Infiniti Q50 Hybrid UK review

23 Dec, 2013 10:15am Luke Madden

Flagship Infiniti Q50 Hybrid is more ‘premium’ than ever, but can it match the BMW 3 Series on the road?

Verdict

3
The Infiniti Q50 is an important car fro the company - it's hoping to sell around 1,500 a year in the UK, a vast improvement over the 530 total models it shifted in 2012, and the car definitely has enough talent to do it. The handling won’t convince keen drivers, but this is a car you should consider before heading straight to the BMW or Mercedes dealer. It’s refined, relaxing and luxurious in a way an Infiniti has never been. Side-step the Hybrid, though, and stick with the diesel.

The arrival of the Infiniti Q50 in the UK marks something of a rebirth for Infiniti. It’s the first all-new model to be released under a fresh naming strategy (all cars are now Qs or QXs), and it’s also the first that specifically targets European buyers. To that end there’s a Mercedes-sourced 2.1-litre diesel in the range – but here we’re driving the flagship Hybrid.

Infiniti Q50 news and reviews

Power comes from a 3.5-litre V6 engine and a 67bhp electric motor, giving a total of 359bhp. Surging, punchy acceleration means we’ve got no complaints about performance. The seven-speed auto shifts smoothly, too, helping the Q50 hit 62mph from a standstill in only 5.1 seconds.

In stop-start town traffic, it’s possible to make serene progress on battery power alone, and there’s no jolt or vibration when the engine kicks in. Motorway refinement is as impressive, with only a whisper from the mirrors slicing through the air.

The emphasis is on performance not economy, but even so the claimed 45.6mpg is well short of the Lexus IS 300h’s 65.7mpg. If miles per gallon are important there’s always the 57.7mpg diesel, but this hybrid model isn’t really fun enough to drive to justify the extra fuel.

The Hybrid is fitted as standard with Infiniti’s new Direct Adaptive Steering – on lesser models, it’s an £800 option. The world-first steer-by-wire system has no mechanical link between steering wheel and wheels aside from the traditional failsafe linkage.

You can vary the steering’s speed and weight independently, yet we couldn’t find a really involving or natural-feeling combination. It’s good over rough roads, though, as a lot of the usual vibrations are dialled out.

Thanks to regenerative braking there’s an odd springy sensation to the brake pedal, too – not the case with the diesel – so there’s little feedback on how hard you need to push.

We were impressed by the suspension, however. It’s on the firm side, but delivers no jolts or crashes into the cabin. Loads of grip in corners means the Infiniti feels composed, yet it’s never as engaging as a BMW 3 Series.

Interior standards are a huge improvement over the car’s predecessor, the G Saloon. All models in the range have a hi-tech feel with dual colour touchscreens in the centre console, and there’s also a general sense of quality to the materials and finish. The lower touchscreen can feel slow to respond to gestures, though, which is frustrating on the move.

Pricing matches the Q50 Hybrid’s nearest rival, the BMW ActiveHybrid 3, but the Infiniti has far more standard kit, such as LED headlights and leather seats.

Disqus - noscript

Diesel engines still suffer long term if all journeys, or nearly all journeys are short - up to 4 or 5 miles like some commute distances. If you take the premium price of hybrid out of the equation, petrol/hybrid or electric is the better option for these type of trips.

This to me, sounds like one of the most exciting 'eco' cars on sale with a 3.5V6, 359bhp and 0-60mph in 5.1. Great looks too.

On paper it looks great, in three weeks I am going for a test drive, hopefully will be my next car. My only dilemma is 2WD or 4WD (+3000 euro). I still don't see the point of the diesel option in this class though, its performance is way beneath the hybrid, and also those who are after pure cost savings shouldn't be buying premium cars anyway..

Only 3 stars? (rolls eyes) For me it's this or the Lexus... the Germans don't get a look in.

Three stars? What the X? Oops! I forget the Infiniti is not a German brand.

Yes, German brands must score higher, or Carolin Tonn will be wanting to know why.

so how does it compare to the activehybrid 3 series???

A beter alternative to any german!

You´ve got the point! Some day the Nazis come back again...

8+/10

Key specs

  • Price: £40,000
  • Engine: 3.5-litre V6 + electric motor
  • Power: 359bhp
  • Transmission: Seven-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 5.1 seconds
  • Top speed: 155mph
  • Economy/CO2: 45.6mpg/144g/km
  • Equipment: Dual touchscreens, leather seats, cruise control, electric windows, keyless go
  • On sale: Now
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