Infiniti gave its only relevant sedan a mid-cycle refresh last year, updating the Q50’s grille, front fascia, headlights, taillights, rear bumper and more, so 2019 doesn’t see any visual changes other than a new Canada-exclusive standard “I-LINE” cosmetic treatment specifically for the now renamed I-Line Red Sport 400 model.
Just like eyeliner, the I-Line upgrade, which was actually derived from “Inspired Line,” blackens the grille surround in the same fashion as last year’s glossy black fog lamp bezels and diffuser-style rear bumper cap, while the rear deck lid spoiler gets upgraded to high-gloss carbon fibre and wheel wells are filled with a special “custom imported” glossy black finish set of 19-inch alloys. I-Line trim further helps to visually differentiate Infiniti’s sportiest 400-horsepower Q50 from lesser trims in the lineup, a smart move considering the $7,700 leap from the already quick 300 horsepower Q50 3.0T Sport AWD.
Both 300 and 400 horsepower versions of the Q50 source their power from the same turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 engine in different states of tune, while the other big change for 2019 is the elimination of the Mercedes-Benz-sourced 2.0-litre four-cylinder that continues to make 208 horsepower in other markets where it’s still offered, like the U.S.
All remaining trims utilize Infiniti’s seven-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode and downshift rev matching, the latter a rarity in this class, while Infiniti’s “Intelligent” all-wheel drive system comes standard as well.
Keeping up with the Jones’s, 2019’s biggest Q50 addition is the inclusion of Predictive Forward Collision Warning (PFCW) and Forward Emergency Braking (FEB) as standard equipment, which means these critical accident avoidance systems are now part of the Luxe model, Luxe being the base trim level in the Q50’s recently revised grade structure.
Without going into detail about each trim, the Q50 3.0T Luxe AWD starts at $44,995 plus freight and fees, and the model in our garage this week, the Q50 3.0T Signature Edition starts just a hair higher at $46,495, whereas the aforementioned Q50 3.0T Sport AWD enters the picture at $48,495, and newly revised I-Line Red Sport 400 starts at $56,195.
With all of that out of the way, there’s nothing remotely base about the twin-turbo V6 behind the Q50’s trademark grille, thanks to the 300 horsepower noted a moment ago, and the direct-injected mill’s equally impressive 295 lb-ft of torque (well, almost equally impressive). I’ve waxed poetic about this engine before, and I’ll probably do so again in my upcoming review, not to mention go on at length about the seven-speed gearbox and “Intelligent” AWD system, that’s actually pretty smart.
Some upgrades specific to our tester’s Signature Edition trim that you might find interesting include the exact same performance-oriented exterior styling details as the Sport, particularly the sharper gloss black lip spoiler and deeper black fog lamp bezels up front, and a less aggressive version of the black and body-colour diffuser-infused rear bumper mentioned earlier, while both models make use of the same more conventional silver-painted 19-inch alloy wheels on 245/40 all-season run-flat performance tires, an upgrade over the base Luxe model’s 18-inch rims on 225/50 all-season run-flat performance rubber.
Lastly, both trims get silver “S” badges on the front fenders, but strangely the Signature Edition gets a unique rear deck spoiler just above its own “Signature Edition” decklid badge, whereas the Sport makes do with no rear spoiler at all, although it gets a silver “S” badge next to its Q50 nomenclature.
Signature Edition and Sport trims also feature the same Sport Type seats with driver-side powered lumbar support and powered torso bolsters, plus manual thigh extensions for both front occupants, while both models’ surrounding decorative inlays are finished in genuine Kacchu aluminum.
Pretty well every other feature is shared with the Q50 Luxe, which is why there’s only $1,500 separating the two trims, so along with all of the items above the Q50 Signature Edition includes standard auto on/off LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED fog lamps and front turn signals, LED brake lights, aluminum “INFINITI” branded kick plates, proximity-sensing keyless entry, pushbutton ignition, Infiniti’s “InTuition” for storing climate, audio and driving preferences within each “Intelligent Key”, welcome lights on the front exterior door handles, rain-sensing wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a garage door opener, micro-filtered dual-zone auto climate control, Infiniti InTouch infotainment with 8.0-inch upper and 7.0-inch lower displays, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, six-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3/satellite audio with HD playback, RDS and speed-sensitive volume, two USB ports, a heatable steering wheel, heated front seats, powered front seats, a powered moonroof, and more.
Of note, a number of features that were previously optional are now standard with the move up to the base V6 powerplant, including remote engine start, Infiniti InTouch navigation with lane guidance and 3D building graphics, the Infiniti InTouch Services suite of digital alerts and remote services, voice recognition for audio, SMS text and vehicle info, power-adjustable lumbar support for the driver, and 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks with a centre pass-through.
At the other end of the trim spectrum, the only real changes to previously noted Sport trim are actually performance oriented, such as steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, a unique sport-tuned dynamic digital suspension, and identical sport brakes to the Red Sport 400, which boast four-piston front calipers and two-piston rear calipers, while the two sportiest trims also get exclusive front seat-mounted side-impact supplemental airbags.
Speaking of features not available with this Signature Edition, only Sport trim gets the option of electronic power steering, while Infiniti’s exclusive drive-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) system is available on all trims except for the Signature Edition, as is the auto-leveling adaptive front lighting system (AFS) with high beam assist, a power-adjustable steering column with memory, an Around View Monitor (AVM) with Moving Object Detection (MOD), premium 16-speaker Bose Performance audio with Centerpoint technology, front and rear parking sensors, Intelligent Cruise Control with full speed range (ICC), Distance Control Assist (DCA), Blind Spot Warning (BSW), Blind Spot Intervention (BSI), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Departure Prevention (LDP) with Active Lane Control, and Backup Collision Intervention (BCI) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA).
Features not available with the Signature Edition, optional with the Sport and standard with the Red Sport 400 include auto-dimming side mirrors with reverse link and memory, plus Infiniti’s Advanced Climate Control System with auto-recirculation, Plasmacluster air purifier and Grape Polyphenol Filter.
All of this seems to place the Q50 Signature Edition in a unique value position, offering plenty of Sport trim features yet limiting its choice of options to colours, of which include the same five offered in Sport trim, and interior themes, which just like the Sport can be had in Graphite (black) and Stone (grey) interior motifs. By the way, the base model can be had with a Wheat (tan) interior, while dark-stained gloss maple hardwood provides a more traditional luxury ambiance, plus you’ll lose the option of Mocha Almond (brown metallic) paint when moving up into the sportier Q50 trims, but you gain Iridium Blue in both Signature Edition and Sport trims, whereas Red Sport 400 buyers get exclusive Dynamic Sunstone Red.
Well that was a more comprehensive overview than I had planned, so I’d better show a tiny bit of restraint and call it quits for this garage piece until the full road test review gets published later. We’re still driving it after all, so make sure to browse through the gallery provided above, and remember that all of the prices quoted in this review can be found in detail, broken down into trims with packages and options, at CarCostCanada, along with important manufacturer rebate info and dealer invoice pricing (yes, the price they pay) that could save you thousands. Check them out and be sure to come back here soon for the review…