While it doesn’t quite achieve the M3’s hardcore level of performance, it comes quite close. It matches the Audi S4 in luxury and technology while exceeding it in speed and agility. All this fun packed into a beautiful red sedan which prices out a tiny bit north of $60K, kitted out with all the fun goodies. You also get state-of-the-art automotive technology like drive-by-wire steering. INFINITI is heavily promoting the model, you may have seen the ad campaign with NBA star Stephen Curry, who is an INFINITI brand ambassador. This is the car he drives around the slalom track (aided by INFINITI driving technology) created by his daughter,
I drove the Q50 all over Southern California. I took it back and forth between Los Angeles and Palm Springs a few times and loved its smooth freeway manners. I drove it to the Coachella music festival and it was comfortable and luxurious, even when waiting in lines to park. It also performed beautifully on the canyons and mountain roads outside Palm Springs. I may have even turned off the traction control and done a tire-smoking donut or two.
The car provides a great range of driving experiences, which I love. You can drive it conservatively in Eco mode and get almost 30 mpg on the highway or pop it into Sport + mode and really get crazy.
Amazingly, INFINITI wrings 400 horsepower out of a twin-turbo 3.0 L V6 (and 350 lb-ft of torque). You can either get it in rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, I drove the RWD drive version. The engine is silky smooth and the twin-turbo technology gives virtually lag-free acceleration. The power feels very intense and comes on strongly, the first time I drove it, I was quite blown away. 0-60 time is about 4.5 seconds with a top speed of 153.
My test car had the optional $2,700 Proacitve Package which includes Direct Adaptive Steering. This technology, which is highly controversial among enthusiasts, is a drive-by-wire system. There is no mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the front wheels, it’s all electronic. The sensitivity changes based on speed and the car’s Drive Mode. To be honest, I didn’t even know the test car had this, and didn’t realize any difference from a traditional-steering sports sedan. The Proactive Package also includes the full suite of driver awareness and safety features including Lane Departure Protection and Active Lane Control, tech that gently glides you back if you drift over lane lines. There are also multiple collision protection and automatic braking systems as well as an extensive Around View Monitor system of cameras (and motion detectors).
The 2018 INFINITI Q50 RED SPORT 400 tries a little too hard to be a serious sports sedan (it really needs a dual-clutch transmission) but for the money (about $60K), it over delivers in performance, luxury and technology. Add INFINITI’s bullet-proof build quality and reliability to the equation and it makes it a viable choice compared to the competition, even from European makers like Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz. My test car started at $51,000 and added $2,650 for the Sensory Package, $2,700 for the Proactive Package, $465 for INFINITI illuminated kick plates, $400 for a glowing INFINITI grille emblem (pretty cool), $1,500 for the Carbon Fiber Package (spoiler and side-view mirror covers) and $800 for exclusive paint. Add in the $995 destination charge and you come up with $60,510. In Southern California, INFINITI currently offers a RWD 2018 RED SPORT 400 lease for $359 a month for 39 months with $5,899 down.The Audi S4 is priced almost identically but with 50 less horsepower. It does come standard with Audi’s Quattro AWD, which costs extra on the Q50. The BMW 340i M Sport is also similarly priced and also comes with a twin-turbo V6 but only with 320 hp. The M3 offers a lot more serious performance (and power with 426 hp) for about $10K more than the Q50.
Behind the Wheel: 2018 INFINITI Q50 RED SPORT 400
I used Meguiar’s car care products to make sure the Q50 looked good for my pics and videos, especially their Ultimate Quik Detailer spray.
Exterior photos by Freddy Sherman
Interior photo courtesy of INFINITI
Photo by Freddy Sherman
By Freddy Sherman
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