MT REVIEWS: Infiniti Q50S

For those who want an alternative to the inevitable 5 Series, this high-performance hybrid could be it.

by Sathnam Sanghera
Last Updated: 09 Jul 2014

The hardest thing to find in an executive car is personality. The importance of the market segment means manufacturers can't afford to take risks. For customers, choosing is often literally a box-ticking exercise, involving the filling out of company car forms. And let's face it, design-wise, most executive cars are either a BMW 5 Series or trying to look like a BMW 5 Series.

But the Infiniti Q50S is the exception that proves the rule. In part simply because the Infiniti brand is still so rare - better known in the UK for being the sponsor of Sebastian Vettel's F1 Red Bull than as a vehicle manufacturer. And also because it looks Japanese from the back, American from the front and German from the side.

But mainly because it is put together so originally, as evidenced by two computer touchscreens on the dashboard and the fact that it took me 12 minutes to find the handbrake (turns out it is on the floor in the form of a raised pedal next to the accelerator).

Then there is the engine. The last thing you expect from a hybrid car is a nice exhaust note. But the 3.5-litre petrol unit in this car has a really lovely one. Even the electric motor makes a pleasant whirr. And unusually for something so economical, it is possible to drive this car hard. At one point, I even managed wheelspin. Try that in a Prius.

But the best thing about the Q50S is the technology. As a rule, the more safety devices in a car, the slower it is, and the less likely you are to crash anyway. But the Q50 defies this as well. It is lightning fast. And though my test model had blind-spot monitors, radar cruise control, lane alarms, at speed all the toys somehow enhanced the driving experience, rather than intruded.

In short, it is the cleverest car I have driven for some time. My only complaint is that sometimes the whizzy gadgets clashed with one another. At one point, I mistook the percussion track on a Sly and the Family Stone song I was listening to on the stunning Bose surround sound stereo for a blind spot monitor alarm.

It's the vehicular equivalent of your phone buzzing to indicate you have received an important text, only to discover it's an invite to 'connect' on LinkedIn. But even this problem was a characteristically original one.


SPECIFICATION - Infiniti Q50S V6 Hybrid

Price: £39,995

Engine: 3,498 cc, hybrid, petrol V6

Transmission: 7-speed automatic

Fuel: 45.6 mpg (combined cycle)

CO2 emissions: 144 g/km

Power: 360 bhp

Torque: 402 lb/ft

0-62mph: 5.1 seconds

Top speed: 155 mph


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