Infiniti Q50 first drive review

12 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Infiniti Q50 first drive review отключены
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Infiniti Q50 Hybrid video review

Sam Hall discovers Infiniti’s latest luxury model should have European car makers concerned.

PT3M28S 620 349 September 19, 2013

Execution is just about everything in a luxury car; doors are designed to shut with a reassuring thud, materials and trim are supposed to be smooth and soft to touch, and cabin noise is meant to be kept eerily quiet.

Tellingly, orchestrating something as complex as an entry luxury hybrid blending a relatively cheap purchase price, genuine fuel savings and swift driving dynamics is a considerably tall order. Enter the new Infiniti Q50 Hybrid: the Japanese brand s bold offering which lays claim to all of the above.

The Q50 joins an elite cohort of entry-level luxury aspirants, immediately positioned against the BMW 3-Series , Mercedes C-Class , Audi A4 and Lexus IS .

Infiniti Q50 first drive review

2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid Sport

Infiniti is eyeing off the lower end of the scale in terms of pricing, with the recently released Lexus IS250 priced from $55,900 plus on-roads believed to be squarely in its sights.

In the image-driven metropolis that is Southern California where Drive sampled the Q50 Hybrid this week the Infiniti s hunkered down stance reaffirms the Nissan upscale brand s intentions for a genuine rear-drive sports sedan, particularly in the model we drove which was wearing the optional 19-inch wheel and tyre package.

Soft-touch leather seats tastefully embossed with Infiniti logos create a strong impression of elegance. Those seeking out a tacky analogue clock in the centre cluster will instead find a pair of matching touchscreens one 8.0-inch upper screen and another 7.0-inch lower screen to keep tabs on audio, climate control, navigation, as well as various drive mode and safety feature selectors. The accompanying 14-speaker Bose stereo is among the finest examples you ll come across in a luxury car.

While the Q50 Hybrid doesn t have the same minute attention to detail as some Euro rivals in the trim and shape of the steering wheel, for instance the cabin offers adequate head and leg proportions for its five passengers, with the exception of slightly tight leg space in the second pew.

Under the bonnet resides a 3.7-litre V6 engine mated to an electric motor, producing a combined maximum power output of 264kW and 365Nm of torque. The electric motor is powered by a lithium-ion battery and doesn t appear to have a drastic effect on weight; Infiniti claims a kerbside rating of 1775kg.

It s upon start-up that the Q50 becomes most intriguing. Pressing the push button located near the steering wheel is met with uninterrupted silence as the electric motor does its thing. The brakes feel terrifically proportioned for a hybrid car, albeit ever so spongy, and the throttle is well coordinated.

There are five driving modes: standard, personal, snow, sport and eco. Activating the latter via the centrally-positioned toggle reverts the Q50 to its most frugal setting, producing a reported fuel return in the order of 7.5L/100km (not official). The setting enables the car to switch between electric power and the V6 engine effortlessly and harmoniously; on long inclines for instance. When called on, the engine unobtrusively kicks into life until the load is lightened again.

The petrol-electric teaming is among the most effective and seamless on the market, particularly in its ability to run on electric-only power under comparatively heavier throttle applications.

In eco mode only, there is also a two-stage accelerator which features a false floor to encourage better fuel economy.

Then, upon flicking the toggle to sport mode, the Q50 begins to exhibit its true driving abilities.

The 3.7-litre V6 exudes a throaty soundtrack as the car races away to 100km/h from rest in under 5.5 seconds (the unofficial time is 5.1 seconds). It s a truly visceral sports car experience; we only imagine the all-wheel drive version (which isn t coming to Oz) would be yet another step ahead.

The matching seven-speed automatic offers brilliant flexibility in all applications, as does the dual clutch-pack hybrid system (with a dry clutch before the transmission and motor and a wet clutch after to smoothen power transitions.)

The change in driving characteristics is met with a distinct sharpness in the car s steering and handling. The suspension is accommodating in all settings but the steer-by-wire steering system a world first does take some getting used to. On first impression, it feels a tad artificial and less communicative than its rival Euro models.

But we will temper that by pointing out that there is a huge level of customisation to tinker with, in effect allowing the driver to dial the effective ratio of the steering setup.

Road noise in the Q50 is fairly commendable, though not class leading. However the hybrid exhibits less drivetrain, particularly electric whirring, noises than most other examples.

The Q50 boasts a huge suite of safety technology including a new active lane control, which automatically adjusts for uneven pavement surfaces or crosswinds using a camera, forward collision warning, lane departure warning and prevention, blind-spot monitoring and an around view monitor with moving object detection.

While specs and pricing aren t confirmed at this stage, Infiniti Australia is also understood to be adding two other engine variants through its global alliance with Mercedes-Benz . a four-cylinder turbo diesel and four-cylinder petrol common with the German brand s C-Class variants.

Is the Q50 good enough to truly trouble the Euro brands? We ll officially reserve judgement on that until we get it on some more engaging roads when it arrives next year. For now, it s setting a new direction for the Infiniti brand — and with bold execution, too.

18 comments so far

Sounds like a solid effort by Infiniti. Can’t see it rivaling the IS250 though. That thing is King.

Commenter The Commissioner Location Date and time September 12, 2013, 7:43PM

In what way? It has the performance of a Camry at 2x the price. The IS 250 is a waste of space.

Maybe if they turbocharged it or add an electric motor it’s make sense, otherwise the IS350 should be the entry level, but at IS250 pricing.

Commenter daffy Location Date and time September 13, 2013, 8:52AM

The IS250 is a 6 Cylinder RWD Sports Sedan and a Camry is a 4 Cylinder FWD Commuter Car. They might share the same engine capacity but are very different cars.

The only car that can still be mildly considered as a tarted up Toyota is the upcoming ES350 which is comparable to an Aurion Presara. They are built on different platforms but share mechanical components. Build Quality, Materials wise, they are different.

Commenter Andy Location Date and time September 13, 2013, 10:54AM

Infiniti Electric Sedan

@ Andy

Comprehension 101, I only compared the performance to the Camry. The IS250 is totally gutless for the money and a very poor value proposition. The contempt Toyota had in making this the only engine for years, while the rest of the world got the IS350 made it even worse.

Commenter daffy Location Date and time September 13, 2013, 1:23PM

The drivetrain is similar (but not the same) as the current top of the range M35h, hence unlikely be priced close to the base IS250. At least at $70K-$80K I would guess.

Commenter DES Location Date and time September 13, 2013, 1:52AM

Am I the only person thinking that basic 3.7L rear drive plus manual would = win

Commenter Trogdor Location Date and time September 13, 2013, 9:08AM

Trogdor, having just bought a G37 Convertible — which is rather heavy for it’s size, I can confirm that the 3.7 is a superb engine, and that yes combined with a lively rear wheel drive chassis, the Infiniti’s are a brilliant car to drive.

Win Indeed.

Commenter G Man Location Canberra Date and time September 13, 2013, 11:32AM

they all come with a manual in the glove box.

Commenter Tin Location Date and time September 13, 2013, 1:23PM

A Japanese car will always be a Japanese car. A working horse that never break down. The styling is quite ugly inside out. I prefer a Euro car that breaks down after the warranty run out, but at least I’m enjoying the drive.

And a good excuse to upgrade after 3 years.

Commenter Daz Location Melb Date and time September 13, 2013, 9:30AM

I prefer a Euro car that breaks down after the warranty run out. That’s a very optimistic assumption Daz. There are often reports they break during warranty and you still have to pay for repairs.

How can you then enjoy the drive if your car is at the workshop?

Commenter President Akuma Location Australasia Date and time September 21, 2013, 10:19AM

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