Infiniti announced today that a version of the Q50 with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine will go on sale in China starting in spring 2014, with “other global markets to follow.” Although an Infiniti spokesperson could not confirm whether the U.S. would be one of these markets, we expect this engine to eventually come to the U.S., especially given Infiniti chairman Johann de Nysschen’s comments about the potential for a turbocharged powertrain at the 2014 Infiniti Q50’s debut at the 2013 Detroit auto show earlier this year.
At this North American debut for the Q50, de Nysschen emphasized that a smaller four-cylinder powertrain was crucial for the 2014 Infiniti Q50’s success, especially in China and Europe where larger-displacement engines struggle against emissions regulations that are based on engine capacity. Considering the success of other luxury automakers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz with small turbocharged four-cylinder engines in the U.S., we think Infiniti will bring a four-cylinder Q50 here to compete with models like the BMW 320i and the Mercedes-Benz C250 and CLA250.
In fact, the 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder that will go in the Infiniti Q50 is actually a Mercedes-Benz engine that will make 211 horsepower and 236 ft-lb of torque in the Q50. In the U.S., we also see this engine in the Mercedes-Benz CLA250, and this powertrain will also reportedly go into the upcoming Infiniti Q30 compact, which will launch in 2015 and is based on a Mercedes-Benz platform. The four-cylinder Infiniti Q50 will eventually slot in above this compact Q30 but below both of the 2014 Infiniti Q50’s existing powertrains in the U.S., which include a 328-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 and a 3.5-liter V-6 hybrid with a combined power output of 360 hp. In Europe, there is also a Q50 with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel (pictured above).
The 2.0-liter Q50 will also presumably replace the outgoing, last-generation Infiniti G37 sedan, which is still on sale alongside the 2014 Infiniti Q50 for at least the next year. Infiniti had concerns that the V-6 Q50, with its starting price of $37,605 with destination, would be priced too high to compete with other entry level luxury sedans like the four-cylinder, $33,475 BMW 320i. When we initially reported on the $33,455 2014 Infiniti G37, we purported that this model would be a stopgap measure until a four-cylinder Q50 arrived, since this eventual entry level four-cylinder Q50 would most likely cost around the same as the admittedly much more powerful, V-6-powered G37.
Infiniti has woven a tangled web with its slightly convoluted compact luxury sports sedan lineup, and we are interested to see how this all shakes out in over the next year. The four-cylinder Infiniti Q50 goes on sale in China in spring 2014; if it does come to the U.S., expect it later in 2014 as a 2015 model.