11.24.2016

What's In A Name? The 2016 Infiniti Q50 2.0t Premium

Front view of 2016 Infiniti Q50 2.0t Premium
The 2016 Infiniti Q50 2.0t Premium.
About three years ago, Infiniti, under a leader who had just arrived from Audi and would within months depart for Cadillac, changed its naming convention.  The vehicles were largely unchanged, but none had the same name.  What had been for many years the G37 series of sedans became the Q50.

It is hard to tell whether the name change had any effect on sales, good or bad, as Infiniti, contrary to the original plan 25 years ago to match Lexus step for step, has always been just big enough not to be considered a truly niche player.  The Infiniti Q50 is Infiniti's best-seller, but it is the 109th best-selling vehicle in the U.S. so far this year, with a shade under 35,000 sold.  Infiniti might, but probably won't, sell 40,000 G50s by December 31st.



Side view of 2016 Infiniti Q50 2.0t Premium
2016 Infiniti Q50 2.0t Premium.
And that is a shame, because the Infiniti Q50 is what it was when it was the G37---the best alternative to a BMW 3-series you can buy.   In the Q50, Infiniti has the definitive small Japanese sport sedan, delivering most of the handling and performance characteristics of a 3-series, with greater interior comfort and a lower price.

Our test vehicle was the 2.0t Premium.  The base price is $37,650 and for that, you get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that delivers 208 horsepower, mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission.  That is a combination that results in strong acceleration and solid fuel economy---an EPA-estimated 23 city/31 highway.

Also standard: Independent front and rear suspension, 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, all-season run-flat tired, automatic LED headlights, LED fog lights, daytime running lights, turn signals and rear brake lights, 8-way power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Kacchu aluminum interior trim, power heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signals, a tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, an auto-dimming inside mirror, rear view monitor, a 14-speaker Bose premium audio system, two USB ports, SiriusXM Satellite radio and cruise control

Interior view of 2016 Infiniti Q50 2.0t Premium
2016 Infiniti Q50 2.0t Premium interior.
Our test vehicle had just one option package---Premium Touch Plus.  It adds navigation and voice recognition, adaptive shift control, SiriusXM Traffic, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, memory seats and steering wheel, driver lumbar support, auto-dimming exterior mirrors and a 60/40 split-fold rear seat with center armrest pass-through for $2,150.

With $905 destination charges, the as-tested price was $40,705.  If you are thinking about a BMW 3-series but are more interested in the car you will drive for the next few years than the emblem on the hood, the Infiniti Q50 is something you should strongly consider.

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