Infiniti Q50 – New turbo V6, improved steering for BMW 3-series rival

A new 400bhp V6 will top the revised Infiniti Q50 range when it appears in 2016

You’d be forgiven for forgetting the Infiniti Q50 exists. On roads roaming with its German rivals – BMW 3-series, Mercedes C-class and Audi A4s – the Japanese sports saloon is not a common sight.

The Q50’s latest round of revisions is unlikely to change that, but it should increase the car’s appeal for that hardy band of buyers for whom even a Lexus IS is too predictable a choice.

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New for 2016 is a 3-litre, twin-turbocharged V6. The new VR30 unit is related to the VR38 found in the Nissan GT-R, albeit lower in capacity. Infiniti says it offers a best-in-class power to efficiency ratio: High-pressure direct injection, variable valve timing, optimised turbine blades and a turbine speed sensor allow it to deliver high power with relatively little thirst.

The unit produces 400bhp at 6400rpm – not far at all from the BMW M3’s 425bhp figure – and 350lb ft of torque from 1600-5200rpm. While not pitched as a direct competitor to cars like the M3, figures like those should deliver entertaining performance.

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Below the range-topping V6, 2-litre turbocharged petrol and 2.2-litre diesel models remain available – the former with a 208bhp maximum output, the latter 168bhp with 295lb ft of torque. A hybrid is also available, producing 360bhp from the combined efforts of its 3.5-litre V6 and electric motor. All Q50s come with a seven-speed automatic transmission as standard.

Revised suspension settings for the front double wishbones and rear multi-link setup should ensure a better ride and handling balance, as should revised anti-roll bars front and rear. 3-litre models in Sport trim get electronic adaptive damping as part of a Dynamic Digital Suspension setup.

Infiniti has also tweaked the Q50’s optional steer-by-wire system. A much-derided feature of the existing model, the Direct Adaptive Steering has been retuned for greater feel. As before, the system can be adapted to meet the driver’s needs using a Drive Mode Selector – expanded functions include Personal, Standard, Snow, Eco, Sport, and Sport+.

Those still sceptical of the system’s potential benefits will be pleased to hear the new 400bhp V6 goes without, instead utilising a standard electric power steering system dubbed ‘Rack’. This too can be tuned using the Drive Mode Selector. Standard on other models is a regular hydraulic setup.

The new Q50 will arrive later in 2016. No pricing or specification details have yet been announced for the new model.

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