2014 Infiniti Q50 3.7 AWD Premium – Four Seasons Wrap-Up

Sophisticated and capable but not much fun.

Long-Term 2014 Infiniti ILX Update: Spring 2015 ( 5 of 5 ) Miles to date: 0

This Infiniti Q50 is a completely modern sedan. It’s a car that can go anywhere, do anything, and show you a pretty fine time to boot. And yet for all the style, safety, and speed shown by our 2014 Infiniti Q50 AWD Premium in every season of the past year, you’d think it would get a little more respect from us.

As we page through the logbook of this all-wheel-drive version of the 2014 Infiniti Q50, we find records of gas stops from one end of the country to the other. In the 19,993 miles we spent with it, this car went from Ann Arbor to Los Angeles, not to mention visits to out-of-the-way places such as Blackwells Corner, California, and Moab, Utah. It saw a record season of snowfall in Detroit, the bright neon lights of Las Vegas, and a rosy-fingered dawn on California Highway 1. Tasked with a wide range of demands that included daily transportation, weekend sport, vacation adventures, and cross-country touring, the Infiniti never once let us down or failed to get us to our destination.

From the beginning, we envisioned a year of wide-ranging drives with the Infiniti Q50, so we tried hard to choose an appropriate mix of features from the car’s extensive list of options. We declined the ride harshness of the sporting S model, selected the all-weather mobility of all-wheel drive, chose a sophisticated array of electronic connectivity features, and embraced a comprehensive package of active safety features, including Infiniti’s new all-electronic steering technology. And as the road unraveled before us, every aspect of this car’s equipment list came into play.

When snowflakes are falling outside your office window and the news is telling you that more snow has fallen this season than at any time in the past 100 years, there is nothing like looking out into the parking lot and knowing that your Infiniti Q50 has all-wheel drive. Sure, we’ll admit that the combination of winter tires and modern traction/stability control systems deliver a certain basic standard of all-weather mobility even in a rear-wheel-drive car. But as any American who lives in the snowbelt will tell you, all-wheel drive makes winter less intimidating simply because you feel ready for whatever happens.

We were fascinated by the Q50’s combination of electronically activated steering and a high-tech, camera-based system for lane-keeping assistance, but we have to admit it weirded us out at first. The drive-by-wire steering itself drew complaints for its unpredictable responses and lack of feedback. And to test the system, we tried hands-off driving, which is a silly stunt definitely not recommended by Infiniti. The Q50 would do it, but the car kind of ping-ponged from one side of the freeway lane to the other, as brakes pulled back the car from the side of the road. Finally we began to understand that these features were meant to supplement the driver’s input, not replace them.

On the plus side, this system does improve long-distance travel because you can relax your hands on the wheel for a bit and be assured that the car won’t wander, which lets you reboot your mental concentration. Or, as executive editor Todd Lassa reminds us, it also lets you fiddle with the comprehensive yet infernally complex sub-menus in the Q50’s touchscreen interface (buttons to change radio stations, please!) without worrying about blundering into another lane. Sure, this technology seems superfluous when the sun is out, the birds are singing, and you can see perfectly. But when the night is dark, the weather is bad, and lane markings are hard to see, lane-keeping assistance is a fine thing to have.

Lane-keeping assistance wasn’t something associate Web editor Eric Weiner enjoyed during his drive on the interstate between Ann Arbor and Las Vegas, and the electric steering’s lack of on-center feel proved distracting. The Q50’s drive-by-wire steering promises to adapt to the different priorities of comfort, speed, and safety with one electronic package, but so far it’s not ready for prime time.

The Q50’s fast-acting AWD system defaults to 100 percent rear-wheel drive when the road is dry, but it will send as much as 50 percent of available power to the front wheels when its sensor array detects any loss of traction at the rear. Photographer Martyn Goddard tested all this while driving the Q50 on dirt roads in Moab, Utah, where all-wheel drive usually is only a Jeep thing.

Once the Infiniti finally made its way to L.A., we generally drove the Q50 in Sport mode with the steering calibrated for heavy effort and minimal lane-keeping assistance, so we really didn’t take advantage of the steering technology and active-safety electronics very much. But the Q50’s blind-spot warning lamps in the A-pillars and the active brake assist proved crucial in a city where no one checks mirrors before switching lanes and the traffic in front of you stacks up to a halt without warning. The forward-collision warning and braking features saved editor-in-chief Mike Floyd’s bacon once on SoCal’s infamous I-405 freeway. Active safety technology might seem like something you can do without when buying a car, but when you balance the price of purchase against the cost of body repair from a typical fender bender, the arithmetic makes sense. In the end, we think all these active safety features have their place.

As we started our year with the 2014 Infiniti Q50, the one thing we didn’t fret about was the car’s sporting personality. After all, this car is the offspring of the 2003 Infiniti G35, the sedan that reinvented Nissan’s overall performance identity with its rear-wheel-drive FM (“front midship”) chassis and VQ V-6 engine, both of which also found their way to the Nissan 350Z. And as we consumed the breakfast of champions in the parking lot of a cheap motel in Monterey, California, about an hour before dawn, we looked forward to a great day of driving the Q50 on California Highway 1.

As you’d expect, we had a fine time driving along the water, especially over the 65 miles of tight, deeply cambered corners between Big Sur and Ragged Point. Yet the Q50’s quick steering response (2.0 turns lock to lock), abrupt throttle response in Sport mode, and somewhat touchy brakes took some of the fun out
of the drive. The sluggish transmission also resisted our efforts to wring out the eager-to-rev V-6. When it comes to fast driving, the Infiniti Q50 is the kind of car that likes flat corners, the sort of thing you’d find on a track, not on Highway 1.

After all that driving, we found plenty to like about the 2014 Infiniti Q50. The driving position is great, notable for the expansive field of view afforded by the low cowl. The back seat is big enough for taking friends to dinner, and the trunk is big enough for a week on vacation. Nothing went wrong with the car (other than the hellacious door ding it picked up while parked near the beach in Venice). The Infiniti dealers treated us well during its regular service intervals, and the sophistication of the car’s active-safety features is genuinely impressive. There’s so much comfort, entertainment, and safety technology in the Infiniti Q50 that it seems pointless to consider a larger, more expensive sedan.

And yet we have a hard time recommending this car. It never made us feel as if we were in command. It is comfortable, but it feels slack rather than supple. It is fast, but it makes its moves abruptly, not athletically. Just like our experience with the current BMW 3 Series, this Q50 has taught us that we prefer a car where the driver plays a dominant role. And when we try to be too smart with our pick of options, it’s easy to create a car that’s far more adult than we are. We always felt a little disappointed with this car, and our logbook over the year records its share of unfair snarkiness as a result.

In the end, the 2014 Infiniti Q50 AWD Premium is the kind of sedan in which we’d like to see every American. It would impress them with its ability to go anywhere and do anything, and its active safety features would make them far better neighbors on the turnpike during the drive to work. But as for us, we finally admit that we like our cars amped up, as if we were surly teenagers. We might complain about road noise, ride harshness, and poor fuel economy, but sports sedans are where it’s at for us. We can appreciate the safety net of electronics designed to keep bad things from happening to us, yet this is an abstract sort of thing. It’s the engine and chassis we notice most in the cars we care about, and this luxuriously appointed Infiniti Q50 turned out to be more safe and sane than we are.

Pros & Cons

+ Lively V-6 engine
+ Entirely trouble-free
+ All-wheel drive
– All-electric steering
– Stiffer ride than most
– Sluggish shifting

2014 Infiniti Q50 Running Costs



4-yr/60,000-mi bumper-to-bumper
6-yr/70,000-mi powertrain
4-yr/60,000-mi roadside assistance
Scheduled Maintenance
5,802 mi: $79.05
16,180 mi: $331.21
1,281 mi: Purchase, mount, and balance Bridgestone Blizzak LM-32 winter tires, $778.88
2,850 mi: WeatherTech FloorLiner mats, front and rear, $203.85
3,618 mi: Reinstall Bridgestone Potenza RE97 all-season tires, $64.00
16,180 mi: Repair door ding and spoiler damage, $1,301.90

Fuel Consumption:
EPA city/highway/combined:
19/27/22 mpg
Observed: 24.6 mpg
Cost Per Mile
(Fuel, service, winter tires)
($1.20 including depreciation)
Trade-In Value
*Estimate based on information from Intellichoice

  • Our Test Results
  • 0–60 mph 5.3 sec
  • 60-0 mph 124 ft
  • 1/4–mile 13.8 sec @ 100.5 mph
  • Skidpad 0.85 g


  • Body style 4-door sedan
  • Accommodation 5-passenger
  • Construction Steel unibody
  • Base price (with dest.) $42,605
  • As tested $53,135


  • Engine DOHC 24-valve V-6
  • Displacement 3.7 liters (226 cu in)
  • Power 328 hp @ 7,000 rpm
  • Torque 269 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm
  • Transmission 7-speed automatic
  • Drive 4-wheel
  • EPA Fuel Economy 19/27/22 (city/hwy/combined)


  • Steering Electrically assisted
  • Lock-to-lock 2.0 turns
  • Turning circle 37.4 ft
  • Suspension, Front Control arms, coil springs
  • Suspension, Rear Multilink, coil springs
  • Brakes F/R Vented discs
  • Wheels 17-inch aluminum
  • Tires Bridgestone Potenza RE97 AS
  • Tire size 225/55R-17 95V


  • Headroom F/R 39.5/36.8 in
  • Legroom F/R 44.5/35.1 in
  • Shoulder room F/R 56.7/56.1 in
  • Wheelbase 112.2 in
  • Track F/R 60.8/61.8 in
  • L x W x H 188.3 x 71.8 x 57.2 in
  • Passenger capacity 100.0 cu ft
  • Cargo capacity 13.5 cu ft
  • Weight 3,787 lb
  • Weight dist. F/R 62%/38%


  • standard equipment

    • Rearview camera
    • InTouch dual display w/controller
    • InTouch apps
    • InTuition
    • Keyless entry and ignition
    • Bluetooth
    • 14-speaker Bose audio system
    • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
    • Homelink
    • Two USB ports
    • Auxiliary audio jack
    • Auxiliary video jack
    • SiriusXM satellite radio w/1-year subscription
    • Cruise control
    • Voice recognition for audio, Bluetooth, and vehicle information
    • Power sunroof
    • Automatic LED headlights
    • LED foglights and taillights
    • Leatherette-trimmed seats
    • Leather-wrapped heated steering wheel
    • 8-way power front seats
    • Heated front seats and exterior mirrors
    • Automatic dual-zone climate control
    • Tilt-and-telescopic steering column
    • Active Trace Control
    • Drive mode selector
    • 17-inch aluminum wheels w/run-flat tires


  • options for this vehicle:

    • Technology package- $3,200
    • Adaptive front lighting system
    • Automatic high beams
    • Distance control assist
    • Blind-spot monitoring and intervention system
    • Backup collision intervention
    • Front pre-crash seatbelts
    • Adaptive cruise control
    • Forward collision warning and intervention
    • Forward emergency braking
    • Lane departure warning and intervention
    • Active lane-keeping assist
    • Advanced climate control
    • Deluxe Touring package- $3,100
    • Direct adaptive steering
    • Power tilt-and-telescopic steering column
    • Auto-dimming exterior mirrors
    • Front seat memory
    • Maple wood trim
    • 60/40-split folding rear seats
    • Around View camera
    • Front and rear parking assist
    • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
    • 17-inch bright-finish aluminum wheels- $1,600
    • Navigation package- $1,400
    • Navigation w/real-time traffic updates
    • Infiniti Connection
    • Leather seating package- $1,000
    • Leather-trimmed seats
    • Driver’s seat 2–way power lumbar support
    • All-weather floormats and cargo mat- $230