Getting stuck in gridlocked traffic is a pain.
Getting stuck in gridlocked traffic with 328 horsepower waiting anxiously for my command is a tragedy.
So went my trip to Prescott, AZ, with the 2014 Infiniti Q50S sedan. Of course some poor guy was having a worse day than me. Four miles ahead of me a column of black smoke was all I could see of his car fire. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the blaze brought traffic to a halt for one hour and 40 minutes. But it was a comfortable one hour and 40 minutes that gave me plenty of time to ponder the latest Infiniti.
The Infiniti Q50 is all new for 2014. Infiniti has left the “G’s” behind and is getting back to its roots and the “Q” designation. The Q50 replaces the G37, and is definitely an upgrade in the looks department. The body has a new aggressive design with something Infiniti calls double-waved sculpting to the hood. The original Infiniti G series was impressive in its smoothness. This styling has more surface motion but looks nice and modern. My test car was the S model which also had a sport front fascia with extra goodies tacked on. I guess they’re trying to make a connection to the company’s involvement in Formula 1 with the styling touches.
The engine is a 3.7-liter 24-valve V6. The Sport model delivers 20 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway. Step down to the base model and you’ll get an extra mile per gallon in highway driving (not to mention a cheaper base price of $37,150 and the same horsepower). The 328 horsepower doesn’t throw you back in your seat. The power seems to come on smoothly, although when you need to punch it and get around someone on the freeway the horses are ready to go. My test car was rear wheel drive but you can get an all-wheel drive version. The engine was mated to a 7 speed automatic transmission. You also get a manual shift mode that has downshift rev matching. Sounds cool, but I doubt you’ll really use it much.
Infiniti is doing a lot of bragging about its Direct Adaptive Steering. It’s a digitally enhanced steering system that allows you to filter out unwanted vibration and customize the feel to your liking. I have to admit, I didn’t get enough time to really explore the steering, but it is definitely a new twist on the old rack and pinion concept.
Since I was stuck looking at the inside of the car during my time sitting on the highway, I got a great feel for the styling. Personally, I think the Q50 has one of the best looking interiors around. The center section has a decidedly vertical design, rather than the horizontal look used by so many other cars. In fact, it reminded me slightly of the design on the McLaren MP4-12C dash (only slightly, but enough to make the connection). It has two displays. The top one is dedicated to the navigation system, the bottom display handles all the car’s InTouch tech stuff. You can connect to various apps as well as store your own audio, climate and driving preferences with the Infiniti InTuition system. Some cars overwhelm you with their techniness, I thought the Infiniti seemed just right. Technophobes won’t be scared away, while the folks wanting maximum connectivity will feel right at home. Crank up the radio and the 14 speaker Bose sound system delivers. I had the sport seats which have plenty of adjustments, including side bolsters and a sliding thigh cushion to make sure you’re completely comfortable.
I should also mention the “Kacchu” aluminum design in my test car. Infiniti says it was inspired by traditional Samurai armaments. Not sure if a Samurai would feel at home in the Q50 but I thought the pebbled look was attractive and will likely hold up well.
Price for my test car was $45,705. That included the $1400 navigation package and $200 for a spare tire. Yep, that’s now an option, although the car does come with run flat tires. The S package included 19-inch alloy wheels, sport brakes and tuned suspension and a solid-magnesium paddle shifter along with the revised front end.
Infiniti’s G series sedans have always been attractive options. The new Q is a nice step forward. But you can really only appreciate it when you’re actually moving forward.