Car News

Infiniti banks on twin-turbo V6 to boost Q50 sales

With the Q50 having failed to give Infiniti a proper rival to the BMW 3 Series in the sport sedan sweepstakes since its 2014 introduction, the Japanese upscale brand has turned to horsepower – and lots of it – to boost the Q50's appeal for coming model year.

Headlining the 2015 Q50's updated engine range is a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 (dubbed VR30 in Nissan/Infiniti's corporate language) replaces last year's 3.7L V6, and (theoretically) expands the car's appeal with two states of tune to give buyers a choice of 300 hp/295 lb-ft of torque, or 400 hp and 350 lb-ft. As we're used to hearing these days, the smaller-displacement, forced-induction motor promises better fuel economy, to the tune of 6.7 percent, according to Infiniti.

Turbocharging also bolsters the Q50's bottom end with the addition of a 2.0L four-cylinder (borrowed from the Mercedes-Benz-based QX30) that generates 208 hp and 258 lb-ft; both four- and six-cylinder motors utilize the latest tricks, like direct fuel injection, to improve throttle response and efficiency.

Carried over is a hybrid powertrain pairing a 302 hp/258 lb-ft 3.5L V6 with a 67 hp/214 lb-ft electric motor for net output of about 360 hp and a whole bunch of torque. You will not have trouble merging with traffic in this hybrid.

Infiniti says its updated volume seller is about more than 400 hp worth of brute force: 3.0L and hybrid models get the brand's second-generation 'direct adaptive steering' system, re-tuned "following extensive consultation with existing Q50 owners... and more than a (million kilometres) of testing." In other words, Infiniti received widespread criticism of the system's artificial feel, so they (hopefully) made it better: the company says some fine-tuning allows the system to better mimic the feel of a conventional, fully-mechanical steering setup.

If you're still not sold, Infiniti says 2.0L cars get a conventional hydraulic power-assist steering rack.

This is also the first Q50 to get the brand's driver-selectable 'dynamic digital suspension,' which Infiniti says is standard in all Q50 models. All cars also get a seven-speed automatic transmission, and all four powertrains come with standard all-wheel drive.

The Q50's appearance is unchanged, save for unique wheels, exhaust tips and trunk spoiler for 400-hp models, changes aimed at asserting "the car's performance credentials and (adding) to its aggressive confident aura." The new engines bring updated trim levels: 2.0L cars will be labelled 20t, 3.0L variants get a 30t badge, and hybrid versions will, as before, simply be called the Q50 Hybrid.

The 2016 Infiniti Q50 goes on sale across Canada early next year, with pricing to be announced closer to that time.