First Drive: 2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid luxury cars infiniti hybrids first drives
First Drive: 2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid luxury cars infiniti hybrids first drives
2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Paul Williams

Newport Beach, California – Over the years, Infiniti has used a range of letters and numbers to identify its vehicles. Problem was that after a while, consumers (and sometimes journalists, for that matter) found them difficult to follow from one model to the next.

As of 2014, this changes (well, they’re still using letters and numbers, but fewer of them). All cars get the Q designation; all SUVs get QX. Simplicity in one fell swoop!

We saw Infiniti’s entire 2014 lineup at the Nissan 360 event, recently held in Newport Beach, California, and as expected, one of the most sought after vehicles for test drives was the new Infiniti Q50 and its hybrid version, the Q50 Hybrid.

What’s a Q50 and why was it so popular? Because it’s a “Q,” it’s a car, and the 50 identifies it as a large compact model (most would think of it as a midsize model) along the spectrum of vehicles offered by Infiniti. And yes, the Q50 replaces the very popular G37 sedan, being an all-new design featuring cues from some of Infiniti’s recent concept vehicles (most directly from the Essence).

The Q50 is conventionally powered by Infiniti’s 3.7L V6 engine, a smooth and powerful unit found in many of the company’s vehicles. The Q50 Hybrid, which starts at $47,000 in Canada, has acquired some buzz as a particularly quick car, with better performance numbers than the Q50. High performance and low fuel consumption: that’s a combination sure to appeal.

First Drive: 2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid luxury cars infiniti hybrids first drives First Drive: 2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid luxury cars infiniti hybrids first drives
2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid. Click image to enlarge

First impressions of the car are very positive. I saw the Q50 earlier this year on the car show circuit and its pleasing lines and surfaces transfer well to the open road. There’s a new grille (it looks good, if a little Lexus-like), and a completely new design both outside and in. While the Q50/Q50 Hybrid are very close in exterior dimensions to the outgoing G37 sedan, Infiniti promises more interior room, a more “open” cabin environment and easier ingress and egress compared with that vehicle.

The Q50 Hybrid, of course, features a special drivetrain. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), it uses a 3.5L, 24-valve, DOHC aluminum-alloy V6 and laminated lithium-ion battery that combine with a one-motor/two-clutch motor control. The V6 makes 302 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, while the 50 kW electric motor is rated at 67 horsepower and 215 lb-ft torque. The net power is 360 hp, enough to propel the Q50 Hybrid from 0-100 km/h in under 5.5 seconds, according to reports. It also features a standard sport tuned suspension with double-piston KYB shock absorbers and will arrive in three versions that include the $47,000 Q50 Hybrid Premium RWD, the $49,500 Q50 Hybrid Premium AWD and the $56,450 Q50 Hybrid Sport AWD. The Hybrid Sport adds substitutes the standard 17-inch wheels with 19-inch five-spoke alloys, sport brakes, sport front bumper, magnesium paddle shifters and sport seats. Navigation and Bose Audio are standard across the Hybrid range.

Like the Q50, and eschewing the typical CVT-type transmission found in the majority of hybrid vehicles, the Q50 Hybrid is fitted with a seven-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with manual shift mode and the available steering column–mounted magnesium paddle shifters.




About Paul Williams

Paul Williams is an Ottawa-based freelance automotive writer and senior writer for Autos. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).