During the Geneva Motor Show, the new 2018 Infiniti Q50 sedan was unveiled, displaying a different emphasis for the luxury carmaker. The Q50 boasts of four trim points, two elegant body styles, and a newly-designed driver support tech suite. These changes are what the carmaker dubs 'the glimpse into the future'.
The majority of the changes on the Q50 are cosmetic—nothing earthshaking. A revamped exterior, a few changes to the trim level selection and a perpetuation of the Red Sport performance model remains. The driver-assist technologies have been renamed 'ProPilot', but they are not much different from what obtains in the 2017 Q50.
For the standard model—now provided in four trim levels—the design changes on the exterior are minimal. When it comes to the Luxe and Pure packages, the Infiniti 2018 Q50 sedan is almost similar to the 2017 model, which continued with a design revamp carried out for the 2016 model. There are massive exterior design changes in the third and fourth models.
For all trim levels, minor changes for this refresh comprise of a tweak to the grille area which is slightly more aggressive owing to the more robust detail that has been incorporated into the waved mesh pattern. LED headlamps, which used to be optional for many models of the Q50, are now standard and the 'eye' look that is ubiquitous to the Infiniti has been enhanced. At the back, the tail lamps have a slimmer shape to imbue a speedier appearance, a feature that was borrowed from the design of the Infiniti Q60 coupe.
The above-mentioned upper trims are the Red Sport 400 and the Sport models. The Sport model incorporates several additional details in the exterior design to symbolize its performance character, beginning with the letter 'S' following the Q50 name. The two models also exhibit a more angular bumper at the front, with broader air intakes and lower-lying scoops. A Formula-influenced airfoil sits at the base of the bumper.
The Red Sport 400 takes it further, throwing in twin exhaust visual improvements at the rear end of the Q50 by means of a dual-tone paint finish. A darkened metallic trim all around the bumper exhaust cutouts compliment the special black high-gloss paint that covers the mirror caps at the sides. Distinctive 19-inch wheels ensure better stability when cornering, and they have a slimmer spoke pattern than in the Sport model.
The interior of the 2018 Infiniti Q50 changes with each particular trim level. This makes the car more appealing as the trim levels go up. This goes against the general rule for luxury vehicles—there is normally one trim and a number of option packages. It is actually similar to what happens in the case of non-luxury vehicles. Whether this will be beneficial or harmful to the company’s sales remains to be seen.
What will be most significant for the trim grades with regards to interior appearance will be the type of leather provided, and the level of technology that will be put in infotainment and driver aids. The dual-screen center dashboard of the Q50 remains(eight inches at the top, seven inches underneath). We have not been enthusiastic about this interface, and this is not likely to change with the 2018 model. On the Red Sport 400 model, the interior upholstery will be designed using red stitching, and this will be exclusive to this model.
'ProPILOT' is the name the company is now giving its driver support technologies. Whereas the term is new to Infiniti, it has been used by Nissan for quite a while. The 2018 Q50 has a number of these technologies including Intelligent Cruise Control, Backup Collision Intervention, Direct Adaptive Steering, Distance Control Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, and Forward Emergency Braking. The majority of these are reasonably self-explanatory, but a number of them are new or have undergone major upgrades.
For instance, Direct Adaptive Steering is Infiniti’s highly-touted steer-by-wire system that has existed in the Q50 for a while. Infiniti asserts that the new version has added responsiveness and gives the driver better feedback. But more critically, the system is configured to be a major building block for driver-less vehicles. In the current version, this will be combined with the Active Lane Control option.
Active Lane Control maintains the vehicle within its lane while on the highway and it functions when the car is doing over 45 miles per hour. The system gently nudges the vehicle (by way of steering) in its lane once the cameras sense the Q50 might be veering off.
The 2018 Q50 comes with four engine options. The core engine is a 3-liter V6 twin turbo engine that produces 300 hp(or 224 kW). A souped-up version of the engine is used in the Red Sport 400, cranking up the output to 400 hp(298 kW). Also available is a 2-liter, turbo, 4-cylinder engine that is touted as being the more energy-efficient option, with an output of 208 hp(or 155 kW)). Lastly, there is a hybrid model that is equipped with a V6,3.5-liter engine and offered together with a lithium-ion battery. Its output is 360 horsepower (or 268 kW).
A Dynamic Digital Suspension option is provided with these engine selections. It incorporates adaptive and electronic dampers that enable customization of performance and ride quality. Infiniti notes that the improved stabilizer bars at the back and front will assist in ensuring cornering agility. The 2018 Q50 is available both in all-wheel and rear-wheel.
The 2018 Q50 will arrive in the showrooms during the second quarter of 2017. It is made in the carmaker's plant located in Tochigi, Japan.