2020 Infiniti Q50

2020 Infiniti Q50 Review: Just Misses The Mark

by Jay Traugott

Luxury sedans that offer a balance of comfort and athleticism are a rare breed, and designing one that can stand up to scrutiny and the test of time is no easy feat. So it's impressive that the Infiniti Q50 is still holding its own in the market. While not as premium as the German luxury brands like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class or BMW 3 Series, nor as sporty as their performance-oriented variants, the Japanese luxury sedan offers an interesting blend of the two aspects combined with a unique sense of style that is bound to turn heads. With a choice of two turbo V6 engines, with either 300 or 400 horsepower, you will never be left wanting for power, and the interior is surprisingly spacious for a smaller luxury sedan, both for passengers and luggage. But with a high price tag, mediocre mileage figures, and a dwindling ability to keep up with the latest German offerings, you will want the best value for your hefty investment - and the Infiniti Q50 might not hit that mark.

2020 Infiniti Q50 Changes: What’s the difference vs 2019 Q50?

2020 sees the demise of the old 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine, leaving only the V6 engines in place and leaving the 3.0t Pure the base model in the lineup. The new year also sees a new addition to the range in the form of the Edition 30, celebrating 30 years since the Infiniti brand was born. The infotainment suite has also been updated across the range and now supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Two USB connections have also been added to every trim level.

Pros and Cons

  • Powerful twin-turbo V6 engines
  • Long list of standard tech and safety features
  • Unrestricted access to all-wheel drivetrains
  • Slightly above-average cargo space
  • Handsome exterior design elements
  • Ride quality can be rough for a luxury sedan
  • Disappointing handling dynamics
  • Dated interior styling
  • One of the oldest competitors in the field

Q50 Exterior

While the Q50 may not be the sportiest luxury sedan on the market, it certainly is one of the more stylish ones. Smooth lines and a sloping coupe roof give it a sleek profile, while the large 17- to 19-inch wheels, coupled with sharply angled LED headlights and a broad mesh grille give it a bold stance. LED taillights and daytime running lights round out the sedan's upscale appearance. The Edition 30 gets several dark chrome or black exterior accents, while the Sport and Red Sport each get customized styling elements such as sport-design wheels and bumpers, or dual exhaust tips.

2020 Infiniti Q50 Front Angle View Infiniti
2020 Infiniti Q50 Front Angle View 1 Infiniti
2020 Infiniti Q50 Side View Infiniti
See All 2020 Infiniti Q50 Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The Infiniti Q50's dimensions mean it fits in squarely with the rest of the compact luxury sedan crowd, with an overall length of only 189.6 inches accommodating a 112.2-inch wheelbase. Without the mirrors, it measures 71.8 inches wide while the height varies between 56.8 and 57.2 inches for RWD and AWD models respectively. The weight also varies across the trim levels and will be affected by whether or not you spring for all-wheel-drive. The lowest curb weight is 3,685 lbs, while the top-most Red Sport trim can weigh in at 3,998 lbs with AWD equipped. This is only slightly heavier than more athletic rivals like the Audi A4, which starts at 3,450 lbs and maxes out at 3,858 lbs.

Exterior Colors

The paint palette for the luxury sedan consists of a modest ten choices. The standard offering comprises Black Obsidian, Pure White, Graphite Shadow, and Liquid Platinum, with Hagane Blue as an option for the Luxe. For $595, you can also dress the Luxe in Majestic White, Mocha Almond, or Midnight Black. The Sport drops Mocha Almond and Hagane Blue from the lineup but adds Iridium Blue as a standard option. The Red Sport 400 further refines this by dropping Obsidian Black and Pure White, while offering high-octane Dynamic Sunstone Red for $800. The Edition 30 is available in Majestic White, Graphite Shadow, and Black Obsidian only, albeit at no extra cost.

  • Graphite Shadow
  • Black Obsidian
  • Majestic White
  • Liquid Platinum
  • Pure White
  • Hagane Blue
  • Midnight Black
  • Mocha Almond
  • Iridium Blue
  • Dynamic Sunstone Red

Q50 Performance

In terms of sheer power, the Q50 is hard to beat, even with its base engine. The 300-hp twin-turbo V6 can get the hefty luxury sedan up to 60 mph from a standstill in as little as five seconds, according to real-world testing, making it half a second quicker than the claimed sprint for the base 248-hp Audi A4, while the S4, with its 349-hp turbo V6, can make the same sprint in 4.4 seconds. If you want even more power under the hood, you can opt for the performance-oriented Red Sport 400 trim, which comes equipped with a turbo V6 that delivers an extra 100 hp over the base model. This extra oomph gets the heavier model Q50 past the 60 mph benchmark in around 4.5 seconds, but, while on power output alone it might rival esteemed machinery like from the hallowed halls of M, AMG, and Audi Sport, the performance is substandard. Every variant of the Q50 is available in rear- or all-wheel-drive, and while many rivals share these options, the Audi A4 is available in front-wheel-drive.

2020 Infiniti Q50 Front View Driving Infiniti
2020 Infiniti Q50 Rear Angle View Infiniti
2020 Infiniti Q50 Rear Bumper Infiniti

Engine and Transmission

All but the top-most trim of the Infiniti Q50 range are powered by a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that develops 300 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque for the rear wheels, although all-wheel-drive is available for every model. This makes the Q50 a class leader in terms of sheer power at the entry point to the model. With this many horses packed into a turbocharged engine, you might expect a bit of lag in the throttle response, but the powertrain is smooth and quickly gets you going, while supplying plenty of passing power on the highway.

Exclusive to the top-tier Red Sport trim, the re-tuned 3.0-liter V6 pushes out a potent 400 hp and 350 lb-ft, putting the model on par with performance variants supplied by rivals that usually feature M or RS badges. But it can't match them for outright firepower, and instead, it's more contented against the semi-performance models like the S4 and M340i.

Regardless of the engine and drivetrain you choose, they all come mated to a seven-speed automatic gearbox. The transmission shifts smoothly, and you even have the option of manually shifting with the steering-wheel-mounted paddles.

  • Engine
    3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
  • Transmission
    7-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

As a more stately cruiser, with all the power to back up that reputation, the Infiniti Q50 doesn't put a great deal of focus on sporty handling. It still offers some of the appeal of a more performance-oriented luxury sedan, but it doesn't rival the driver engagement offered by rivals like the BMW M340 or the Audi S4, even in its sportiest Red Sport 400 guise.

The Q50's steering is mostly light and precise, although it gains a moderate degree of heft at higher speeds. It also communicates a bit better than you would expect from a luxury sedan, although it is nowhere near the level of a performance sports car. The optional Direct Adaptive Steering helps improve driver engagement, but you shouldn't expect a truly adrenaline-pumping driving experience from this sedan. Similarly, the brakes are responsive, but not overly powerful, which doesn't inspire confidence for high-speed maneuvers. While the Q50 might be a bit on the heavy side, a stopping distance of 169 ft is not overly impressive.

In terms of road manners, the Infiniti maintains its composure, gripping the road reassuringly with little body roll. If you are confident taking turns at higher speeds without the feedback of a sports-car-tuned steering setup, the Q50 won't let you down. However, this is only advisable in the Sport and Red Sport trims, which are specifically tuned for the more adventurous driver.

Regardless of the model you choose, however, ride quality is always going to disappoint, at least for those who expect the premium levels of comfort that only the top-tier luxury sedans can deliver. The Infiniti rides on a firm suspension that, when coupled with its imposingly large wheels, has trouble dealing with more coarse road conditions. It won't rattle those inside the cabin, but the constant minor vibrations can become disconcerting. This is only further exacerbated by the incessant intrusion of road and wind noise. At least the seats are supremely comfortable.

Q50 Gas Mileage

Even for a luxury sedan, the Infiniti Q50 doesn't fare well in terms of fuel economy. The BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 are powered by more fuel-efficient turbo four-cylinder engines, although their performance-oriented models do boast six-cylinder engines that compete with the Q50's. Even then, the Infiniti sedan fails to impress with an EPA-estimated 20/29/23 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. The all-wheel-drive models sacrifice some efficiency, achieving 19/27/22 mpg. The Red Sport 400, with its stronger engine, gets slightly worse highway mileage at 26 mpg but matches the 22 mpg combined figure. To compare sportier variants, the V6-powered Audi S4 gets 20/27/23 mpg, while the BMW 3 Series gets a slightly better 22/30/25 mpg. With a full 20-gallon tank of premium gasoline, the Infiniti sedan can travel for up to 460 miles before pulling into a gas station.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    20.0 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 20/29 mpg
* 2020 Infiniti Q50 3.0t PURE RWD

Q50 Interior

Despite its luxury label, the Infiniti Q50 lacks the refinement of its segment-leading rivals like the Audi A4 and BMW 3 series. While the sedan is only five years old now, the interior feels older somehow. It also doesn't offer quite as many luxury features as the price tag would suggest, and the controls could be laid out a bit more logically. The dual-screen infotainment interface is a novel concept, but it can be finicky to operate, even with the welcome improvements for the new year. Nonetheless, the interior is superbly comfortable and there is generally enough room for everyone. Sadly, cargo capacity is not as generous as its passenger capacity.

2020 Infiniti Q50 Dashboard Infiniti
2020 Infiniti Q50 Dashboard 1 Infiniti
2020 Infiniti Q50 Steering Wheel Infiniti
See All 2020 Infiniti Q50 Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

While not a grand cruiser, the Q50 is still a spacious and comfortable luxury sedan. There are seating appointments for up to five passengers, with enough room in the back for the average adult, although squeezing in three might be a bit ambitious. There is even more head- and legroom up front, making the Infiniti one of the more spacious entry-level luxury sedans on the market. Visibility is quite good all-round, but the sloping roof and broad C pillars can make for some larger blind spots. The available blind-spot monitor and surround-view camera remedy this problem, and the eight-way power front seats make finding the optimum driving position easy. The low sills make for hassle-free entry, even before you take into account the easy-entry feature.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

As standard, the interior comes upholstered in Graphite-colored leatherette on the Pure or your choice of Stone, Wheat, or Graphite on the Luxe. While this doesn't offer premium-level comfort, it's plenty comfortable for an entry-level luxury vehicle. But if you want true luxury, semi-aniline leather is available on the Red Sport 400 with iconic red stitching in either Gallery White or Graphite. While this level of quality comfort is certainly worthy of the luxury label, you will certainly have to pay for it. The interior is accented in Lunar Black trim as standard, with Textured Aluminum on the Luxe, and Kacchu Aluminum on the upper trims. Hard plastics are a rarity throughout the cabin, and build-quality is certainly upscale. However, the overall feeling of the interior is subpar compared to the refined elegance of German competitors and the choice of materials could be better.

Q50 Trunk and Cargo Space

In the base-model Infiniti Q50, the rear seats don't fold down, so you have a fixed amount of cargo space. Luckily, the trunk is marginally larger than what you'll find in most segment rivals. Behind the rear seats, you will find 13.5 cubic feet, which is enough for ten grocery bags or several carry-ons. This is about half a cubic foot more than you'll find in the BMW 3 Series and a full cube more than the Audi A4 supplies. While nothing to rave about, this is enough space to make the Q50 a viable daily driver, and the 60/40 split fold-down seats on the upper trims make it possible to transport larger items.

There is an array of small bins and trays around the center console, but they are all on the small and shallow side, leaving little useable room for small-item storage. The glove compartment is the only space large enough to store anything larger than a small phone or wallet. The door pockets might take a water bottle if you are willing to squeeze it in.

2020 Infiniti Q50 Rear Passenger Seats Infiniti
2020 Infiniti Q50 Rear View Infiniti
2020 Infiniti Q50 Rear Badge Model Infiniti
  • Trunk Volume
    13.2 ft³

Q50 Infotainment and Features

Features

While it doesn't come as well-equipped as some rival luxury sedans, the Infiniti is still no slouch when it comes to tech. Standard comfort features include dual-zone climate control, eight-way power front seats with lumbar support, and synthetic leather upholstery, while keyless entry and ignition, and cruise control comprise the basic conveniences. A multi-function trip computer is provided, along with a rearview camera, and forward collision mitigation technology. Many extra features are unlocked by upgrading your trim level or opting for available packages. These include a power moonroof, heated front seats with thigh extensions, a heated steering wheel, fold-down rear seats, a power-adjustable steering column, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, adaptive cruise control, and remote engine start. A plethora of advanced safety features also become available, including blind-spot monitoring, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, rear and front sonar, backup collision intervention, and a surround-view camera.

Infotainment

The infotainment suite in the Q50 is operated through a dual touchscreen interface. An eight-inch screen sits above its seven-inch counterpart, and grants access to Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM Radio, and AM/FM/CD/MP3 playback through the six-speaker sound system. A pair of USB ports and an auxiliary input jack are also supplied if you want to take an old-school approach to stream your audio. The upper trims upgrade the infotainment with navigation, SiriusXM, and an InTouch mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. The standard sound system also gets swapped out for a premium 16-speaker Bose audio system.

Q50 Problems and Reliability

The Q50 has been rated by the J.D. Power at 77 out of 100 for dependability, which is slightly above average. The 2020 edition has not been subjected to any recalls to date, but the 2019 model was recalled for a faulty review camera. Infiniti offers a basic warranty for 60,000 miles/48 months, with a 70,000-mile/72-month powertrain warranty.

Q50 Safety

The luxury sedan enjoys a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA for its roll-over rating, but it has not been subjected to the full slew of crash tests. Although the 2020 model has not yet been tested by the IIHS, the organization awarded the 2019 model overall ratings of Good in most tests.

Key Safety Features

The standard suite of safety features comprises ABS, EBD, traction and stability control, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, a rearview camera, and six airbags: dual front, front side, and side curtain. Available features include blind-spot monitoring, blind-spot intervention, backup collision intervention, front and rear sonar, an around-view camera, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and distance control assist.

Verdict: Is the 2020 Infiniti Q50 a good car?

The luxury sedan segment is a cutthroat market, with only the best of the best making it to the top. And while the Infiniti Q50 is certainly a good car in its own right, it doesn't quite stand up to the German pack leaders.

The Japanese luxury sedan has the power to match its rivals, touting either a 300-hp or 400-hp turbo V6, but it simply doesn't have the refined handling to make full use of that brawn. Rivals find a better balance between power and driving dynamics to really engage with the driver and give them the thrill that the more sporty small luxury sedans are supposed to deliver. However, the Infiniti doesn't sacrifice this for no reason. It has a spacious interior and a competitively sized trunk that make it lean more towards being a practical daily driver.

But since it's luxury you're aiming for with a purchase at this price, you wouldn't be wrong to expect the full package - and the Q50 just doesn't deliver it. The interior may be spacious and quite comfortable, but it lacks the style that many have come to expect from this segment. It feels dated, and the controls are laid out in a somewhat haphazard manner. The infotainment, while novel with its dual-screen setup, can be clunky to operate, too.

The Infiniti luxury sedan may be a little cheaper than its international competitors, and it may have slightly better fuel economy figures, but if these were your primary concerns, you wouldn't even be considering a luxury vehicle. In every other regard, the Audi A4/S4, BMW 3 Series, and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class all pull ahead of the Japanese ankle-biter, albeit by small margins across the board. But when it comes to premium levels of luxury, even an inch can feel like a mile.

What's the Price of the 2020 Infiniti Q50?

As a luxury sedan, the Infiniti Q50 has a price tag to match, but its compact nature helps tone down the cost a little. The base 3.0t Pure will set you back a modest $36,400, while the 3.0t Luxe adds $2,450 at an MSRP of $38,850. Breaking the $40k mark, the Edition 30 asks for $43,700. The sportier trims will cost you a bit more, with the Sport priced at $48,500. Getting behind the wheel of the top-tier Red Sport 400 will cost you $54,250. All of these models are available with all-wheel-drive for an additional $2,000. These prices exclude tax, registration, licensing, or the manufacturer's destination charge of $1,025.

2020 Infiniti Q50 Models

Five trim levels comprise the Infiniti Q50 range: the 3.0t Pure, 3.0t Luxe, Edition 30, 3.0t Sport, and Red Sport 400. Standard on all but the top-tier Red Sport 400 is a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine that develops 300 hp and 295 lb-ft for the rear wheels, although all-wheel-drive is available on every trim. The performance-oriented Red Sport gets a re-tuned engine with identical displacement figures that delivers 400 hp and 350 lb-ft. Rowing the gears for the luxury sedan is a seven-speed automatic transmission with manual shift mode.

The base-level 3.0t Pure leaves the factory on 17-inch alloy wheels with automatic LED headlights, LED fog lights, LED taillights, and daytime running lights. Inside, the front occupants get eight-way power seats, dual-zone climate control, and two illuminated USB ports. A dual-screen Infiniti InTouch infotainment interface grants access to Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. A rearview camera, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking comprise the safety suite.

The 3.0t Luxe gets 18-inch wheels, a power sliding/tilting moonroof, and chrome front fascia finishers, as well as access to more colors and extra package options

The new Edition 30 trim rides on even larger 19-inch wheels and gets an array of black and dark chrome exterior accents. Leather upholstery appoints the interior and the infotainment suite receives navigation and a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot. Blind-spot warning, backup collision intervention, and a surround-view camera expand on the advanced safety features.

The Sport model also rides on 19-inch wheels, albeit sport variants, while the exterior receives sport design elements and S badging. The standard sound system is replaced by a 16-speaker Bose audio system and SiriusXM traffic complements the built-in navigation.

The top-tier Red Sport 400 gets exclusive access to the super-tuned V6, unique dual exhaust tips, and red S badging, while beefier brakes help anchor the extra power. Semi-aniline leather-appointed seats replace the standard leather, with unique interior trim.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
3.0t Pure
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$36,400
3.0t Luxe
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$38,850
Edition 30
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$43,700
3.0T Sport
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$48,500
Red Sport 400
3.0-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$54,250
See All 2020 Infiniti Q50 Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

As well equipped as the standard trims are, several packages are still available to customize your luxury sedan. The Luxe gets access to the Essential Package ($2,750), which comprises heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, remote engine start, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and SiriusXM Traffic. The ProASSIST Package ($850) is also offered on the Luxe and includes blind-spot warning, backup collision intervention, front and rear sonar, and a surround-view camera, but requires the Essential Package to also be equipped. Available to the sport-oriented trims, the ProACTIVE Package ($2,700) adds lane departure warning and lane-keeping assist, blind-spot intervention, adaptive cruise control, and high beam assist, but it goes hand-in-hand with the $415 Radiant Grille Emblem.

What Infiniti Q50 Model Should I Buy?

With the stronger 3.0-liter V6 engine now equipped to the entry-level Pure as standard, you no longer have to shell out the extra dough for the power you crave. The 3.0t Luxe comes standard with a comprehensive infotainment suite that now supports smartphone integration, as well as forward collision mitigation technology. Unfortunately, the starter trim doesn't offer any packages to cover any of its weak points, so if you want the more advanced safety features, you will need to upgrade to the Luxe, at least.

2020 Infiniti Q50 Comparisons

Acura TLX Acura
Audi A4 Sedan Audi

2020 Infiniti Q50 vs Acura TLX

The Acura TLX can't match the Infiniti Q50 when it comes to power, with its V6 only managing to put out 290 hp and 267 lb-ft - but it reaches the 60 mph benchmark only half a second behind the 300-hp Q50. Inside, the cabin feels dated, much like the Infiniti, and the dual-screen infotainment setup is just as distracting to operate. Cabin space is also slightly more constricted than in the Infiniti sedan, although you can get a larger trunk if you opt for the Advance Package. The TLX comes better equipped on the safety and tech side, however, with advanced safety features like lane-keeping assist and collision mitigation coming standard on every model. With a slightly lower price tag and comparable mileage figures to the Q50, the Acura TLX will tempt those who are looking for a luxury sedan that doesn't abandon economy altogether. But if you are willing to pay a bit more, the Infiniti Q50 is the slightly better choice, although not the best by far.

See Acura TLX Review

2020 Infiniti Q50 vs Audi A4 Sedan

While the base model A4 is powered by a 188-hp turbo four-cylinder, a 248-hp variant is available. If that still isn't enough, the sportier S4 offers a throaty 349-hp turbo V6. While these figures seem unimpressive against the Q50's 300-hp and 400-hp V6 engines, Audi makes much better use of its engines. The weaker A4 is quicker than the base Infiniti Q50, almost matching the acceleration of the 400-hp V6. And it doesn't sacrifice on style or luxury to do so. Yes, it may be a tad smaller on the inside, but it is far more upscale. The materials are top-notch, with German style oozing from every surface. The technology on board is also more modern, with a much more logical layout - it may seem like a small thing, but it makes a world of difference when driving. The base A4 will cost you less than the Q50, while the S4 asks for a slightly larger investment, but when you're paying for luxury, you want to get your money's worth. With that goal in mind, Audi delivers a far more premium experience.

See Audi A4 Sedan Review

Infiniti Q50 Popular Comparisons

$36,400 - $56,250
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