Can updates for this 2018 version keep it relevant?
Photos by Azfar Hashim
It is tough being Infiniti here, and it’s even tougher when you’re the Q50. As an executive model, it has to compete with bigger names: BMW’s 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz’s C-Class, Audi’s A4 and even Lexus’s IS. Look further down the list and you even have to jostle with Volvo’s S60 and Jaguar’s XE; lets not forget genre-busting contenders like Volkswagen’s Arteon and Opel’s Insignia Gransport.
That said however, the $172k price tag (with COE) does make it sound highly attractive. Its fellow turbocharged 2.0-litre peers are priced even higher: BMW 320i at S$193k, Audi A4 at S$177k, Jaguar XE at S$177k, Lexus IS300 at S$191k and lastly the priciest of the lot, Mercedes-Benz C250 at S$229k. See what I mean?
Despite that however, snobs will opine the Infiniti, although marketed as a premium product, doesn’t have the sort of badge appeal the Germans offer. But let me tell you something though: The Q50’s performance deserves respect.
While it’s unfortunate the 2018 model update are kept only to its exterior aesthetics - a wider front grill, reshaped front foglamp and new tail lamp design - the car is technically still relevant for today’s market. Under the bonnet is, still, the Mercedes-sourced turbocharged 2.0-litre powerplant and mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission, whips out 208 bhp and 350 Nm of torque. Standstill to 100 km/h only requires 7.2 seconds.
Those numbers do not lie, as the Q50 is quick off the line. Particularly in Sport mode; the engine will pull all the way to the 6,000 rpm mark in first and second, blurring your surrounding. And despite being a rear-wheel drive, grip is assuring.
Once you’ve gotten used to the steering’s weight and feel, you will notice how confident the chassis is; while the suspension isn’t particularly set for all-out performance like a BMW M Performance’s, it still returns some fun. Push it even harder and you start to feel all the safety nannies kicking in to keep things under control with the standard Bridgestone Potenza S001 softly shouting at you to ease off.
Oh, the brakes are good too doing one helluva job at shaving speed. And during town driving, it doesn’t feel too overly servo’d like an Audi’s. Along our expressways, the comfort and cabin refinement is hugely deserving of praise; passengers will surely appreciate this, together with the huggable rear bench and good amount of legroom.
The Infiniti Q50 is definitely one fine car, and despite the very, very minimal update, it’s safe to say the car remains relevant even when placed next to its peers.
Infiniti didn’t try to make it German-like by being all driver-focused, but instead, kept it comfortable, pleasant to drive and, I’m highly sure of this, bloody reliable.
A myriad of driving aids available for the 2018 Q50
Conveniently located next to the driver is the control centre
500-litre boot space here is the biggest next to the Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz