With the new Q50, nothing earth-shattering is being debuted, and most of the changes to the car are cosmetic. A refreshed exterior, some changes to the trim level lineup, and a continuation of the Red Sport performance model are there. The driver-assist technologies are now called "ProPilot," but are not otherwise markedly different from what's in the 2017 model of the Q50.
Exterior design changes to the 2018 Q50 are minimal for the standard model, which is now offered in four trim levels. In the Pure and Luxe packages, the 2018 Infiniti Q50 sedan is almost identical to the 2017 model. The 2017 carried on with a design refresh undertaken for the 2016 model year. In the third and fourth model trims, however, exterior design changes a lot.
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In all trim levels, small changes for this refresh include a tweak to the grille, which is a bit more aggressive thanks to stronger detail in the waved mesh pattern. LED headlamps, once an option for most Infiniti Q50 models, are now standard and have been made to enhance the "eye" appearance Infiniti is known for. In the rear, tail lamps are now slimmer to give a speedier look taken from the Infiniti Q60 coupe's design.
The aforementioned upper trims are the Sport and Red Sport 400 models. The Sport model adds several exterior design details to denote its performance orientation, starting with an "S" after the Q50 name. The Sport and Red Sport 400 also see a more angular front bumper with wider air intakes and lower scoops. At the base of that bumper is a Formula-inspired airfoil.
The Red Sport 400 then goes further, adding twin exhaust visual enhancements to the rear of the Q50 through a two-tone paint finish. A dark metallic trim around the exhaust cutouts on the bumper match the exclusive high-gloss black paint on the side mirror caps. Unique 19-inch wheels are made to offer better stability in corners, and have a thinner spoke pattern than what's found on the Sport model.
Inside the 2018 Infiniti Q50, the interior will change with each trim level, making the car more desirable as trim levels increase. This is a step away from the luxury vehicle norm, which usually has one trim and several option packages, and is more akin to what's found in non-luxury vehicle offerings. Whether this helps or hurts Infiniti's sales will be interesting to see.
Most telling among the trim grades in terms of interior appearance will be what type of leather is offered, and how much technology is offered in both driver aids and infotainment. The Q50's dual screen center dash remains (8-inch on top, 7-inch below). We have not been fans of this interface, and it's doubtful that this perception will change for the 2018 model. Unique to the Red Sport 400 model will be red stitching on the interior upholstery.
Infiniti is now packaging its driver support technologies as "ProPILOT," a term that's new to Infiniti but that's been used within Nissan for some time. Available for the 2018 Q50, these will include 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. Most of these are relatively self-explanatory, but a couple are new or significantly updated.
The Direct Adaptive Steering, for example, is Infiniti's much-touted steer-by-wire system that's been a part of the Q50 for some time. Infiniti says that this new version is more responsive with better feedback for the driver. More importantly, however, is that it is set up to be a key building block for self-driving vehicles. In this current rendition, this will be noted with the Active Lane Control option.
Active Lane Control keeps the vehicle in its lane on the highway. It works at speeds over 45 mph and "nudges" the car (through steering) inside its lane when cameras detect that the Q50 may be wandering.
The 2018 Infiniti Q50 has four engine options. The bread-and-butter engine is a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6. This engine delivers 300 horsepower (224 kW). A suped-up version of it powers the Red Sport 400, boosting power output to (you guessed it) 400 horses (298 kW). A 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo is also available and is billed as the more fuel-efficient option in the line, outputting 208 horsepower (155 kW). Finally, a hybrid model with a 3.5-liter V6, motor, and lithium-ion battery is offered, outputting 360 hp (268 kW) overall.
Going with these engine choices is the option for a Dynamic Digital Suspension, which includes electronic and adaptive dampers that allow customization of the ride quality and performance. Infiniti says that revised stabilizer bars at front and rear aid cornering agility. Both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive are available in the 2018 Q50.
The 2018 Infiniti Q50 will enter showrooms in the second quarter of 2017. It is manufactured in the automaker's plant in Tochigi, Japan.