The styled saloon
Are you a fervent individualist? A free thinker who likes to avoid the mainstream and make a statement with your choice of car? If this perfectly describes you, and your motoring history includes SAAB, Lexus, SEAT and such like, you may want to consider this new Infiniti Q50 as your next purchase.
No sooner had our test car parked on my driveway and I got the first enquiry. “What is it?” went on loop even after I repeated “An Infiniti!” a few times. “No, no. What brand is it?” Sigh. “A fancy Nissan” finally quelled the incessant queries, quoting Toyota’s Lexus and the immense American popularity of these makes.
The Q50 is roughly the size of an Audi A4 but it looks nothing like a German saloon; more like a modern Hyundai on acid. Most body panels have multiple folds to form a dynamic, flowing shape with sharp features in its face, heavily styled light clusters and a very unique chrome kink in its C (rear) roof pillar.
Perhaps our car’s metallic red paint and ivory leather interior added to its stun factor because I purposefully parked it outside a department store and observed more than half of all passers-by doing a double take. Quite a few stopped, most stared at its logos and a few left greasy finger marks on the side windows.
Available in your choice of three engines, two gearboxes and four trim lines, the car you see here is a Q50 Premium 2.0 turbo-petrol Automatic. Thanks to a partnership with Mercedes-Benz, the 1,991cc engine (155kW, 350Nm) and seven-speed automatic gearbox are sourced from Stuttgart.
Infiniti claims 0-100km/h in 7.2 seconds (our best was 7.34), 245km/h top speed and 7L/100km average consumption from the 74L tank. Although our overall average was closer to 10L/100km, I was pleasantly surprised by the Q50’s big 75L fuel tank and enormous boot – 500 litres.
I’m confident that 8L/100km will be possible with careful driving and while a start/stop system is standard, it re-engages in a rather harsh manner. Another quibble I had was with the Q50’s (optional) direct steering system which has excessively quick responses and tends to make the car feel nervous.
Sometime during our week of testing a friendly, local car guard came running after we’d parked near a crowded mall. Not to promote his services but to have a good look at this unusual specimen in his kingdom of white Japs and silver Germans. “Nice horse” he uttered after a lengthy inspection.
Similar accolades were dished out inside the Q50 which comfortably houses four adults and spoils them with fine leather, rippled aluminium trim (wood also available), powered everything, superb climate control and more high-resolution screens than you can shake a USB stick at.
Much like in Honda’s American-spec Accord, we found the dual dashboard monitors a tad bewildering (and dare I type it, excessive) with the audio quality just as tinny as that in the Honda. Very strange for a US-bound car. Nonetheless, Q50 handles radio, CD, USB, ipods, Bluetooth and voice commands.
Six airbags and a crowd of driver aids awarded the Q50 a five-star EuroNCAP rating while the optional “Safety Shield pack” in our test unit can either entertain or irritate you for hours with its proximity alarms, active lane keeping, blind spot hawk, intelligent cruise control, as well as collision warning or prevention.
There are many more features on this car and as I’m running out of space, I suggest you visit an Infiniti dealership for a proper demonstration. Be sure to take one for a drive to experience its four-way drive mode selector, vicious brakes and impressive power delivery.
I found the combination of low-down torque, nicely-stacked gears and well-trained shift paddles offers plenty of poke for you to cruise quietly, overtake safely or even leave a bit of rubber on the road. Combined with its eccentric looks and adaptive chassis, the Infiniti Q50 is quite the sports sedan.
This 2.0t Premium starts at N$430,000 and includes a 3-year/100,000km warranty and 5-year/100,000km maintenance plan. More importantly, it also includes exceptional exclusivity as an enterprising traffic light vendor desperately tried to flog us a license disc holder. No such luck.
0-10km/h: 0.39 seconds
0-20km/h: 0.90 seconds
0-30km/h: 1.40 seconds
0-40km/h: 1.85 seconds
0-50km/h: 2.46 seconds
0-60km/h: 3.26 seconds
0-70km/h: 4.07 seconds
0-80km/h: 4.99 seconds
0-90km/h: 6.15 seconds
0-100km/h: 7.34 seconds
0-110km/h: 8.71 seconds
0-120km/h: 10.36 seconds
0-130km/h: 12.56 seconds
0-140km/h: 14.68 seconds
0-100m: 6.47 seconds @ 92.74km/h
0-200m: 9.87 seconds @ 117.25km/h
0-300m: 12.76 seconds @ 131.10km/h
0-400m: 15.38 seconds @ 143.05km/h
Maximum acceleration G-force: 0.66G
All data captured by Racelogic® Performance Box