The 2017 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 is powered by a 400-horsepower twin turbo V6 engine.

The 2017 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 is powered by a 400-horsepower twin turbo V6 engine.

Infiniti Q50 is smooth, comfortable, and eye-catching

The German brands may have a stranglehold on the luxury sport sedan market, but buyers willing to look elsewhere could easily be enticed by the Infiniti Q50.

The Q50’s design arguably rivals that of any competitor, while handling and performance characteristics come pretty close. The many standard features and competitive pricing Q50 offers could seal the deal.

There are four basic Q50 trim levels: 2.0t, 3.0t, Red Sport 400 and Q50 Hybrid. In the same order, they deliver horsepower ratings of 208, 300, 400 and 360. Two new versions are added for 2017: the 2.0t Sport and 2.0t Sport AWD.

All models have a seven-speed automatic transmission, and are available with rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.

V6 Sport models offer a new Design Package for 2017. It includes Graphite or Havana semi-aniline leather seating with contrast stitching, Natural Maple Wood accents, a unique black headliner and pillars, and Dark Chrome interior trim.

A new available Bose Performance Series sound system has 13 speakers and all-new electronic architecture with high-performance components. Q50 Premium models have an advanced version of the Bose system with enhanced sound reproduction and 16 speakers.

My tester was a 2017 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 with rear-wheel drive, a stunner with its exclusive rich red paint. Frequent stares and enthusiastic praise from strangers were a testament to the Q50’s eye appeal. Exclusively designed 19-inch aluminum alloy sport wheels and the red brake calipers that are new for 2017 factored considerably in pleasing the public.

With its standard features alone, the tester would have been well appointed. But as it was, generously embellished with an additional $10,600 worth of options, it matched whatever could be found in the luxury sport sedan world. Yet the total price was still under 61 grand by quite a bit. That’s attractive pricing for this market segment, and making options out of some advanced technology, appearance, and driver-assist features is also a benefit to buyers who don’t want them, or whose budget doesn’t encourage them.

The Red Sport 400’s 3.0-liter V6 twin turbo engine has 350 lb-ft of torque and goes like gangbusters. Fuel economy ratings are 20/26/22 (city/highway/combined) mpg. When punched from a standstill, there’s some tiny turbo lag but then a nice roar. The seven-speed transmission is wondrously smooth. The tester included adaptive steering, a $1,000 option, and a feature I’d decline.

Q50’s interior is supremely comfortable, with good visibility. It includes Infiniti InTouch technology, a dual-screen system for controlling the vehicle information, entertainment and communication systems. One screen is near the top of the dash, the other just below it. At first glance it looks complicated and something likely to generate hate, but I found it surprisingly semi-intuitive, and fortunately the main functions are backed up with regular push buttons.

2017 INFINITI Q50 RED SPORT 400

Base price, including destination charge: $49,605

Price as driven: $60,220

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. 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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