People who want a world-class sports sedan know the obvious choices. BMW wins the mindshare prize in this category, followed closely by Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Cadillac.
But one car that has flown quietly under the radar screen — at least in my mind — is the Infiniti Q50. I just hadn’t thought much about it until Infiniti tossed me the keys to one, opening my eyes to just what a great BMW fighter it is.
It’s a legit sports sedan, for starters, by putting a big engine up front that sends power to the rear wheels, just like God and Sebastian Vettel intended. That means you can turn the traction control off and dance on the edge of adhesion as you explore just what those rear tires can do in corners, which is the most rewarding part of driving a car like this.
And that’s what separates the great, honest sports sedans from the legion of mediocre players that drive more like powerful family cars. Any four-door car can call itself sporty by cramming a bigger engine under the hood and tightening up the suspension, but only the best get the handling balance spot-on perfect.
This one nails it.
It gets other things right, too, like the high-quality cabin that coddles your passengers in both the front and back seats. Everything you touch has a premium feel to it.
I also love how it looks on the outside. There’s a certain amount of subdued but noticeable drama that every sports sedan tries to capture — a bulging hood, muscular fenders, sleek rear roofline — but the Q50 combines them in a way that seems less derivative than some of its competitors. It checks all those necessary style boxes but also charts its own, original path, especially when you look at the energetic creases and scoops on its sides that show up from just the right angles and with just the right lighting.
But as much as I enjoy its styling, its cabin and its crisp handling in corners, my favorite thing about the Q50 should come as no surprise: the heartbeat from its 3.7-liter V6.
While it doesn’t make monstrous torque at 269 pound-feet, it does generate a healthy 328 horsepower that sounds and feels fantastic when you step on the gas. The engine has a near-instant response that helps at playtime, when you fling the Q50 around corners and test its limits.
Unfortunately, no four-cylinder option is available. The V6 is rated for 30 mpg on the highway and a less-than-impressive 20 mpg in the city for a combined rating of 23.
Pricing starts at $37,150, which seems like a good deal when you consider all the standard equipment it comes with. Eight-way power seats, dual touchscreen displays, keyless entry with push-button ignition and voice recognition all come standard. And Infiniti, long a technology leader, makes the Q50 feel like a cutting-edge car with all the ways to customize its settings and connect with its digital systems.
Drivers who want to sip fuel can step up to the Q50 Hybrid ($44,400). It bumps the gas mileage all the way up to 28 mpg in town and 34 on the highway, for a combined rating of 30. And even more impressively, it does 0-60 mph faster than the non-hybrid Q50, so you’re getting better performance and fuel economy at the same time.
2015 Infiniti Q50S 3.7 ($43,650). Options: Navigation package ($1,400), performance wheel package ($1,800). Price as tested (including $905 destination charge): $47,755
Wheelbase: 112.2 in.
Length: 189.1 in.
Width: 71.8 in.
Height: 56.8 in.
Engine: 3.7-liter V6 (328 hp, 269 lb.-ft.)
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Mileage: 20 city, 30 highwayRATINGS
2015 Infiniti Q50
Why buy it?
It’s a spectacular all-around sports sedan, from its clean rear-wheel-drive handling to its classy good looks and quality interior.