Driven

Quick Spin: Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400

A few years ago, we got behind the wheel of the all-new Infiniti Q50. The design, chassis and comfort were great, but the direct adaptive steering and strange two screen infotainment unit were a little off-putting. Now though, Infiniti has made some tweaks to the Q50 and learned their primary colors. This updated Q50 is now available in two flavors, the Q50 3.0T or, like the one we have, the Q50S 3.0T Red Sport 400.

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The most surprising thing with this car is that it is visually identical to the previous car we drove in every way. Save for new badges and a unique pair of exhaust tips, you would have no idea that this is a new car. New engine, new name – job done. Except it isn’t that simple. Underneath the surface, much has changed.

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Sure the name is a little long, but it does provide some critical information. There’s a new engine, a 3.0L V6 with two turbochargers. Gone is the Nissan 370Z-sourced 3.7L V6 and in its place under the hood is a 400 horsepower bomb. With the new powerplant, the Q50S 3.0T Red Sport 400 feels almost as quick as the BMW M3 or Cadillac ATS-V that we tested this summer. It loses the aural feedback of the old 3.7L VQ motor, but there are still worse sounding V6s out there. The 7-speed automatic shifted smoothly, but lacked the urgency of a dual clutch unit or a well programmed ZF 8 speed. It is this platform’s letdown.

The second biggest change here, after the peppy new engine, is a new direct adaptive steering system. Call this version 2.0. It’s better, but it’s still far from perfect. The wheel still lacks any actual feel, but the simulated feedback has improved. Thankfully you can have a Q50 without the direct adaptive steering.

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Infiniti didn’t stop with the engine and steering, however. There are new electronic dampers and some new chassis programming. The ride remained comfortable in all drive setting with noticeable changes as you cycle through the settings. This is still a great chassis, never coming unhinged over bumps. Our car was rear-drive model with staggered summer tires, something similar offered by the competition at BMW and Mercedes. An all-wheel-drive model is also available.

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Overall, the Q50S 3.0T Red Sport 400 has a very long name and some incremental improvements. We still don’t like the dual screen layout, or the flimsy feeling steering wheel. But the new engine and suspension proves that the engineers at Infiniti can build a good sporty sedan, even if it is impossible to differentiate from the last one.

Scott Villeneuve

2017 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400
$48,700
Technology Package $1,700
Premium Plus Package 3.0t Sport $2,250
Driver Assistance Package $2,150
Maple Wood Accent Package $400
Destination Charges $905
As Tested MSRP $57,105

Related:
Safety Overload: 2014 Infiniti Q50

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