No digital, not logical
1isn’t The fancy “digital steering” foolproof
Infiniti says the Q50’s “world first” drive-by-wire steering is quicker, smoother and feels more natural. It also tried to steer me across two lanes into oncoming traffic in the first few hundred metres. Alarmed, I went back and demonstrated the problem to a representative. Once again, it tried to take me across two lanes at 60km/h, against the camber of the road! Nissan says this is normal — after the vehicle has been transported on a truck, when the battery runs flat or if the engine stalls. It says the steering corrects itself after about 5km. But how about a warning? Not everyone who gets behind the wheel will have had a demo by a salesperson. Frightening.
2is The sole tech that it lacks a daily necessity
The top of the range Q50 has radar cruise control with automatic stop-start in city traffic, 360-degree camera and low-speed motion detectors front and rear. Its. LED headlights turn with the steering and have automatic high-beam. There are Bose audio, 10-way adjustable driver’s seat and six driving modes. But it doesn’t have a digital speedo — and the analog needle is way off. At an indicated 60km/h, the Q50 is doing 55km/h and at 100km/h it’s doing 93km/h. All speedos have an error — but most others are closer to the mark than this.
3The Epic: the twin-turbo V6
3.0-litre comes in two grades (224kW and, as tested, 298kW) and, matched to a seven-speed auto, it’s a missile. It slots between the Ford Falcon XR6 Turbo and Mercedes C63 for exhilaration. Infiniti doesn’t quote a 0-100km/h time but we clocked 5.0-second runs on satellite timing gear. The suspension is taut but not too firm (despite run-flat tyres) and the steering is accurate and sharp (when working properly).
4 Price needs to be sharper
At $87,790 drive-away, the 3.0TT Red Sport (red denotes the extra power, not the colour of the car) is a bargain compared to a German performance sedan. However, Infiniti is still an unknown brand here and resale will be horrendous, according to wholesalers we spoke to. So wait for it to be discounted to $75K drive-away new (my guess) or wait for it to appear on the near new market for about $60K. Then you have a bargain.
5 I want one — but I can’t cop the design
Once I got over the spooky steering, the lack of a digital speedo and try-hard styling, I began to love the Red Sport. The more I drove it, the greater the temptation to buy one. Maybe the next generation, due in a few years, will look better.