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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

I'm a car enthusiast from/in Germany who is so daft to take time off his normal job to work at the Frankfurt Motor Show every other year to present cars simply for the fun of it.

This year I am working for Infiniti and will most likely present the Q50 to the show visitors (press, industry people, general public).

I have done my homework (read countless first-drives and reviews) and have received training from Infiniti Europe, but it was quite rudimentary when it comes to the Q50. They did have a pre-production car at the training session but we only had like 10 mins each to familiarize ourselves with the interior/infotainment and didn't have the chance to drive it at all.

So my question to you guys is: what do you like best about the Q50, what is something I should let visitors of the Infiniti stand know? Are there things I better not speak about? Have any of you driven/owned direct competitors before (3-Series, A4, C-Class - that's all what Germans care about) and can tell me how the Q50 measures up?

Thanks in advance for all contributions!

Phil
 

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Hi MotorShowHost,

Wow! your asking good questions - hard to answer without writing an novel. But I will try to get the ball rolling.

I can categorize my answers in a couple of ways:

  1. Previous car experience - much of what anyone on the forum will say will be based on their prior experiences.
  2. Performance
    1. Track style (breaking, acceleration, handling, etc.)
    2. Touring (comfort, drivability on long trips)
  3. Technology
  4. Economy (gas mileage)
  5. Price (value proposition)


EXPERIENCE: I will start with my previous experience and tell you that I am 60 years old. Prior to my Q50, I drove a 2003 G35 for 11.5 years. I loved the car. At the time it was first introduced in late 2002, it was touted as a car that challenged the BMW 3 series. It had better acceleration, breaking and was just about as good in the slalom course. So my thoughts on the Q50 are relative to my G35 experience.

PERFORMACE - TRACK: The Q50 is not going to win many races. Don't get me wrong, it is a solid performer - just not the best. I look at it this way. As long as the Q50 is a close 2nd or 3rd in most categories of raw performance, that is good enough.

Let's face it. There is just so much that can be done to a car mechanically to make it better (within a reasonable price range). And when it comes to track performance, tires have a lot to do with success.

I am quite happy with the Q50 performing in the upper 5% of all cars (I just made that number up). My point is that the best track performer is not going to perform well in the other categories.

PERFORMANCE – TOURING: This is where the Q50 really shines in my personal opinion. A year ago, I was considering an Infiniti "M" because I was ready for more of a touring car. I no longer wanted to feel mentally exhausted after a 5.5 hour drive from So Cal to Las Vegas. I wanted more creature comforts without compromising performance or safety. Many on this forum has suggested that the Q50 is like a sporty little brother of the "M".

Originally, I wanted 17 inch tires. I thought 19s were going to be a harsh ride (and they cost more). But when I test drove a model with 19s, I was very surprised how smooth the car drove. Yes, I do feel more road bumps but with the steering by wire, none of those bump vibrations come through the steering wheel. I can't tell you what a big plus this was for me.

After the test drive, I got back into my G35 with 17 inch wheels. The G35 was a not as smooth as the Q50 with 19 inch wheels.

Now, to be fair, my G35 was a model year before Infinity added extra welds to stiffen the body. In my G35, every bump seemed to vibrate the whole car body. So in addition to feeling the bumps through the steering wheel, the whole car was like a giant spring. The Q50 has a really stiff body. That means the suspension and tires take most of the bump. It also means the Q50 has less body roll in turns. I like that in a car.

Some car reviewers have expressed discontent with the Q50’s minimal body roll and the isolation in the steering by wire steering system. I would agree with them if I were running the Q50 on a track. But my type of driving is more touring. And all these things make for a better touring car – IMHO.

TECHNOLOGY: The Q50 blows away all other cars in its class (at least for now). The combination of steering by wire and inelegant cruise control makes driving this car on long distances a breeze (compared to my G35). I have performed several tests with my new Q50 and the car does drive itself. And although the systems are not perfect, they are very good.

Now, let’s take a trip to Las Vegas in a Q50. After getting out of the city limits, I set the car on intelligent cruise control. I have 3 pace distance settings. If I get stuck behind a slower car – no worries. The car paces the car in front of me. When the faster lane is clear, I turn on my blinker and change lanes. The Q50 resumes my cruise control speed.

No more tapping the breaks or fiddling with my cruise control speed.

Now, let’s be fair. Many other cars have this feature too. But let’s add the next Q50 feature to our drive: Lane Departure Control. Assuming a Q50 has this option, the Q50 will make micro steering adjustments on its own to keep the car in the center of the lane. I am not talking about applying the brakes of the opposite front wheel to drift the car back into the lane. I am talking about a smooth electronic steering adjustment performed by the Q50, one that does not affect the position of the steering wheel in the driver’s hands.

On a long distance drive, these 2 features are incredible. No more vibration coming through the steering wheel. No more worrying about keeping the car in the center of the lane.

And there is one more tech feature that is the icing on the cake. The radar system (if equipped) looks not just one car but 2 cars infront of you. If it senses eminent danger, the car will alert the driver. I think (not sure) it will even apply the brakes.

So, in theory, the car can drive itself on a freeway and, if the car in front of you comes to a full stop, the Q50 will too.

Just last week, Nissan made an announcement of their intention to develop a self-driving car by 2020. I can only guess that much of the technology that is going to make this happen is inside the Q50. And this fact alone puts Nissan/Infiniti ahead of BMW, Audi and most other car manufacturers. And I like the idea that my Q50 investment is the future.

ECCONOMY: A 3.7L gas engine that gets 30 MPG is pretty good. But a discussion of a gas engine for the EU market is not very relevant, especially since Infinity is offering a diesel for Europe. So I will move on.

PRICE - VALUE: I will put any Infinity model against any German designed car and win hands down when it comes to cost of ownership. When a German car has problems (and they often do), it costs a fortune to have it fixed. Nissan/Infiniti cars don’t break down as often and don’t cost as much to fix.

So at the end of the day, an Infiniti cost considerably less to own than a German counterpart.

These are my thoughts such as they are. I am sure other on the forum will have much more to add.
 

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Question without malice, but do Germans and Europeans in general even care for Infiniti?
I think they are starting to take notice. There were early reports that 2 German fleets chose Q50s over BMWs before the Q50 was released for sale (pre orders). Q50s are just starting to get noticed in Europe because it now offers a diesel.
 

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DJohnson,
Great summary, I have learned a new few things that are IMHO key, it is great to learn that this car performs great as a Touring car (hard to assess this aspect on a 15 min test drive), I am looking for a car that does that, I am not planning in taking my car to a race. By the way, could you please comment on the seat's comfort for a long trip?, I think I saw someone here complaining about the sports seats being uncomfortable on long rides....

To the OP,the only thing I would add of course (that you may be fully aware already), is that the INtouch system is having its "new born delivey" issues, so, If I were you I would not show off too much that feature, unless you get a car that has been upgraded software wise and you can corroborate that is not buggy, I have been working on the software industry for many years, and there is nothing more embarrasing than hitting a sotware glith while doing a demo.....for sure it tests character...Good luck on your demo and let us know the type of reception you get on the Q50.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi MotorShowHost,

Wow! your asking good questions - hard to answer without writing an novel. But I will try to get the ball rolling.

I can categorize my answers in a couple of ways:

  1. Previous car experience - much of what anyone on the forum will say will be based on their prior experiences.
  2. Performance
    1. Track style (breaking, acceleration, handling, etc.)
    2. Touring (comfort, drivability on long trips)
  3. Technology
  4. Economy (gas mileage)
  5. Price (value proposition)
Wow, thanks so much for the extensive, well-structured response! Much appreciated!


EXPERIENCE
: I will start with my previous experience and tell you that I am 60 years old. Prior to my Q50, I drove a 2003 G35 for 11.5 years. I loved the car. At the time it was first introduced in late 2002, it was touted as a car that challenged the BMW 3 series. It had better acceleration, breaking and was just about as good in the slalom course. So my thoughts on the Q50 are relative to my G35 experience.
The G35 was never offered in Germany though :(

PERFORMACE - TRACK
: The Q50 is not going to win many races. Don't get me wrong, it is a solid performer - just not the best. I look at it this way. As long as the Q50 is a close 2nd or 3rd in most categories of raw performance, that is good enough.

Let's face it. There is just so much that can be done to a car mechanically to make it better (within a reasonable price range). And when it comes to track performance, tires have a lot to do with success.

I am quite happy with the Q50 performing in the upper 5% of all cars (I just made that number up). My point is that the best track performer is not going to perform well in the other categories.
I agree. It's not a track car - but then not many mid-size sedans really are. Germans who like to take their cars to the track usually get a Boxster or MX5 as a second car anyway.

PERFORMANCE – TOURING
: This is where the Q50 really shines in my personal opinion. A year ago, I was considering an Infiniti "M" because I was ready for more of a touring car. I no longer wanted to feel mentally exhausted after a 5.5 hour drive from So Cal to Las Vegas. I wanted more creature comforts without compromising performance or safety. Many on this forum has suggested that the Q50 is like a sporty little brother of the "M".

Originally, I wanted 17 inch tires. I thought 19s were going to be a harsh ride (and they cost more). But when I test drove a model with 19s, I was very surprised how smooth the car drove. Yes, I do feel more road bumps but with the steering by wire, none of those bump vibrations come through the steering wheel. I can't tell you what a big plus this was for me.

After the test drive, I got back into my G35 with 17 inch wheels. The G35 was a not as smooth as the Q50 with 19 inch wheels.

Now, to be fair, my G35 was a model year before Infinity added extra welds to stiffen the body. In my G35, every bump seemed to vibrate the whole car body. So in addition to feeling the bumps through the steering wheel, the whole car was like a giant spring. The Q50 has a really stiff body. That means the suspension and tires take most of the bump. It also means the Q50 has less body roll in turns. I like that in a car.

Some car reviewers have expressed discontent with the Q50’s minimal body roll and the isolation in the steering by wire steering system. I would agree with them if I were running the Q50 on a track. But my type of driving is more touring. And all these things make for a better touring car – IMHO.
Thanks for the input. Good to hear that the ride is fine even on the 19s, particularly in the absence of adaptive suspension. When I asked why EVERYTHING about the car was adaptive apart from the suspension (a feature which all of the German competitors have), I only got a shrug of shoulders and a reference to addition cost, weight, and complication...

TECHNOLOGY
:

Now, let’s be fair. Many other cars have this feature too. But let’s add the next Q50 feature to our drive: Lane Departure Control. Assuming a Q50 has this option, the Q50 will make micro steering adjustments on its own to keep the car in the center of the lane. I am not talking about applying the brakes of the opposite front wheel to drift the car back into the lane. I am talking about a smooth electronic steering adjustment performed by the Q50, one that does not affect the position of the steering wheel in the driver’s hands.

On a long distance drive, these 2 features are incredible. No more vibration coming through the steering wheel. No more worrying about keeping the car in the center of the lane.
Most reviewers said the adaptive steering feels synthetic and uninvolving, and that spirited drivers would be put off by this. Would you agree? I am sure it's great for long drives, but I see their point for back-road thrashing.

And there is one more tech feature that is the icing on the cake. The radar system (if equipped) looks not just one car but 2 cars infront of you. If it senses eminent danger, the car will alert the driver. I think (not sure) it will even apply the brakes.

So, in theory, the car can drive itself on a freeway and, if the car in front of you comes to a full stop, the Q50 will too.
Has the feature had to do its job for you yet? Is it overly sensitive and brakes for no apparent reason all the time? Also, do you know how the radar system exactly works? At the training it was said that it goes through the vehicle ahead of you to monitor the second car, but how does it "know" which car is which?


: A 3.7L gas engine that gets 30 MPG is pretty good. But a discussion of a gas engine for the EU market is not very relevant, especially since Infinity is offering a diesel for Europe. So I will move on.
We don't even get the 'pure' 3.7 here, only the Diesel (which is boring) and the Hybrid (which has a smaller trunk) :(

PRICE - VALUE
: I will put any Infinity model against any German designed car and win hands down when it comes to cost of ownership. When a German car has problems (and they often do), it costs a fortune to have it fixed. Nissan/Infiniti cars don’t break down as often and don’t cost as much to fix.

So at the end of the day, an Infiniti cost considerably less to own than a German counterpart.
Prices are completely different over here. Cars are generally much, much more expensive.

Has nothing to do with the Q50, but here's a mini-infographic I recently made that illustrates the, erm, problem (from our point of view):



I can say that the Q50 is priced below the German competition, but servicing/repairs aren't that much cheaper. Also, you'll have to go through some hassle as Infiniti has currently only FOUR dealers in all of Germany...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Question without malice, but do Germans and Europeans in general even care for Infiniti?
No, not at all - particularly Germans don't.

It's understandable though. If you're from the country that is home to basically all of the leading automotive brands, it's easy to prefer those. Lexus has been here for over 10 years and has a market share of around 2%... I am not even sure why Infiniti entered the German market. Last year they sold 1,000 cars. VW shifts that many Golfs in a week...

Anyway, there is a small niché. Well-educated, well-off people in their 30s who want a premium car that isn't parked on every street corner... me, basically lol I had offers from BMW, Mercedes, Maserati and Volvo for the motor show, but I wanted a challenge. Everyone can present a 3-series or a C-class, but convincing people of the Q50 will be a real challenge.

I've visited my local dealership (there are only four in all of Germany at the moment) and spoke to the salespeople there, and they said they did want to push into the fleet market but it'll tough, it's absolutely cut-throat and heavily contested by the big German brands... at least Infiniti has a Diesel MT with cloth seats on offer now!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
To the OP,the only thing I would add of course (that you may be fully aware already), is that the INtouch system is having its "new born delivey" issues, so, If I were you I would not show off too much that feature, unless you get a car that has been upgraded software wise and you can corroborate that is not buggy, I have been working on the software industry for many years, and there is nothing more embarrasing than hitting a sotware glith while doing a demo.....for sure it tests character...Good luck on your demo and let us know the type of reception you get on the Q50.....
Yeah, that is something I am worried about as well. In every review I read it said that the system was buggy but that it was still a pre-production firmware. When I asked at the training whether we would have a final, bug-free system to present at the show they couldn't really give me an answer.

I'd prefer having a buggy version though over having the InTouch system completely disabled on the cars at the fair stand - this way I can at least show the stuff that actually works lol
 

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Yeah, that is something I am worried about as well. In every review I read it said that the system was buggy but that it was still a pre-production firmware. When I asked at the training whether we would have a final, bug-free system to present at the show they couldn't really give me an answer.

I'd prefer having a buggy version though over having the InTouch system completely disabled on the cars at the fair stand - this way I can at least show the stuff that actually works lol
You won't have any problems with the in touch when its sitting still. It's a great system just a few bugs every few hundred miles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sebastian Vettel - He is German, 3 times Formula 1 world champion and he is the Director of Performance for Infiniti. How could the Germans not take note?
Nobody knows that he is Director of Performance! Infiniti doesn't really advertise in German print media and TV ads are few and far in between. Infiniti is indeed the main sponsor of Red Bull Racing but I doubt many Germans who see the 'word' on the side of the car hack it into Google... brand awareness is ridiculously low.
 

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We have about 3,000 miles logged and the first response was spot on to everything we have observed in a fully loaded Sport
On two 500mi trips you can feel the difference when your arms hands are not as tired from the road.... We had an M37 and an 08 G35. The Q is the best
I do think we have learned about 15% of what this car can do with the voice commands and one touch software
 

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DJohnson,
I think I saw someone here complaining about the sports seats being uncomfortable on long rides....
Actually, I believe the complaint was about the non-sport seats. I think if you look back on the thread, there were several people that raved about the sport seats (I was one).
 

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DJohnson,
... By the way, could you please comment on the seat's comfort for a long trip?, I think I saw someone here complaining about the sports seats being uncomfortable on long rides.....
I have only owned the car for 4 weeks and not taken a long trip yet. I know that others have posted their opinion of seat comfort after long trips.

I do plan to take a 2500 mile trip in the next 2 weeks and will have a much better chance to evaluate seat comfort. But from what I can tell you, my leather (standard - not sport) seats seem to be just fine.

I asked my wife how she liked the front passenger seat list night. She said they were fine - no complaints.

I agree. It's not a track car - but then not many mid-size sedans really are. Germans who like to take their cars to the track usually get a Boxster or MX5 as a second car anyway......
It is unfortunate that main-stream reviewers are not living with the Q50 for a week or 2. Instead, they seem to evaluate all cars based on 15 minutes of track performance.

Most reviewers said the adaptive steering feels synthetic and uninvolving, and that spirited drivers would be put off by this. Would you agree? I am sure it's great for long drives, but I see their point for back-road thrashing......
I will agree that there is more "fun" in the G37. And I would agree that if you are looking for feedback from the steering wheel, it will seem a bit synthetic.

When I was younger, I wanted all the feedback I could get from a car. I loved that intimacy I could get with the car's sound and vibration through the seat and steering wheel. The more the better. I felt like I was "one with the car". And I am pretty sure that is what the reviewers look for: that "fun" "intimacy" feeling. I will not argue that point.

But back to reality. I don't mind the synthetic feel at all because I am typically not on a track or pushing the car really hard up or down a windy road. And even if I were, the feel is just something you get use to.

There is no doubt this is the wave of the future. Steering must go digital if the future cars are going to be "self drivers". So whether the reviewers dislike the steering or not, it is forgone conclusion that most good cars will have this feature in 5-10 years. So why fight it. My attituded is "get use to it and enjoy the ride".

Has the feature had to do its job for you yet? Is it overly sensitive and brakes for no apparent reason all the time? Also, do you know how the radar system exactly works? At the training it was said that it goes through the vehicleahead of you to monitor the second car, but how does it "know" which car is which? .....
Yes, I have had "false-positives". The radar does sometimes pick up a large sign while the road curves. I have had 2 or 3 other incidences. One time was a bicycle in the bike lane on a residential street. Another time was a car in the center turn lane. Both these conditions were on roads that had a slight turn in them. So the radar picked up the danger thinking it was in front of the car. As the car continued and figured out that these dangers were not in front of the Q50, the car continued as normal. Just about every false positive experience I have had was when the Q50 was going around a mid to gentle curve.

I have learned not to set the collision control to ON while on residential or commercial streets. There is just too much data 'noise' for the system to be 100% accurate. Instead, I sometimes leave all the warnings on. Sometimes, if there is lots of traffic on commercial or residential roads (driving 25-45 mph), I will turn all the driver assistance to OFF just because I don't want a bunch of beeps in my ear while I am concentrating on the driving conditions.

I turn the collision control to ON (along with all the other driver assistance systems) when I am driving in a condition that warrants intelligent cruise control.

Regarding your question about 2 cars ahead and how does the Q50 know which is the #1 and #2 car. I am not sure. I have heard 2 theories now. One is that the radar bounces off the road under the first vehicle and hits the second. The other is that the radar goes through the first car and sees the second. My money is on the first theory. The radar emitter and collector is positioned low on the car (in the lower grill work). It would be reasonable to suspect that a good portion of the beam does go under the first vehicle and picks up the second. And the echo would do the same.

It would be relatively easy to distinguish between car #1 and car #2. It is all a matter of timing. The radar system calculated the time it takes for a pulse to go out and an echo return. It measures the delay time and can calculate distance.

So what I suspect is happening is that part of the return signal (echo) is the car directly in front AND another part is from car #2. In other words, the collector is getting 2 echos. And based on this info, it can figure out distance. And when distance changes over time, you get velocity (that is just physics). As long as the Q50 system is keeping track of the change of distance over a couple of radar pulses, it can figure out if car #2 will cause a problem.

Hope that helps.
 

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The sport seats are some of the best I've ever sat on! And I've done several long trips!
Wish I had the thigh support on my Premium/Deluxe/Leather/Tech Q50. I am sure they would be real nice on a long trip.
 
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