2021 Infiniti Q50 review: Cheating Father Time

The style of the Q50 has aged gracefully.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

In automotive terms, the Infiniti Q50 it is ancient, dates back to 2014 in its current form, although the foundations of the car are much older. Sure, changes and improvements have been made along the way, but the Q50 hasn’t kept up with its ever-changing competition. Yet despite some significant shortcomings, I still appreciate this four-door’s smooth and responsive powertrain, lavish styling and premium interior, especially in the Signature Edition trim. The Q50 may not live up to its rivals, but in other ways it is proof that you can fool Father Tempo.

Like it

  • Comfortable seating
  • Beautiful style
  • Premium interior

I do not like

  • Strange infotainment system
  • Steering anesthetized
  • Questionable technology

Even though it’s basically a senior in automotive terms at this point, the Q50 still looks graceful; more attractive (at least in my opinion) than other luxury sports sedans like Acura’s new TLX or the Mercedes-Benz Class C. This Infiniti’s long bonnet, sumptuous curves, careful headlights, large but not Lexus-sized grille and smooth body are still fantastic. Setting it apart from other trim levels, this Signature Edition tester features a dark chrome grille surround and 19-inch wheels treated to the same smoky finish. Four curated paint colors are offered on this new upholstery, including Grand Blue, which is what you see here. Curiously, there is a supplement for each of these exterior shades.

Inside, the Q50 continues to amaze, above all. The Signature Edition variants feature fine saddle brown leather, which looks great and feels good. You also get open-pored black wood accents and a standard 16-speaker Bose sound system. The car’s prominent center console and sweeping dashboard design still make a statement, while the attractive soft plastics and meticulous build quality remain competitive today. Comfort is another area where the Q50 excels. Like others Nissan And Infinite vehicles, the front bucket seats are super comfortable, soft but supportive, furthermore the rear seat is very spacious and quite relaxing, thanks to the position of the lower cushion and the well angled backrest.

One area that could be improved, however, is storage. There is a precious little space in the center console for storing things, just a tiny closet in front of the gearbox and a small basket under the center armrest. As for the trunk, it comes in at 13.5 cubic feet, less than what you get in traditional sedans like a Honda Accord or Kia K5. For added versatility, the split rear backrest folds down, revealing a modestly sized loop.

Where the Q50’s gray hair really starts to show is when you check out the tech. Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking, front collision warning and something called Predictive Forward Collision Warning, which ingeniously monitors the vehicle that is in front of the car or truck you are following, so you to be able to brake preventively if they start to slow down. Go for a high-end Q50 and you can get a 360-degree camera system with moving object detection, blind spot monitoring, automatic high beam and adaptive headlights – features that should probably all be standard in this segment. Adaptive cruise control is included on all but the most basic models and works well. It’s not the smoothest system out there, but it will slow the Q50 to a stop in heavy traffic – it just won’t hold the car there. After a second or two, the system beeps and the car starts moving. Curiously, lane departure warning is standard, but lane departure prevention is not available on the Signature Edition Q50; it is only available on the high-end Red Sport 400 models.

The technology isn’t great, but the interior of this car is still comfortable and welcoming.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

The Q50’s InTouch infotainment system is a weird duck. It features two separate touchscreens: an 8-inch at the top that handles the navigation functions and a 7-inch unit at the bottom, where the audio system and vehicle settings live. This multimedia array appears to have been designed by two different teams on opposite sides of the planet. The user interface is disjointed and not immediately intuitive. I must say, however, that the performance of this system is quite good. It responds promptly to inputs and pinch-to-zoom on the navigation map is quick and smooth. Apple CarPlay And Android Auto both are standard, as are two illuminated USB ports (one Type A and one Type C). Also, for 2021, a Wi-Fi hotspot is included in the Q50 at no additional cost.

Towing this car is a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6. Refined as granulated sugar, its 300 horsepower and 295 foot-pounds of torque provide decent, if not explosive, acceleration. The Red Sport 400 models feature the same base engine, but thanks to some technical tweaks, they come with an additional 100hp and a significant amount of extra torque. The standard transmission is perfectly fine, but if you can swing it, get a Q50 with the most powerful engine. It will not disappoint.

No matter the model, this Infiniti comes standard with a proven seven-speed automatic transmission. Witty and fluid, this gearbox gets the job done with little drama. You can get around by sliding the shift lever on the manual gate, but curiously, mine Signed edition tester has no shift paddles, which is a peculiar omission in 2021, especially for a luxury car.

This twin-turbo engine delivers 300 horsepower.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

The ride of the Q50 is decidedly solid, but these stiff risers keep the body well controlled on undulating pavement. There is little roll in the corners, minimal squat or dip, and zero float. As for the brakes, they are powerful and the pedal is easy to modulate, more progressive than Bernie Sanders. Unfortunately, the tires are not afraid to make their presence known. The Dunlop P245 / 40RF19 tires in this example convey the track in high fidelity. Sport Red 400 the models offer dynamic digital suspension, which automatically adjusts the damper valves for different road conditions.

Tire noise is a little underwhelming, but arguably this Infiniti’s biggest weakness is its wobbly power steering, which is like a CIA agent: sworn to keep it a secret. The standard setup (I’m not even talking about the direct adaptive steering system you can get on the Red Sport 400 models, which has its own problems) telegraphs zero information in your hands about what the front tires are doing. Throw the Q50 into a corner and there’s no feeling of weight transfer, the wheel doesn’t get heavier as you spin more aggressively, it all feels completely synthetic, like you’re driving the car with a video game controller. Another problem: the Q50 also tends to wander. The car does not have a good sense of the straight, constantly requiring small course corrections.

A mixed bag, this is a good way to sum up this car.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

The 2021 Infiniti Q50 starts at around $ 38,000 including $ 1,025 in destination tax, which isn’t a bad price these days. While it stands, however, the high-end, all-wheel drive Signature Edition model you see here costs around $ 52,000, a slightly more difficult figure to justify.

If you’re half a dozen people still interested in driving a luxury sedan instead of an SUV, there are plenty of good choices out there, even if the Infiniti Q50 isn’t necessarily one of them. I appreciate this car’s style, comfort, and nice drivetrain, but there are some significant weaknesses that detract from an otherwise nice package. If you don’t need the latest technology, you can live with anesthetized steering and appreciate unusual infotainment systems, go for it. If you want a slightly more modern car, consider something else.