2015 Infiniti Q50 S AWD review: It’s new, and not the G37

2015 Infiniti Q50 S AWD

2015 Infiniti Q50 S AWD

So when Infiniti says its Q50 is an all-new model, they’re right. But to say it has no predecessor is, well, let’s say that when the brand changed its nomenclature from G and M and QX and such to simple Q’s and QX’s, the midsize G37 sedan disappeared and the midsize Q50 arrived. It just happened to coincide with the change in what they call each model line.

The G37 and Q50 filled/fill the same space in Infiniti’s model lineup, upscale midsize sedan territory, a domain also occupied by the Audi A4 and the BMW 3-Series. We’d call that a replacement.

2015 Infiniti Q50 S AWD

2015 Infiniti Q50 S AWD (click to enlarge)

And typically as these things go, the Q50 isn’t all new. But we’ll get to that.

The body is indeed all new, and that’s good, because the G37 sedan was a handsome shape, but it had gotten, well, we’d seen it before.

The 2014Infiniti Q50—the model was new last year—continues certain family design elements, particularly the “double arch” grille, though instead of the arched horizontal cross bars, the Q50 fills the space with a sporty black mesh look. The Q50 has an extraordinarily angry “face,” accented by scowling LED eyebrows, altogether nightmare bait for the toddler in the family.

The Infiniti Q50, however, has a liquid flow to its design, as if the engineers took a prototype out for testing in Death Valley and when they brought it back all sort of melted, and the designers said, yeah, we can do that. The designers, however, credit the Infiniti Essence concept. We just say there’s not a line out of place.

2015 Infiniti Q50 S AWD interior

The 2015 Infiniti Q50 S AWD features sport seats and a sport steering wheel. (click to enlarge)

What’s not completely new is the 3.7-liter V-6 engine that standard on the non-hybrid versions of the Infiniti Q50. The 3.7-liter aluminum-alloy DOHC 24-valve V-6 is a workhorse of the Nissan/Infiniti lineup, but in action, the VQ-series is more thoroughbred. As installed in the 2015 Infiniti Q50, rated at 328 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque.

The smooth and powerful V-6 has won multiple awards and some engineer somewhere should have a little thicker pay envelope as a result. It’s quiet at idle or cruise and with the throttle mashed offers proof that engines don’t have to be a V-8 or inline-six to sound like wine pouring from a carafe, if wine being poured actually made sounds. Maybe that’s because it’s so intoxicating that it makes us think of it that way.

The only transmission offered in the 2015 Infiniti Q50 is a seven-speed automatic. The manual offered in the G37 sedan, alas for Save the Stick fans, is gone. The top-of-the-line Q50 S gets magnesium paddle shifters along with rev matching for smooth downshifts.

2015 Infiniti Q50 S AWD headlight

The 2015 Infiniti Q50 S AWD headlights and LED accents give it a scowling face. (click to enlarge)

Infiniti has won plaudits for its interiors, and the Q50 doesn’t change anything. The fluid lines of the exterior are continued inside, complete with a center console that flows upwards into the dash. The center stack houses not one but two multi-information displays, plus a driver information screen on the instrument panel, between the speedometer and tach.

Two MID’s might seem like overkill, but it does allow the display of more information and controls that otherwise might require flipping back and forth between menus on a single screen. Audio and navigation info can be displayed at the same time, and not in the shrunken half-window sized displays. It’s standard on all trim levels of the Q50.

We were able to have navigation data and maps on the upper screen, with some nav but mostly audio on the lower, though there are apps, of course, plus extensive trip computer/fuel economy data. The car not only tracks fuel use, including bar graphs of fuel economy and such, but also “scores” drivers on their acceleration, cruise and braking. Without trying, we scored a 52 out of 100 overall, with 60 on cruise and 40 on startup and braking. Maybe we should have tried…

2015 Infiniti Q50 S AWD center stack

The 2015 Infiniti Q50 S AWD center stack has a pair of multi-information displays. (click to enlarge)

Those who share a Q50 with someone will appreciate Infiniti inTuition. It has nothing to do with paying for college, but rather it’s a memory for climate, audio and driving preferences based on which smart key used. Since we only had one key, we didn’t get to try that feature. We do wonder, however, what would happen if a person got in the car with two keys. Which profile would the car choose?

The interior not only looks good but feels good as well. Our test car was a 2015 Infiniti Q50 S AWD. That’s the top of the line, above the standard Q50 and the Q50 Premium, and among other things, the Q50 S has sport seats, with more aggressive bolstering than the standard seats. They offer a good compromise between lateral retention and annoying people who don’t like sport seats.

In addition to the other features of the Q50 Premium, the Q50 S also adds ten-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat, plus sport brakes (four-piston calipers front, and front and rear discs about an inch and a half bigger diameter) and sport-tuned suspension. The Q50 S also gets a “sport” front bumper as well as the paddle shifters mentioned earlier.