The music roared, the curtain dropped and the tumblers tumbled, as a troop of bedazzled and make-up-caked Cirque du Soleil performers pranced, danced, and, er, stood on their heads to herald the arrival of the new Infiniti Q50. It was quite a show for what is ultimately a very nice but not particularly circus-themed luxury saloon.
Given the trend at this year’s motor show, which saw all manner of partially or fully electric vehicles from Cadillac, Toyota and Tesla, among others, it’s only natural that this new Infiniti will be available as a hybrid — just not in the UAE.
Instead, Infiniti fans can treat themselves to a 328bhp 3.7-litre V6 with a seven-speed auto, preferably with the solid magnesium paddle shifts as standard. The Infiniti Drive Mode Selector is packed with several presets, including Snow, Eco, Standard and Sport; but tuners will rejoice in the custom settings, which comes standard on all models, allowing drivers to dial in their own set of parameters for engine, transmission, handling and steering settings.
A highlight is Infiniti’s intriguing glimpse into the future. The Direct Adaptive Steering technology negates the effects of latency, a typical shortcoming of digital-steering systems, transmitting driver input faster than older hydraulic technology. Four different steering settings are offered, and once again customisation is available, in addition to a handful of presets designed for different road conditions.
Speaking at the launch, Infiniti president Johan de Nysschen pointed out that Infiniti is the first manufacturer to reach the market with Direct Adaptive Steering technology, a feature, he says, reflects the future of steering systems across the industry.
The new system works with another Infiniti first; its new Active Lane Control uses a camera-based lane-marker-detection system to help keep the car on the road — sounds a lot like technology we’ve experienced in the Infiniti M56, but until we get our hands on the Q50, we can only assume it’s better.
Outside, I thought it looked a bit like some of the best designs over at Hyundai, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Inside, the Q50’s interior is every bit up to snuff with Lexus and Acura — and better than the Korean stuff. Sure, it’s not as refined as the Germans, but then that’s hardly
a new narrative.
The new Infiniti InTouch communications system boasts a dual touch-screen display, the size of which is apparently secret — they shooed me away when I got out my trusty tape measure. In any event, you’ll be treated to hands-free phone, moving map navigation, entertainment and (this is intriguing) access to smartphone apps via InTouch.
Available in either rear-wheel drive or with Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, the 2014 Infiniti Q50 is a challenging prospect in the increasingly crowded luxury segment.