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