Tech at the drive's expense
Cachet is a decidedly valuable characteristic to have. Many carmakers began by offering niche cars that in time evolved into je ne sais quoi vehicles with a certain amount of appeal.blog comments powered by Disqus
Infiniti started out with cachet, and it quickly progressed into being the niche Japanese luxury brand or less flatteringly, the performance Japanese alternative to the Germans. The Infiniti G35 was at the forefront of this perception where it remains to this day.
Times have changed though, and the ex-G35/37 is now the Q50 and has properly evolved into one of the most technologically advanced in its segment and beyond. This reality elevates the Q50 to another level, opening it up equally to praise and criticism. The new 2014 Infiniti Q50 is a stunner, but the technology may be too advanced for its own good.
What is an Infiniti Q50 S Hybrid?
The 2014 Infiniti Q50 is the brand’s gateway car. Historically, the ex-“G” car was not only the most affordable car in Nissan’s luxury brand lineup, but also the most exciting and possibly the most desirable.
The compact luxury sedan has always managed to blend performance and sophistication in a very striking package that has made enthusiast and consumers alike salivate. The current Q50 continues this tradition with styling and trims to please all.
2014 Infiniti Q50 S Hybrid Price and Specs
The new Infiniti Q50 has a starting price of $37,900. Available in four versions, ranging from the base 3.7 to the sporty S, the Q50 caters to those looking for luxury and thrills. For those expecting more performance with a green conscience, they can opt for the Hybrid available in two versions.
The element that distinguishes all Q50s is its available intelligent AWD system. The 3.7 features a 328 horsepower 3.7L V6, whereas the Hybrid starts off with a 3.5L V6 to which is joined a 50kW electric motor. Its output is rated at a pleasing 360 horsepower. In all cases, a 7-speed automatic transmission with Adaptive Shift Control is standard.
The base 2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid tips the pricing scale at $47,000. As tested, my Premium with Sport Package Q50 S AWD topped out at $56,450.
Driving the 2014 Infiniti Q50 S Hybrid
The prospect of driving an Infiniti “G” car has always been exciting with the possible exception of the G20 from the 1990s, which was nothing more than a Sentra… Regardless, from the G35 on, a rewarding and sporty time behind the wheel was always to be expected.
My expectations for the Q50 were met when I briefly drove Miranda’s Q50 AWD, but that experience was only the tip of the iceberg, but not in an entirely good way.
The hybrid’s powertrain is nothing short of impressive where going fast and being frugal are concerned. I averaged 8.5L/100 km in -20 degree weather and snow. These conditions did little to favour EV driving for much more than 5 seconds at a time despite light throttle application. Playing with the Infiniti Drive Mode selector insured shaper (or duller) throttle response, but in all respects the Q50 Hybrid was very fast.
Another high point goes to the brakes, which did not suffer from typical regeneration grabbiness. Smooth and progressive like a normal braking system, they also performed flawlessly all week.
My issue stems from the car’s vehicle speed sensitive steering with direct adaptive steering. Although adjustable through the InTouch menus, I could not settle into what was going on with the front wheels ahead of me. I was in love with the system at first, but I quickly became dismayed with the complete lack of feedback and input from the 245-section front tires. It became obvious that I had no physical connection with the car. None. This fact marred my time with the 2014 Infiniti Q50. And unlike Lightstone, I was happy to turn up in a German competitor the following week.
As a travelling companion, the 2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid will do exactly what is asked of it including grip, grab, and go. I, however, plainly don’t like being so isolated. I crave a certain intimacy with the car I’m driving. You, on the other hand, may find it amazing and with good reason.
Inside and Out of the 2014 Infiniti Q50 S Hybrid
The new Q50’s outer shell is exquisite. In a segment that includes superstars like the BMW 3 Series, the Q50 strikes an impressive balance between eclectic Japanese flowing design and stern German lines.
The cabin is just as exquisite. Snug and cockpit-like, it was conceived to make the occupants feel connected to car. This attempt was lost on me, but the fact remains that the craftsmanship is top-notch, as are the materials used.
The seats proved to be firm and supportive and provided me with a great driving position. The rear bench is snug, yet comfortable. Points are taken away from the 2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid for its limited trunk space.
The 2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid’s dashboard is a near masterpiece of integration and a techie’s delight. Infiniti InTouch and InTuition offer up a quasi-unlimited number of possibilities where customization is concerned. Important functions are attainable through specific controls. Sadly, it all takes far too long to load when the car is started, especially in winter when all I want is to turn the heated steering wheel on! Go ahead, call me a crybaby.
Comparing the 2014 Infiniti Q50 S Hybrid
The Q50 Hybrid has only a handful of competitors of which no other offers an AWD option. On this point alone, the Q50 wins. As far as the driving experience is concerned, it also takes the cake, as the BMW ActiveHybrid3 is no hero, either. However, my hard-earned money would go towards diesel motoring or a smaller displacement turbocharged 4-cylinder engine.
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