Infiniti has some of the most attractive cars around. They’re full of swoopy lines and sensuous curves. The issue with them is that their performance doesn't always match up with the exterior styling. Infiniti has since taken steps to change that. The Q50 Red Sport 400 is one of the cars that stands out. Recently, we were able to get in the car for a quick first drive to see just how exciting the vehicle truly is.
What Is It?
The Q50 Red Sport takes the regular Q50 up a notch with a twin-turbo version of its 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 400 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. This is the first turbocharged V6 engine the company has ever produced. The car pushes that power through a seven-speed automatic transmission to either the rear or all four of the wheels. This makes it good for about a four and a half second 0-60 time and a top speed of over 150 mph.
How Does It Look and Feel?
Infiniti’s Q50 is a downright sexy sports sedan that will put many coupes to shame. The car’s exterior is full of pretty curves and attractive elements like the handsomely elegant headlights and taillights. The Red Sport 400 version is a little more attractive, but we're not sure it stands out enough.
Infiniti could have done more to differentiate the model from the standard vehicle, but even without doing more, you can't deny that it's a real looker. The car has an exclusive Sunstone Red paint job (it can be had in other colors), special 19-inch wheels, a red “S” on its rear and sides, and unique Red Sport exhaust tips.
On the inside, the car has quilted leather seats that are supportive and provide a lot of adjustment, dual zone automatic climate control, aluminum interior trim or optional maple wood trim (out tester had the wood), and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob and aluminum-accented pedals and footrest.
Overall the interior is one of the more pleasing out there. The materials feel of high quality, fit and finish is excellent and the cabin of the car is not too cluttered or busy. The Q50 Red Sport 400’s cabin is a nice place to sit and our only complaint is that we didn’t get enough time behind the wheel to nitpick its flaws.
One thing we can point to right away is the dual screen setup for the infotainment system. Acura does this, too, and no matter how many times we see it, we just think a single large screen is better. The dash on the car would support a single large screen
How Does It Drive?
Infiniti still has a bit of work to do in the driving department. The engine? Powerful and lively. At first, we were thrown off by its noise (it’s mostly turbo noise) but after a few minutes, we got used to it. Still, we like sports sedans with more growl and less whine.
The all-wheel drive system on our tester worked well. The extra grip helped push the car through turns without issue. Our complaint with this car stems from the seven-speed automatic. It’s not as smooth as we expected, especially on downshifts. We found ourselves aching for a third pedal and a manual gearbox.
The steering? Good but not excellent. The Direct Adaptive Steering system is in its second generation now and offers some feedback from the road. Still, it’s not perfect and more feedback and precision would be nice. Handling is good, too, but not amazing. There’s little body roll and the car inspires a fair bit of confidence in the turns, though we wish we’d had more time in the vehicle to really test its limits. despite the minor steering gripes, we found the car enjoyable. If the transmission was better, we’d like the Q50 Red Sport 400 car a whole lot more.
Should You Buy It?
The Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 is the perfect car for the Nissan/Infiniti fan who wants something that is fast and sporty. It’s an attractive vehicle with a powerful engine and can be a lot of fun in a straight line or on a curvy road. Regrettably, we were unable to really push the car on the twisty bits of pavement and have a feeling it wouldn’t be quite as good as we were hoping for. However, most drivers looking for a sporty car will be happy with the Q50 Red Sport 400’s performance.
If you compare this car to something like the BMW M3 or the Mercedes-AMG C63 you’re going to be sorely disappointed. It’s not like those cars. It’s an enjoyable, fast, and sporty car but it can’t take on those performance beasts and win.
The Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 starts at $48,700 in rear-wheel drive and $50,700 in all-wheel drive. That’s significantly less than the performance versions of the competition's cars. Infiniti may have picked a smart price point by undercutting the competition while still offering a package that can put a smile on your face. If that sounds like something you're into, then you should definitely buy this car.