The possible elimination of one key feature could be just the start.
It was only back in 2014 when Infiniti launched the Q50, a BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 fighter that featured Nissan's luxury brand's signature exterior styling and a choice of three solid engines. Fast forward to today and sales of the Q50 have proven to be less than stellar. Blame consumers' general drift towards crossovers. While long-established nameplates like the 3 Series has managed to survive, newer entries like the Q50 are facing challenges.
So far, we haven't heard anything regarding the Q50's discontinuation. CarsDirect, however, has discovered, via 2020 order guides, that Infiniti appears to have dropped the Q50's entry-level 2.0-liter turbo four with 208 hp. If true, this will leave the Q50 with the 300-hp 3.0-liter turbo V6 and the 400-hp twin-turbo V6 Red Sport. Both are solid engines but not all buyers desire that much power. Plus, many are so-called "fuel economy" shoppers.
The 2.0 four RWD variant returned 23/30/25 mpg city/highway/combined compared to the RWD Red Sport's 20/26/22 mpg. There's also a pricier V6 hybrid variant. A company spokesperson declined further comment on this matter. It should be noted that by dropping the Q50's four-cylinder option, Infiniti would be bringing the sedan directly in line with its coupe counterpart, the V6-only Q60. In short, the Q50 could be bumped slightly upmarket.
For example, the four-pot Q50 begins at about $36,000 while the V6 starts at $49,000. By streamlining the Q50's engine options, Infiniti would also create a larger gap between it and the new QX50 crossover. As we noted, buyers are consistently ditching sedans in favor of crossovers and we suspect potential Q50 four-pot buyers are becoming more attracted to the QX50. The V6 Q50s, meanwhile, are aimed at performance-focused customers.
CarsDirect also noticed one last clue that might indicate the demise of the Q50's base engine: Infiniti is no longer advertising leases for the 2.0-liter Q50 on its website. We've also reached out to Infiniti seeking comment and we'll update this space if we receive a relevant reply. But let's hope this doesn't foreshadow the demise of the Q50 and Q60 in general. Following the discontinuation of the Ford Fusion, Buick LaCrosse, and Chevrolet Impala, anything is possible these days.