The Q50 proves to be a fantastic value while being very enjoyable to drive.
Sedans are becoming a dying breed, and further still are the ones that actually feel like something you want to drive. As manufacturers look for ways to cut weight, improve fuel economy, and minimize cabin noise, a lot of them lose the feeling of a good old-fashioned family sedan. The 2019 Infiniti Q50 Signature Edition still has that classic feel, while employing modern tech under the hood and in the cabin.
The Q50 line was refreshed in 2018, but coming in to the 2019 model year for Canada Infiniti has pared down the available powertrains from four, to just the two iterations of the 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6 engine across four trim levels. The Signature trim is the second tier in the trim lineup, striking a happy balance between luxury features and sporty upgrades. Across the board, all Q50 models get all-wheel-drive as standard equipment, along with luxury features such as remote start, keyless entry, sunroof and LED headlights. The base 3.0t Luxe model has an MSRP of $44,995.
Stepping up to the Signature Edition with an MSRP of $46,495 comes along with some visual and seat upgrades for the minimal price bump. 19” wheels, leather sport seats that have power lumbar and torso bolsters, thigh extensions in both front seats, different bumpers as well as a spoiler, along with unique badging and aluminum trim all come with the $1,500 price increase. Add another $750 for pearl paint for an as-tested MSRP of $47,245.
Located in the center of the dashboard are two touchscreens. The upper eight-inch screen is reserved for navigation duty, while the seven-inch screen below it handles media and HVAC duties, as well as additional views for navigation if needed. There is no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay connectivity available on the Q50, but the built-in navigation has voice command as well as a live concierge system available through Infiniti Canada’s monthly subscription.
Flanking the screens on either side are the air vents as well as physical climate control buttons that are easy to use. Separating all of this from the leather wrapped dash is a very nicely textured aluminum trim resembling metal mesh that brings a bit of a rugged feel to balance out the soft leather. The front seats are very comfortable, thanks to the upgraded adjustments and bolstering available in the Signature trim. The rear seats echo this comfort level for two adult passengers, with the middle position doing the best it can with the tall driveshaft tunnel in the way.
Trunk space is acceptable for a sedan. A wide opening allows for large items to be loaded with ease, and the rear seats can fold down as well as having a lockable pass-through in the middle. Due to the all-wheel-drive system, the rear wheel wells are fairly large and take up a lot of the usable trunk space near the seats. This ultimately means that you might have a hard time stuffing that third suitcase in there before the airport run.
The new twin-turbo 3.0L VR-series V6 engine might not have the unique throaty sound of the VQ it replaces, but it puts out a decent growl that lets you know it means business while burning less fuel. Rated for 300 horsepower at 6,400RPM and 295 lb-ft. of torque available from 1,600RPM through 5,200RPM, the torquey VR V6 is not lacking in punchy acceleration. There is no need here to spend the extra coin for the 400 horsepower Red Sport (reviewed here) unless you feel a need for speed or have a need for bragging rights.
The only transmission choice on the Q50 is a seven-speed automatic that is very nicely matched to the VR engine. Shifts are quick and responsive, but unlike the Sport trim levels, the Luxe and Signature trims do not get steering wheel mounted paddle-shifters that would make the Q50 even more fun to drive.
Being a premium-fuelled all wheel drive V6 sedan, fuel economy numbers are not expected to be stellar. The 2019 Q50 Signature manages to perform at a decent 12.4L/100km in the city, 8.7L/100km on the highway and 10.8L/100km combined. What is interesting to note is that these numbers are nearly identical to those of the previous generation Q50 with a rear-drive powertrain, which would have been more fuel-efficient than the AWD model tested here.
Competition for the Q50 comes from other luxury brands, as well as from its own Sport trim level (reviewed here), which offers very different driving dynamics. Fellow Japanese competitors are the front-drive Lexus ES350 (reviewed here) and the Acura TLX. German mainstays like the BMW 3-series and the Mercedes C-Class remain worthy rivals. Lastly, the Genesis G70, last year’s DoubleClutch.ca Car of the Year, with its punchy 3.3L twin-turbo engine remains a very strong competitor for the Q50.
The 2019 Infiniti Q50 3.0t Signature proves to be a fantastic value while being very enjoyable to drive. Sport models come along with steer-by-wire adaptive steering and suspension setups that take away from what gives this car its classic sedan character. Buyers shouldn’t kid themselves that this car is ever going to be driven on a race track and just enjoy the car for what it is: a great driving sedan that is ready for whatever Canada throws at it.