2017 Infiniti Q50 3.0t Sport Review

For years, Japanese automakers struggled to come up with a reasonable competitor to the benchmark BMW 3 Series. The first model to come close was the Infiniti G35, introduced back in 2003. Riding Nissan’s FM (for front mid-engine) platform, the sedan shared a number of components with the Nissan 350Z, which was also based upon the FM platform.

Flash forward 14 years, the G35 is now known as the Q50 (and is both heavier and much more luxurious). Meanwhile, the BMW 3 Series has also grown heavier, more luxurious (and many would say softer around the edges). The result being the 2017 Infiniti Q50 3.0t Sport still measures up as a credible competitor to the BMW.

Power comes from a 300-horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 with 295 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission routes power to the rear wheels. An evolution of the highly regarded Nissan VQ-series V6 engine, it is now known as the “VR-series”. Direct injection and exhaust manifolds integrated into the cylinder heads improve response considerably. Driving the car, we never got a hint the engine was turbocharged. Power was simply there, whenever we called upon it.

Further enhancing the Infiniti Q50 3.0t Sport’s performance potential is Direct Adaptive Steering, which basically steers the car by wire. In other words, when you turn the steering wheel, a computer tells the front wheels what to do. We found it to be quite responsive, if slightly dead feeling on center. Forces build nicely, good feedback is provided and its accuracy inspired a lot of confidence. With the Q50’s drive mode selector we could also tailor the weight of the steering, though we primarily drove it in the sport mode.

The suspension system benefits from technological wizardry as well. Tagged Dynamic Digital Suspension, the shocks are continuously adjusted to the pace at which the Q50 is traveling, the nature of the road (straight vs. twisty) and the condition of the pavement (rough vs. smooth). Body roll is well contained in the corners to maximize road holding. On rough surfaces, the system mellows the suspension to absorb pavement irregularities and provide the smoothest ride possible. As a result, we found the Q50 Sport struck a nice balance between determined handling when we wanted it and a plush ride when we needed it.

Speaking of plush, the 2017 Infiniti Q50 3.0t Sport is wonderfully appointed. Quality materials are the order of the day and build quality is outstanding. Sumptuous just barely begins to describe it. Now, having said that, if you visit any of the Infiniti’s German competitors, when you return, you’ll notice the Q50 seems a bit dated by comparison — because they’ve all been updated more recently. However, because the Infiniti’s accommodations are still really nice, we’re giving it a pass on that issue for now.

The car is also quite spacious, though as you’d expect for the class, the back seat is just short of legitimately being considered snug.  Getting in and out is easy, visibility is good all around (even more so with the surround view camera system) and the trunk is reasonably capacious for the class. You’ll find 13.5 cubic feet of capacity back there.

Underway, power delivery is strong, stability at speed is outstanding and the overall ride quality is commendable, even with 19-inch wheels and low profile tires. When you want to push it a bit, you can slip the seven-speed automatic into its manual mode and control shifts yourself with the magnesium paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. Shifts come immediately and downshifts are rev-matched with an automatic blip of the throttle. The upgraded brakes applied to the Sport model are powerful and stand up to hard use with no fade at all.

In other words, the 2017 Infiniti Q50 3.0t Sport is, in every sense of the phrase, a driver’s car. Sharp, capable and highly agile, you’ll love pushing the Q50 Sport on backroads, or even at the track. And yet, in day-to-day activities, it conducts itself in the sophisticated fashion you’d expect from premium automobile.

 

All in all, we like it — a lot.

Pricing starts at $44,650.

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