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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I finally did it! I went out late this afternoon to test drive my first 2014 Infiniti Q50...Well, I guess.

This won't be a proper review-review because I didn't get the chance to drive the car that I actually wanted to test, but this is more of a, "short take" review or more like a preview of a real test drive, if you will.


Here's the thread from in July where I wrote a review on my first sit inside the Q50



The Q50 I tested:
-Infiniti Q50 Hybrid Premium RWD (31 MPG on sticker)
-Venetian Ruby Red
-Wheat interior w/ Kaachu Aluminum
-Navigation Package

MSRP $46,255

So, the story was that I originally wanted to test a Moonlight White Infiniti Q50 Hybrid Sport fully loaded. I went out to the lot with a sales guy and I noticed that the car I wanted wasn't there and so they had me come inside while they went skittering around to find out where that specific car was. In the meantime, I sat inside a loaded Infiniti Q50s Black on Stone demo with the bright 19" alloy wheels which looked quite sharp and so I took some photos (oddly, I have no photos of the car that I actually drove today).




(I'm totally sold on the stone w/ wood trim interior, btw)


Apparently, the car that I wanted...well, the owner took it home with him (or something like that) and it was gone for the day but they said that it will be back tomorrow. What they did have was the Venetian Ruby Hybrid with the above specs. Since I didn't come all that way for nothing, I figured I'd go ahead and give it a shot.

I'll just jump RIGHT to the chase here because not only do I have no photos of the car, but this was not the car I wanted to test drive. I did however manage to spend about 15 minutes behind the wheel with a brand-spanking new salesman (Fun fact: Not only had he never driven inside the Q50 before but I was his first customer of the day and it was an hour before closing time) who had very little to offer me in way of telling me the ins and outs of the car.


Summary


Looks: 8/10 (Like I've already mentioned, the exterior of the Infiniti is a nice balance of poised elegance. It's not overly aggressive and stylish nor is it understated or too austere. It won't turn every head but it's likely to grab most people's attention. In this case, the non-Sport Hybrid loses a couple points and panache due to the smaller 17" wheels and a lack of presence that I think the Sport model provides to the exterior. The interior on the other hand, while not having the Sport seats or wood trim, is still highly detailed and premium focused without being gaudy. It's no doubt where a lot of the money went to in the design and refinement of the car. The interior is where the Q50H shined this time.)

Performance: 7.5/10 (I wasn't overly impressed by the power of the car that is, UNTIL I got back into my G37 and immediately noticed how quick the Q50 Hybrid actually was. It's definitely a rocket. I will say this--I really dig the Drive mode selector too--I spent some time usually between Personal, Normal, and Sport modes and I definitely felt the differences in the steering effort and the responsiveness of the engine/transmission, which I thought were great. However, I did feel that the steering and control of the car in general felt...odd. Not great, not bad, but...odd, just a little different. It's hard to describe but I'll spend more time on the steering and handling of the car tomorrow when I get more space to roam. When it came to getting up to speed, braking, and shifting, it did very well. Unfortunately the whole package didn't quite blow me away to be honest which was a little disappointing.)

Personal Practicality and Appeal: 8.25/10 (It's one of the largest compact sedans in its segment so you won't ever feel like you're claustrophobic nor will you feel like you're driving a bus either. For me, coming from a comparably sized G37 with 21mpg moving to a Q50 with 31mpg with similar dimension, it greatly reduces the amount of acclimation or learning curve I'd ever have in moving to the Q50 Hybrid. The only downside I feel is that getting a Q50 now versus in a year or two is still a bit of a worry given the problems that are steadily arising at the point. However, until that time, it's going to be a while before you see a Q50 on every corner. The only other reason why I can't give it higher marks is because I've yet to see a Q50 that can match the exclusivity, uniqueness, and the appeal that I still receive from my Limited Edition sedan. Get on those red seats, Infiniti!)

Options/Tech: 8.5/10 (Infiniti actually gets a great bucket of win here. I spent a good amount of time messing around with both the navigation menu but as well as the instrument cluster menus, the apps, the settings, and all of the physical buttons. The touch screen response was good and any lag time was undetectable or was just as quick or quicker than what I see in my G37 screen. I paired up my Windows phone quickly and easily and the BTA playback was flawless. I was even able to set and find a navigation destination with good ease. While we were driving around I even got a quick text while I was on the road and was able to test the voice-recognition response as well. Everything worked great. I love the redundant nav screen in the instrument cluster and the little animated car/gas tank indicator thingy. I like the sharpness of the nav screen and both screens in general, but I did notice that fuzziness in the rear view camera people were telling me about. Again, the biggest and only disappointment for me was the Bose audio and for me, that's important. It barely sounded much better than what's in my G37 and it's nowhere near the quality of the ML system in the Lexus or the B&O system in the A4/A5. Infiniti needs some kind of upgraded audio system if they want to stay competitive with audiophiles like me. Other than that, I did find that where the Q50 shined the most in the category was in the ease of control)




Infiniti Q50 Hybrid Premium with Navigation Package

Overall: 8/10
(I gave the Cadillac ATS a 7.6/10, Lexus IS350 F-Sport a 8.1/10, Lexus GS350 F-Sport a 7.8/10, Audi A5 Premium Plus a 8.3/10, and the BMW 335i M Sport a 8.6/10)



Bottom Line: Overall, what ultimately became the highlight of this car was the straight line acceleration, the interior fit and finish, the technology, and the practicality of its dimensions and fuel economy. On the whole, I think the car still has a way to go in the handling and body control department. I definitely felt the change in feel that the DAS provides and I don't know how I feel about it right now. I'll try to get the car out in the open a bit more to test the different Drive Mode and steering options. Not to mention, while I have the loaded Hybrid tomorrow I'll have a chance to mess with the additional safety options (AFS, BSW, LDP, LDW, BSI, etc.) and see how they shape up!
 

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Nice write up. I'm thinkin (praying) it all comes together for infiniti by next year!
I have to agree with you on the sound system. I've never been a fan of Bose, way too much dependence on the low end (muddy ).
 

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SimpsonTide, I enjoyed your review. From your ranking system it looks like the 335 is your current overall rating leader. It may be the local 335 drivers, or it may be the "hybrid" badge on the side of the Q50S hybrid lulling them into a false sense of security, but for whatever reason the Q blows their doors off at stop lights, on the highway, wherever. As for the sound system, Dstew's observation of so-called muddy bass is true. As Mr. Klipsch was fond of saying, "Garbage in, garbage out." As with most sound reproduction systems, a better signal source yields better tonal quality, and less muddy bass in this case. Best of luck to you, SimpsonTide, as you thoughtfully narrow your choices. I'll be reading.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
SimpsonTide, I enjoyed your review. From your ranking system it looks like the 335 is your current overall rating leader. It may be the local 335 drivers, or it may be the "hybrid" badge on the side of the Q50S hybrid lulling them into a false sense of security, but for whatever reason the Q blows their doors off at stop lights, on the highway, wherever. As for the sound system, Dstew's observation of so-called muddy bass is true. As Mr. Klipsch was fond of saying, "Garbage in, garbage out." As with most sound reproduction systems, a better signal source yields better tonal quality, and less muddy bass in this case. Best of luck to you, SimpsonTide, as you thoughtfully narrow your choices. I'll be reading.
I think when it comes to power, the 335i is just a HAIR faster than the Q50 Hybrid in my opinion. The steering and control (suspension) was just a tad bit tighter as well.

The 335i still has the edge IMO because it has the best combination of technology, practicality, and performance, despite being the second most expensive car I've test driven in the past year. I will say this, the A5 and the Q50 has the much better interior/exterior compared to the BMW.
 

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Very nice short review.
As for the performance, it does take time to get use to the Q50 hybrid. It's main benefactor is the hybrid battery. It can charge and discharge fairly quickly. That's why something you felt the car is not as fast and other time it's really fast. Once you spend enough time and understand how to harness the power of both the battery and gas engine, it's one tough car to beat when it come to speed.
DAS like you say is odd which is true. It's definitely take time to get use to. My favorite setting is Standard/Quick for aggressive/spirited driving. Heavy/Quick felt too artificial. Standard/Standard is good for normal driving.
As for the Bose audio, was it on default setting? The default setting doesn't sound good to me. My favorite setting is to turn off "Bose Centerpointe" and turn on "Driver Stage" on the audio setting. Put your favorite sound quality CD in there and crank up the volume to at least 90%. It should sound much better than the G37.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Very nice short review.
As for the performance, it does take time to get use to the Q50 hybrid. It's main benefactor is the hybrid battery. It can charge and discharge fairly quickly. That's why something you felt the car is not as fast and other time it's really fast. Once you spend enough time and understand how to harness the power of both the battery and gas engine, it's one tough car to beat when it come to speed.
DAS like you say is odd which is true. It's definitely take time to get use to. My favorite setting is Standard/Quick for aggressive/spirited driving. Heavy/Quick felt too artificial. Standard/Standard is good for normal driving.
As for the Bose audio, was it on default setting? The default setting doesn't sound good to me. My favorite setting is to turn off "Bose Centerpointe" and turn on "Driver Stage" on the audio setting. Put your favorite sound quality CD in there and crank up the volume to at least 90%. It should sound much better than the G37.
Yeah, I originally had it on the regular Normal or Sport drive mode but then when I got into the Drive Settings, I set them to Standard/Quick (with drive mode set to Personal) and I definitely liked that mode.

You know, I did notice that the Bose Centerpointe AND the Driver Stage settings were both on. Bass and Treble were maxed out.

I'll try and mess around with it again. :)
 

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I would leave Bass and Treble at the middle (default) and turn off Centerpointe surround and leave driver stage turn on. Centerpointe surround seem to add distortion to the sound especially the bass. As an car audiophile myself, I like the sound upfront and no coloration to it. The Q50 Bose does it quite well for a stock system. The sound overall should be good, but the low end bass certainly need improvement. It's definitely need a real subwoofer.

You know, I did notice that the Bose Centerpointe AND the Driver Stage settings were both on. Bass and Treble were maxed out.

I'll try and mess around with it again. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I would leave Bass and Treble at the middle (default) and turn off Centerpointe surround and leave driver stage turn on. Centerpointe surround seem to add distortion to the sound especially the bass. As an car audiophile myself, I like the sound upfront and no coloration to it. The Q50 Bose does it quite well for a stock system. The sound overall should be good, but the low end bass certainly need improvement. It's definitely need a real subwoofer.
Hey, have you ever tried the Harman Kardon system in the BMW, the Levinson Lexus system, and/or the Bang&Olufsen Audi system by any chance?

Even without adjusting any settings at all, those three systems gave me a better lasting impression than the Bose did in the Q50. :( I'm sure if Infiniti gave buyers as option to upgrade their audio for an extra $800-$1000, a lot of people would go for it.
 

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Hey, have you ever tried the Harman Kardon system in the BMW, the Levinson Lexus system, and/or the Bang&Olufsen Audi system by any chance?

Even without adjusting any settings at all, those three systems gave me a better lasting impression than the Bose did in the Q50. :( I'm sure if Infiniti gave buyers as option to upgrade their audio for an extra $800-$1000, a lot of people would go for it.
I had the Harman Kardon in my BMW. I think this Q50S Bose blows it away.

I consider myself an audiophile. I've always thought that an automobile, being so sonically compromised, is hardly the environment for high fidelity. Yes, luxury car makers aim for some fidelity, but it's only a shot in the dark. I'm waiting for the day they put some large electrostatic panels in a car.

BTW, Harman owns Mark Levinson.
 

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I had the Harman Kardon in my BMW. I think this Q50S Bose blows it away.

I consider myself an audiophile. I've always thought that an automobile, being so sonically compromised, is hardly the environment for high fidelity. Yes, luxury car makers aim for some fidelity, but it's only a shot in the dark. I'm waiting for the day they put some large electrostatic panels in a car.

BTW, Harman owns Mark Levinson.

Totally agree. The BOSE system is great. Always been a fan.
 

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I agree 100% with InfinitiPlusOne's comments above. The DAS and hybrid acceleration feel a little unusual at first, but after a few hundred miles of seat time, you get used to the few eccentricities and start to really love the car.
 

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Totally agree. The BOSE system is great. Always been a fan.
I'm not really a Bose fan. I really don't like their home units, at all. But they seem to do better in cars.

My Acura CL also had Bose. They were OK, but this Q50 is excellent. It's a bit bass heavy at times, but it has clarity, definition, a good sound stage in the driver-centric mode (poor in the default mode), and a a sense of involvement missing in most other car systems. It also has less of the digital tiredness one gets from non-analog systems.

Is it as good as my home system? Not by a long shot. But my home doesn't have wheels.
 

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You know, I did notice that the Bose Centerpointe AND the Driver Stage settings were both on. Bass and Treble were maxed out.
Yeah try turning that bass back down to no more than 50%. If pushed to max it sounds way to bass "muddy" IMO. I have mine set at the middle and the treble a notch or two below max.
 
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