The Infiniti Q50 2.0T Sport, a luxury sports sedan, debuted 2 years back. The Infiniti marque is the luxury vehicle brand of Nissan, as Lexus is to Toyota.
When invited to review the Infiniti Q50 Sport, I immediately jumped at the chance. I was soon driving out from Wearnes Automotive in a luxurious and sporty sedan, and taking the Q50 Sport across the island, navigating expressways, side roads, and parking lots.
As should be expected of any luxury car, the Q50 is fully automated: the car door locks and unlocks based on key proximity, seats are adjusted with the touch of a bottom seat slider, and the engine starts with a quick push of a button.
When I hit a clear stretch of highway, I decided to test out the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine, which achieves its 208-hp power output by direct injection with Piezo injectors. The engine brought the car up to 100 km/h within an impressive few seconds, without any noticeable turbo lag. This engine is the result of collaboration between Infiniti and Daimler AG, and is composed of the crème de la crème of the Mercedes-Benz engine – the block, turbocharger, exhaust and injection system.
One of the Q50’s biggest features is its steer-by-wire technology, which Infiniti calls direct adaptive steering (DAS) technology. A first in the market, the technology offers the driver the ability to customise steering feel from four modes – standard (default), sport, snow, and personal (customisable).
While going down the CTE tunnels, I had a go at both the sport and standard modes. The sport mode had a firmer touch and allowed for lighter and more agile manoeuvring.
The personal mode, by contrast, allows the driver to customise steering weight and response. For the cautious, the safety of this feature is assured by three backup systems (each with separate electronic control units), 400,000-km of real-world test distance, and the failsafe of a mechanical steering linkage.
With the DAS feature, I experienced little vibration at the steering wheel while going over bumps. According to Infiniti, the DAS works by electronically transferring the driver’s input to the front wheels. This allows for faster steering response and reduced vibration, as the electronic system eliminates the mechanical losses that can slow the responses in conventional systems.
Another technological feature of the Q50 is its active lane control (ALC). Unlike conventional systems that use one-sided braking to keep the car on track, the Q50 utilises a camera to detect the lane the car is travelling in, and provides feedback to the steering wheel.
Despite my experimental attempts to keep my hands off the steering wheel, the ALC didn’t quite seem to “magnetise” the car to my lane, as claimed by Infiniti. However, this was possibly because I was driving with the mild ALC option, instead of the full-on option. Nevertheless, even in mild ALC, this feature is a useful support for long and monotonous expressway journeys.
During the drive, I also stopped several times to try parking the car, both in reverse and in parallel. I was intrigued by the Q50’s around view monitor, as I could see the car’s top view on the front display panel while parking, despite the absence of a video camera above the car.
Nissan achieved this smart innovation by reconstructing the car’s top view and its surroundings from four video cameras strategically located around the car. Coupled with beep sensors that provided warnings of nearby objects, including moving ones, parking with the Q50 was a breeze.
The first thing one notices in the Q50’s swanky interior is the entertainment system’s double display-cum-touchscreen. The top screen includes pre-loaded apps like a calendar app, clock, compass, and driving performance app (for dynamic analyses that include g-force and fuel flow).
The lower screen displays controls for the car’s ancillary systems, such as climate control and music. Both touchscreens are also equipped with the latest text-to-speech and voice recognition software.
The cabin is aesthetically built with premium materials and gentle curves. The semi-aniline leather seats are comfortable and well-designed, such that I didn’t feel sore despite driving for nearly an entire day. According to Infiniti, the seats’ ergonomic design was produced from joint research with Keio University.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with the performance of the Q50’s 7-gear automatic engine, the technological features and steering control, and the novel safety systems. Coupled with its sleek design and finish, the Q50 doesn’t disappoint as a sports saloon.
Engine Type : 1,991cc, 16-valve turbo engine with aluminum alloy block and heads
0 – 100 km/h : 7.2 seconds
Horsepower : 208hp@ 5,500
Torque : 350Nm @ 1,250 to 3,500 rpm
Top Speed : 245km/h (limited)
Fuel Consumption (Combined) : 7.3L/100km
Co2 Emissions : 168g/km
Fuel Capacity : 80L
Boot Capacity : 510L
Kerb Weight : 1,700kg
Transmission : 7-speed automatic transmission with Adaptive Shift Control (ASC) & Downshift Rev Matching (DRM) with manual override
Current price: S$193,800 (with COE)