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Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 2018 review

EXPERT RATING
7.5
The Infiniti Q50 Red Sport sedan wants you to love it, and this latest version is doing its best to impress you with its looks and features. So much so that you'll want to live with it, forever.

The Infiniti Q50 Red Sport sedan really wants you to love it, and this latest version is doing its best to impress the heck out of you with its looks and features.

So much so that you'll take it home... and live with it, forever. And then there's that engine – armed with a formidable twin-turbo petrol V6, the Q50 Red Sport's outpowers all its rivals.

But then there's the BMW 340i which is not that much more expensive... and it's a BMW. And what about the Lexus IS 350? That's more like the Infiniti, but also more popular.

Oh, and don't forget that we when first met the Q50 Red Sport last year we didn't exactly get off on the right foot. The engine's formidable grunt seemed too much for the car to handle. Then there was the jiggly ride, and the steering wasn't great either unless you were in Sport + mode. It's all coming back now...

Perhaps the Q50 Red Sport had changed. This is the new one, and Infiniti had assured us it's a different car now.

Do we give it another chance? Of course, and we do, in a quick 48-hour test. So, has it changed? Is it better? Would we live with it forever?

Infiniti Q50 2018: 2.0t SPORT PREMIUM
Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.3L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$36,850

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

The Q50 Red Sport looks cranky from front on, which I like in a car. Yes, the grille is simplistic and gaping, the nose is a bit bulbous, and sure, side on the car looks like a Lexus IS 350, but those rear haunches and the aggro body kit with its front splitter and boot lid spoiler make for an impressive looking four-door sedan.

The update brought restyled front and rear bumpers, those red brake calipers and the dark chrome 20-inch rims and new LED tail-lights.

  • The Q50 Red Sport looks cranky from front on, which I like in a car. The Q50 Red Sport looks cranky from front on, which I like in a car.
  • The update brought restyled front and rear bumpers. The update brought restyled front and rear bumpers.

Inside, the cabin is an asymmetrical paradise (or hell, if you're a bit OCD like me) full of sweeping lines, angles, as well as different textures and materials.

The red stitched quilted leather seats are an addition that came with the update, so is the new steering wheel and the ambient lighting.

  • Inside, the cabin is an asymmetrical paradise. Inside, the cabin is an asymmetrical paradise.
  • The red stitched quilted leather seats are an addition that came with the update. The red stitched quilted leather seats are an addition that came with the update.

The 'Sunstone Red' colour of our test car is also a new hue which looks a bit like Mazda's Soul Red. If red is not you, there are other colours – hope you like blue or white or black or grey because there's 'Iridium Blue', 'Midnight Black', 'Liquid Platinum', 'Graphite Shadow', 'Black Obsidian', 'Majestic White' and 'Pure White'.

The Q50 has similar dimensions to the IS 350: both are 1430mm tall, the Infiniti is 10mm wider at 1820mm,  120mm longer at 4800mm, and has a wheelbase that's 50mm longer at 2850mm.

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

The Q50 Red Sport is a five-seat four-door sedan and is vastly more practical than its two-door Q60 Red Sport sister, in that I can actually sit in the back seat. The Q60's coupe styling looks amazing, but the sloping roofline means headroom is so severely limited that it reduces the rear seats to a place to throw your jacket.

True, I'm tall at 191cm, but in the Q50 Red Sport I can sit behind my driving position with legroom to spare and more than enough headroom.

I'm tall at 191cm, but in the Q50 Red Sport I can sit behind my driving position with legroom to spare. I'm tall at 191cm, but in the Q50 Red Sport I can sit behind my driving position with legroom to spare.

Boot space is good at 500 litres, which is 20 litres more than the luggage capacity of the IS 350.

Storage throughout the cabin is good with two cup holders in the rear centre fold-down armrest, two more up front and bottle holders in all doors. A large centre console storage bin and another big storage area in front of the shifter are great for keeping junk under control and your valuables covered.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

Maybe sit down for this next bit. The Q50 Red Sport lists for $79,900. Are you okay? Do you want a moment? Remember, though that only seems like a lot because it's not a Benz or a BMW. Truth is the value is pretty good – better than a German car of the equivalent size and grunt.

Look at the standard features list: 8.0-inch and 7.0-inch stacked touchscreens, the 16-speaker Bose 'Performance Series' stereo system, digital radio, road noise cancellation, sat nav, 360-degree camera, leather seats, power adjustable from sports seats, dual-zone climate control, proximity key, sunroof, auto wipers and adaptive LED headlights.

New 19-inch alloy wheels and red brake calipers come as standard. New 19-inch alloy wheels and red brake calipers come as standard.

The 2017 update brought new standard features to the Red Sport including, red stitching on the seats and dash, quilted leather seats, new 19-inch alloy wheels and red brake calipers.

Don't forget that the bang-for-buck factor is strong with the Red Sport, too. In that nose is a twin-turbo V6 that makes almost as much grunt as the BMW M3 for about $100K less. Even the 340i, which Infiniti says is a Red Sport rival, is $10K more. Truth is though, the Lexus IS 350 is the real rival to the Q50 Red Sport.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   8/10

Inside the Q50 Red Sport's nose is a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine and it is a beautiful thing. To me this car is piece of technologically sophisticated jewellery that cradles a precious gem that pumps out 298kW/475Nm.

Inside the Q50 Red Sport's nose is a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine and it is a beautiful thing. Inside the Q50 Red Sport's nose is a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine and it is a beautiful thing.

But I have my concerns... you can read about those in the driving section.

Shifting gears is a seven-speed automatic which delivers drive to the rear wheels.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Infiniti says the V6 petrol engine in the Q50 Red Sport should use 9.3L/100km if you're using it on a mix of highways, urban streets and country roads. We only had the Q60 Red Sport for 48 hours and after a couple of days of Sydney city commutes and a trip to the Royal National Park our trip computer was reporting 11.1L/100km.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

Perhaps the biggest complaint we had about the previous Q50 Red Sport, which launched in 2016, was that it felt as though the chassis wasn't up to the amount of grunt running through it, and those rear wheels struggled to transfer the oomph to the road without losing traction.

We experienced the same issue again in this new car. I was breaking traction, not just in 'Sport+' and 'Sport' modes, but in 'Standard' and 'Eco', too. That was happening without pushing it hard and with all electronic traction and stability aids on.

If I was 18 I'd declare to the world I'd found my dream car - something that always wants to 'light 'em up' given half a chance. But like that one mate who always gets into trouble on a night out it's only funny when you're young.

A truly great performance car is planted, balanced and able to deliver the grunt to the road effectively. The Nissan R35 GT-R is the perfect example – a brilliant piece of machinery, a weapon of a performance car and with a chassis matched perfectly to its engine.

  • If I was 18 I'd declare to the world I'd found my dream car. If I was 18 I'd declare to the world I'd found my dream car.
  • That engine feels overpowered for the chassis, and wheel and tyre package. That engine feels overpowered for the chassis, and wheel and tyre package.

And that could be the issue with Q50 Red Sport - that engine feels overpowered for the chassis, and wheel and tyre package.

We also felt the previous Q50 Red Sport's ride, with its constantly adapting 'Dynamic Digital Suspension', was overly busy. Infiniti says it has developed the suspension system further and it does feel as though the ride is more comfortable and composed.

Steering was another area that we weren't overly impressed with when we drove the previous car. Infiniti's 'Direct Adaptive Steering' (DAS) system is super sophisticated and was the first in the world not to have any mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the wheels – it's all electronic.

The new Q50 Red Sport uses the upgraded 'DAS 2' and while it feels better than before, it's only in Sport+ mode that it seems most natural and accurate.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

4 years / 100,000 km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   8/10

The Q50 was given the maximum five-star ANCAP rating in 2014 and the amount of advanced safety equipment which comes standard on the Red Sport is impressive. There's AEB, that works forwards and when you're reversing, forward collision and blind spot warning, lane keeping assistance and moving object detection.

There are two ISOFIX points and two top tether anchor points in the back row, for child seats.

The Q60 Red Sport doesn't come with a spare tyre because the 245/40 R19 tyres are run flats, which means even after a puncture you should be able to keep driving for about 80km. Not ideal in Australia where distances are seriously vast.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

The Q50 Red Sport is covered by Infiniti's four year/unlimited kilometre warranty with servicing recommended every 12 months or 15,000km.

Infiniti has a scheduled servicing program which will cost $1283 (in total) for three years.

Verdict

The Q50 Red Sport is a premium sedan that's great value, with a cracker of an engine. While Infiniti has improved the ride and steering, it still feels to me that the engine is too powerful for the wheels and chassis to handle. But if you're looking for something of an untamed beast, this car could be for you. Just don't say we didn't warn you.

Would you pick a Q50 Red Sport over a Euro sports sedan? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$44,440
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$32,450
Highest Price
$56,430

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
2.0t GT 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $32,450 – 38,610 2018 INFINITI Q50 2018 2.0t GT Pricing and Specs
2.0t GT (SUNROOF) 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $33,660 – 40,040 2018 INFINITI Q50 2018 2.0t GT (SUNROOF) Pricing and Specs
2.0t PURE 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $32,450 – 38,610 2018 INFINITI Q50 2018 2.0t PURE Pricing and Specs
2.0t PURE (SUNROOF) 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $33,550 – 39,930 2018 INFINITI Q50 2018 2.0t PURE (SUNROOF) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.5
Design7
Practicality8
Price and features8
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption7
Driving7
Safety8
Ownership7
Richard Berry
Senior Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$46,750

Lowest price, based on 6 car listings in the last 6 months

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