|The Q50 is gorgeous no matter the trim. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Mercedes’ C-Class aside, which has maintained fairly consistent numbers over the years, other brands have experienced similar sales scenarios, Audi’s A4 and A5 models undergoing their worst calendar year in some time with just 6,343 sales compared to a peak of 8,307 in 2013; Lexus with just 4,901 IS, ES and RC deliveries compared to a high of 6,749 in 2014; Acura finding just 4,137 buyers for
|Sleek lines and plenty of chrome give the base 2.0t AWD plenty of premium styling cues. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Infiniti is far from the bottom of this list, with Cadillac selling just 2,375 ATS sedans and coupes last year after managing 3,493 in 2015; Volvo’s S60/V60 sedan and wagon combining for just 1,284 units in 2016 after rallying to 1,916 two years ago; Lincoln’s MKZ finding just 1,120 customers despite selling 1,625 in 2013 and being cheaper than average; Buick’s even more affordable Regal only attracting 841 takers in 2016, just five years since selling 2,846; and Jaguar merely pulling in 358 XE buyers, although it’s only been available since June.
|Standard LED headlights set the Q50 2.0t AWD apart. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Slowing Q50 sedan sales likely caused Infiniti to change up its most basic offering, the new turbocharged four-cylinder 2.0t AWD model going from a well equipped base car with two available packages to a slightly better equipped base car with zero options, paint choices aside. On that note the entry-level sedan’s colour palette has been reduced to just three tones, Pure White, Asgard Grey, and my tester’s Black Obsidian, none of which will add a cent to the Q50’s bottom line.
|The Q50 gets standard LED fogs and 17-inch alloys. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
|LED taillights react quickly to ward off tailgaters. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
|The Q50 offers a warm, inviting interior. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
This impressive load of standard features comes with a particularly well-trimmed cabin, the Q50 2.0t incorporating plenty of brushed and polished metals, the just noted Kacchu aluminum inlays nicely textured for a rich look and feel, while most surfaces receive padded synthetics for an upscale ambience overall. Really, Infiniti goes
|Genuine Kacchu aluminum inlays add upscale visual impact. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
|Dual-screen infotainment allows simultaneous monitoring of your surroundings and the car’s systems. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
As noted earlier, the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder was introduced for the 2016 model year, an engine sourced from strategic partner Daimler AG. This is basically the same power unit found in Mercedes-Benz’ C 300 4Matic, although the Q50 2.0t’s is tuned identically to the German brand’s
|Fine Vision electroluminescent primary gauges featuring a large colour multi-information display. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The Merc achieves a claimed 10.1 L/100km city and 7.8 highway, whereas the Q50 2.0t AWD gets 10.6 and 8.4 respectively. Like the C, the Q utilizes an auto start/stop system that shuts the engine off when it would otherwise be idling, but unlike the Mercedes, Infiniti also offers a Q50
|InTouch infotainment provides a lot of useful functions. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
We’ll leave that model for a future review, instead focusing on the new 2.0t AWD’s straight-line performance and overall driving dynamics. Its 7.4-second sprint to 100km/h won’t elicit too many superlatives from the passenger’s seat, but it certainly feels quicker off the line and more capable on the highway than the numbers suggest. Then again, I’m old enough to remember being excited at the 121 horsepower in my ’82 528e, although it was the engine’s 170 lb-ft of torque that really made it go, which I suppose is the same for the 2.0t AWD. It doesn’t hesitate one iota off the line and pulls strongly through its seven forward gears, Infiniti including lever actuated manual mode for DIY shifting, but no paddles. That’s a
|The layout and design of the InTouch interface makes it as easy to use as it’s nice to look at. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
That’s where the Q50 stuck to its lane like the sport sedan it’s always been, the lighter four-cylinder reducing weight over the front wheels for lively, tossable, fun-loving performance. The 2.0t AWD is the only Q50 trim to use speed-sensitive hydraulic electronic power steering instead of RACK EPS found on the next level up,
|The Q50’s standard reverse camera incorporates active guidelines. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
No doubt Active Trace Control helped matters. The standard system automatically modulates engine torque and braking to improve cornering feel, but most of the credit should be given to the Q50’s double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, both ends including coil springs over dual flow path dampers and stabilizer bars. I left it in Sport mode for such duties, although default Standard mode is still plenty capable while Snow mode was helpful in the previously noted slippery conditions. You can also set it to Eco mode for eking the most from a litre of fuel, although be forewarned the accelerator pedal will press back on your foot if
|Knurled metal detailing makes the infotainment controller a pleasure behold and use. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
While performance is certainly strong enough for ample enjoyment when called upon, the Q50 2.0t AWD is quite comfortable and quiet too. This is where all of those soft touch surfaces come into play, as well as more than enough sound insulation and an inherently stiff body shell that also helped it earn five stars in NHTSA rollover tests; its frontal, side and overall crash test scores are not yet available. Last year’s identical car received five stars for side tests as well, however, while the 2015 model achieved five stars overall. Likewise the IIHS gave it
|The eight-way powered front seats are comfortable and attractive. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Now that we’re talking practicalities, the Q50 offers comfortable accommodations for most body types front to back, the latter certainly providing more space than my five-foot-eight medium-build frame required. I adjusted the driver’s seat for size and still had around four inches remaining ahead of my knees when sitting behind, not to mention three inches over my head. There was plenty of thigh and lower back support too, plus the foldable centre armrest with twin integrated cupholders added to the comfort quotient.
|There’s ample room in the rear, plus plenty of lower back support. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
I haven’t touched on the Q50’s other trims in this review, so suffice to say that some of the aforementioned optional features get joined by a 300 horsepower 3.0-litre V6 in the 3.0t AWD and 3.0t Sport, while the Red Sport 400 uses a specially tuned version of the same engine to make 400 horsepower, while styling remains
|A reasonably sized trunk includes a handy centre pass-through. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
I find it easy to recommend all of the V6-powered Q50s, but I really like the base 2.0t AWD as well. It’s a different type of car focused on real-life wants and needs, yet at the same time it’s wonderful to drive, delivering strong performance and exceptional comfort, it’s beautifully finished from the outside in, its standard feature set is truly exceptional, it’s very efficient, and it provides excellent value. If you’re still loyal to the sport/luxury sedan market and not just reading this review out of curiosity from the elevated seating position of your new SUV, the Q50 2.0t AWD is a very good choice.
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