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Infiniti's U.S. Best-Seller: Q50 Sports Sedan

By Steve Wheeler, July 21st, 2018

Infiniti redefines its 2018 Q50 lineup with new trims and a choice of four solid powerplants. The Q50 is the company's best-selling model in the U.S., accounting for one-third of all sales.

Manufacturer photo: The Infiniti Q50 receives a significant updating for the 2018 model year, including a refreshed exterior and interior appearance
Manufacturer photo: The Infiniti Q50 receives a significant updating for the 2018 model year, including a refreshed exterior and interior appearance

It's pretty easy to see why. I had a blast tooling around town in this little red number. It's fast, it's nimble, it's comfortable, and it's sexy.

The 2018 Q50 is available in Pure, Luxe, Sport, and Red Sport 400 trim levels, each with their own look and character. A hybrid Q50 with a 3.5-liter V-6 is also offered.

The Pure and Luxe get a standard 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 208 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. The Luxe and Sport trims have an available 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that kicks out 300 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. The above engines are hooked to a seven-speed automatic transmission.

The top-end Red Sport 400 gets the same V-6, but it is tuned to kick out 400 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque. That was the engine in my rear-drive test Q50, and boy did it deliver an exhilarating driving experience. The Q50 felt right at home on the interstate, along state roads and on curving backcountry roadways.

Manufacturer photo: The Infiniti Q50 receives a significant updating for the 2018 model year, including a refreshed exterior and interior appearance

The Red Sport 400 comes with 19-inch wheels shod with run-flat summer tires, which not only enhance the look, but also improve handling and traction.

Inside the cabin of the Q50 you'll find excellent craftsmanship, quilted leather seats, and aluminum trim. Soft-touch materials are in all the right places, and red accent stitching crosses the dash.

Dual screens top the center stack, with the navigation screen on top (8 inches) and the touch controls on the lower screen (7 inches). The console has a rotary controller and a switch to adjust camera views.

A toggle switch allows the driver to adjust the vehicle's drive mode between personal, sport, sport-plus, standard, ECO, and snow.

Connectivity is via Infiniti's InTouch system, which allows personalization for multiple drivers. SiriusXM Travel Link is now complimentary for four years instead of just six months, with a SiriusXM satellite radio subscription.

Manufacturer photo: The Infiniti Q50 receives a significant updating for the 2018 model year, including a refreshed exterior and interior appearance

The sound system is Bose, with 16 available speakers. Other features include dual-zone air, Bluetooth, a rearview monitor, automatic headlights, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, a heated steering wheel, and remote start.

Headroom inside the Q50 is decent at 39.5 inches in the front seat. In the rear seat, the hair on top of my 6-foot-1-inch frame brushed the headliner. Legroom in back (35.1 inches) is made larger by the concave front seatbacks. Trunk room is 9.4 cubic feet.

Out on the road, the Q50 does not disappoint. It's a comfortable daily driver, but when you mash the accelerator pedal, the car responds immediately and aggressively, especially in sport and sport-plus driving modes. The balancing act between comfort and aggressive performance can be difficult, but the Q50 pulls it off nicely.

Our test Q50 Red Sport 400 was EPA rated at 26 miles per gallon on the highway and 20 mpg in the city. The gas/electric hybrid model has EPA ratings of up to 30 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in the city.

When it comes to safety, the Q50 has all the latest sophisticated equipment that aims to prevent accidents in the first place. A full complement of airbags including side curtains, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, backup collision intervention, predictive forward collision warning, and forward emergency braking are standard.

Manufacturer photo: The Infiniti Q50 receives a significant updating for the 2018 model year, including a refreshed exterior and interior appearance

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2018 Q50 its top score of "Good" in testing so far, but the test is not yet complete. The car scored "Superior" in front crash prevention. The only ding was headlights, which were deemed "acceptable" by the IIHS.

Specifications

Base price $51,000 (as tested: $51,995)
Curb weight 3,840 lbs.
Displacement 3.0-liter
Engine type 24-valve twin-turbo V-6 w/DI
Epa mileage rating 20 mpg city, 26 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 20.0 gal.
Horsepower (net) 400 at 6400 rpm
Overall length 189.6 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 350 at 1600-5200 rpm
Transmission 7-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger RWD midsize sedan
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