Automakers are often at their best when trying something new and breaking free of industry norms, but Infiniti's drive-by-wire steering system, optional on the Q50S sedan, is very much not one of those times. That would be fine if the car's base hydraulic power steering was a suitable alternative, but that's not great either.
Luckily, Infiniti is learning from its mistakes and has plans to revise the Q50's steering system to offer more road feel. Speaking to Car and Driver, Infiniti’s head of product planning, Keith St. Clair, says that some members of the enthusiast community and the press have "suggested the car could benefit with enhanced steering feel." Infiniti intends to equip the Q50 with a steering system that offers the kind of feel appreciated by drivers and critics alike in the old G37.
Development engineers have already started work on the new system which St. Clair described as a "blast" to drive. At the same time, engineers have worked on improving the Q50's exhaust note for a sportier tone, and notes that changes made by his team have been presented to Infiniti's bosses in Japan. Infiniti is now looking at the "fastest path" for adopting the changes into production. The new car should appear some time in the 2016 model year.
It isn't clear what this means for Direct Active Steering, the unloved drive-by-wire system mentioned above. As well as drawing flak from the critics, the system has already been subject to a recall. While only pertaining to a handful of cars, failures in the system and the backup could have potentially resulted in a loss of control. While the Q50 itself is an impressive luxury car, as we found out in our first drive, its steering really lets the side down—so the new hydraulic system is sure to be welcome.