Infiniti Q50 review
The new Infiniti Q50 saloon rivals the BMW 3 Series with a hi-tech and comfortable interior
The Infiniti Q50 is a replacement for the old G37 – a car that barely sold in the UK because of its high price and thirsty engines. But the Q50 is a lot more UK-friendly, featuring a four-cylinder diesel and petrol engine borrowed from Mercedes and a 359bhp flagship Hybrid model, too.
It has to compete in a segment with excellent cars like the BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4, but its hi-tech approach and refined, comfortable drive should ensure the Q50 finds a certain amount of niche success.
Our choice: Infiniti Q50 2.2d Premium
Engines, performance and drive
The big-seller in the UK is set to be the 2.2d model – confusingly powered by a 2.1-litre diesel engine borrowed from Mercedes. With the auto gearbox it can accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds but feels punchier than that because of its impressive torque.
It's not the most refined engine when fitted to a Mercedes and that's the case with the Q50, too. It's loud and raucous but does deliver strong performance. A new 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol model has also just been made available to buyers. It resolves the refinement issues associated with the diesel and completes the 0-62mph sprint in 7.2 seconds.
The Hybrid model is far quicker and far smoother but does cost around £10,000 more. The handling is reasonably good, with barely any body roll and a generous amount of grip.
The big problem is the steering, which offers next-to-no feedback, making it difficult to put your trust in it. The Direct Adaptive Steering – an £800 option on Premium models and standard on Hybrids and Sport Q50s – has even less feedback. You can also change the amount of resistance and the quickness of the steering but making it any faster than the standard mode can make it feel really twitchy.
MPG, CO2 and running costs
The new 2.2d model can boast CO2 emissions as low as 114g/km but that’s only if you go for the entry-level model with a manual gearbox. Spec some bigger alloys and fit the seven-speed auto, and that goes up to 128g/km. That equates to fuel economy of 57.7mpg but the most efficient can return more than 60mpg.
Those figures are competitive and should help in the company car market. The Hybrid, meanwhile, returns 45mpg and emits 144g/km of CO2 at its cleanest. Considering the 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds, that’s actually pretty good – and without the 3% diesel BIK surcharge for company car buyers there is a solid case for buying a Hybrid as a company car.
The new petrol engine is the least efficient of the lot, returning just over 43mpg with CO2 emissions at 151g/km. It is however, a lot cheaper to buy than the hybrid, with prices starting from just over £31,000.
Interior, design and technology
The Q50’s bold grille and sweeping lights might not be to everybody’s taste but it does at least have some character. Next to cars like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 it’s a genuinely striking design, and one that will be made all the more eye-catching by its rarity.
A stylish set of 17-inch alloy wheels come as standard but these can be upgraded to 18 or 19 inches for a price. The interior is relatively classy and looks pretty hi-tech thanks to the dual touchscreens mounted in the centre console. It’s a shame that there are some old cheap-looking Nissan buttons dotted about the place – it lowers the feeling of quality a little.
Practicality, comfort and boot space
The Q50 is the longest car in its class and it also has the longest wheelbase. That should mean impressive interior space but it's quite cramped in the cabin, especially for those in the rear. Head and knee room is not good enough for a car of this size. Rivals from BMW and Audi are more spacious.
The boot has 500 litres of space, though that goes down to 400 litres in the Hybrid, but has a bit of a lip to lift bags over. Not all models come with a boot release on the lid itself so you can end up getting out and walking round to the back before realizing the button to open it is next to the steering wheel. Make sure you specify this feature to avoid the annoyance.
Reliability and Safety
Infiniti is a bit of an unknown quantity in this respect but you can at least take solace in the fact that the engine has proved itself in many Mercedes models before being used here. A lot of the electricals have been developed in conjunction with Nissan so they’ll also have gone through the same stringent testing process and are unlikely to go wrong.
There's an impressive array of gadgets that improve safety, including a camera system to detect front and rear collisions as well as an optional system that can steer you back in to your lane if you begin to drift.