2019 Infiniti Q50s Red Sport 400
Let’s say you are in the market for a luxury sedan that’s sporty as well as comfortable, and affordable. The Q50s Red Sport 400 is a small luxury sedan that tries to be sporty as well as comfortable. To compete with the popular German manufacturers in this crowded segment, Infiniti decided to throw in everything it had at the Q50. From its 400-horsepower engine to Direct Adaptive Steering, a steer-by-wire system with no physical connection between the steering wheel and the road. So for the purpose of a robust consumer report, we borrowed the Q50s for a couple of days to find out just how unique this car is.
Let’s talk tech
The Q50’s InTouch infotainment system has a somewhat unusual config. While most car manufacturers stick with one display screen, the Q50 actually has two - one 8.0-inch screen and one 7.0-inch screen. They’re stacked with the larger screen on top, giving the impression of one big portrait-oriented screen. This interface combination works pretty well, letting the upper screen show images like navigation maps while allowing the menu buttons accessible on the lower screen, which also happens to be easier to reach. The touchscreen is supplemented by a handful of analogue buttons, as well as a small rotary controller should you feel a bit lazy.
Interior fit and finish
The Infiniti Q50s has an interior that’s a real luxury, something you’re bound to experience once you are in it. Aesthetically, the layout is very original. The center stack divides the cockpit into areas for driver and passenger, and the trim pieces twist their way from the center console up to the dashboard, which to us is very artsy. The materials that compose the interior feels like high quality, which is how it should be in a luxury car. Space wise, the Q50 is decently spacious, with comfortable front seats. But rear-seat legroom isn’t very generous, which to be honest is a common problem in this segment.
How’s the performance
Let’s be honest; if you name your car the Red Sport 400, it better be one-hell-of-a-machine to drive. The good news is that it delivers on that promise. Its 400-horsepower engine has enough grunt to make it feel like a muscle car. The 350 lb-ft of torque always seems to be on hand, so using the seven-speed automatic’s paddle shifter isn’t really necessary but still is a joy to flick through. The engine even delivers a nice growl, especially for a V6 muffled by the two turbochargers. On bends, the chassis is ready to indulge in some immature hooliganism, which brought out the inner-childishness of our editor who couldn’t seem to stop smiling each time he came back to the office. The Q50 doesn’t feel as light on its feet as some other small luxury sedans, but at the same time holds on its own especially when exiting a corner sideways. The bad news is the Direct Adaptive Steering, and its synthesized response is so good that it kind of takes away the thrill, but not in a way that will stop you from continuing to enjoy driving the Q50s. Driving mode wise, the Q50 comes with six programmable driving modes: Standard, Snow, Eco, Sport, Sport+ and Personal. Sport+ is really the only one you’ll need in most situations. It seems to wake up the engine and generally lets the Q50 live up to its sports sedan name.
From a real driving enthusiast point of view, the Q50s drivetrain and chassis are as good as can be. One thing is for sure, and that is at the end of every trip you make, the Q50s will leave a big grin on your face. So if you are in the market for an affordable fun thrashing four-door luxury sedan, the Q50s is right on the money.