I recently had the chance to drive an Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400, the high-performance version of the Infiniti Q50. As the name suggests, it has 400 horsepower. It has a starting price of around $54,000. It’s available in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. And it’s just not as good as it should be.
The Q50 Red Sport 400 is the sporty Q50, as I said, and the Q50 is the four-door sedan that replaced the Infiniti G35, the highly popular midsize sports sedan that Infiniti released back in 2003. The Q50 is currently offered in three versions: There’s a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 200 hp, a turbo 3.0-liter V6 with 300 hp, and a 400-hp version of the turbo 3.0-liter V6, which is the engine in the Q50 Red Sport 400.
Infiniti used to boast a sharp pricing advantage over its German rivals, but no more. At $54,000, the Q50 Red Sport 400 is about the same price as the BMW M340i, except that the BMW is faster, newer and, well, a BMW. That Infiniti’s trying to charge BMW money for an Infiniti is just one of the Q50’s issues — although, to be fair to the Q50, the brand’s lease support is so substantial that monthly payments can be significantly lower than those for an M340i. Still, the MSRP is too high.
That becomes especially true when you get into the Red Sport 400. The interior is nice, sure, but the technology is massively outdated. The car is missing a lot of modern features that its rivals have, like a gauge cluster screen with a full-screen map or updated safety tech like adaptive cruise control. Infiniti didn’t even offer Apple CarPlay until 2019, much later than virtually every rival.
The issues go deeper than the tech, which any BMW or Mercedes-Benz owner will find disappointing. The interior itself isn’t particularly nice. It merely checks all the luxury boxes — there’s a nice swoop across the dashboard and the materials are a little better than what you’d get in a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord — without actually bringing anything new to the table. It’s fine, sure, and I think that’s the word that perfectly sums up the Q50. It’s fine. Nothing more.
Then there’s the driving experience. Packing 400 hp, the Q50 feels surprisingly spry — and I actually enjoyed accelerating quite a bit. It’s fast from traffic lights and it’s fun to push the accelerator even when you’re going traffic speed because the car does a great job of getting going, even when it’s already going. The main issue is its handling, which doesn’t match up to the sporty acceleration. It’s fine — there’s that word again — but it’s not as precise as the latest BMW 3 Series or even the Mercedes-Benz AMG C 43.
The Q50 is undoubtedly an acceptable car. It’s just not a great one. I’d steer clear from it unless I got a great deal, and the person whose Q50 I borrowed got precisely that — an amazing lease deal that significantly undercut a BMW 3 Series. He’s not thrilled with the car, but he’s fine with it and he’s thrilled with the deal — and at some point, the Q50 definitely starts to make financial sense.
Look, the Q50 is fine. But it desperately needs a redesign if it wants to be more than fine, and Infiniti is lagging way behind its rivals when it comes to recent products and updates. So the Q50 might stay fine for a while. Find an Infiniti Q50 for sale