Infiniti has built its reputation on cars and crossovers that feature sporty handling and great all-around performance as key components of their DNA. The redesigned 2014 Infiniti Q50 continues on in this well-worn tradition, providing a stylish and comfortable entry-level luxury sedan that helps keep drivers in touch with the road thanks to its well-tuned chassis. The Infiniti Q50 also maintains its powerful base engine, giving it an edge in a segment where power is often equated with prestige.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2014 Infiniti Q50.
No, Infiniti hasn't scrapped the G sedan that has long been its standard-bearer in the entry-level luxury space. The 2014 Infiniti Q50 actually represents the evolution of last year's Infiniti G, and its new name is tied in to the completely revamped nomenclature that is being applied across the Infiniti stable. From 2014 on, all sedans, coupes, and convertibles will feature names starting with the letter 'Q,' while crossovers and SUVs will be known by the letters 'QX.' Infiniti decided to 'streamline' its naming conventions in order to better communicate the structure of its offerings to a global audience.
The 2014 Infiniti Q50 goes in a bolder styling direction when compared against the 2013 model, and this is most visible up front where its fascia, grille, and bumper have been re-shaped for the current model year. The Infiniti Q50's canted LED headlights are now more sinister and occupy additional space, while the grille gains a 'double arch' design that is in many ways reminiscent of several of its luxury competitors. Aerodynamics have also been improved, and the rear of the car is more muscular than ever before thanks to enhanced character lines and bulging rear fenders and trunk lid. Inside, the Q50 also boasts more extroverted design conceits, as well as upgraded materials throughout its cabin.
The 2014 Infiniti Q50 benefits from more than an upgrade in the looks department with its most recent refresh - it also manages to deliver platform improvements that help out its ride as well. In addition to a stiffer chassis and a lower coefficient of drag that helps the car slip through the air that much more efficiently, the car gains a revised rear multi-link suspension setup that is intended to provide more camber and increase grip while cornering at higher speeds. For those who want even better performance, the car will be made available with a package that includes larger four-piston front brakes as well as sport-oriented pads and rotors all around.
One area of the 2014 Infiniti Q50 that carries over from the previous model year is its six-cylinder engine. The 3.7-liter V-6 that is included with the Infiniti Q50 will continue to produce 328 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque, making it one of the most powerful base drivetrains available in a compact luxury car. For 2013 the G sedan's fuel mileage was rated at 19-mpg in city driving and 27-mpg on the highway, and the Q50's numbers should fall somewhere in this range as well. Optional all-wheel drive will continue to be available with the four-door Infiniti.
The 2014 Infiniti Q50 will also carry-over the G sedan's seven speed automatic transmission. Standard across all trim levels, the Infiniti Q50's autobox will allow for manual control over gear shifts via steering wheel-mounted shift paddles, and on some models will also feature the ability to automatically rev-match while downshifting. This helps keep the car from having its balance upset when braking for a corner. Unfortunately for fans of manual transmissions, Infiniti has decided to no longer offer its six-speed, shift-it-yourself unit in the Q50, citing the low take-rate amongst customers as the reason for killing this option.
Completely new for 2014 is the inclusion of a hybrid edition of the Infiniti Q50. The 2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid borrows its gasoline / electric drivetrain from the larger M35h sedan, which means that it consists of a 3.5-liter V-6 that works together with a single battery-powered electric motor to produce a total of 354 horsepower. Fuel mileage figures have yet to be released for the hybrid version of the luxury car, but Infiniti has stated that the Hybrid will come with the same seven-speed automatic and available all-wheel drive as the gas-only version of the vehicle.
The 2014 Infiniti Q50 represents the first implementation of what the brand is calling 'InTouch,' a telematics system similar to those offered by companies such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Infiniti InTouch is managed via a pair of touchscreens, and includes not just access to the Infiniti Personal Assistant program (which can help drivers make restaurant reservations as well as answer questions about the area they are driving through), but also provides customized setups for navigation, entertainment, and other vehicle information displays. The touchscreens additionally include gesture recognition, an advanced feature that is spreading across the premium segment as companies attempt to align their products with the interfaces available with tablets and mobile phones.
The 2014 Infiniti Q50 will be the first car in the company's lineup to feature drive-by-wire steering. Called 'Direct Adaptive Steering,' the system is actually completely disconnected, mechanically, from the Infiniti Q50's front wheels and instead relies on an array of sensors to transmit steering wheel position to the car's steering rack in order to change the car's direction. The advantage of this setup, according to Infiniti, is that drivers can choose from four different steering settings in order to better match performance with road conditions. For those who are disconcerted by the concept of disconnecting the steering wheel from the front suspension - and to placate the NHTSA - the Q50 comes with a 'backup' mechanical system that can step in should the steer-by-wire setup fail.
Complementing the 2014 Infiniti Q50's Direct Adaptive Steering feature is something called Active Lane Control. Active Lane Control does more than just keep the car from drifting over the yellow or white lines on the road - it actually uses its system of cameras to keep the car more stable while traveling in a straight line. Camera input is fed to the steer-by-wire system in order to make numerous fine steering inputs that are imperceptible to the driver but which reduce some of the burden of keeping the car pointed in the right direction on longer highway trips. If necessary, Active Lane Control can also intervene to fight off crosswinds as well as keep the car from leaving its lane should the driver fail to react in time to a bend in the road ahead.
When it goes on sale this coming summer, the 2014 Infiniti Q50 will feature a starting MSRP of $36,450. This puts it in the middle of the entry-level luxury pack, as the price is more expensive than that of the base Audi A4 but less than that of comparably powerful members of the BMW 3 Series lineup. The Infiniti Q50 Hybrid will cost $43,700, which is significantly less expensive than the less robust BMW ActiveHybrid 3, its only real competitor in its segment. Once again, Infiniti has made value an important part of the marketing push behind the Q50, which should lead to the car finding its place in the increasingly crowded luxury landscape.