We had a comprehensive test drive with the 2020 Infiniti Q50 S Signature. Infiniti’s sports sedan was originally introduced in Detroit during the NAIAS 2013 in early 2013. This was Infiniti’s response in the highly competitive and crowded segment of luxury sports cars dominated by Germans and by Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.
Engine and powertrain
Following the mid-cycle refreshment in 2016, Inifiniti dropped the 4-cylinder engine and now the entry-level sports sedan has a 6-cylinder, twin-turbo 3.0L engine which is definitely more desirable thus making this vehicle more competitive against the strong rivals mentioned above. Infiniti offers two options with 300 and 400 horsepower, the latter being offered with I-Line Red Sport.
Our tester, 2020 Infiniti Q50 S Signature with the powerful twin-turbo engine, delivers 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque and you will never feel underpowered in any situation. It gives you the driving pleasure you would expect from a luxury sports sedan both in the city and on the highway. The engine is mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission and with intelligent AWD (RWD normally and transferring power also to the front wheels if road conditions require), 19″ aluminum wheels and all-season run-flat tires, the communication with the road surface is superb.
Q50’s interior is well executed and nothing-short of a luxury vehicle. However, on the second look, you will notice it is slightly outdated. Particularly the infotainment system (even with recent software upgrades) with two screens is overly complicated and somewhat distracting. I am confident that Infiniti is working on that and will introduce a simpler layout. Nevertheless, with smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) Infiniti’s infotainment system became more modern and up-to-date.
The seats are comfortable and the view is good. I am not sure how much know-how this Infiniti received from Nissan, the parent company which in recent years invested heavily in seat comfort and using the so-called “zero-gravity seats” in some models like the Altima.
The Q50 deserves its name as a sports car. The power reserves are always under your right foot. The steering wheel is responsive and the car stops confidently. The ride quality is very convincing and even in the Sport mode, the ride comfort was good and earned to be named as “luxurious”. I think that we have to give some credit to Dunlop performance, run-flat tires.
The most interesting day of our test drive with the Infiniti Q50 S signature was a visit to Port Union, east end of Scarborough bordering Pickering. Port Union was one of the old colonial settlements in Southern Ontario. Following the influx of Loyalists leaving rebellious former British colonies of emerging independent America and rushing to Ontario, many of these people found their new home in the northern shores of Lake Ontario from Bay of Quinte to Credit River. Iroquois and Mississsauga First Nations preceded the European Settlers and Loyalist leaving America.
After our one-week, mixed-mode test drive, I measured and an average consumption of 10.2 litres which is very close to NRC measurements. A reasonable figure for this type of vehicle. Readers of this article should also note that Q50 burns premium fuel.
Our tester, the fully-loaded Signature version, has an MSRP of C$52,840, which includes C$2,095 for delivery and PDI and C$750 for Pearl Paint, the only option.
For details about pricing and equipment, please check the window sticker below:
Looking from a positive side, the current Infiniti Q50 is a mature product that was launched in 2013 and had a major upgrade in 2016. For people, who are looking for a premium sports car, the Q50 should be in their short-list.
A Look into the Future
From a broader perspective, Infiniti needs a clear strategy.
Ashwani Gupta, COO of Nissan, the parent company told early this summer, “We will bring back Infiniti as Nissan-plus, in terms of product and technology. Infiniti will be great again.” We have to wait a bit longer and see what these words exactly mean. Infiniti could either be rebadged and refined Nissan as this statement probably implies or an independent luxury brand utilizing Nissan’s engineering and innovation capabilities. So far, we do not know either what role Infiniti will play in the era of BEV’s.
Infiniti sales in 2019 were 249K, far from the once-targeted half a million. The scale of economics and level of global competition in the sector tells us that not only Nissan but the 20 plus years’old Renault-Nissan Alliance (with Mitsubishi joined a few years ago) absolutely needs a luxury brand in the portfolio that can generate higher profit margins thus contributing to overall profitability.
For more detailed and most up-to-date information, please visit http://www.infiniti.ca
Article and Photos by Varol Mc Kars