Infiniti Q50 2.0t S Premium review: Just bristling with technology
Infiniti may be young in Australia, but it will grow popular if they continue to make quality cars
- Luxurious and spacious interior
- Great infotainment system and voice control
- Plenty of driver aids
- Engine, steering and ride are configurable
- Traction control and select driver aids can't be completely turned off
- Higher fuel consumption than most rivals
- Engine noise is uninvolving
Price$ 60,500.00 (AUD)
Infiniti is to Nissan what Lexus is to Toyota, a premium car brand showcasing Nissan’s best technologies. Anyone sceptical of a ‘luxury Nissan’ should consider the feat the company achieved in the performance market with the GTR.
The Infiniti tested by Good Gear Guide is the Q50 2.0t S Premium. Powering the luxurious 5 seater sedan is a 2.0 litre 4-cylinder engine that employs a turbo to produce 155kw. The engine revs out at 6400rpm, delivers the power through a 7-speed automatic gearbox and will reach 100 kilometres per hour from a standstill in 7.3 seconds.
Personalisation is at the crux of the Q50. Everything from the engine to the steering is electronically controlled so that it can be customised to your specific preferences. How the engine performs largely depends on the nominated configuration.
‘Standard’ is ideal for urban streets with the gears ticking over at a responsible 1800rpm. Power is secondary to petrol consumption in this mode and, although it is on demand when you generously hit the throttle, most of the time it feels sluggish.
The stop-start engine in the Q50 is sourced from Mercedes following a partnership between the companies. It is best suited for civilised driving and lends itself to long tours comfortably. Power is delivered continuously in an elegant surge and not in peaks.
Enlivening the engine is only a matter of enabling the ‘Sports’ mode. Gear changes happen at 6400rpm, the noise of the turbo spooling becomes much more audible and the throttle response sharpens. Power is delivered with a greater sense of immediacy in this mode, though this never stops feeling like an eloquent drive, but rather one that can rise to the occasion when all the right driving conditions come together. We kept the car in this mode and it averaged 9.5L per 100 kilometres of fuel.
The large car handles corners well in spite of the front-end feeling a tad heavy. Changing the drivetrain to ‘Sports’ aids the handling experience, as does nominating ‘Heavy’ for the steering.
The Q50’s steering wheel isn’t mechanically linked to the steering rack; rather technical wizardry is used to digitally replicate the connection. The lack of a mechanical connection means the steering wheel sits dead-straight as it does not quiver come bumpy roads or potholes — it is reassuringly stable and luxuriously effortless. Another benefit is the ability to nominate how heavy or light you would like the steering, ranging from an easy-comfort mode to one heavier and more dexterous.
Digitising the steering is part of the Infiniti’s ‘how you want it’ personality. Tinkerers and the tech-savvy will relish the option of tuning granular details to their every whim.
The Q50 goes one further by packing an arsenal of driving aids. Collision sensors line the car to provide 360 degree information on whether the panels run the risk of being hit, and in select emergencies the brakes will be activated autonomously. More sensors let you know when the Q50 is veering out of its lane; the car’s cruise control can deaccelerate and re-accelerate automatically to keep with traffic; and there’s even an option to have the brakes assist to help with curve tracing.
Inside, the Q50 has two touchscreen displays. An 8-inch screen up-top is reserved for GPS and the reverse parking camera tech, while a 7-inch display beneath it is responsible for the car’s settings, infotainment and application interface. We value having a screen dedicated to GPS, only we found there were some menu redundancies as each display was governed by its own settings- and input-system.
A stand-out feature of the Q50 is the ‘around view monitor’. When reversing, the 8-inch touchscreen is split in two. The right side showcases footage from a rear camera, but what we’re taken with is the feed on the left, which uses a series of cameras positioned around the car to render a birds-eye view; it’s as though you’re watching the action from a balcony directly above. Animated over this is the angle of the front wheels — so you don’t scrape the large 18-inch rims — and a projection of where the car is going.
All the bells-and-whistle infotainment options you could want are featured. The car connects with smartphones over Bluetooth easily and grants control over your smartphone with one of the most accurate voice control systems. Two USB slots are found in the arm rest, alongside an SD card slot for the GPS mapping and an auxiliary input. Those with a large mp3 CD collection will be happy to know the Q50 can accommodate.
Interior comfort is of a high standard for a number of reasons. Plush perforated leather accounts for the sumptuous seats and the door trimming. Aluminium has been used for some of the console’s insets and for the gear paddles behind the steering wheel. The electric seats are heated for the cold months and dual-climate control for those that are warm.
The Q50’s charisma goes beyond the trinkets and extends to the interior’s design. It feels open, and no matter if the windows are up or down, it is bathed in a great deal of light, so that you feel free and not trapped. Locomotion, after all, is freedom, and the interior design of the Q50 drives this point home.
The Infiniti Q50 brings technology and comfort to the forefront of a drive. This is a car for people interested in a comfortable, safe and economical drive from a full-sized sedan. Then on weekends, when they want to let their hair down and embark on an adventure to wherever, they can tweak the car so that it is just right for the occasion.
• A 2 litre turbocharged 4 cylinder petrol engine
• 155 kilowatts
• 7 speed automatic
• 7.3L/100km – claimed fuel use
• 9.5L/100km – as tested
• Rear wheel drive
• Standard: $60500
Be sure to factor in additional ‘drive away’ costs.
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