2014 Infiniti Q50 first drive review Page 3

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One other major debut in the Q50 is Infiniti InTouch—a next-generation infotainment system that will eventually be deployed on the brand's entire model lineup. In the Q50, it includes twin touch screens, with an eight-inch one up top and a seven-inch one below. A lower rotary/button controller on the center console also navigates menus in the top screen and can potentially bring up a menu of frequently accessed features.

By the system's logic, the lower screen is the first place to look for infotainment, while the upper screen is for driving-related information. And that's all supplemented by a five-inch screen in the middle of the gauge cluster.

From a first, very limited experience with the system—one in which we encountered some pre-production software niggles—we like what we see. This setup skips the confusion over which screen to use that we still find in Acura vehicles, as well as the lack of redundancy in many other German luxury models. You'll still find lots of hard buttons for climate and audio to press, if you prefer that.

More spacious, more comfortable; still a sport sedan interior

You'll also find a bit more space inside than you did in the G Sedan. With either the standard sport seats, or the ones with extendable side bolsters that much of the lineup gets, the driving position in front is great. And with both thinner front seats, plus side pillars moved forward just a bit (and slimmed, with more high-strength steel), there are a few more inches of rear legroom. Unfortunately what there isn't much more of is rear legroom (six-footers will still find headroom very tight).

The Q50 comes in base, Premium, and Q50S models; if you want the Hybrid you'll need to step up to the Premium or S—and even then it's $4,400 more than an equivalent Q50 3.7. With fully loaded models equipped with the Deluxe Touring and Tech packages stickering in the $60k range, the Q50 is no bargain.

What's missing from the lineup at this point are the more fuel-efficient, affordable models such as those available in the BMW 3-Series and 5-Series lineups, in the Cadillac ATS, and even in the Jaguar XF. Although Infiniti's offering a turbo four and a diesel in Europe, that's not yet part of the American offerings.

But virtually all the rest of the details are in place, and the Q50 is bound to make its way to more households than the G37—even if name recognition is an issue at first.

From a first taste, we have no doubt the new Q50 is engaging, packed with technology, stylish, and refined. Does it remain the best-handling (or one of the best) sport sedan in this class? We'll have to reserve judgment for some time on the track, or on mountain or canyon roads. For now, it's setting a great new direction for Infiniti's new sedans.


 
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