While we’re talking about the exterior, I must say the small lights that are inlaid into the door handles are quite nice. They illuminate (along with the LEDs in the headlights and taillights) whenever you unlock the car with the fob, open the door, etc. The rest of the exterior styling is attractive as well, specifically the front fascia – easily the most handsome “face” in the segment.
I didn’t test the limits of acceleration and handling characteristics as much as I did with the G37 last year (like taking it to the track), as the owner of this car cares a whole lot more about it. This chassis maintains the G37’s supremely planted feeling at higher speeds. It also still has the tendency to rev to un-needed high RPMs during normal driving while in “standard” drive mode (just like the G, although it seems not as severe). One day on a casual drive to lunch, I recall a coworker mentioning “what the hell is this thing doing way up in 4200 RPM-land?!” Flipping the drive mode selector to “ECO” mode solves this issue, and actually provides some impressive MPG numbers. I was getting around 33 mpg highway mileage if I kept the speed to around 55, and 30-31 around 70-75mph.
The steering, quite frankly, is a little funky. There’s very little body roll, and there seems to be plenty of grip (although again, I didn’t push it), but the steering is quite numb. Steering this car is sort of like having sex with two extended-pleasure condoms on. I guess you’re technically doing it, but you’d never know it. Not surprising, seeing as how this car is equipped with Infiniti’s version of steer-by-wire.
As can be expected, the ride is smooth, and the cabin is quiet and rattle-free. The exhaust seems to be toned down quite a bit from the G37. Aside from the unnecessary high revs during normal driving, the new Q definitely feels more luxury-oriented than sporty, but then again the suspension isn’t really supple enough to convey supreme luxury to the driver.
With the “Q50” name, one can’t help but make comparisons to the original Q45. I have to say, I like the original better. The seats and ergonomics in the Q50, while good, don’t quite match the incredible comfort of the original Q45. To this day, they are still the most comfortable car seats I’ve ever sat in, so the bar was set extremely high in 1990-1996. The VH45 V8 and 4-speed automatic seemed like they were a lot more “with it”, and deliberate in their intentions, albeit ultimately not as fast in a 0-60 jaunt.
Overall impressions? It’s pretty simple: For the average Infiniti buyer, or someone shopping the upper-entry-level luxury sedan market, the Q50 is a fine choice. It may lose some market share to a well-equipped 3-series (for buyers interested in pure performance), and it may miss some folks shopping the Acura TLX and Lexus IS-series (for those looking for cutting-edge (read: ugly) styling. Otherwise, you could certainly do worse in this segment, and for $37,000, it’s a lot of luxury and refinement.
The author, James Sisson (PapaSmurf2k3) is a mechanical engineer and long-time NICOclub Moderator.