“2018 Infiniti Q50 3.0t Red Spot 400”
Styling Refreshed and Technologies Added
Nashville, TN – When Infiniti’s powers that be opted to change the model nomenclature for all Infiniti car models from “G” and “M” for cars, they replacing them with “Q” which has no reference to Ian Fleming’s, James Bond series internal spy code. Crossover and SUVs became QX models. The Q50 for 2018 comes in a dozen different ways. The Q50 designation is followed by the power source indication: 2.0t represents a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder.; 3.0t is for the 3.0-liter twin turbo, 300 horsepower V6; (there’s also a 3-liter twin-turbo V6 that puts out 400 horses); and a Hybrid 3.5-liter V6. Confused yet? It gets better – the 2.0-liter comes on two levels of trim – Pure and Luxe, with each available in either RWD or AWD. The 300 horse V6 is available in Luxe or Sport trim in both RWD and AWD. The 400 horsepower V6 is designated as the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 in both RWD and AWD configurations. The Q50 Hybrid comes in Luxe trim only and may ordered as a rear or All-wheel drive. The 2018 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 will be the subject of this review.
The Q50 lineup is Infiniti’s top selling vehicle, and pricing will range from $34,200 for a 2.0t Pure Q50 RWD to $51,000 for a Red Sporty 400 RWD. Add another $2,000 to all models for AWD along with a $950 Destination Charge for all Q50s.
My test 2018 Infiniti Q50 3.0t Red Sport 400 sedan’s base price was set at $51,000 which rose to $60,720 after factoring the following added costs: the Sensory Package; the Proactive Package; Infiniti Illuminated kick plates; Infiniti Radiant Grille Emblem; Spare tire Package, Exclusive Paint; Carbon Fiber Package; and Destination charges. The exterior was finished in a brilliant Dynamic Sunstone Red metallic; while the interior was executed in quilted Graphite.
2018 Q50 models connect Infiniti’s refined 7-speed automatic transmission with available solid magnesium paddle shifters to all powertrains. The INFINITI Drive Mode Selector offering Snow, Eco, Standard, Sport and Personal settings is also standard on all models, part of the INFINITI InTuition™ System, an advanced customizable digital environment system allowing drivers to create unique settings for engine, suspension and steering (when equipped with INFINITI Direct Adaptive Steering™) settings.
Other available advanced drivetrain technologies include Infiniti’s steering mode selections, accessed through the Drive Mode Selector on the center console, which allows the level of steering responsiveness to be selected from six available options: Personal, Standard, Snow, Eco, Sport, and Sport+. It is available on all 3.0- liter V6-equipped models as part of the new ProACTIVE Package.
The Q50’s refreshed styling cues coincide with the latest global grade naming structure: PURE, LUXE, SPORT and RED SPORT 400. Option package content and labeling has also been upgraded for 2018 and one new exterior color, Mocha Almond, has been introduced to the list of available colors.
There is now a greater differentiation between model grading, the enhanced exterior design continues to display sleek, racy proportions along with the Q50’s iconic athletic stance. The Infiniti “zero lift “ philosophy for efficient aerodynamics has resulted in a more pronounced air foil at the front bumper’s base for the Q50 in general, with the Q50 3.0t SPORT and Q50 RED SPORT 400 grades showcasing a more angular front bumper along with wider, lower air intakes, while adding greater visual prominence. 2018 design highlights include: Revised standard sport front and rear fascias for 3.0t SPORT and RED SPORT 400 models; revised front grille, headlights and taillights; Black Mirror caps; INFINITI signature double-arch front grille, dynamic arch silhouette and Crescent-cut C-pillar; Distinctive LED headlights, fog lights and Daytime Running Lights, LED rear combination lamps; available Adaptive Front lighting System with high beam assist technology; Standard power sliding and tilting tinted glass sunroof with one-touch open/close and sliding sunshade (except Q50 2.0t PURE); Heated outside mirrors with integrated LED turn signals, available auto dimming outside mirrors with reverse synchronization mirror angle; body-color outside door handles with chrome accents; dual chrome exhaust finishers (custom on Red Sport 400); Advanced aerodynamic design with 0.26 coefficient of drag (select models) and zero front and rear lift concept.
Moving to the interior, the new Q50 cabin’s artistic level has also been enhanced, providing a more comfortable and a more high-tech connected space. The new grade structure has enabled INFINITI designers to differentiate each model with its own unique interior flavor.
Significant interior enhancements include unique stitching on premium and soft-touch materials surrounding the instrument panel and a sport-oriented leather shift knob. Seating features Infiniti’s spinal support seats that ensure a comfortable and supportive ride. The steering wheel is new featuring molded positions for the driver’s thumbs and INFINITI InTouch™ Services designed to effortlessly bring the car and driver in synch.
Driver assistance technologies include: available Direct Adaptive Steering, Active Lane Control, Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist, Backup Collision Intervention, Blind Spot Warning and Intervention, Lane Departure Warning and Prevention, Forward Emergency Braking, and Predictive Forward Collision Warning.
SUMMARY: The sensory pleasure of driving is not a problem with the new Infiniti 3.0t Red Sport 400. Defining the proper category in which to place is another story – is it a Sport sedan, a luxury sedan, or a blend of the two. I place it in the latter category as it is both sporty and luxurious, not to mention being on the same level as several German competitors as well as other Asian brands.
Whether charging over the scenic, twisty back roads of Tennessee or negotiating truck traffic laden freeways, the Red Sport 400 shines on all fronts. The ride quality is comfortable, yet taut and stable even in demanding scenarios. Handling characteristics are athletic and instantly responsive.
Place this Infiniti luxury hot rod sedan in the Sport+ mode and prepare for an e-ticket –like ride that’s sure to satisfy one’s motor senses. (pun intended). There’s a lot of really tough competition on the playing field with the Red Sport 400, but it’s definitely capable of holding its own and it lives up to the sporting heritage of the Prince R380 – one of the first purpose-built Japanese race cars and winner of the 1966 Japanese Grand Prix.
The 2018 Infiniti 3.0t Red Sport 400 is an excellent example of Japanese design, engineering, technology and craftsmanship that delivers a complete suite of safety and connectivity features, along with stellar performance qualities. In essence, It is clearly a winner.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Infiniti Q50 30t Red Sport 400
Base Price: $51,000.
Price as Tested: $60,720.
Engine Type and Size: 3.0-liter, DOHC, 24-valve Twin Turbo V6 with Gasoline Direct Fuel Injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 400 @ 6,400 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 350 @ 1,600-5,200 rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic with Sport mode and Downshift Rev Matching.
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / Rear-Wheel Drive.
Suspension: Electronically controlled Digital Dynamic Suspension
Front – Independent double wishbone with stabilizer bar.
Rear – Multi-link independent with stabilizer bar.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS, EBD and BA.
Tires: Bridgestone Potenza 245/40 R19x8.5” front / 265/35 R19x9” rear mounted on 5-“Trident”-spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 112.2 inches
Length Overall: 189.6 inches
Width: 71.8 inches
Height: 56.8 inches
Curb Weight: 3,993 lbs.
Turning Circle: 36.7 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 20.0 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 19 mpg city / 26 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.26
0 – 60 mph: Not tested
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.