Let’s face it, every luxury sedan and coupe on the road that has above 300 horses and leather gets a bad rap – BMWs are impatient and don’t know what a turn signal is. Mustangs love to crash into crowds. Camaros are in a mid-life crisis. Audis are stuck up, their floors littered with those little spill sticks from Starbucks lattes. These are all wonderful, high-performance cars, yes, but owning them comes with stigma.
Except an Infiniti Q50, especially the Red Sport 400. Sounds deadly, indeed, but you may have barely heard of it. We love this thing because it’s so anonymous and yet so much a proper driver’s car. It’s like a quiet assassin, poised and inconspicuous, but deadly in numbers, turns, and straights alike. We admit, the outside of the Inifiniti is very Nissan in fashion. It shares very similar body lines and front fascia styling points with the 2018 Maxima (which, to be fair, looks good in its own rite). Underneath the bonnet, however, it’s pure performance – enough to stand toe to toe with those stigma Euro imports.
The 2018 Q50 Red Sport 400 is aptly named, boasting 400 horses and 350 torques, thanks to a tuned 3.0L V6 and hybrid electric motor. The Q50 reaches its peak torque band at just 1,500 RPM – the very range you’ll find yourself cruising around town in. Again, electric power rocks. Mash the pedal, and expect some wildly burnt rubber instantly. Impressive.
A Proper Driver’s Car
While the Q50 is no contender against BMW’s M series or Mercedes’ demons being spawned in their Skunkworks den, it supplants many luxury sedans in quiet fashion. A drive-by-wire, Direct Adaptive Steering System, one can throw the Q50 into the worst apexes imaginable, but they won’t experience a hint of vibration or whip. Dynamic Digital Suspension, standard on the Red Sport 400, provides real-time adjustments to the shock absorbers, tuning damping to control body roll in corners.
But technology can often mask subpar mechanical prowess, and we’re happy to say the Q50 doesn’t disappoint: Double wishbone suspension in front and multi-link bits with coil springs in the rear allow the Q50 to act as a proper luxury road course car with little effort. Four-piston front calipers allow late, hard braking to shave seconds off, and all-wheel-drive keeps power distribution poised. This is all stuff you’d find on a real Italian exotic, so you can expect somewhat similar performance in the Q50.
Standard Luxury Appointments
But this is a four-door saloon, so let’s see why luxury is part of the Q50’s attributes. For starters, the seats in the Red Sport 400 are to die for. Diamond-stitched leather buckets and flappy paddle shifters look like they came from a Ferrari. The center console is clean, minimalist (in a good, not-Tesla-Model-3 way), and sports not one, but two sleek infotainment touch displays – 7” and 8”, each. Maple wood interior trim reminds you this is an Executive’s car, while all the expected goodies are present: A camera system with parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic braking, blind-sport warning, lane keeping assist, ambient lighting, and adaptive headlights.
The Last Bastion of Hope for Real Drivers
So, the Q50 Red Sport 400 might have a dorky name, but that’s its only drawback. This is a car not often dogged in the enthusiast’s motoring community like BMWs, American muscle cars, and the like often endure. If you want the silent assassin that’ll whoop a Euro import’s ass but you don’t want to imagine the snarky comments of passersby in the latte line, the Q50 is for you.