- Both offer optional all-wheel drive.
- Acura TLX is all-new for 2021.
- Infiniti Q50 Red Sport makes 400 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque.
2021 Infiniti Q50
Base price: $37,625 / Read our 2021 Infiniti Q50 review
What we like: Powerful standard V6; competitive pricing; sharp styling; good standard tech
What we would change: Steering could be more communicative; interior needs a refresh; run-flat tires can be noisy
Overview: Luxurious, handsome and powerful, the 2021 Infiniti Q50 makes lots of power from its standard twin-turbo V6, with an even more powerful version of that engine available as an upgrade. Rear-wheel drive (with optional all-wheel drive) gives it confident handling, but the steering isn’t as sharp as some of its competitors. The interior is luxurious and comfortable, with great seats, although it could use a refresh, and there’s good space in the back for passengers. Standard tech includes two touchscreens and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, although some safety features aren’t available until you reach the higher trim levels. Resale values are about or slightly below average.
What’s new for 2021: There’s a bit of a reshuffling of trims this year, with a new Sensory trim replacing the Sport version. The Luxe trim gains more standard driver aids, and there’s a new optional Seat & Sound package offered for the Luxe. Wi-fi is now included on the base Pure trim, and a Q50 Signature is due in the spring of 2021.
Features and technology: There are five trim levels of the 2021 Infiniti Q50, with the top Red Sport 400 being the only one with the top 400-hp engine, along with an adaptive suspension, 19-inch wheels, dual exhaust pipes, and sport brakes with red calipers as well as semi-aniline leather upholstery with contrast stitching. But the standard twin-turbo V6 is plenty powerful, and comes in all trims. The base is called Pure and includes 17-inch wheels, keyless entry/ignition, and a 2-screen infotainment system with two USB ports, HD/satellite radio, wi-fi, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Safety features include forward-collision mitigation and automatic emergency braking.
The next trim, Luxe, adds a powered moonroof, both a heated steering wheel and heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, and more safety features, including the ProAssist package with blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors both front and rear, and a 360-degree camera system. Next up is the Sensory, with leather-covered sport seats, a 16-speaker Bose audio system, navigation, an upgraded climate control system, and ambient cabin lights. The upcoming Signature Edition includes saddle brown leather upholstery and dark chrome exterior accents.
What does the future hold: Because its rear-wheel-drive layout and excellent engines give it sport sedan cred, we think the Q50 could stand more responsive steering to truly compete. It could also use a bit of a refresh, and more standard safety tech. Find a 2021 Infiniti Q50 for sale near you
2021 Acura TLX
Base price: $38,525 / Read our 2021 Acura TLX review
What we like: Powerful engine; fun to drive; great standard safety features; comfortable; optional high-performance Type S; resale values
What we would change: As a sport sedan, it should offer rear-wheel rather than front-wheel drive; small trunk; increase rear legroom
Overview: 2021 marks the second generation of the Acura TLX, and as a consequence it’s been completely redesigned. We see improvements all around, with plenty of performance from a strong turbocharged four-cylinder engine and Acura’s excellent optional Super Handling all-wheel drive. The exterior looks are a bit plain for a luxury car, but inside the TLX is full of leather, wood and brushed aluminum. It’s a pleasure to drive, with sporty handling blended with a very comfortable ride. For those who want even more performance, the Type S variant is coming soon, powered by a twin-turbo V6. Standard equipment is generous, including 12-way power and heated front seats and a 10.2-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility and a 10-speaker premium audio system. We also appreciate the combination of buttons and touchpad control. Standard on every trim is AcuraWatch, Acura’s suite of safety and driver assistance technology. As expected, build quality is excellent and resale values high.
What’s new for 2021: Everything, as the TLX has been completely redesigned.
Features and technology: With a single base engine choice and either front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the 2021 Acura TLX comes in four trim levels. The base, cleverly called Standard, is well equipped, with leatherette upholstery, 12-way powered and heated front seats, 18-inch wheels with high-performance tires, dual-zone climate control, and a 10.2-inch display with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and a 10-speaker premium audio system. Also standard is AcuraWatch, a full suite of safety features including lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, and a driver attention monitor.
As is standard with Acura and Honda, options come in packages rather than à la carte. The next up, the Technology Package, adds a leather interior, navigation, an excellent 13-speaker ELS audio system, and 19-inch wheels. Next is the A-Spec, which adds a sporty appearance package, four more speakers for the ELS audio system, heated and ventilated front seats, remote engine start, and a hand-wrapped and top-stitched dashboard. The top TLX Advance includes adaptive dampers in its suspension system, a heated steering wheel as well as heated rear seats, a surround-view camera, and 16-way adjustable seats. The Type S will arrive later with a high-power twin-turbo V6 and standard all-wheel drive.
What does the future hold: As 2021 marks a brand-new model, expect improvements to be subtle, possibly involving more safety and driver assistance features. Find a 2021 Acura TLX for sale
Q50 vs. TLX: Strengths comparison
Q50 Benefits: Standard rear-wheel drive; more distinctive looks; standard V6 power.
TLX Benefits Benefits: Fuel economy; more standard safety features; fresher interior; resale value.
2021 Infiniti Q50 vs. 2021 Acura TLX: Which is better?
Sometimes these comparison tests yield a clear winner, but not so in this case, as both the 2021 Infiniti Q50 and 2021 Acura TLX are excellent performance sedans with loads of luxury touches. We prefer the Infiniti’s rear-wheel-drive setup and standard V6, but the steering is sharper on the TLX. They’re both very good. If we have to choose, we give the nod to the TLX owing to its fresher interior, more standard safety equipment, and slightly better fuel economy. Find a 2021 Infiniti Q50 for sale or Find a 2021 Acura TLX for sale
|2021 Infiniti Q50||2021 Acura TLX|
|Engine||3.0-liter V6, twin-turbocharged||2.0-liter I4, turbocharged|
|Horsepower||300 hp @ 6,400 rpm||272 hp @ 6,500 rpm|
|Torque||295 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm||280 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm|
|Transmission||7-speed automatic||10-speed automatic|
|Fuel Economy||23 mpg (20 city/29 highway)||25 mpg (22 city/31 highway)|
|Also Available||3.0-liter V6, twin-turbocharged (higher output)|
|Basic Warranty||4 years/60,000 miles||4 years/50,000 miles|
|Powertrain Warranty||6 years/70,000 miles||6 years/70,000 miles|
|NHTSA Overall Safety Rating||n/a||5 Stars|
|Max Seating Capacity||5||5|
|Wheelbase||112.2 inches||113.0 inches|
|Overall Length||189.6 inches||194.6 inches|
|Width||71.8 inches||75.2 inches|
|Height||57.2 inches||56.4 inches|
|Turning Diameter||36.7 feet||40.1 feet|
|Headroom, Front||40.2 inches||37.2 inches|
|Headroom, Rear||37.5 inches||36.3 inches|
|Legroom, Front||44.5 inches||42.4 inches|
|Legroom, Rear||35.1 inches||34.9 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Front||56.7 inches||58.2 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Rear||56.1 inches||55.0 inches|
|EPA Passenger Volume||101.5 cubic feet||93.4 cubic feet|
|EPA Cargo Volume||13.5 cubic feet||13.5 cubic feet|