Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the 2015 Infiniti Q50.
The Infiniti Q50 is the entry-point into the Infiniti range and in itself is a quality offering.
The question to be answered however is whether you would be best served walking past a BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Lexus dealership to opt for a vehicle from Nissan’s sport and luxury division.
Granted, the base-model turbo-petrol GT version of the Q50 that I road tested is priced from $50,990, or around $10,000 less than the equivalently sized 2.0 litre petrol BMW 320i and Mercedes-Benz C200.
The Lexus IS 250 would be the most closely aligned offering from that Japanese brand and is priced from $56,500, albeit with a larger 2.5 litre engine.
So, there’s no doubting the Infiniti comes with a price advantage and it also offers a pretty big power and torque advantage over the other offerings too. Packing 155kW and 350Nm, or 20kW/80Nm more than the BMW, 20kW/50Nm better than the Mercedes, and with on-par torque but a whopping 98Nm more than the Lexus!
The 2.0 litre turbo-charged Infiniti engine in the Q50 also offers very reasonable fuel consumption. A combined rate of 6.5L/100kms compares well with the 6.0L/100kms for both the Germans and is considerably better than the Lexus IS 250’s claimed 9.2L/100kms.
Around town you can expect the Infiniti to use around 10.0L/100kms, fuel economy is also assisted by an engine start-stop system.
On the road the Infiniti is a quite well-rounded, well-behaved and is mostly a very pleasing car to drive. There are different drive modes that you can select – regular, sport and then a personalized mode, I ran around in both the normal drive mode and in sport and enjoyed the differences between the modes.
The steering gets noticeably heavier in sport mode and acceleration is more enthusiastic. Even in this mode however you get the feeling that the turbo-petrol engine in the Infiniti Q50 could have just a little more grunt.
It has enough get-up-and-go for regular driving and is more than adequate on the highway, it’s just a little lacking at times, leaving you feeling that a car that looks this good and drives so nicely is just a little short-changed in the fun stakes (a major surprise given its on-paper advantage over its competitors).
In saying that, if you want more power and torque then the V6 and turbo-diesel variants of the Q50 are available, though you will be paying more, as you would expect.
Ride and handling both get a tick of approval from me and once again, overall, the Infiniti Q50 is a nice car to get about in.
The cabin is a definite highlight. With a look and feel that you would expect to find in a much more expensive offering, Nissan has insured the Infiniti branded vehicles aren’t left wanting in the comfort stakes.
Highlights include a really nicely designed and attractive steering wheel, large digital driver info screen, clear and attractive gauges and well-placed and quality feeling switchgear. I though the door trims and leather work on the seats was also a highlight.
Naturally, your eyes are drawn to the two large centre display screens. The bottom screen allows you to change drive settings, audio settings, program the sat-nav etc. and, if you wanted to, to monitor the G-Forces and other data on what’s going on in and around the Q50.
The top screen shows you climate settings (which you adjust via the well-placed buttons on either side of the lower screen), as well as sat-nav, reversing camera etc.
The Infiniti Q50 offers fairly well sized cabin storage areas, surprisingly good legroom front and back, but a slightly disappointing boot-size.
A five-star ANCAP safety rating features across the 2015 Infiniti Q50 range.
Summing it up; here’s a chance to jump into a premium quality vehicle without breaking the bank. Yes, the Infiniti has enough prestige credibility to keep you in the respectability stakes among your BMW and Mercedes-Benz owning friends.
If Infiniti can continue to supply Australian car buyers with quality, sharply priced and interesting offerings like the Q50 then more success is likely to come the brands way. Infiniti’s four year warranty is also an advantage.
Mid-size luxury car buyers should take an Infiniti Q50 for a test drive, they just might like that it is a little different to the more established offerings.
NUTS and BOLTS - 2015 Infiniti Q50
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo-charged petrol producing 155kW and 350Nm
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Safety: Five stars
Price: From $50,990