Infiniti Q50LEnlarge Photo
In China's heavy traffic, there's little appeal to be had from the driving process. Those who can afford it hire someone else to do the job for them, while they recline in the back—usually in one of the multitude of long-wheelbase models offered exclusively in the country.
Latest to add another long-wheelbase model to its range is luxury automaker Infiniti, with the new Q50L. You might wonder what the point is of a sport sedan given extra room in the back when Infiniti offers the larger Q70 with its own long-wheelbase option, but the key here is choice—the same kind of choice that leads automakers to build several variants of every vehicle in the first place.
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The Q50L grows by a scant 1.9 inches between the wheels (now at 114.1 inches), but all that space is set aside for passengers in the rear seats. According to Infiniti, that gives it the most rear space in the segment, while luxury touches like a rear window sunblind and in-car mood lighting keeps passengers entertained. The driver too has fancy luxury toys to call upon, including anti-glare door mirrors, Infiniti's Direct Adaptive Steering steer-by-wire system and an Infiniti InTouch double touchscreen system.
Not only has the Q50L been designed for China, it's the first domestically-produced Infiniti for the market, too. Production will take place at the Xiangyang factory in Hubei province, now the fourth assembly plant for Infiniti models globally. The benefit of Chinese production can't be understated—not only does it help dodge some of China's hefty import taxes, but also reinforces the brand within the country—Infiniti's year-on-year growth during the first six months of 2014 reached 130 percent in China.
There are no plans to sell the Q50L in the U.S, but American buyers will be getting the 2015 Infiniti Q70L, revealed back in April. That too benefits from an extended wheelbase and a full 5.9 inches of extra rear legroom. Heated seats, reading lights and a 12-volt power outlet are all provided for rear-seat passengers, and Active Noise Control helps to cancel out exterior noise for those inside.