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Car review: Infiniti Q50

The Q50 by Japanese luxury car maker Infiniti easily competes with German rivals such as the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, writes Tim Barnes-Clay.

Infiniti Q50 exterior

The English word infinity derives from the Latin infinitas, meaning "being without finish". 

But in the automotive world the Infiniti Q50 is certainly finished beautifully. 

Infiniti was established in 1989, founded by Nissan as its luxury car brand. The Q50, launched in 2013, is the latest entrant in the mid-size premium class.

The four-door, rear-wheel-drive saloon, tested here in 2.2 diesel SE Premium trim, comes with a high level of standard equipment. 

Luxury finish inside & out

Sparkling LED lighting is used in the rear light units, the front fog lights and the turn indicators in the door mirrors. 

Scratch-shield paint is used to ensure unwanted minor scrapes simply disappear, while chrome-trimmed twin exhaust pipes and halogen daytime running lights enhance the Q50's sporting presence.

Step inside and the two front compartments are separated by a distinctive design line that runs through the centre console. 

The dashboard features twin touch screens along with a fully customisable digital environment. 

Six-speaker audio system

Audio is provided by a six-speaker system featuring a CD player, Bluetooth streaming, USB/iPod connectivity and voice-operated control.

The ideal temperature in the cabin is vigilantly maintained by a dual-zone climate control system which features auto-recirculation for when the outside air may not be quite so clean. 

The rear seats feature a 60/40 split and a ski hatch to allow for any extra storage capacity requirements. 

A multi-function leather-bound steering wheel is also included along with leather-trimmed, heated seats.

'Opulent' on the road

Infiniti Q50 cabin interior

Behind the wheel, there's an overriding sensation of luxury - in fact, the Infiniti Q50 feels more extravagant than many of the mile-munching BMWs, Mercs and Audis it's pitched against. 

However, there is an initial diesel clatter on start up which sounds louder than some of the Q50's German rivals. 

But once you're on the move a sense of calm prevails. 

The car glides through its automatic gears seamlessly. Without doubt, if you're after a relaxing commute you could drive all day enveloped in opulence without needing to ruffle any feathers. 

'Sport' mode offers vigorous drive  

In contrast, if you like a little spice injected into your journey then you can change the car's character by pressing the sport mode button. 

This tightens up the Q50's drivetrain and chassis, turning it into a majestic missile. 

It will accelerate vigorously and take corners more precisely than before, shaking things up for you on your otherwise monotonous commute to the office.

Other drive settings include snow and personal. The former makes the Infiniti behave more obediently in wintry weather and the latter tunes the car into your own driving style. 

Five-star Euro NCAP safety rating

The fitment of cruise control, speed limiter, stop start, hill start assist, rear view camera, rain sensing wipers and keyless entry make the Infiniti Q50 easy to live with. 

It's also a very safe vehicle.

According to the latest tests carried out by Thatcham, the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre, the Q50 has one of the most advanced standard fit collision avoidance systems that the Centre has ever tested. 

Together with its recently announced five-star Euro NCAP rating, the Infiniti Q50 is easily one of the safest cars on the road.

Infiniti Q50: Pros & cons

  • Luxurious √
  • Powerful √
  • Safe √
  • Different √
  • Diesel clatter X

Infiniti Q50: Fast facts

  • Max speed: 143 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 8.5 secs
  • Combined mpg: 58.9
  • Engine: 2143 cc 4 cylinder 16 valve turbo diesel
  • Max. power (bhp): 170 at 3200 rpm
  • Max. torque (lb/ft): 295 at 1600 rpm 
  • CO2: 124 g/km
  • Price: £29,500 on the road

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Tim Barnes-Clay

Leon Poultney

Tim is an experienced motoring writer with a background in radio and TV journalism. He puts his pedal to the metal each week with his must-read car reviews.

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