With an assertive face and creased sheetmetal, the 2021 Infiniti Q50 looks the part of a sports sedan, but it’s not as dynamic as its design suggest. Perhaps its sportiest attribute is its potent 300-hp twin-turbo V-6 powertrain that delivers quick and effortless acceleration. Those who want even an even quicker version will appreciate the 400-hp Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400, which we review separately. Despite the Q50’s indifferent demeanor when driven enthusiastically, it still provides a comfortable and composed ride. While we’re not particularly impressed with its interior storage and cargo space or its dual-screen infotainment system, we do like its terrific outward visibility and generous front-seat legroom. The 2021 Q50 isn’t nearly as satisfying as rivals such as the BMW 3-series or Mercedes-Benz C-class, but it’s still an attractive and speedy sedan.
What’s New for 2021?
For 2021, Infiniti adds a new top-of-the-line model called Sensory. It rides on 19-inch wheels and wears sportier front and rear bumpers. Plus, it has leather upholstery, a 16-speaker Bose audio system, open-pore wood trim, and power-folding exterior mirrors with an auto-dimming feature. The Luxe model now comes standard with a host of driver assists, such as a 360-degree camera system, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beams, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-departure warning. The lineup also introduces two new paint colors: Slate Gray and Grand Blue.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We think the mid-level Luxe trim level is the best value. While it costs several thousand dollars more than the base Pure model, it unlocks more options and comes with more desirable standard features. The latter includes 18-inch wheels, a heated steering wheel and front seats, a split-folding rear seat, remote start, and myriad driver assists. Those who want the added security of all-wheel drive can add it for $2000, but we’d stick with the standard rear-wheel drive and invest in a set of winter tires for the colder months.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Q50’s standard engine is a 300-hp twin-turbo V-6 that’s paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. The last version we tested was quick, reaching 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds. Shifts are so smooth that they’re hard to detect, even when the driver has called them up using the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The Q50 we drove sported 19-inch wheels. That car had a jittery, sometimes harsh ride, but it’s possible that the Q50’s standard 18-inch wheels would have improved matters. Steering is light but not quick and lacks feedback. Infiniti’s optional drive-by-wire steering setup, called Direct Adaptive Steering, is a much-touted feature, but none of its many available modes offers the feedback or the progressive effort during cornering that the best helms provide. The Q50’s 169-foot stopping distance is not, on its own, an impressive result. However, only the significantly lighter Audi A4 2.0T Quattro and BMW 330i xDrive did much better.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The Q50 doesn’t exactly have impressive fuel-economy ratings. The EPA estimates that models with rear-wheel drive will earn 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. Adding all-wheel drive drops the Q50’s city rating to 19 mpg and its highway rating to 27 mpg. The all-wheel-drive version that we tested on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route—part of our extensive testing regimen—matched its highway estimate. Still, that’s less than what we observed with an all-wheel-drive BMW M340i (33 mpg) and a rear-drive V-6-powered Genesis G70 (29 mpg).
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Infiniti is ostensibly a luxury brand, but the Q50 interior never feels truly luxurious, even on the most expensive models. The interior packaging is beginning to feel dated, too. The Q50 has above-average front-seat legroom, but that advantage disappears for back-seat passengers, whose accommodations are thoroughly middle of the road. The range is available with certain desirable features, such as a power-adjustable steering column and memory settings for the driver’s seat, but other comforts are missing from the options list. The Q50 is about the same size as its competitors, but its cargo capacity is below average and the interior is short on useful cubbies. It may be a comfortable highway cruiser, but the Q50 is not designed for long family trips. With about 13 cubic feet of trunk volume, the Q50 falls far short of the 3-series sedan and the liftback Kia Stinger. A folding rear seat is only optional, not standard.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Unfortunately, Infiniti’s dual-screen infotainment system is illogical and difficult to operate. The upper screen can be used to display Apple CarPlay and Android Auto or as a navigation screen. The system’s configurability permits various apps to be displayed on either screen depending on user preference. The upper screen can be controlled via touch, the control knob, or the steering wheel controls. The system does have prompt response times and—to sooth our nitpicking souls—both screens have matching fonts. Up to seven devices can be paired to the Q50’s Wi-Fi hotspot.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The 2021 Q50 hasn’t been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); the last version that was evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) was not named a Top Safety Pick. Although the Infiniti does offer a plethora of driver-assistance technology, the majority of that equipment isn’t available on the base model. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
- Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Infiniti’s warranty coverage periods are longer than most in this class, but there’s no complimentary scheduled maintenance, a feature that is relatively common among luxury brands.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 60,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers six years or 70,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
More Features and Specs