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Friday, Aug 22, 2014

Infiniti’s new Q50 is a joy ride


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If you thought “Q” was that guy who dreams up all the gadgets for James 007 Bond, think again.

These days “Q” is the new badging for all of Infiniti’s newest models. Which is why the replacement for the sporty G37 sports sedan I’ve been driving, is now called the Q50.

Confused? Don’t worry, I am too.

You’d think that with 50 being part of the title there’d be a 5.0-liter V-8 under the hood. No, it’s a 3.7-liter V-6.

Also, while the Q50 replaces the G37, it actually doesn’t because the G will continue to be offered through 2015.

And I wonder what Audi’s attorneys think of an Infiniti Q50 when, for years, they’ve been selling a Q5?

All these miscues – or is that miss-Qs – pale into insignificance when you climb behind the wheel of this quite-magical rival to BMW’s 3-series and Cadillac’s new ATS sports sedans.

While it’s based pretty closely on the G37 – both the chassis, suspension and powertrain are pretty much carried over – the new body styling is a real head-turner.

Standing still, it looks like its cruising at a buck-fifty.

Inside, there is a heavy dosage of style and elegance. I love the double screens that function like iPads with their pinch-to-zoom and swipe-to-scroll ease of operation.

And whereas the G37’s cabin was nicely upscale, the Q’s is in a different league with its high-gloss veneers, textured matte-finish metal and the kind of glove-soft leather you’d find in a Coach store.

Infiniti’s 328-horse 3.7 V-6 is still one of the industry’s best engines.

Supremely responsive, utterly refined and packing more punch than a Mike Tyson right hook, it gives the Q50 terrific performance, coupled with 20 city and 29 highway economy.

And only adding to the Q’s appeal is the standard seven-speed automatic, which shifts gears with all the fluidity of hot maple syrup dripping off a spoon.

Want another 32 horses and 36 mpg highway economy? You can opt for the 360-hp G50 Hybrid, though the $7,000-plus premium is steep.

Speaking of prices, the entry, rear-drive G50 stickers for a competitive $37,605, with all-wheel drive adding an extra $1,800.

That’s a whole lot of luxury and agility for the money.

Enough to have people “Q-ing” outside Infiniti showrooms.

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