Infiniti Q50 blends snappy design with progressive tech

Infiniti’s entry-level G37 is now called Q40, and an all-new midsize sports sedan, the Q50, is positioned one notch above the Q40 in the Infiniti lineup. The Q50’s snappy design and progressive technologies are indicative of Infiniti’s future plans.

The five-passenger Q50 is available with a 3.7-liter V6 engine generating 328 horsepower, or a gas/electric hybrid powertrain with a combined horsepower rating of 360. Rear-wheel or all-wheel drive is available with either setup, and a seven-speed automatic transmission is standard.

Average combined (city and highway) fuel economy ratings for the V6 are 23 mpg with RWD and 22 mpg with AWD. The hybrid gets 31 mpg with RWD and 30 mpg with AWD — except on the Q50S model, which comes in at 30 (FWD) and 28 (AWD). If that info wasn’t tedious enough to read through, here’s this, the complete list of trim levels for the 2014 Q50: Q50 3.7, Q50 3.7 AWD, Q50 3.7 Premium, Q50 3.7 AWD Premium, Q50S 3.7, Q50S 3.7 AWD, Q50 Hybrid Premium, Q50 Hybrid AWD Premium, Q50S Hybrid and Q50S Hybrid AWD.

My tester was a Q50S 3.7. The Q50S versions are decked out with such things as 19-inch aluminum alloy sport wheels, sport-tuned suspension, sport seats and brakes, driver-seat power lumbar support and torso bolsters, magnesium paddle shifters and more. The only two items in the tester’s options column were a Navigation Package including SiriusXM Traffic ($1,400) and illuminated kick plates ($400).

The Q50 lays claim to some world-first technologies, including Direct Adaptive Steering, Active Lane Control, and Predictive Forward Collision Warning. They are complex, innovative, sophisticated driver-assistance systems. To explain in detail how they work would take several paragraphs and I still wouldn’t get it right, so let’s just say they keep drivers from crashing into other cars.

Those technologies are optional and weren’t included on my tester, but even without them the Q50S 3.7 is overflowing with telematics, audio, visual, infotainment and connectivity equipment, all arranged perfectly in one of the handsomest interiors ever.

Two screens in the center dash (8-inch upper, 7-inch lower) allow for separation of functions so that toggling back and forth between navigation and audio isn’t necessary. The two screens also work together, so a map can be displayed on the top screen, while other nav settings can be fiddled with on the bottom screen. And the nav system is quick and easy to operate. As if all that weren’t wonderful enough, there are also separate, hard switches for the climate controls. If you’ve ever been the victim of a ridiculously complicated nav/audio/climate mishmash in a car (as I have on many awful occasions), you’ll love how great the Q50’s system is.

There are tremendous amounts of room in the Q50 cabin, even for rear-seat passengers. In fact, rear-seat passengers are indulged altogether. Lots of leg room back there, and the slightly reclined seatback and headrest make things comfortable to the point of sleep inducement.

Front-seat passengers, on the other hand, aren’t likely to be caught napping. The forward-tilted headrest, a safety feature, makes leaning back one’s head impossible. This works well for the driver’s side, however, where dozing is typically discouraged.

2014 INFINITI Q50S 3.7

Base price, including destination charge: $44,105

Price as driven: $45,905

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who has been reviewing cars for more than 20 years. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild and a board member of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

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