Dan says: I’m not sure that the Lexus is the better car overall, however. For starters, the power made by the Infiniti is flat-out addictive; there’s really no other way to put it. A little while back, Infiniti teased the world with the Q50 Eau Rouge, essentially dropping a Q50 shape on the drivetrain of the Nissan GT-R supercar. It was never really destined for production, but the seed was nevertheless planted in the minds of someone who was hoping for a fast four-door that could actually take the fight to the Germans.
So we’re left with the Red Sport, and if I may, it’s not a bad option. Based on power alone, this particular Q50 is definitely a player; while turbocharged, the Red Sport doesn’t suffer from as much turbo lag, or drone along, forcing the engineers to pump an engine sound of sorts through the speakers as is done with some of its competition. It’s surprisingly granular feeling for something turbocharged, which I guess is what you’d expect from a brand that’s been known to pull off a turbo miracle or two in its time.
It is let down, though, by its handling. There’s no denying that the IS the more centred car here, which may be what many buyers are looking for.
I don’t think so, though. I think that great power, the available tech and the value presented by the Q50 Red Sport are definite feathers in its cap. It’s the one we’d have, but can the Lexus juggernaut be slowed? I suppose time will tell.
Brendan says: For me, these two cars are defined by how much they aren’t a BMW 3 Series. That car, particularly the 340i with the sport package, is a tough all-rounder to beat. Both the Lexus and the Infiniti have to try hard to differentiate themselves.
The Lexus does so by adding a little spice to a reputation for reliability. It’s interesting (maybe too interesting) to look at, fun to drive, and shouldn’t ever let you down. It’s a good pitch, and no wonder it sells well.
Infiniti, on the other hand, didn’t really bother trying to beat Bimmer at the balanced sports sedan game, and basically turned their Q50 into a 400 hp muscle car. There’s lots of value here, but I came away from this car basically feeling like I was driving a very nicely finished SRT Charger. Why buy one of these over a BMW? Because it’ll blow the roundels off a 3 Series in a straight line. That’s a pretty compelling argument, especially when supported by comfortable seats and a lengthy toy list.
4 years/100,000 km; 6 years/110,000 km powertrain; 7 years/unlimited distance corrosion perforation; 4 years/100,000 km roadside assistance
Pricing: 2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 AWD
Base Price: $54,600
Options: $4,085 – Technology Package ($3,800), metallic paint ($285)
A/C Tax: $100
Price as Tested: $60,780
4 years/80,000 km; 6 years/110,000 km powertrain; 6 years/unlimited distance corrosion perforation; 4 years/unlimited distance roadside assistance
Pricing: 2016 Lexus IS 350 F Sport AWD
Base Price: $51,900
Options: $1,350 – F Sport Series 2 ($700), premium paint ($650)
A/C Tax: $100
Price as Tested: $55,395