2014 Infiniti Q50S AWD
Steer-by-wire hits the market.No Comments
The suspension provided a low-body-roll experience, never once giving you the feeling that the powertrain is more than the suspension can handle.
I'll just get this out of the way now - I really, really enjoyed the infotainment system on the 2014 Infiniti Q50S AWD. Watch out, MMI, somebody's finally come up with something equally good. The resolution on the second screen (the top screen only displays the navigation) is crisp and everything is arranged in a sensible manner. But that makes sense; on a car that brings with it a big technological innovation, you want everything to be looking fresh and new.
That big technological innovation - the one that helps separate it from other cars in its class like the Cadillac ATS and BMW 3-Series - is steer-by-wire, in which the traditional solid steering column is replaced by a series of sensors and electronic control units (ECUs) that translate steering-wheel movement to actual-wheel movement. Infiniti has been working on this tech for nearly a decade, and it's leapt ahead of the competition by releasing it first, as an option. But as every early adopter knows, there are perils along the way.
Throw it into Sport, though, and then the fun begins. The steering is tight; so tight, in fact, that it feels barely power-assisted at all (in terms of weight, not road feeling - there still isn't any). Throttle and transmission maps sharpen up, and the tranny will hold gears just a little longer to let you listen to that 3.7-liter V-6 wail. The exhaust note is not as crazy as it used to be (we'll miss you forever, VQ35), but it's enough to encourage lowering the window even when it's cold out. No matter the mode, the suspension provided a low-body-roll experience, never once giving you the feeling that the powertrain is more than the suspension can handle.
Now, let's address the steer-by-wire system. It's the first of its kind on a production vehicle, and so it will take a little getting used to. However, once you relent and accept the lack of steering-wheel play at dead center (the sensors pick up any manner of movement off center), and the lack of road feeling through the wheel, you'll find that it's very easy to put the car where you want it. And trust me, I did plenty of that while trying to keep Chicago's potholes from eating the Q50S whole.
However, no car is without fault, and even with these transgressions, the Q50S is a solid contender amongst its German and American competitors. It drives nicely, it has one of the best infotainment screens we've seen, and it's a comfortable place to spend some time.
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Power Output: 328 hp / 269 lb-ft
Fuel Economy: 19 city / 27 highway
Base Price: $45,000
As Tested: $50,605 (incl. $905 destination)
Optional Features: Technology Package (adaptive front lighting, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, forward collision prevention, advanced climate control with auto-recirculation and air purifier), Deluxe Touring Package (Around View Monitor, power tilt/telescoping steering columns, steer-by-wire, auto-dimming mirrors, split-folding rear seats, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing front wipers), Navigation Package (navigation system, satellite-based traffic updates, voice recognition for navigation), Spare Tire Package (temporary spare tire, jack)