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Driven: Infiniti introduces up-spec Q50

Infinite potential: With just 121 recorded sales year-to-date, Infiniti’s Q50 has plenty of room to grow in the premium mid-size segment.

Prices up and diesel discontinued in revised Infiniti Q50 premium mid-size sedan


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3 Nov 2017

INFINITI Cars Australia has upped pricing on its new-look Q50 sedan by as much as $1000 and dropped diesel-powered variants as it updates the safety equipment, exterior and interior of its premium mid-sizer to reverse its downward sales trajectory.

Entry-level GT variants jump $1000 in price to kick the new Q50 range off from $54,900 before on-road costs, while the discontinuation of the diesel powertrain due to low sales means a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder is the exclusive engine offering in the range opener.

All mid-tier Sport Premium grades move up $500, starting at $62,400 for the 2.0-litre turbo, $70,400 for a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6, $73,400 for the turbocharged 3.5-litre petrol-electric rear-wheel driver and $75,400 for all-wheel-drive hybrid versions.

Pricing remains static on the range-topping Red Sport at $79,900.

For the first nine months of the year, Infiniti has sold just 121 Q50s – a drop of 52.9 per cent compared with the same period last year – making the mid-size sedan the third-best selling model in the Japanese car-maker’s line-up behind the Q30 and QX30 pair on 193 and QX70 SUV on 147.

However, Infiniti senior product manager Bernard Michel said the light refresh to its Q50 will reinvigorate interest in the model and could push it back up to the top of the car-maker’ssales charts.

“We think we will definitely get a spike,” he said, but would not be drawn on specific numbers. “What that equates to, let’s see.”

With the upgraded safety technologies, the three-variant Q50 is expected to be more competitive against its premium mid-size rivals, including the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Jaguar XE and Lexus IS but Mr Michel said that is only one appealing aspect to buyers.

“The most important thing (to customers) so far we’ve found out is design ... I suppose this (safety systems) comes as a consideration in the top sort of four or five considerations,” he said.

“It’s one of many, it’s not the sole reason people buy an Infiniti, they’re not solely looking at that aspect, but there is certainly an expectation in the premium segment when you buy a car … that it has a fairly high level of safety features as well, but ours are probably in that next phase from the competition at the moment.

“Which is a good place to be.”

Base Q50 GTs are now equipped with 360-degree surround-view cameras with moving object detection, automatic headlights and wipers, front and rear sonar, tyre pressure monitoring, auto-dimming rearview mirror and high beam assist.

Stepping up to the Sport Premium and Red Sport adds lane departure prevention, adaptive cruise control, blind sport warning and intervention and autonomous emergency braking.

It also adds world-first Predictive Forward Collision Warning that can monitor two vehicles ahead, as well as Back-up Collision Intervention that can automatically apply the brakes if it detects an imminent impact while reversing.

Exterior changes across the three-variant Q50 line-up comprise of a revised front fascia with updated grille, headlights and foglights – as well as more prominent splitter – while the rear lighting signature borrows from its Q60 coupe sibling for a slimmed-down look.

Further differentiating model grades, twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6-equipped Sport Premium and Red Sport variants also gain more aggressively styled front bumpers with wider air intakes, as well as gloss black side mirrors and a two-tone rear diffuser.

Inside, model-wide updates include soft-touch leather across the instrument panel and shift knob with distinct double stitching, more ergonomically shaped steering wheel and better-bolstered front seats.

Sport Premium and Red Sport grades also gain ambient interior lighting, while flagship variants add newly acquired quilted leather accents and red stitch detailing throughout the cabin.

Mechanically, Infiniti’s Direct Adaptive Steering has been revised enough to warrant a second-generation moniker and offers greater levels of feedback closer to a mechanical set-up.

The system is able to adjust steering ratio on the fly, up to 1000 adjustments a second, and can be tuned for comfortable or sporty feedback.

Standard equipment retained in the new Q50 range includes new-look 18-inch wheels shod in performance tyres, LED headlights, power-folding mirrors, chrome door handle and exhaust tip highlights, eight-way electronically adjustable front seats, four-mode drive selector, keyless entry and start, six-speaker sound system, and dual-screen infotainment display.

Moving up the Sport Premium adds sports-tuned suspension, 19-inch wheels, sports grille, 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat, sunroof and 16-speaker Bose sound system, while top-of-the-line Red Sport variants gain red-painted brake callipers, wider 19-inch wheels and black-coloured rear spoiler.

Few options are offered for the Q50, but GT buyers can opt for a sunroof and premium colour choices including Liquid Platinum, Graphite Shadow, Midnight Black and new Dynamic Sunstone Red for flagship variants.

Powered by a Daimler-sourced 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four cylinder, GT and base Sport Premium variants produce 155kW of power at 6800rpm and 350Nm of torque at 5000rpm for a zero to 100km/h sprint time of 7.2 seconds.

With power sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission that includes drive mode select and steering wheel-mounted shift paddles, the 2.0-litre Q50 returns 7.3 litres per 100km of fuel economy, while emitting 168 grams of CO2 per kilometre.

Total system output for hybrid powertrain-equipped Q50s is 268kW at 6500rpm and 546Nm from 1470rpm for a 0-100km/h time of 5.1s and 5.3s for RWD and AWD variants respectively, while fuel economy drops to 6.8 and 7.2L/100km.

In the Sport Premium, the twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 makes 224kW at 6400rpm and 400Nm at 5200rpm, while under the bonnet of the Red Sport the mill is tuned to 298kW/475Nm coming at the same engine speeds.

Infiniti has chosen to withhold 0-100km/h times for both twin-turbo V6 variants, but fuel economy in the Sport Premium is 9.2L/100km with the Red Sport slightly thirstier at 9.3L/100km.

2017 Infiniti Q50 pricing*
2.0t GT (a)$54,900
2.0t GT w/ sunroof (a)$56,890
2.0t Sport Premium (a)$62.400
3.5t Hybrid Sport Premium RWD (a)$73,400
3.5t Hybrid Sport Premium AWD (a)$75,400
3.0t Sport Premium (a)$70,400
3.0t Red Sport (a)$79,900
*Excludes on-road costs

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