The Q50 is based on a widely enhanced version of Nissan’s ‘FM’ platform. It’s built predominantly out of high-strength steel, with aluminium parts adding lightness. It permits a longways engine, front-mounted transmission and rear-wheel drive, and features double wishbones at the front and multi-link suspension at the rear.

The Infiniti’s curvy styling is likely to be a decisive factor for those who take the plunge. It makes the Q50 stand out among its straight-edged German business saloon rivals rather effectively and was widely approved of by our test team. If the primary job of that styling is to win admiring glances from those who simply haven’t considered an Infiniti at all, the designers can celebrate a victory.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
The fuel flap and boot both close with a tinny twang, like a decade-old Primera. This stuff matters

But the Q50 must be about substance as well as style if it’s going to make a difference in sales terms. And making the biggest difference on that front is a 2.1-litre, four-cylinder common-rail turbodiesel engine derived from the one found in a Mercedes-Benz C 220 d but modified in key areas.

The changes made to it by Infiniti’s engineers were, it says, intended “to ensure engine response is in line with Infiniti’s emphasis on performance”.

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Infiniti range

Driven this week

  • Alpina B7 2019 first drive review - hero front
    20 May 2019
    First Drive
    Alpina's latest take on the 7 Series packs more performance than a...
  • Mazda 3 2019 UK first drive review - hero front
    20 May 2019
    First Drive
    Sharp-suited Mazda 3 touches down in UK. It’s got the handling smarts, but a...
  • Alpina B4 99 Edition 2019 first drive review - hero front
    20 May 2019
    First Drive
    Last hurrah for the current B4 S Biturbo brings unprecedented athleticism for...

With that aim, it fitted a new induction system, intercooler, low-pressure fuel system, exhaust after-treatment system, oil pan, engine mounts and ECU. That leaves the engine block itself, the variable-geometry turbocharger, the majority of the exhaust and the common-rail injection systems, which are all identical to the ones fitted to the Mercedes.

Its vital statistics are broadly competitive (168bhp, 295lb ft, up to 64.2mpg and CO2 from 114g/km) but they don’t give the Q50 diesel any obvious advantages or outstanding selling points under the bonnet. And this is a car in need of as many of those as it can get.

The Q50’s transmissions are Daimler-derived, too, the German company being one of the few car makers that develops its own gearboxes. As a result, you can choose between a six-speed manual and a seven-speed automatic. The manual entry-level model is the most tax-friendly, emitting 114g/km of CO2.

The diesel version we weighed clocked 1780kg on our scales, which is more than an Audi A4 2.0 TDI and a BMW 320d. So much, perhaps, for athleticism.

If you want a more refined and powerful option, then you could consider the hybrid. It utilises a 302bhp 3.5-litre petrol V6 that works in conjunction with a 67bhp electric motor. Output from the pair is sent through a seven-speed automatic transmission to the rear or, optionally, all four wheels.

Q50s with the hybrid system can operate in pure electric mode, which helps them deliver a claimed combined average of 45.6mpg along with 144g/km of CO2 emissions. If these don't tickle your fancy, there are two petrols to choose from - a turbocharged 2.0-litre unit and a 3.0-litre V6 producing 208bhp and 399bhp respectively.

Infiniti’s four-wheel-steer technology doesn’t appear on either model. The car’s big technological weapon is an all-electronic steer-by-wire system that’s standard on Sport models and the range-topping petrol-electric hybrid, and available as an option elsewhere.

Regular readers will know that we’ve been critical of the system’s lack of consistency and user-friendliness after more than one test acquaintance.

 

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Infiniti range

Driven this week

  • Alpina B7 2019 first drive review - hero front
    20 May 2019
    First Drive
    Alpina's latest take on the 7 Series packs more performance than a...
  • Mazda 3 2019 UK first drive review - hero front
    20 May 2019
    First Drive
    Sharp-suited Mazda 3 touches down in UK. It’s got the handling smarts, but a...
  • Alpina B4 99 Edition 2019 first drive review - hero front
    20 May 2019
    First Drive
    Last hurrah for the current B4 S Biturbo brings unprecedented athleticism for...