*EMBARGOED* 2014 Infinti Q50

We’re back with the official details on the Infiniti Q50, which replaces the G sedan in the Nissan-owned Japanese luxury marque’s line-up. The new Q50 is the first car to sport a new name, part of a naming scheme change that was announced by Infiniti earlier this year to help its consumers easily identify and differentiate model and variant.

The Q50, like the G sedan before it, competes in the compact luxury sedan segment, which means it’s rivals are cars like the C-Class, A4, 3-Series and IS. According to Infiniti, the Q50 takes many design cues from the Infiniti Essence Concept, which was a coupe. I wouldn’t be surprised if the coupe counterpart to the Q50 – the Q60 looks even more like the Essence. That fancy C-pillar design is officially called a ‘Crescent-cut C pillar’.

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When the new naming scheme was announced, part of the rationale was to remove engine capacities from the model name so that consumers wouldn’t associate engine displacement with the numbers in the name because of technologies such as engine downsizing and turbocharging.

The Q50 doesn’t introduce any new technologies in this area though – two models were announced at Detroit 2013 – the Q50 powered by a 3.7 litre V6 and the Q50 Hybrid powered by a hybrid 3.5 litre V6. Very US-centric models – big engines, high horsepower, probably because of the motorshow that these models debut at. I’d expect other variants to be announced later. Both the Q50 and the Q50 Hybrid can be had with either rear wheel drive or Intelligent All Wheel Drive.

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The 3.7 litre V6 Infiniti Q50 produces 328 horsepower and 365Nm of torque, and is mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission with Downshift Rev Matching and Adaptive Shift Control. The Q50 Hybrid is powered by a 3.5 litre V6 rated at 302 horsepower and 350Nm of torque, combined with an electric motor that can do 67 horsepower and 270Nm of torque. Combined output for the hybrid system is 360 horsepower.

Something becoming popular in this segment is the offering of sportier brakes as a paid option. For the Q50, the standard vented discs fare can be upgraded to bigger rotors, 4-pot calipers at the front and 2-pot calipers at the rear.

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The interior’s front and rear seats have a new ergonomic design, developed to help distribute body pressure across a wider range of the upper seating surface. When sitting, the pressure load on the backbone is about 1.4 times greater than while standing. The bending moments that become a factor of load are reduced by the new seat design, with the additional support for the pelvis and the self-weight of the chest.

Finishing off the elegant interior is a combination of “Kacchu” aluminum inspired by traditional Samurai armaments and genuine maple wood trim, which is representative of the 16th century Urushi painting technique.

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There’s something very special about this steering wheel, and it’s more of what happens in the background. The new Q50 features Infiniti Direct Adaptive Steering technology, a world first in a production vehicle. The system allows steer-by-wire control of the Q50, which Infiniti says transmits the driver’s intentions to the wheels faster than a mechanical system.

It’s a nice car, sure, but these debut variants are unsuitable for the Malaysian tax bracket, especially at this segment. The engines are too large. Perhaps we’ll see some innovation under the hood of a future replacement for the old G25, which had a smaller 2.5 litre V6 engine. Perhaps a smaller turbocharged four cylinder? Most of its competitors are already offering the same for volume-seller variants in this class.