Infiniti Q50 2.0t Review and First Drive

by under Review on 26 Sep 2014 06:41:39 AM26 Sep 2014
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2014 INFINITI Q50
Price Range
$NaN - $NaN
Fuel Consumption
NaNL - NaNL/100km
PROS

Nicely styled; beautifully built; great drive; excellent value

CONS

Boot space smaller than some rivals

Infiniti has finally completed the new Q50 prestige compact sedan model range with the addition of the ‘2.0t’ turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol model. As four-cylinder engines comprise 60 per-cent of the sales volume in this specialised segment, the 2.0t may be the last Q50 model to launch, but it will become the number one best-selling variant.

2014 INFINITI Q50 4D SEDAN

 
The turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol-powered Infiniti Q50 joins stablemates the 2.2-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel and 3.5-litre hybrid V6 petrol. That’s a comprehensive lineup which at last allows Infiniti a fair fight against rivals from Europe and Japan.
 
Infiniti has now closed the door on its launch phase in Australia and is focusing on building its business with more resources, more people and more dealerships. In the new model pipeline is the stunning high-performance Q50 Eau Rouge (418kW/600Nm twin-turbo V6 with all-wheel-drive) and the Lexus CT200h-rivalling Q30 compact (the latter planned to attract younger buyers to the brand).
 

Infiniti Q50 2.0t Overview

The Q50 is Infiniti’s prestige compact sedan and sits below the mid-size (Mercedes-Benz E-Class size) Q70. Arrival of the 2.0-litre petrol version rounds-out the Infiniti Q50 lineup and it comes with the same model lineup as the rest of the range – entry-grade ‘GT’, mid-spec ‘S’ and range-topping ‘S Premium’.

2014 INFINITI Q50 4D SEDAN

 
Infiniti Q50 2.0t ‘S’ steps-up over the ‘GT’ with the addition of specification such as 18-inch alloy wheels, Direct-Adaptive Steering (DAS) with Active Lane Control, steering wheel paddle shifters for the seven-speed automatic transmission, 14-speaker BOSE audio, sports front bumper and an electric sunroof.
 
Infiniti Q50 ‘S Premium’ ramps it up again with extras such as 19-inch alloy wheels, active front lighting, around-view monitor and a heap of safety technology such as intelligent cruise control, emergency braking, forward collision avoidance, lane departure warning, blind spot warning and reversing collision intervention.
 
The Infiniti Q50 2.0t lineup is:
GT $50,900
S $56,900
S Premium $60,500
 

Infiniti Q50 2.0t Engine

Now here’s how collaboration works: Daimler AG (Mercedes-Benz) supplies the turbocharged 2.0-litre engine fitted to the Infiniti Q50 2.0t (as well as the 2.1-litre turbo-diesel) and Infiniti (Nissan) supplies the Q50’s seven-speed automatic transmission to Daimler. That’s a lot of components racking-up ‘Frequent Flyer’ points as they move around the world.

2014 INFINITI Q50 4D SEDAN

 
The result is a very sophisticated and refined powertrain for the Infiniti Q50 2.0t. And a major reason why four-cylinder petrol engines dominate this market segment – because they’re so refined and powerful, who needs aV6?
 
With maximum power of 155kW at 5,500rpm and peak torque of 350Nm from 1500–3500rpm, the Infiniti Q50 2.0t beats or matches rival models for performance. Helped by auto start/stop technology, fuel consumption averages just 7.3l/100kms so you won’t be breaking the bank on refills.
 
Drive is to the rear wheels via that seven-speed automatic transmission.
 

Infiniti Q50 2.0t The Interior

As we know, with its 2,850mm wheelbase, the Infiniti Q50 leaves some rivals looking underdone for interior space. The layout of controls is sophisticated yet simple with dual touch-screens removing some of the paraphernalia which often clutters dashboards.

2014 INFINITI Q50 4D SEDAN

 
With rake/reach adjustment for the nicely-styled three-spoke steering wheel and electronic seat adjustment (eight-way for ‘GT’, 10-way for ‘S’ and ‘S Premium’) the driving position is excellent.
 
All models share leather seats with different trim highlights differentiating the model grades.

2014 INFINITI Q50 4D SEDAN

 
On the audio front, entry-level ‘GT’ runs a six-speaker system while ‘S’ and ‘S Premium’ score the 14-speaker BOSE system.
 
As we mentioned, rear seat accommodation ranks with the best in this league. However the 500-litre cargo capacity is beaten by some.
 

Infiniti Q50 2.0t Exterior & Styling

We’re big fans of the looks of the Infiniti Q50. Of course it features some cues from the Essence, Etherea and Emerg-E concept cars so it really debuts the new look of Infiniti.
 
We like the front-end, highlighted by that neat intersection of bonnet and grille and the light clusters with crescent-shaped LEDs. In fact that ‘double-arch’ grille is an Infiniti hallmark - however for the Q50, the European-based design team (headed by design director Alfonso Albaisa) introduced a ‘3-D’ look which is more contemporary.

2014 INFINITI Q50 4D SEDAN

 
The crescent-cut C-Pillar too is an integral part of the ‘new’ Infiniti design language.
 
And while others move cabins around, the asymmetrical layout of the Q50 is a staple for Infiniti sedans (but certainly not SUVs – check-out the racy Infiniti QX70).
 
To introduce some muscle to the look, Infiniti went for the deep body/reduced side glass ratio we know from some European brands. Side sculpturing adds some further sophistication.
 
At the rear, Infiniti Q50 looks neat with those modern tail-lights and integrated lip for the boot.   
 

Infiniti Q50 2.0t On The Road

We jumped into a few different Infiniti Q50 2.0t models during a full day on the roads from Melbourne’s CBD to Ngambie and back via the airport. All share the same driveline but of course the big question (especially if you’ve read North American media reports) is the difference between the mechanical-link steering of the entry-model GT and the ‘DAS’ of the S and S Premium.

2014 INFINITI Q50 4D SEDAN

 
Infiniti claimed a world-first when DAS debuted in the Q50. In a nutshell it’s steer-by-wire technology with no direct links from the steering wheel to the steering hardware (a mechanical link is only used in emergencies). DAS allows for adaptive steering with the driver able to select multiple options for feel and response.
 
It’s a question of degrees. ‘DAS’ does introduce noticeable changes in effort and response (in ‘Heavy’ and ‘Quick’ it’s downright sporty). And at no time does it feel artificial or lacking engagement. 
 
Where you really score DAS is for its lack of kick-back when, for example, you encounter a pot-hole mid-corner. Naturally this makes the Infiniti Q50 2.0t feel more refined and polished but it doesn’t feel remote (remember we get the updated DAS system which was re-engineered updated after initial  criticism from motoring journalists in North America).
 
Otherwise the impressive aspects of the Infiniti Q50 2.0t are the performance of that turbocharged 2.0-litre engine and its excellent mating with the seven-speed automatic transmission. This is a combo which seems ideal.
 

Infiniti Q50 2.0t Issues

Surprisingly given the Japanese passion for golf, the Infiniti Q50’s small boot will test the patience of those heading out for 18 holes (or families loading-up for a holiday road trip).
 

Infiniti Q50 2.0t Verdict

We’ve been fans of the Infiniti Q50 since day one but do concede the lack of the four-cylinder petrol engine has been a handicap. But in saying that, we’re counting the sleeps until Infiniti confirms the Sebastian Vettel-developed Q50 Eau Rouge (twin-turbo V6 and all-wheel-drive) – now that will be an awesome car.
 

2014 INFINITI Q50 4D SEDAN

In the meantime we’ll happily take an Infiniti Q50 2.0t as a permanent addition to our garage. The package size, balanced combination of engine and chassis, impressive standard kit and top-shelf production quality all combine to deliver a very, very impressive vehicle.
 
For the same reason you’d buy a 3-Series BMW or Lexus IS, you’d buy an Infiniti Q50 – the larger model cars are too big or too expensive, but you still crave the inherent features of the brand. We get that.
 
For us, tipping the scales in favour of Infiniti Q50 are the styling and the driving dynamics. The Q50 delivers a slick, contemporary look (especially that stylish front-end) and rewards serious punters with a performance in the twisty stuff which the others can’t match. 
 

Infiniti Q50 2.0t The Competition

As we write, Lexus doesn’t currently offer the IS model with a four-cylinder petrol engine. The 250 Luxury 2.5-litre V6 starts at $55,900. Handsomely styled, beautifully made and sharp to drive the IS is Lexus at its best but direct comparisons with the Infiniti Q50 2.0t are not really valid.
 
Audi A4 2.0TFSI ‘Ambition’ is stickered at $57,100 and delivers 165kW/350Nm from its turbocharged 2.0-litre engine (virtually identical to the Infiniti Q50 2.0t). Very sharp to drive and oozing Audi’s hallmark technology and quality, thanks to some pencil-sharpening in the pricing department, the A4 is now great buying.
 
It’s $60,500 for the BMW 320i which with its 135kW/270Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre engine is significantly out-punched by the Infiniti Q50 2.0t. We’d recommend careful checking of the standard and optional features to make sure you getting the full value-for-money comparison.

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