As I check the 2017 Infiniti Q50‘s handling on a twisty mountain road, I’m hearing tire squeal but the back end isn’t drifting out. Then I remember seeing the AWD badge on its rear. Sweet.

A toggle on the console lets me choose from six different drive modes, including Sport, Sport Plus and an configurable mode called Personal. Those modes adjust throttle, steering and suspension. This sedan hides advanced performance tech under its fenders.

On the center dashboard sits a stack of two screens, one color LCD at the top and a touchscreen below, controlling navigation, stereo, hands-free phone and connected features. I like these controls, finding them intuitive and responsive enough for regular use.

But what I find really impressive is the fuel economy, which ends up averaging in the mid-20s, much better than the Q50’s predecessor.

The Q50 works well in a variety of driving situations, from the daily commute to a weekend getaway for two over mountain roads.


Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

The Q50 succeeded Infiniti’s G37 model in 2014, coming out as a rewrite of that earlier popular sport sedan. The 2017 Q50 looks as good as Infiniti’s older G sedans and shows off improvements in driving dynamics and feature content. Infiniti offers the Q50 in 16 base variations, with engines ranging from a turbocharged 2.0-liter to a gasoline-electric hybrid and all-wheel-drive options on each drivetrain. And for those who think four doors is too many, Infiniti also have the very similar Q60 coupe.

I drove the Q50 3.0t Sport AWD, meaning this Sport trim model featured a twin turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine with direct injection, seven-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive. That engine makes 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

The cabin feels similar to earlier Infiniti models, with leather, power adjustable seats and easily understood switchgear showing good ergonomics. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, but I find the roof feels low in the rear seats, with only an inch to spare for my 5 foot 8 inch self. As a premium car, the Q50 includes automatic climate control, and metal grilles cover the Bose stereo’s 14 speakers.

At the top of the dashboard, an 8-inch color LCD shows the map and route guidance, placing it within easy driver view. The 7-inch touchscreen below that includes functions for entering destinations, along with control and display for audio and hands-free phones. I like this arrangement, as I can have route guidance working on the upper screen and still see what song is playing with a glance at the lower screen.

2017 Infiniti Q50

These stacked screens, with a touchscreen at the bottom, work well to see and control the Q50’s cabin electronics.


Wayne Cunningham/CNET Roadshow

The Q50’s interface includes some duplicative controls, but I didn’t find these confusing in any way. This system also earned a spot on Ward’s 10 Best UX awards for 2016. All that said, the bright and colorful map screens don’t reflect the sophistication of the car, and route guidance did not show lane suggestions. And Infiniti doesn’t speak Android Auto or Apple CarPlay yet.

Infiniti includes online destination search in the Q50 through its telematics service, plus the ability to send destinations from phone to car through Google maps.



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