While some companies struggle to justify their sedan lines, the 2019 Infiniti Q50 presents no such worry. In a market dominated by European luxury brands, the Infiniti Q50 muscles its way around such lofty competitors as the Audi A4 and the BMW 3 Series by offering a wide and varied model lineup ranging from entry-level sport sedan to a bona fide autobahn burner. The Q50’s trio of turbocharged engines includes a Mercedes-Benz-derived 4-cylinder, an efficient yet powerful 3.0-liter V6 and a scorching 400-horsepower twin-turbo V6. Infiniti’s Direct Adaptive Steering addresses previous complaints about vague steering response with three preset steering modes and six drive modes, including a personal setting.
What’s New for 2019?
For 2019, the Q50 lineup is reconfigured to be less complex, and the hybrid model is dropped. The 2.0t now is now offered only in Pure trim, while forward-collision braking and predictive forward-collision warning (it looks around the vehicle immediately in front of you to warn of potential dangers farther up the road) are made standard. Last years Essential, ProAssist, Performance and Sensory packages are made standard on the 3.0t Sport.
What We Like
Sleek styling; choice of three powerful gasoline engines; Direct Adaptive Steering; easy navigation thanks to hard buttons and dual touchscreens
What We Don’t
Sophisticated driver-assist systems aren’t for everyone and can feel intrusive; narrow front seats; no manual transmission; no more hybrid
$36,845 — $60,000
The Q50 2.0t trims are powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel economy for the rear-wheel-drive model at 23 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. The all-wheel-drive version nets 22 mpg city/28 mpg hwy.
The Q50 3.0t trims employ a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that generates 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, while the Q50 Red Sport 400 uses a modified version of the same engine that’s good for 400 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. EPA estimates for the RWD 3.0t and Sport trims are 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy, with the AWD models earning 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy. The Q50 Red Sport 400 with RWD sees 20 mpg city/26 mpg hwy, and its AWD equivalent gets 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The 2019 Infiniti Q50 comes in one body style applied to four trims: 2.0t Pure, 3.0t Luxe, 3.0t Sport and Red Sport 400. All Q50s are powered by their rear wheels, but can be ordered with AWD.
The Q50 2.0t Pure ($36,845, RWD; $38,845, AWD) includes 17-in alloy wheels, leatherette-simulated leather seating, LED headlights, LED fog lights, heated outside mirrors, an 8-way power driver and passenger seats with driver’s-side manual lumbar support, Infiniti’s dual-touchscreen interface with apps, a rearview monitor, forward-emergency braking and predictive forward-collision warning, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, Intelligent Key keyless entry and starting and a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with HD Radio and dual USB ports.
The Q50 3.0t Luxe ($39,595, RWD; $41,595, AWD) adds 18-in wheels, a power moonroof, maple wood trim and a HomeLink universal garage door opener, plus electronic power steering and the 300-hp 3.0-liter V6.
The Q50 3.0t Sport ($49,245, RWD; $51,245, AWD) also comes with the Luxe features and adds 19-in alloy wheels, a unique front fascia, leather seating surfaces, chrome exhaust finishers and sport seats with extendable thigh support and driver’s-side adjustable side bolsters. Also standard are the contents of the Essential, ProAssist, Sensory and Performance packages.
The Q50 Red Sport 400 ($52,295, RWD; $54,295, AWD) includes the Sport’s equipment and more aggressive summer tires, Dynamic Digital Suspension, sport brakes with red-painted calipers and unique 19-in staggered fragment alloy wheels.
The ProAssist package adds an Around View Monitor, a blind spot monitoring system, front and rear sonar sensors plus rear cross-traffic alert and intervention.
The Essential package adds InTouch service with navigation radio, SiriusXM traffic, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, driver’s seat power lumbar support, remote start and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat with armrest and pass-through.
The ProActive package adds adaptive front headlights with auto high-beam assist, lane-departure warning and assist, adaptive cruise control, Direct Adaptive Steering and blind spot monitoring and intervention.
The Sensory Package adds a 16-speaker Bose audio system, auto-dimming outside mirrors, memory function for the driver’s seat, steering wheel and mirrors plus leather seating, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel and the Advanced Climate Control System.
The Infiniti Q50 was crash-tested by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and earned a 5-star overall rating, with four stars in the front crash test and five stars for the side-impact and rollover tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Q50 its best rating of "good" in all performed crash tests, and a "superior" rating in the crash avoidance and mitigation test.
Also bolstering the Q50’s safety credentials is an optional predictive system that gauges the speed of the vehicle two cars ahead, as well as available lane-departure warning with active lane control.
Behind the Wheel
While none of the Q50 models are slouches, the slowest of the bunch is the 2.0t. In the 3.0t, abundant power flows through the 7-speed transmission, producing brisk acceleration and smooth shifts. On models so equipped, Direct Adaptive Steering interprets steering wheel input through an electronic control unit and turns the front wheels via two electric motors. Optional on the 3.0t and Red Sport 400, the second-generation Direct Adaptive Steering system delivers improved road feedback and a more natural steering feel.
The Q50 drives with a secure, surefooted and swift grasp of the road, but real driving enthusiasts will want to skip the electronic steering and stick with the standard hydraulic system. There are, however, other reasons to opt for Direct Adaptive Steering, including a lane-minding system that helps keep the car centered in its lane (assuming the road stays generally straight). Other tech driving features include distance control, which helps maintain a safety cushion between you and the car ahead of you.
The star of the show is the Q50 Red Sport 400. Packing a 400-hp wallop and making 350 lb-ft of maximum torque from the performance version of the 3.0-liter twin turbo, this Q50 is identifiable by its red S badging. Two key elements set the 400-hp V6 apart from the 300-hp version. For more efficient cooling, the 400-hp V6 has a second water pump. Additionally, it boasts an industry-first turbo speed sensor, giving the turbo system a 30 percent power boost by allowing the blades to spin faster. Both V6 iterations require premium fuel.
Other Cars to Consider
2019 Audi A4 — The A4 delivers a premium look and feel, with a stunning interior that many consider best in class. However, the A4 is a FWD car, so unless you opt for the AWD version, its handling won’t be as precise as the Q50.
2019 BMW 3 Series — The BMW 320i sedan opens up the Bavarian brand to more buyers, but like the base Q50, its turbocharged 4-cylinder might not appeal to luxury buyers, although it does offer a diesel engine and a wagon model.
2019 Alfa Romeo Guilia — A relative newcomer to the sport sedan scene, the Guilia offers stunning good looks and impressive performance credentials. It’s priced right, but there is no long-term data on its reliability or resale.
If you’re looking for a blend of comfort and performance, the Q50 3.0t Luxe or Sport with all the optional packages delivers just about everything you’ll need. Hardcore enthusiasts will want the Red Sport 400 AWD with the ProActive package.