For too long, Infiniti built very comfortable sedans and coupes that instilled little passion in their drivers or the driving experience. That changed with the “G”, the first Japanese sport sedan that could truly hold court with BMW and Mercedes, and it’s especially true with the third-generation “Q50” model in 3.0t Red Sport trim. Slide into a turbocharged delight that will have almost any auto enthusiast ready to sing melodies to backroads. The fact that it’s still luxurious only adds notes to its repertoire.
Styling riffs off recent Infinitis, but with much more flair. I could lick the cherry metallic red paint on our Red Sport edition that also includes 19” wheels, red painted brake calipers, LED headlamps, and more sculpted lower front facia. Carbon fiber lip spoiler and mirror caps add exotic touches, as do large dual exhaust outlets flanking a red air diffuser out back. Infiniti’s double arch front grille and zig-zag rear window line place it in the family. It’s a car looking ready to light its rockets.
The interior is quite a composition of sport and luxury, beginning with the Red package’s diamond stitched heated leather seats with lower cushion extensions, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and carbon trim. Red contrast stitching is very chic. Dual zone climate control, navigation, power tilt/telescoping steering column, rain sensing wipers, and power moonroof add convenience.
Crank up the 16-speaker Bose audio system, connected via Bluetooth, for some real music. Infotainment is controlled through a touchscreen with easy buttons to find audio and climate modes. An upper screen is for navigation and trip information so you can keep eyes on your journey while adjusting functions below. It all works well. Our car had a fairly comprehensive suite of crash avoidance tech that included an around view camera system, blind spot warning, backup collision intervention, and forward collision warning with auto brake.
Perhaps the most impassioned portion of this composition is its engine. Beneath the hood is a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 delivering – and this is going to be good – 400 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s all delivered to the all-wheel-drive system through a paddle-shifted 7-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is rated 19/26-MPG city/highway, but you’ll never see that because sweeping fast roads brings too much joy.
Step on the throttle and the car belts out a symphonic rumble through the sport-tuned exhaust as it lifts up on a cloud of power that shoves itself smoothly forward until the driver has enough. The suspension is firm, maybe even too firm, as even in normal tour mode it will jar your teeth on road imperfections. Turn the console knob to Sport or Sport+ and the suspension, throttle, and steering transform for spirited driving…preferably on smooth roads.
Driving the Q50 lets it settle into your brain. Here is a serious performance machine, able to out-pace many serious sports and muscle cars, but with the air of a luxury car. With the exception of some harsh bumps, it is comfortable and refined. At every chance, you’ll want to blip the throttle, rumble the exhaust, and enjoy this rhapsody in red. The Infiniti Q50 starts at $35,650, but came to a lofty $60,435 all-in. Competitors include the Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG, Audi S4, and upcoming Cadillac CT4-V.
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