The numbers are one thing, but the Infiniti feels a whole lot airier inside than they suggest. Yes, the seats are a little flatter due to smaller side bolsters than those found in the Lexus, but it’s not as if we found ourselves sliding to and fro as we tackled one of our favorite bendy roads.
Plus, the front seats are of Nissan’s “Zero Gravity Seating” variety, meaning they have been developed in partnership with NASA to support bodies of all shapes and sizes in the right areas, in order to reduce fatigue on longer drives.
While the front seat isn’t quite as coddling as it is in the Lexus, I am a big fan of the low dash in the Q50. It provides a great view out, greatly reducing front-left and -right blind spots. Somehow, even though I’m 6’3”, I didn’t feel as though I was sitting on top of the car as opposed to inside it. It’s a neat trick that Infiniti’s managed to employ, and it should please drivers of all sizes.
The cargo situation is similar; the Infiniti beats the Lexus on this front by just over 75 litres, but the Lexus does provide a larger trunk opening and flatter load floor. The Q50’s lower profile rear seats, however, sit a little flatter than do the Lexus’ when folded. It’s just too bad about that narrow trunk opening, which does make loading larger objects a challenge.
Brendan says: As a parent, the IS’s small back seats would pretty much be a deal-breaker for me. I’m glad I’m only average height, and I’m sorry we tried to cram you back there, Dan. Sorry. I hope your leg bones heal soon.
Those Lexus front seats though, are just wonderful. Basically, the IS feels like a sport sedan inside, and the Q50 feels like it’s copying bits from the Mercedes E-Class. As is becoming a recurring theme in this test, I really need a couple of hours and a wrench to make one perfect car from the two.
Dan says: How you feel about the Lexus’ mouse-based interface is really going to kind of determine how you feel about the infotainment in general, because the controller mounted just behind the shifter pretty much controls everything in this department.
The way the on-screen cursor snaps to the nearest button takes a little getting used to, as it will often snap to a button that you weren’t quite expecting. It takes some patience, and we were happy to find a few supplementary buttons that take care of things like reverting to your home screen and so forth. Some will say it’s nice to not have to repeatedly spin a wheel to and fro to get to the menu you need, while others will find the mouse system counter-intuitive.
The Q50 doesn’t suffer from the same split personality, though it does have two screens. The upper screen displays your back-up camera and navigation (you navigate this with a scroll-wheel mounted behind the shifter), while the lower item lets you manage your drive modes (your steering weight and response, transmission settings and throttle settings are all modified from here), your driver aids, and even access your email or a select few apps. It’s incredibly technology-forward, and makes the Lexus’ item look almost prehistoric. The Lexus’ dated graphics don’t do a whole lot to help its cause.
However, while your eyes and fingers will appreciate what the Infiniti has to offer, your ears would likely opt for the Lexus. The sound through our tester’s eight-speaker premium audio system sounded crisper than what was being offered from the Q50, which is strange considering the latter’s 14-speaker system, which comes as standard on the Red Sport edition.
Comfort-wise, these two are pretty much in a dead, ahem, “heat”. Heated front seats, steering wheel, and dual-zone climate control are all on hand; I guess you could say the Lexus just barely pips the Infiniti in that its front seats are cooled, as well.