2017 Infiniti Q50 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Infiniti Q50 was new.


Performance: 7.9

The 2017 Infiniti Q50 gives you a choice of four engines, including a hybrid powertrain. The twin-turbo V6 engines have the best overall power output, but they also get the worst fuel economy of the bunch. All engines are mated to a smooth-shifting automatic transmission. The Q50 remains composed on winding roads, and it generally provides a comfortable ride.

  • "The Q50 is a highly competent luxury sedan that's enjoyable to drive. It drives like a smaller car, and that's a compliment." -- Edmunds
  • "With the fiery Red Sport 400, getting to speed is effortless and can easily tempt you to go faster, yet as is the case with all the Q50s, it is refined and composed; its suspension is responsive, but on a leisurely drive the ride is quite pleasant." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "We knew the 2016 Infiniti Q50S Red Sport 400 was never going to be as thrilling as the GT-R-powered Infiniti Eau Rouge concept, but we hoped it would be a little more exciting. Indeed, as we power along, we can't help think we'd have more fun in the M3, C63 AMG, and ATS-V." -- Automobile Magazine (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The base Q50 2.0t features a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 208 horsepower. It has ample power, but the optional larger engines are more impressive. The 3.0t models feature a twin-turbocharged V6 that puts out 300 horsepower, and Red Sport 400 models feature a 400-horsepower, twin-turbo V6. The V6 models move with real verve, and they pair well with the standard seven-speed automatic transmission to give you an energetic driving machine.

The Q50 won't wow you with its fuel economy. The Q50 2.0t gets an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, which are worse estimates than many other luxury small cars. As with most cars, mpg ratings get worse as engine power increases: 3.0t models get an estimated 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, and Red Sport 400 models get 20/26 mpg city/highway.

The Q50 does offer a hybrid powertrain, and it's the model you want if fuel economy is a high priority. The Q50 Hybrid gets an estimated 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. Those are above-average ratings for the class, but they trail rival hybrids' ratings, and some nonhybrid competitors like the Audi A4 also get better ratings. Regardless, don't think you're sacrificing power by choosing a hybrid. The Q50 Hybrid features a V6 engine and an electric motor that combine to produce 360 horsepower.

  • "The Q50's new twin-turbo V6 engine is the basis for the 3.0t and Red Sport 400. Whether you prefer the 300- or the 400-horsepower version, power comes on swiftly and is managed well by the slick-shifting 7-speed automatic transmission." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The older 328-horsepower V6 we tested back in 2014 provided strong acceleration, and the seven-speed automatic shifts were quick and the cabin remained quiet. We considered it a standout powertrain in its class. Both of the 2017's available turbo V6 engines are similarly powerful." -- Edmunds
  • "The extra 100 horses, channeled through a 7-speed automatic transmission, make the Red Sport an undeniably swift sedan. A quick and determined downshift spurs lusty expressway passing capability, and 350 lb-ft of torque that enters its peak at less than 2000 rpm enables prompt push from standing starts. Most of this is done fairly quietly but exhaust noise gets somewhat rumbly as acceleration gets to elevated levels." -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

The Infiniti Q50 comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available. In either setup, the Q50 is a car that handles well, particularly the Sport trims. The steering is sharp, and there's an available adjustable steering system (known as Direct Adaptive Steering) that lets you alter the amount of effort required to turn the wheel. Some automotive critics dislike the adaptive steering system, saying it makes the steering feel vague and somewhat unpredictable. The Q50 is also available with an adjustable suspension system (Dynamic Digital Suspension) that provides a more comfortable ride or sportier handling depending on which driving mode you select.

  • "The Q50 Sport's summer tires and firmer suspension tuning help turn the Q50 into a formidable sport sedan. It's sharp and capable and inspires confidence with high levels of grip and composure." -- Edmunds
  • "There are two steering options. While the drive-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering offers instant response, easier steering at lower speeds and more ways to personalize the car's settings, the more traditional rack-based power steering provides good feedback and more natural feel." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Clicked into Standard, there's an excellent degree of ride comfort from the electronically monitored Dynamic Digital Suspension that is standard on 3.0t Sport and Red Sport 400 models. Moving into the Sport modes changes the suspension's damping characteristics and firms up the ride a bit, allowing more road-surface irregularities to make themselves felt. … All in all, steering and handling are very good." -- Consumer Guide

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