TLX, Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class and others (Lexus IS notwithstanding). And while the dual-screen setup is visually impressive, it’s more compelling on paper than in practice. With that said, we like the high-resolution touch screen and find it easy to perform most functions.

Other highlights include an impressive 16-speaker Bose audio system and an Around View Monitor with Moving Object Detection. Using cameras on each side of the vehicle, Infiniti’s Around View Monitor gives you a simulated bird’s-eye view of the vehicle and its surroundings, making it easy to park like a pro. It also gives you a warning if the cameras detect a moving object nearby.

The Infiniti Q50’s rear seat is among the roomier such accommodations in the category, and backseat drivers would be much happier barking suggestions from the back of the Q50 than from the rear quarters of the Lexus IS, for instance. Trunk room is similarly on par with the category, while buyers looking for added cargo flexibility should consider the available 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks.

Exterior
2018 INFINITI Q50 photo

We’re fans of the Q50’s sporty but substantial look, which has been enhanced for 2018. While the visual updates are comprehensive, the effect is evolutionary on the whole. A key change is further visual differentiation between trim grades, with the Q50 3.0t Sport and Q50 Red Sport 400 now distinguished by a unique face featuring a bolder bumper and wider, lower air intakes.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

At its starting sticker price of $34,200, a 2018 Infiniti Q50 2.0t includes a voice-controllable, dual-display infotainment system with 8-inch upper and 7-inch lower touch screens, USB and Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity, backup camera, keyless entry and start-up, leatherette seats, power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, HD and satellite radio, plus a full complement of LED headlights, fog lights and taillights.

Optional Equipment

Infiniti has developed a reputation for introducing innovative technologies, for which the 2018 Q50 is a rolling showcase. In addition to expected optional niceties like real leather seating, upgraded audio and a navigation system, check out the impressive list of driver-assist and safety technologies offered on the Q50:

  • Direct Adaptive Steering
  • Dynamic Digital Suspension
  • Drive Mode Selector
  • Active Lane Control
  • Active Trace Control
  • Intelligent Cruise Control
  • Distance Control Assist
  • Backup Collision Intervention
  • Blind Spot Warning and Intervention
  • Lane Departure Warning and Prevention
  • Forward Emergency Braking
  • Predictive Forward Collision Warning
Under the Hood
2018 INFINITI Q50 Engine photo

As you’ll see below, the 2018 Infiniti Q50 has one of the segment’s most comprehensive engine lineups. The bread-and-butter 300-horsepower engine offers more oomph than the competition at that price, and each of the four powertrains is available in conjunction with rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD).

2018 Infiniti Q50 2.0t
Starting Price: $35,105
Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 208 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 1,500-3,500 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive (+$2,000)
RWD Fuel Economy: 25 mpg combined (23 city, 30 highway)
AWD Fuel Economy: 24 mpg combined (22 city, 28 highway)
Base Curb Weights: 3,671 pounds (RWD), 3,803 pounds (AWD)
Base Wheel: 17-inch aluminum-alloy

2018 Infiniti Q50 3.0t -- Most Popular Model
Starting Price: $39,855
Engine: 3.0-liter turbocharged V6
Horsepower: 300 hp @ 6,400 rpm
Torque: 295 lb-ft @ 1,600-5,200 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive (+$2,000)
RWD Fuel Economy: 25 mpg combined (23 city, 30 highway)
AWD Fuel Economy: 24 mpg combined (22 city, 28 highway)
Base Curb Weights: 3,671 pounds (RWD), 3,803 pounds (AWD)
Base Wheel: 18-inch aluminum-alloy

2018 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid
Starting Price: $51,505
Engine: 3.5-liter V6 + electric motor + lithium ion battery
Net System Horsepower: 360 hp
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive (+$2,000)
RWD Fuel Economy: 29 mpg combined (27 city, 32 highway)
AWD Fuel Economy: 28 mpg combined (26 city, 30 highway)
Base Curb Weights: 4,015 pounds (RWD), 4,187 pounds (AWD)
Wheels: 19-inch aluminum-alloy

2018 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400
Starting Price: $51,905
Engine: High-output 3.0-liter turbocharged V6
Horsepower: 400 hp @ 6,400 rpm
Torque: 350 lb-ft @ 1,600-5,200 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Drivetrain: Rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive (+$2,000)
RWD Fuel Economy: 22 mpg combined (20 city, 26 highway)
AWD Fuel Economy: 22 mpg combined (19 city, 26 highway)
Base Curb Weights: 3,840 pounds (RWD), 3,993 pounds (AWD)
Wheels: 19-inch aluminum-alloy (staggered width on RWD models)

One of the 2018 Infiniti Q50’s key strengths is offering more features for less money, especially compared to European entries like the A4, 3 Series and C-Class. In addition to a sticker price advantage, the Infiniti Q50 typically has been offered with more competitive lease rates and other incentives. Resale values have typically been in the bottom half of the segment, but the difference is often more than offset by the lower purchase and lease prices.

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