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I took a very brief test drive today of a non-Sport, non-Hybrid Q50. Since it was so short, and so limited, I'll keep the review brief as well. Not much time to soak up data or "try things out".

*Disclaimer: I currently drive a 2004 sedan with the 5AT transmission and it is a very different beast. Heavy steering, light brakes and throttle, big emphasis on torque and a very raw edge to it. Basically the polar opposite of newer models.


So I put my name on a list since the dealer was only demo'ing a single car and everyone and their grandma showed up and was milling around today. There was one person already out in the car and I was next. 15 minutes later I plopped down in a Premium Graphite Shadow with Nav, Deluxe Touring and 19's. Before I started the engine, I moved the seat all the way back. After starting it, the seat went back forward, which being 6' 7", panicked me for a second. It remembered the last person's settings which was obviously an oompah loompah. After cranking the seat to the furthest back and lowest position, I got the steering wheel pulled fully forward and was ready to drive.

The test drive babysitter and I played with the Intouch system for a few minutes while the car sat idling. The engine is nearly silent at idle and there is no vibration. My 2004 feels "alive" when it's idling, this one did not, which was actually a welcome change. Intouch had some lag here and there but the bluetooth sync with my HTC One took about 60 seconds total. When it connects, it kinda "explores your phone" seeing what functions it supports and links up with it. You will see different things as they are discovered on the Intouch display when pairing your phone. Once it is paired and connected, you're presented with a new screen that shows all your phone options. This part was fun.

The icons presented ranged from phone book to sms messages (I think there were about 8 large icons total). I picked SMS just for fun and it automatically reads text messages aloud. The last message I got was "ahh" so it was funny to hear it read that; we got a good laugh out of it. You can use voice recognition to reply to sms messages, etc. Alot to do here but not much time.

Putting it into reverse, the rearview camera flips on and presents the guidelines. Steering was set to grandma mode which actually made it scary to steer. A baby could back out of parking in that steering mode. Extremely low effort with an apparently small radius.

The babysitter had a set path he wanted us to follow, up the street, down another street, through a twisty neighborhood and back to the dealer. While waiting at the stoplight, I toggled the drive mode selector to Sport. Instantly the accelerator pedal and steering offered much higher resistance, similar to my 2004. When the light turned green, the sitter said "punch it" and I did. It took off with no drama and I remember commenting on how smooth the transmission was. You know it's switching gears but it smoothly slips between them, no jarring, no noise, no drama. Navigation shift points were on by default and I left them on.

We drove a little way up the road and I intentionally wandered into dips and crappier pieces of pavement, trying to unsettle the suspension. It wasn't having it. It stayed composed over dips and choppy sections, communicating but not crying. The steering wheel didn't feel dead or disconnected, although it did feel slightly isolated due to it's nature. I had no complaints about steering feel or effort.

Eventually we hit a neighborhood I know well that wants you to slow down to 25 as a fairly major north/south street cuts through it and gets hard left/right/left. My sitter encouraged me to wring it out a little here (I was going to anyway) and I maintained about 45mph effortlessly. It felt totally planted and responded to steering inputs instantly. There's no measurable delay in the electronic steering, you turn and it turns, just like a mechanically linked system, and possibly even faster.

The seats were leather perforated non-Sport, so no thigh extension, but I never got "swamp back" despite the lack of cooled or ventilated seats. Of course, it had been driven constantly all morning with the AC on so it was cool to begin with. The seats were quite supportive and although feeling a little flat on the thigh bolsters, they didn't feel lacking to me. For all of the test drive, I ignored the seats, which means they weren't bad. In fact, they could be great which is why I had nothing to say about them. I mean, a chair either fits you well or it doesn't, right? These fit my ginormous frame, no problem.

Throttle response and overall sporty feeling was top notch. The car obeyed all inputs without delay, was quick off the line or whenever you wanted speed, and the chassis felt substantial yet light (it was willing to change directions without plowing or sagging). Very well-balanced car.

We headed back to the dealership and an angry looking dude in a suit bum rushed us after we parked. Test drive over! More people waiting! Hurry hurry hurry! This really left a bad taste in my mouth. There was so much more of the Intouch and audio system I wanted to explore, and this dick is kicking me out. I get it, you have one car, you have tons of potential buyers, time is ticking, but still, have some subtlety, like some baseball signals for the babysitter to see and rush me.

Sooo...highs and lows.

Highs:
Excellent steering, throttle response and super smooth transmission. It will win at least one award for this combination, I can feel it.
Seats are very comfortable to the point of being forgettable, and that's a good thing.
Cabin is very quiet (although a little exhaust note sneaks in under duress). They're putting that trunk material in the rear wheel wells (yes, facing the tires) to quiet it down like other models.
Fit and finish is excellent, it looks like a robot built the entire car out of 3 blocks of stuff. Gaps are insanely tight.
Intouch system is good but feels beta. Lots of room for improvement but solid foundation.
Maple trim is beautiful in the daylight. All of it has deep tiger stripes and it really looks classy.

Lows:
Paint is orange peeled but only sticks out on Obsidian models. Metallic paints hide this very, very well.
Intouch laggy in some places for no apparent reason. If it was laggy everywhere you'd just think "well it's slow" but it's slow in odd places and fast in others.
No cooled seats. Come on, you punched holes in the leather, put some fans in there.
Residual percentage is high but so is the money factor. Leases are going to be very expensive.
Upper navigation screen resolution is pathetic. They should have really upgraded here. The Intouch screen looks like it's using a much higher resolution and it's a little jarring looking at both of them, like an old 640x480 VGA monitor above a 1080p smartphone.


It is more than I expected. I wanted it to feel the same as my 2004 sedan, only more refined, but not completely tamed like recent G37's have felt to me. In Sport mode there is still a raw edge to it, and it is willing to get you moving quickly without feeling like it is trying hard at all. The remapped 7 speed is divine. The drive by wire steering will become a global standard in 10 years, it is that good. Around view camera is also legendary.

Overall, there are some very small things Infiniti could have changed to make this an undeniable 3 series killer, but the accountants might have held them back (cooled seats, nav screen resolution). Despite some shortcomings, this will be a huge hit for Infiniti. I can see hotter versions coming down the pipe in future years with improved options and higher price tags, with people lining up to buy them.
 

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Awesome review bro! It sucks that it was cut short! If there were a lot of people who were gonna test drive, they should have prepared more cars for test drive! Some might get turned off by how they treat their customers and lose a sale or two!

Anyways, thanks again man! :D
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Awesome review bro! It sucks that it was cut short! If there were a lot of people who were gonna test drive, they should have prepared more cars for test drive! Some might get turned off by how they treat their customers and lose a sale or two!

Anyways, thanks again man! :D
You're welcome! What really burned me was reading other people's test drives where they had all the time in the world to shoot video, push buttons, play with the radio, etc.. I expected to do the same, but one test drive car, well, it wasn't possible.

I may talk to the other 2 dealers in town and see if I can get more seat time in.
 

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You got jipped! I have spent about two hours behind the driver seat now! I really enjoyed reading your impressions. August 5 can't come soon enough
 
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You're welcome! What really burned me was reading other people's test drives where they had all the time in the world to shoot video, push buttons, play with the radio, etc.. I expected to do the same, but one test drive car, well, it wasn't possible.

I may talk to the other 2 dealers in town and see if I can get more seat time in.
Yea you should! And try that hybrid and give in to peer pressure! :p
 

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All of these reviews are making me so impatient. I can't wait until August 5th.
 

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Gandhi and Gbert got everything covered. The camera on my HTC One kinda sucks anyway.
Yep, I knew it.

They've monopolized all future uploading of pics..

But I guess in your situation, it probably would've pissed more people off if they saw you taking your time trying to take a bunch of photos while they were waiting to get their turn! :p

You also need to get over the whole no cooled seats thing, too. :D
 

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Gandhi and Gbert got everything covered. The camera on my HTC One kinda sucks anyway.
Hahaha! Nah man! The more pics/vids the better! While I was driving yesterday though I was thinking that if someone were to test drive again maybe they could bring a cellphone car mount, mount it on the dash/glass with the front facing the glass then put their cell with the rear camera facing the window for a cheap test drive video solution! :D
 
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Hahaha! Nah man! The more pics/vids the better! While I was driving yesterday though I was thinking that if someone were to test drive again maybe they could bring a cellphone car mount, mount it on the dash/glass with the front facing the glass then put their cell with the rear camera facing the window for a cheap test drive video solution! :D
Ask Q50Aggie! He seems to get a lot of quality time with the Q50!! He said he has spent about two hours driving it already. Since his office is less than a mile from the dealership and he does some great pictures/videos it seems right up his alley!! :D
 
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Ask Q50Aggie! He seems to get a lot of quality time with the Q50!! He said he has spent about two hours driving it already. Since his office is less than a mile from the dealership and he does some great pictures/videos it seems right up his alley!! :D
I make a motion that Q50Aggie gets us somemore time and videos today!! All in favor say "I" :D
 

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Ask Q50Aggie! He seems to get a lot of quality time with the Q50!! He said he has spent about two hours driving it already. Since his office is less than a mile from the dealership and he does some great pictures/videos it seems right up his alley!! :D
Hahaha! If i were that close to the dealership, I would definitely go there after work everyday until it becomes automatic to them to just give me the keys when I walk in the dealership! Hahaha! :D
 
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