It took my brain a few seconds to connect the dots and realize that my wife had actually brought home a Q50. So I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures and give it a test drive before taking it back to undoubtedly its temporary home. If you are considering a Q50, I hope you find this review helpful. Click on any picture below to see a high resolution version.
I want to exclusively thank Mike Christian, our wonderful Infiniti Sales Consultant from Zimbrick Infiniti of Madison for giving us the opportunity to test drive the car and for keep us in tune with the updates on our Q50 order.
|looks great in the driveway|
First Glance - A Walk around the Q50
Upon first glance, the Q50 AWD Hybrid Sport has an amazing sporty yet refined presence. It has very bold aerodynamic lines
and the front stance reminds me of my Honsuki knife waiting to slice effortlessly through anything I throw at it. The Q50 sport achieved a coefficient of drag of 0.26. Compare that to the Nissan GT-R which is also 0.26 and the Toyota Prius which is a hair less at 0.25. The front also features canards and a bold lower bumper valence to assist with down force, impressive single-piece bumper design.
|bold aero front|
The LED strips under the headlights are actually LED blinkers not DRL LEDs as one might expect. Speaking of LEDs, everything is an LED...YES everything on the front bumper is an LED! The Low Beams are LED, not Xenon. The High Beams are LEDs, not Halogen. The Fog Lamps are LEDs. The Side Markers are LEDs. They have a fantastic color temperature and comparable to a clean white 5000K with no hint of yellow or blue at all.
|DRL LEDs ON|
Interestingly enough, the AWD Hybrid Sport model, does not have a HYBRID designation on the rear. It does have a "blue" S which denotes the combination of Hybrid & Sport. The chrome accents are sufficient without being overbearing. The trunk has also got a sufficient "bump" built into it to eliminate the functional need for a rear spoiler. The high mounted stop lamp is located inside the rear window.
|rear refinements and redesign of LEDs|
|aero sides and powerful presence|
|alloy wheels and big brakes|
The AWD Hybrid sport is rated at 27mpg City and 31 mpg Highway.
First Glance - A Peek Inside the Q50
Simply opening the door for the first time reveals the evolutionary enhancements that Infiniti has made with the Q50. As long as the iKey is in close proximity, the driver can simply open the door without pressing an button on the door handle. Pressing the button simply unlocks all door. Infiniti has managed to remove one unnecessary step from my life.
At first glance, the entire cabin is rather breathtaking. The interior has flowing contours lines, with no rigid breaks from the center console to the doors, the quality and evenness of the various material is exceptionally matched, as is the the fit and finish of the interior. The quality of the leather and even the response of pressing every single button has been enhanced. Sorry Lexus, you have just been pwned (see an urban dictionary).
|fine detail in center console|
|passenger leg room|
|rear space and refined seats|
The front door finish has the same flow and as the rest of the interior. While standalone, the door looks to be rather busy, but once closed the door does a good job of flowing with the interior.
|flowing door finish|
The engine compartment is rather very hands off. With shields and panel covers covering most of everything. The bright orange cable screams hybrid, as does the lack of a 12V battery, as that has moved to the rear. The visible items are the wiper washer fluid, the coolant filler for the radiator and the hybrid convertor, and of course the classic Nissan yellow engine oil dipstick.
|hybrid engine bay|
First Glance - A Sit Inside the Q50
The driver information display in the gauge cluster is simply so crisp and the color scheme matched to the gauges that one might actually assume the gauges are digital. But then again, the Q50 is not exactly in the same league as the LF-A, if you know what I mean. The text is crisp, the icons meaningful and accurate with no unnecessary information, scrolling through the steering wheel buttons cycles through the various information screens.
|driver information console|
|Infiniti InTouch boot-up|
|high resolution displays|
The application such as analog clock and the performance meter, which is a subset of the metrics on my GT-R is probably where my screen will be spending most of the time when I am in Sport mode, otherwise Pandora for sure. The Q50 does not have a factory option for headrest DVD players, it would have been nice of the InTouch system could play a DVD or Video from a mobile device, but only display it only on a rear screen or head rest screen. Perhaps an after-market modification.
|let's take some corners|
Regarding the steer-by-wire feel. The best analogy that I can make is as follows:
- In Standard/Standard Mode it feels and reacts much like any other Infiniti steering system (we all know that Infiniti has a relatively tight steering feel compared to other vehicles in the same class).
- In Heavy Heavy/Quick Mode it felt very equivalent to my GT-R's steering, in other words the tightest most responsive and sensitive steering that I have felt on a road ready car (excluding specific track cars).
- In Light/Casual it felt much like a Corolla or Cadillac at highway speeds (I can only compare to these since I have driven these as rentals) - very smooth and requiring lots of input of gentle back and forth to stay in the center of the lane, and to me feels too soft.
|steering mode selection|
First Glance - A Drive in the Q50
I started the Q50 and switched to from SPORT to ECO mode. Immediately the engine shut off, I would have silently backed up if not for the reverse beep sound and the Vehicle Sound for Pedestrian (VSP) which stayed on while I drove under 20 mph.
|hybrid engine ready to go|
|driving on hybrid system|
As soon as approached the onramp, I switch it to sport mode using the selector in the center console gave it go. It smoothly got well up to the speed in a very quick acceleration. The acceleration is quick but quiet; a good reminder of how refined the VQ35HR has become. The Q50 features an active engine sound elimination technology. Think of sitting inside giant Noise Canceling headphones. I attribute my shock at the speedometer to both the close ratio 7-speed gear box and the engine sound elimination technology. During this rapid acceleration, both the gas and hybrid engines were powering the Q50's wheels. I did not hear much of an exhaust note. My old adage of louder is not quicker was confirmed.
|full power hybrid + gas to the wheels|
|driving on gas with excess power charging the battery|
|braking or coasting, shuts off engine and charges battery, even in sport|
I am frankly sold on the Hybrid Technology, specially when it comes coupled with a VQ35HR engine putting out 306hp and a 7-speed gear box for a total of 360hp and torque of 258ft-lb(gas) and 214ft-lb(electric).
First Glance - A Test of the Driver Assistance System
Without writing an in-depth review of all the systems that are available in the Q50 to ensure vehicle safety under multiple conditions, I will describe my brief first hand tests of some the systems. The Q50 with Deluxe Technology Package uses a number of sensors the major ones being - front mounted camera, front mounted sonar, radar and millimeter wave. Rear sonar, radar and camera.
|front camera for safety system|
|all driver assist turned on|
|blind spot warning|
Lane Departure Warning and Lane Departure Intervention - Yes, I admit, I gradually exited the highway without a turn signal and while the line on my right was still solid white, just before the break in the line. The system beeped at me, the system tried to keep me back into my lane, very gently though. But, I was stubborn and I made the exit, the system beeped at me again. I was not trying to test the system, I was merely driving at this point exactly how more than 50% of drivers do. If I were pulled over for not using my signals, do you think the officer would let me off when I told him that my Q50 had already called me an idiot for not using my signals, and I shall not be doing it.
Backup Collision Intervention - While I did not try and do not indend to try this out actively. The all-around camera system is stunning. It provides a nice 360 view of the car, plus has sonar which gets louder as objects get closer, plus uses radar for traffic coming at from either direction when backup up. The camera view can be switch to any one camera - e.g. widescreen front or sides so as to avoid curb rash on the wheels. The projected steering angle lines minimize steering correction and allow for smooth reverse parking.
|backup camera, radar and all around camera view|
|front camera view and side camera view|
First Glance - Final "First" Thoughts
The Q50 is simply begging to be driven and will elevate anyone's driving experience to a completely new level!
|Q50 has a personality, just look into its eyes.|