most potent Q50 in the range is suffixed by the dread ‘hybrid’ badge you might think not. Add suspicion regarding the ‘steer by wire’ electronic helm (there is a mechanical failsafe) and you might think there’s good reason to go scuttling back into the manly embrace of your favourite German. Or perhaps bide your time until the Jaguar XE.
Like the Q50 wasn’t already facing an uphill struggle then.
In such circumstances it pays to get a little help from your friends, though in this instance the Q50’s biggest fillip actually comes from a direct rival – the Mercedes C-Class. The Q50 2.0T here gets its 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four from Mercedes’ latest modular powerplant range, as featured in transverse form (M270) in the A- and B-Class and longitudinal (M274) in the C-Class and beyond. And it’s a cracking motor, technical details of which can be found on Automotive Engineer if you’re of a geeky mindset.
Peak torque from 1,250rpm is astounding for a petrol engine but despite that it feels rather more refined and linear than the equivalents from the VW group or BMW, both of whom seem determined to make their petrol engines feel as much like diesels as possible. The 1,703kg kerb weight means the Q50 is a fair old lump for a 2.0-litre to haul around and it appears physically huge compared with the German equivalents. Despite that there’s a sprightly feel to it and a superbly refined cruising ability to rival even the new C-Class.
So it’s quiet, comfortable and a very soothing place to spend time. Hang on though, this is PH. Since when did quiet, comfortable and soothing rank as important attributes? In the absence of a production version of the Q50 Eau Rouge it’s the Infiniti’s major trump card thus far, sadly. And don’t hold your breath on that enticing sounding GT-R engined monster to appear any time soon, the example that’s been doing the rounds more a rolling show car built as a one-off demonstrator rather than true production intent prototype.
Such are the ‘benefits’ of a fully electronic steering system which, in normal conditions, ‘interprets’ inputs at the wheel, crunches the numbers and then delivers what it considers the appropriate steering angle to the front axle. And if that sounds like a recipe for steering feel as authentic as the force-feedback wheel on your games console … you’d be right!
To be fair to Infiniti the Q50 in this form patently isn’t aimed at those for whom steering feel matters. Its dream customer probably spends more time reading Stuff than PH, has the latest smartphone, a really big telly on the wall of their suitably modernist home and isn’t romantically tied to the old German-dominated order. Good luck to ’em in that case because there are probably plenty of people whose driving world makes this more relevant. In the meantime call us when you’ve got a production ready version of that one with theGT-R engine!
INFINITI Q50 2.0T SPORT AUTOMATIC
Engine: 1,991cc 4-cyl turbocharged
Transmission: 7-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 211@5,500rpm
Torque (lb ft): 258@1,250-3,500rpm
0-62mph: 7.2 sec
Top speed: 152mph
MPG: 43.5 (NEDC combined)
Price: £34,125 (Before options, £41,545 as tested including ‘Visibility pack’ £1,040, ‘Safety Shield pack’ £2,080, ‘Multimedia pack’ £2,760, metallic paint £660 and electric glass sunroof £880)
[Sources: Automotive Engineer]