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    Review: 2015 Infiniti Q50S 3.7


    • Too Much Computer Love?

    In a class that is highly competitive such as the compact luxury sedan segment, trying to make yourself stand out is a tough ask. Some can do it just on reputation, while others must rely on price, design, features, or overall drivability. Infiniti is using technology to have their Q50 sedan stand out in this crowded field. We spent a week in the Q50S 3.7 to see if any of this new technology makes a difference.

     

    In terms of styling, the Q50S sits right in the middle of the compact luxury sedan spectrum. It isn’t as shocking as the Lexus IS, but it isn’t boring as a BMW 3-Series. The overall design is reminiscent of the Q70 (formally known as the M37/35h/56) with a narrow grille, a sculpted hood that rises and falls, and a distinctive character line running from the front fender to the rear. This particular Q50S was fitted with 19-inch Rays wheels finished in black and looked quite sharp. It should be noted the wheels are part of a Performance Wheel package that also swaps the standard run-flat tires for a set of summer performance tires.

     

    The Q50S’s interior is very scrumptious with leather and soft plastics seemingly lining every surface, and a small amount of wood trim around the center stack. Front seat passengers get supportive seats with power adjustments and the ability to cool and heat. The driver gets a couple of more adjustments in the form of adjustable seat bolsters and a manual extension for the thigh. Rear seat passengers will find plenty of headroom, but legroom is somewhat limited thanks to a tall transmission tunnel.

     


    2015 Infiniti Q50S 12



    A key feature of the Q50 is Infiniti’s InTouch infotainment system. The system is comprised of two screens; the top one handles navigation and key information about the vehicle, while the bottom one handles audio, climate, vehicle settings, and other functions. Now before you start thinking the dual screen setup is going to be a catastrophe like the system used in Acura vehicles, it isn’t. The difference is that Infiniti uses two touchscreens, unlike the one touchscreen and the other screen being controlled by a knob like a number of Acura models. Using the system was a breeze thanks a simple layout and quick performance. There are a couple of downsides to the InTouch system. First is the navigation system which is looking very dated when compared to other models in the compact luxury class. Second is the bottom screen that washes out in sunlight.

     

    In terms of power, the Q50 comes with either a 3.7L V6 or a hybrid powertrain that pairs the V6 with an electric motor. Our tester boasted the V6 with 328 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. This is paired to a seven-speed automatic transmission. The V6 is very potent as it will pull hard during acceleration and feels eager to get up to speed. But the V6 isn’t the smoothest or most refined at higher rpms as many of its competitors. The seven-speed automatic transmission delivers quick and smooth shifts. In terms of fuel economy, the Q50 with the V6 is rated at 20 City/29 Highway/23 Combined. Our week of driving saw an average of 21.2 MPG.

     

    The Q50S boasts a sport-tuned suspension which gives it a button-down feeling on the road. In corners, the Q50 shows excellent control of body motions. Agility is also tops as the Q50S seamlessly moves from corner to corner. The ride is on the firm side, letting in some bumps into the cabin. Noise isolation is excellent.

     


    2015 Infiniti Q50S 10


     

    Now the Q50 has one other key item that Infiniti is quick to point out and that is the optional Direct Adaptive Steering system. Unlike most systems where the system is mechanical-based, Direct Adaptive Steering uses a drive-by-wire system that transmits electrical impulses from the steering wheel to the front wheels, causing them to turn. Infiniti has also fitted an electric motor to mimic weight when turning. At first, I thought I was driving a normal steering system as it had good weight and feel for a sporty sedan. It was only when I parked the car and played around with the wheel did I realize something was different. The steering wheel moved very fast and with no feel. It was then I realized I had the drive-by-wire system.

     

    After spending a week with the Direct Adaptive Steering system, I’m a bit mixed. Not with the system itself, I actually didn’t have any complaints about the steering feeling disconnected to the road or having enough weight as other reviews. I found it to be like any other steering system. But I find myself wondering if this was done because Infiniti sees the future of steering going to this, or if they did this just for the sake of differentiation?

     

    The Infiniti Q50S is a good compact luxury sedan, but it relies too much on technology as a crutch. Yes, it's amazing that the dual-screen infotainment system works very well, but so does a single screen and a controller. The drive-by-wire steering system is a really cool piece of technology, but does it bring any real improvement? If you take the technologies away, you have a sedan that is very competent. But in a class that is highly competitive and models are constantly improving, competent isn’t good enough.

     

    Infiniti needs to go back to drawing board and figure out how to take a model from competent to a real contender. The bones are there in the Q50, they need a bit more finessing and less tech.

     

    Disclaimer: Infiniti Provided the Q50S 3.7, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

     

     

    Year: 2015
    Make: Infiniti
    Model: Q50 3.7
    Trim: S
    Engine: 3.7L DOHC 24-Valve V6
    Driveline: Seven-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 328 @ 7,000
    Torque @ RPM: 269 @ 5,200
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/29/23
    Curb Weight: 3,675 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Tochigi, Japan
    Base Price: $43,650
    As Tested Price: $54,055 (Includes $905.00 Destination Charge)

     

    Options:
    Technology Package - $3,200
    Deluxe Package - $3,100
    Performance Wheel Package - $1,800
    Navigation Package - $1,400

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    This car is sized and priced closer to the mid-sizers, it is quite the tweener.  That wouldn't be a bad thing if Infiniti had a Q40 below this for around $35k.  At least you get a V6 in the base Q50, but $54k for a Q50 seems like a lot, you could get a Q70 with limited options for that price.  When Infiniti moved the G37 up in size and price, they sort of forgot to move the Q70 up and get a new entry level car.

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    Definitely looks evolved from the G35 and G37 on the outside.  Bland and generic inside.   As far as entry level goes, Europe has the Q30 hatchback (FWD on the Merc A-class platform).   I assume the US will get it or a sedan derivative...

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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    Definitely looks evolved from the G35 and G37 on the outside.  Bland and generic inside.   As far as entry level goes, Europe has the Q30 hatchback (FWD on the Merc A-class platform).   I assume the US will get it or a sedan derivative...

     

    Nope, we're only getting the Infiniti QX30 apparently. 

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    Definitely looks evolved from the G35 and G37 on the outside.  Bland and generic inside.   As far as entry level goes, Europe has the Q30 hatchback (FWD on the Merc A-class platform).   I assume the US will get it or a sedan derivative...

     

    Nope, we're only getting the Infiniti QX30 apparently. 

     

    Hmmm...well, small premium CUVs seem to be a growth niche, probably will sell better than the Q30 would.

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    With regards to the Q50... I've driven it a few times, and it fails to elicit any passion at all. Like a white collar middle manager who has been in their job for 15 years, the Q50 is competent at everything it does but excels at nothing. 

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    Could one get any more of a Bland Expressionless, Passionless auto?

    A Toyota would be worse, I would think..  Seems like it would be an ok 3-series alternative for a commuter lease...if you aren't hung up on the brand..

     

    I've known a few Infiniti owners, they seemed happy w/ them, mostly were former Nissan fans that stepped up.  One guy had a G37 coupe that experienced a manual transmission failure, which sounded really odd to me, though..

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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      Monthly
       
      CYTD
       
      CYTD
       
      CYTD
       
      2017
       
      2016
       
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      18,931
       
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      755
       
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      1,304
       
      1,510
       
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      65
       
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      47,448
       
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      18
       
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      7,281
       
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      774
       
      146.5
       
      1,908
       
      774
       
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      1,273
       
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      43,807
       
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      53,313
       
      43,807
       
      21.7
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
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      JANUARY
       
      Monthly
       
      CYTD
       
      CYTD
       
      CYTD
       
      2017
       
      2016
       
      % chg
       
      2017
       
      2016
       
      % chg
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
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      8,514
       
      35.8
       
      11,558
       
      8,514
       
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      Infiniti Q40
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      10
       
      -100.0
       
      0
       
      10
       
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      Infiniti Q50
      3,206
       
      2,914
       
      10.0
       
      3,206
       
      2,914
       
      10.0
      Infiniti Q60
      732
       
      132
       
      454.5
       
      732
       
      132
       
      454.5
      Infiniti Q70
      476
       
      492
       
      -3.3
       
      476
       
      492
       
      -3.3
      Infiniti QX30
      1,158
       
      0
       
      0.0
       
      1,158
       
      0
       
      0.0
      Infiniti QX50
      1,206
       
      994
       
      21.3
       
      1,206
       
      994
       
      21.3
      Infiniti QX60
      2,189
       
      2,372
       
      -7.7
       
      2,189
       
      2,372
       
      -7.7
      Infiniti QX70
      842
       
      436
       
      93.1
       
      842
       
      436
       
      93.1
      Infiniti QX80
      1,749
       
      1,164
       
      50.3
       
      1,749
       
      1,164
       
      50.3
      Total Car
      4,414
       
      3,548
       
      24.4
       
      4,414
       
      3,548
       
      24.4
      Total Truck
      7,144
       
      4,966
       
      43.9
       
      7,144
       
      4,966
       
      43.9
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      NISSAN GROUP
      JANUARY
       
      JANUARY
       
      Monthly
       
      CYTD
       
      CYTD
       
      CYTD
       
      2017
       
      2016
       
      % chg
       
      2017
       
      2016
       
      % chg
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      TOTAL VEHICLE
      112,319
       
      105,734
       
      6.2
       
      112,319
       
      105,734
       
      6.2
      Total Car
      51,862
       
      56,961
       
      -9.0
       
      51,862
       
      56,961
       
      -9.0
      Total Truck
      60,457
       
      48,773
       
      24.0
       
      60,457
       
      48,773
       
      24.0
      Selling days
      24
       
      24
       
       
       
      24
       
      24
       
       
       
    • By William Maley
      There is one vehicle that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has to get right the first time - the minivan. The company is credited for creating this vehicle segment back in the eighties with the introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Each subsequent version brought forth some new improvement or feature that put it ahead of the pack. But due to the bankruptcy in 2009 and subsequent merger with Fiat, plans for the next-generation Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan were pushed back. This left the old model struggling against some fresh competition in the form of the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. 
      But last year, Chrysler surprised everyone with a new minivan. Wearing the Pacifica nameplate, the van was unlike anything that had come before. It featured a sleek design, handsome interior, and the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The bigger surprise was that Chrysler would be the only brand getting the new van. The Dodge Caravan would continue in its current incarnation for a few years to provide a low-cost option for those shoppers. Has Chrysler pulled a rabbit out its hat or has the unthinkable happened and the Pacifica trails the competition?
      The first thing to take in about the new Pacifica is how good-looking it is. The design comes courtesy of the 700C that debuted quietly a few years back at the Detroit Auto Show. The rounded front end is reminiscent of the recently departed 200 with a narrow grille and headlights, chrome trim along the edges of the grilles, and a sculpted hood. The side profile shows off two character lines; one running from the front fender to the chrome trim for the windows and another running through the door handles and curving into the rear fender. We would only make one slight change to the Pacifica. Our Touring L tester featured 17-inch wheels that looked a bit small for a vehicle this size. We would go for the larger 18-inch wheels that fill in the wheel wells much better.
      Anyone who has been in the last-generation Chrysler Town and Country or Dodge Caravan knows the interior was well past its sell-by date. When pitted against competitors, the two vans came up very short in terms of design, materials, space for cargo and passengers; and infotainment. Step inside the Pacifica and it is clear that Chrysler has done its homework. The design is much more modern with flowing lines and contrasting colors. It also feels more spacious than the outgoing vans thanks to some smart decisions such as the removal of the center console to allow for an open floor between driver and passenger, and the use of a knob for the transmission. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement with many surfaces now boasting soft-touch plastics. It wouldn’t be crazy to say the Chrysler Pacifica is ahead of everyone when it comes to the interior.
      Depending on the trim, you can order the Pacifica with seating for seven or eight people. Our Touring L featured the eight-seat layout with a removable middle seat for the third row. It will take you a few moments to figure out how to remove the seat, but once you do, it is quite easy to remove and install the seat. The rest of the seats feature Chrysler’s Stow ’n Go folding system where the seats can fold into compartments in the floor to provide a flat load area. Cargo area is in line with the current crop of minivans with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 87.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 140.5 cubic feet with both rows folded. As for passengers, both rows of rear seats provide an excellent amount of head and legroom. Getting into the third row is much easier thanks to second-row seats offering a tilt function.
      FCA has equipped the Pacifica with the newest version of their UConnect system. The interface may look similar to the older UConnect system, but there are a number of changes that help catapult this new version towards the top of the infotainment system list. First, the new system is much sharper thanks to the new fonts and an updated screen that provides improved brightness levels. FCA has also improved the overall performance of the system, meaning no slow downs when going between various functions. One item we cannot comment on is navigation as our test Pacifica didn’t come with it.
      Power for the Pacifica comes from the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front-wheels only. It might not be the fastest van on the road (that honor falls to the Toyota Sienna), but Pacifica comes very close. Power comes on a smooth and steady rate. You’ll find yourself not wanting more power when merging onto a freeway or trying to make a pass. FCA has seemed to get its act together with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Issues with clunky shifts and gear hunting have been mostly ironed out. The transmission now features smooth and quick upshifts. The only item we would want FCA to work on is the transmission’s hesitation to downshift in certain situations such as making a pass.
      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      There is one vehicle that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has to get right the first time - the minivan. The company is credited for creating this vehicle segment back in the eighties with the introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Each subsequent version brought forth some new improvement or feature that put it ahead of the pack. But due to the bankruptcy in 2009 and subsequent merger with Fiat, plans for the next-generation Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan were pushed back. This left the old model struggling against some fresh competition in the form of the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. 
      But last year, Chrysler surprised everyone with a new minivan. Wearing the Pacifica nameplate, the van was unlike anything that had come before. It featured a sleek design, handsome interior, and the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The bigger surprise was that Chrysler would be the only brand getting the new van. The Dodge Caravan would continue in its current incarnation for a few years to provide a low-cost option for those shoppers. Has Chrysler pulled a rabbit out its hat or has the unthinkable happened and the Pacifica trails the competition?
      The first thing to take in about the new Pacifica is how good-looking it is. The design comes courtesy of the 700C that debuted quietly a few years back at the Detroit Auto Show. The rounded front end is reminiscent of the recently departed 200 with a narrow grille and headlights, chrome trim along the edges of the grilles, and a sculpted hood. The side profile shows off two character lines; one running from the front fender to the chrome trim for the windows and another running through the door handles and curving into the rear fender. We would only make one slight change to the Pacifica. Our Touring L tester featured 17-inch wheels that looked a bit small for a vehicle this size. We would go for the larger 18-inch wheels that fill in the wheel wells much better.
      Anyone who has been in the last-generation Chrysler Town and Country or Dodge Caravan knows the interior was well past its sell-by date. When pitted against competitors, the two vans came up very short in terms of design, materials, space for cargo and passengers; and infotainment. Step inside the Pacifica and it is clear that Chrysler has done its homework. The design is much more modern with flowing lines and contrasting colors. It also feels more spacious than the outgoing vans thanks to some smart decisions such as the removal of the center console to allow for an open floor between driver and passenger, and the use of a knob for the transmission. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement with many surfaces now boasting soft-touch plastics. It wouldn’t be crazy to say the Chrysler Pacifica is ahead of everyone when it comes to the interior.
      Depending on the trim, you can order the Pacifica with seating for seven or eight people. Our Touring L featured the eight-seat layout with a removable middle seat for the third row. It will take you a few moments to figure out how to remove the seat, but once you do, it is quite easy to remove and install the seat. The rest of the seats feature Chrysler’s Stow ’n Go folding system where the seats can fold into compartments in the floor to provide a flat load area. Cargo area is in line with the current crop of minivans with 32.3 cubic feet behind the third row, 87.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 140.5 cubic feet with both rows folded. As for passengers, both rows of rear seats provide an excellent amount of head and legroom. Getting into the third row is much easier thanks to second-row seats offering a tilt function.
      FCA has equipped the Pacifica with the newest version of their UConnect system. The interface may look similar to the older UConnect system, but there are a number of changes that help catapult this new version towards the top of the infotainment system list. First, the new system is much sharper thanks to the new fonts and an updated screen that provides improved brightness levels. FCA has also improved the overall performance of the system, meaning no slow downs when going between various functions. One item we cannot comment on is navigation as our test Pacifica didn’t come with it.
      Power for the Pacifica comes from the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front-wheels only. It might not be the fastest van on the road (that honor falls to the Toyota Sienna), but Pacifica comes very close. Power comes on a smooth and steady rate. You’ll find yourself not wanting more power when merging onto a freeway or trying to make a pass. FCA has seemed to get its act together with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Issues with clunky shifts and gear hunting have been mostly ironed out. The transmission now features smooth and quick upshifts. The only item we would want FCA to work on is the transmission’s hesitation to downshift in certain situations such as making a pass.
      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00
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