2014 Infiniti Q50 AWD First Impressions

It’s a tough job, but someone at Infiniti had to do it:we’re glad it’s this new all-new Q50. This luxury sports sedan makes a unique luxury sports sedan statement by combining two intriguing personalities; smooth and graceful operator, and technological geek.

What is the Infiniti Q50 AWD?
The Q50 replaces the G37 Sedan in Infiniti’s lineup and essentially utilizes the same powertrain as the “G”: 328-hp 3.7L V6, and the 7-speed automatic transmission. While the new sedan is available in RWD and AWD, unlike the G37, the Q50 is not available with a 6-speed manual transmission but is available in a hybrid version (the 2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid Sport AWD).

2014 Infiniti Q50 AWD Price and Specs
Our tester was an AWD Premium model with the Navigation Package, Deluxe Touring and Technology Package. With freight and PDI, you end up with a $50,000-plus vehicle.

The 2014 Infiniti Q50 is slightly lighter than the G37 in spite of all the new tech and safety content, and slightly more fuel-efficient as well (6.7L/100km highway; 10.6L city; 8.8L combined).

2014 Infiniti Q50 engine

The Q50 replaces the G37 Sedan in Infiniti’s lineup and essentially utilizes the same powertrain as the “G”: 328-hp 3.7L V6. (Photo: Michael Goetz)

Driving the 2014 Infiniti Q50 AWD
The 2014 Q50 is the world’s first production vehicle with “drive by wire” steering. Infiniti calls it Direct Adaptive Steering, and it’s the centrepiece of the Deluxe Touring and Technology Package.

You might imagine it to feel like you’re steering a video-game controller, but it actually feels like a conventional system where the steering wheel is mechanically linked to the steering rack.

Our first blush with this system was entirely entertaining. Maybe it’s the novelty, but we found ourselves experimenting and having a blast switching between various paired settings for steering effort and steering ratio: Sport, Standard, Touring.
Direct Adaptive Steering (link to Charles reportage on steering) is not new, but the 2014 Q50 advances the concept to another level.

The 2014 Infiniti Q50 is an excellent ride, with power to spare. Even with its handling and performance prowess, the quietness of the cabin and lack of any exciting powertrain music skews the vibe toward the luxury side rather than the sporty side.

2014 Infiniti Q50 3/4 view

The 2014 Infiniti Q50 is an excellent ride, with power to spare. (Photo: Michael Goetz)

Inside and Out the 2014 Infiniti Q50 AWD
Gaze over the Q50′s new curvaceous and extremely aerodynamic sheetmetal stretched taught over a new and stronger platform. The Q50 is a little shorter than the G37, but wider and lower.

A new twin-screen nerve centre dominates the new interior. Infiniti moved to this idea after hearing from drivers, who disliked having to exit the navigation maps display when they needed to use the touchscreen for other stuff. The top 8” screen is primarily for driving-related information, operated by touch and steering-wheel switches or the big Infiniti Controller. The lower 7” touchscreen is primarily for the infotainment system.

Infiniti has always been generous with the conventional hard switches, so finding your way never gets frustrating.

The front seating area is open and elegant in the 2014 Infiniti Q50. Materials and craftsmanship measure up to its class standing.

Headroom is a bit tight in the back, but otherwise the rear area is inviting with lots of room for feet. Seats can fold down to open up the cargo area.

A few electronic aid highlights in the 2014 Infiniti Q50 include:

Predictive Forward Collision Warning (touted as a world first) warns drivers of risks, which lay beyond their field of view, such as a dramatically slowing car two cars ahead. Radar goes underneath the first car to make the determination and warns drivers with a gauge display, a sound warning, and the tightening of the seat belt.

There are lots of apps coming to give drivers real-time connectivity to their digital life.

2014 Infiniti Q50 cabin

A new twin-screen nerve centre dominates the new interior. (Photo: Michael Goetz)

Comparing the 2014 Infiniti Q50
The 2014 Infiniti Q50 is a great and intriguing contender. It won’t upset the current pecking order in the compact-ish, luxury sports sedan class, which is chalk full of worthy and famous nameplates – all with loyal followings – such as the BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C Class, Lexus IS350, and a few others.

However, it has an open and individual style, and a suite of technologies, that set it apart from the rest. The 2014 Q50 will surely resonate with similar open and individual buyers.

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