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TOV Forums > General Talk > > Re: Drove an Infiniti Q50 yesterday

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notyper
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Drove an Infiniti Q50 yesterday    (Score: 1, Normal) 09-25-2013 02:23
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Parents are still looking for a replacement for their 2002 TL-S. Went with my dad to drive a new Q50 at their local Infiniti dealer. He had already made contact with the salesperson online, so we arrived and the salesman just threw us the keyfob and said "go for it".

First impressions on the exterior are that it looks in person pretty much like it looks in photos. More chiselled and sculpted than the old G37. Personally I think it looks a little too busy, but my father really liked it. I don't think it's going to lose any business on its exterior, but neither are people going to be rushing to buy it because its gorgeous (unlike, say, the original G35 Coupe).

The model we drove was a Premium with leather and navigation. It did not have the DBW steering, but it appears that all models have the Active Trace system which is supposed to modulate throttle and brakes to maintain a proper line through corners.

First impression of the interior (I drove the first leg of the test) was that it is at least a step up over the G37. Whereas the MMC update on the G37 was pretty darn good and finally got Infiniti competitive in this class interior wise, the Q50 interior reminds one more of the M37/56 interior in terms of execution, materials and design. It's really very, very nice and as good as anything in this class. I think Audi still has that undefineable refinement and elegance, but the Q50 in its own way is just as nice, and if you like more obvious luxury it might even be better.

Seat wise, the standard seats are excellent. In the G37 you were given the choice of the rather flat, slippery and unsupportive base seats, or the highly adjustable and supportive sport seats which could get uncomfortable after a relatively short stint. The new Q50 seats are supremely comfortable without any of the pinch points of the old sport seats, yet they still offer about 80+% of the support of the old sport seats.

Room wise, the front has a definite cockpit vibe, which had my dad wondering if that wouldn't be a turn off for my mother. But I do think it fits with the sport sedan vibe. Headroom was not an issue, nor was shoulder/elbow room. In the rear, the seat cushions are nicely stuffed and comfortable, and unlike many cars the rear seat bottom is actually quite long. This is a good thing if you're a bigger person as you get great thigh support, but could get uncomfortable if you're on the shorter side. The problem is that the roofline of the car kills headroom. My dad sat in the back and even at 5'10" his hair was rubbing the headliner. Compared to my old G37 sedan (or even my CTS-V) this seems like a definite setback, regardless of what the actual specs say.

We didn't play with the electronics too much, but the display quality is certainly class average or better. The touchscreen display works well and the graphic elements are clean and rich without looking cartoonish.

First startup from cold is definitely VQ37 with a hollow, loud idle (lots of cam overlap for cat lightoff) that settles in a quieter, but almost V8 sounding burble after about 30 seconds. That's with the door open. Shut the door and the presence of the engine is noticeably reduced vs. the old G37. Vibe through the pedals and steering wheel is minimal. The Q50 offers a selectable drive mode with choices ranging from snow, economy all the way up to sport. It is basically a change in throttle mapping more than anything else and I spent almost all my time in "normal" or "sport". Econ definitely kills the throttle at almost anything under 90%. I think my old econ tunes on the G37 that I offered to my customers were much better in terms of progression :).

Pulling away from a stop, my first impression was that this VQ37, despite being rated the same as the old engine, feels noticeably stronger. The 7AT G37s always felt very quick through the first 3 gears thanks to very tight gearing allowing the engine to rev quickly to its 7500 rpm redline, but this one didn't feel like it gave up too much to my CTS-V at low speeds (the Q50 is shifting to 3rd just after the CTS-V shifts to 2nd to give you an example of the gear ratios). I can certainly believe the high 4 sec 0-60 times and mid/high 13 quarter miles that have been reported. And while the engine remains acceptably quiet under cruise conditions, if you wood it, there is no doubt that you have a high revving VQ under the hood - aurally. Vibration/Harshness is a step better than the old G37.

The only place I couldn't really do any serious testing was handling. Just no place to get to the limits. But overall the steering response felt natural, but not nearly as feelsome as the G37 did. I did not notice the Active Trace control doing anything in the few corners I was able to take at a brisker pace. Ride quality was decent, but there is still a little busyness to the ride over small bumps. Large bumps were handled very well, but it was just a little, jittery I guess, over the small stuff. This is something the old G37 did too IMO.

Anyways, seems like a very good offering. Powertrain wise it's still as strong as pretty much anything in class save perhaps for the S4. The N55 335i is a touch faster, but the difference is very small (auto to auto at least) and I prefer the character of the higher revving NA engine. I do think that Infiniti has definitely decided that sacrificing a bit of sport for more luxury is the way to go (and one could say the BMW has decided the same thing with the new 3-series). That's a bit disappointing for someone like me, but I can't deny that it will probably increase sales. One can only hope that they decide to offer a sportier version with a manual or DCT option at some point.

In summary, I don't know that the Q50 changes the game in any significant way, but it might help Infiniti move up a half-step in the rankings. Hopefully the soul that they sacrificed in doing so doesn't come back to haunt them down the road.

SC

Nick GravesX
Profile for Nick GravesX
Re: Drove an Infiniti Q50 yesterday    (Score: 1, Normal) 09-25-2013 06:03
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Interesting review, Shawn.

It'd be nice if they manage to sell a couple of them over here, merely to break up the banal ubiquity of all these German rep-mobiles...


gofast182
Profile for gofast182
Re: Drove an Infiniti Q50 yesterday    (Score: 1, Normal) 09-25-2013 09:09
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Interesting review and interesting you mention the seats. A friend has a G37x (his 3rd) and utterly hates the seats because of pressure points and general discomfort. This being his 3rd G he's found several things he doesn't like as much about it compared to his earlier ones. He's cautiously considering the Q50 but isn't as enthusiastic about the G/Q line as he used to be.
longhorn
Profile for longhorn
Re: Drove an Infiniti Q50 yesterday    (Score: 1, Normal) 09-25-2013 09:38
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Nice review Notyper, now hurry up and drop by the Caddy dealer and drive the new 14 CTS Vsport......I want to know if they truly got the handling dialed in right.


jshaw
Profile for jshaw
Re: Drove an Infiniti Q50 yesterday    (Score: 1, Normal) 09-25-2013 10:31
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I saw a train of these in varying colors on the highway one night. On the road, they look great.
dj
Profile for dj
Re: Drove an Infiniti Q50 yesterday    (Score: 1, Normal) 09-25-2013 13:35
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I recently drove several variants of the new Q50 myself a Sport base about $44,000 a Premium with 19in wheels no sport suspension also about 44,000 with roof/navi and a base Q50a with roof about 38,000. All of these were rear drive models but, all but the base car are available with AWD. I found each to have distinct personalities in regards to ride.
The Sport or S gives you paddles on the column,sport seats different front facia/suspension and rear spoiler. The ride is well damped/controlled and for some around town a bit too firm...but on the highway excellent.
The Premium w/19inch.. no paddles but offers a varied choice of interior wood and metal trims/colors...
blk/gry/tan vs just the 2 of the S gry/blk with a carbon fibre trim. This ride I found to be also well damped but softer over pot holes and varied ruts on the road..Highway ride still Excellent.
The Q50a reduces you to a base 6 speaker system instead of the Premium/Sport pkgs 14 speaker with I believe has 3 separate subs..(this system cranks) and no leather..a faux leatherette with a nice look and feel..(sadly these days only Audi has real leather as standard.) The ride of this was in a word is Lexus-like with a slight bit more control...but I can imagine with a 20in aftermarket wheel/tire upgrade it might be possible better than the stock 19in of the Premium model overall.

About handling...The S model is a beast..the one I sampled was without that automated steering pkg..that's optional..It does everything a enthusiast would expect and more..to me more than my aunt's G37 coupe in absolute limit in turns..the Premium w/19in about the same as a G37 cpe and the Q50a w/17in clearly less but with a much quieter ride and I agree all of these whether in Sport/normal mode seem stonger and more eager to play..
I would put one on my short list...

Ideally a Q50a with my choice of 20in wheels and springs..they start @ 36,000..after the market softens a bit this could be had for that price or perhaps even less with my upgrades and addiing a bit to the stock sytem.. The performance and look will indeed sell a lot of these but the softening of the ride might win over those who might want the quiet refinement of a Lexus or Benz....
I think it was a good choice to perhaps gain more of a market share...
As Always..Enjoy the Drive!

P.S. I didn't Drive the Hybrid model with the 360hp motor but was told they are indeed a bit faster and even without Sport or S trim they have the same suspension tunining of the Sport model....Go figure?


blackstripe77
Profile for blackstripe77
Re: Drove an Infiniti Q50 yesterday    (Score: 1, Normal) 09-25-2013 13:46
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How about the new TL? I think it looks great now that its been facelifted.
gofast182
Profile for gofast182
Re: Drove an Infiniti Q50 yesterday    (Score: 1, Normal) 09-25-2013 14:40
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blackstripe77 wrote:
How about the new TL? I think it looks great now that its been facelifted.

The new TL isn't so new and only the SH-AWD models can plausibly be compared with the Q50.


 
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