The Infiniti Q50, which replaces the G37, is an all-new model for 2014. The new car’s name marks a brand-wide transition to a nomenclature that, presumably, the company hopes will more closely align it—in the minds of consumers, at least—with its German competition. More significant than the name, though, is Infiniti’s announcement that the Q50 sets the tone in design, performance, and technology for future Infiniti products.
Of those three attributes, what really makes the Q50 stand out is its coterie of driving-assistance systems that, when used in concert, allow the car to be driven semiautonomously. This makes it one of the first vehicles of its kind on the market and a car that merits further evaluation.
We opted for the 3.7-liter V-6 mated to a seven-speed automatic, which will be the volume model. (A hybrid is also available.) This powertrain carries over from the G and produces a healthy 328 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. The base Q comes fairly well-equipped, but we stepped up to the Premium model, which adds a moonroof, a fourteen-speaker Bose audio system, and heated front seats. During the record-breaking snowfalls that pummeled the Midwest, checking the all-wheel-drive box was a no-brainer. And we weren’t done yet.
Next, we added the $3200 Technology Package, which bundles the majority of the aforementioned safety and driving-assistance systems, including collision warning and predictive collision prevention; blind-spot warning and intervention; radar-based cruise control; and active lane control. A first from Infiniti, that last item uses cameras to adjust the direction of the front wheels to keep the Q50 in its lane without driver inputs.
Another Infiniti first—and the first of its kind on a production vehicle—is a steer-by-wire system called Direct Adaptive Steering that uses software instead of a physical connection to the front wheels to communicate the driver’s steering inputs. (There is a backup mechanical connection.)
Steer-by-wire comes with the $3100 Deluxe Touring Package, which also brings maple interior trim, rain-sensing wipers, a power tilting/telescoping steering wheel, front and rear parking sensors, and an Around View Monitor.
After ticking the boxes for navigation, leather-trimmed seats, bright-finished seventeen-inch wheels, and all-season floor and trunk mats, our Q50 3.7 AWD Premium came in at $53,135—a substantial $15,180 more than a base Q50.
The question is, will these pricey, high-tech driving aids diminish the Q50’s underlying performance DNA, or will they fade into the background and become as transparent as traction and stability control? We look forward to finding out.