2014 Infiniti Q50S 3.7 Long-Term Update 1
Glorious Options in Dispatching Traffic Annoyances
I've been in our long-term 2014 Infiniti Q50S for almost 4000 miles. Absolutely enough time to form some solid first impressions.
While I want more folks to experience the Direct Adaptive Steering (aka steer-by-wire) before I declare a consensus, here's my snap judgment: You get used to it. Only when switching cars -- for instance, after seat time in a Jaguar F-Type and a Honda Accord Sport -- was returning to the Q jarring. By no means does the DAS interfere with driving, but you end up doing so by other tactile feel (e.g., the seat of your pants, your right foot) and muscle memory. In other words, your hands really don't feel connected to the road, despite the artificial feedback. I compare it to playing a video game: You get used to the controller, then muscle memory kicks in and you don't think about it anymore.
Can the Q50S still be a fun playmate? Absolutely. The 328 hp and 269 lb-ft from the 3.7-liter V-6 are always ready to help the car rotate around and rocket out of corners. And with the touch of a single stability-control-off button, a $53,000 driftmobile appears.
"Having fun on canyon roads above Vegas. Occasionally wish the nav wouldn't display the speed limit, which otherwise is a nifty touch."
The Q really stretched its legs on a trip to Las Vegas (ostensibly for a convention of copy editors, the group most deserving of a convention in Sin City). The chassis-engine combo leaves all options open when dealing with traffic annoyances. Quick double-lane change? No problem. Downshift, dart to the right and accelerate hard to get around stacked-up left-lane bandits? Can do! (And my ears receive a sort of "achievement unlocked" reward, as the engine sounds smooth, tight and athletic – if not race car-raucous – at higher revs.) In the canyons above Las Vegas, that particular achievement was unlocked repeatedly.
On the highway, away from the stop-and-go of Los Angeles traffic, range from the 20-gallon tank jumped from a little more than 300 miles to north of 450.
I've piled plenty of people in the car and gotten lots of positive feedback on the comfort. The ride is firm – it is a sports sedan – but it's all kept under control. Road noise isn't an issue. In general, fit and finish is wonderful, with no squeaks or rattles. Even when I packed five adults into the Q, the tall-ish college freshman in the middle of the back seat had no complaints except that she was hungry. Once, when driving with only one back seat passenger, that person did remark that the back seat "bucked" a little over freeway joints, but that was a minority opinion.
Coming up: The Q50's infotainment system, more mileage info (I still need our partners at Emissions Analytics to give me Real MPG numbers), and a comparison-swap into MT's long-term Lexus IS. What do you want to know about the Q50S? Let me know in the comments.
More on our long-term 2014 Infiniti Q50S: