Seat Time: 2014 Infiniti Q50S Hybrid

October 22nd, 2014 at 3:00pm

2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid Sport

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.

Reviewer: Chip Drake
Manufacturer: Nissan-Renault
Make: Infiniti
Model: Q50S Hybrid
Type: 4-door sedan
Competitors: BMW 3-Series; Mercedes-Benz C-Class; Lexus IS; Audi A4
Price: MSRP-$46,350; As Tested-$53,655 ($905 Destination Charges)
Made in: Tochigi, Japan
Drivetrain: 3.5-liter HEV engine with 360 Horsepower
EPA Ratings: 28city; 34highway; 30combined

Final Impression:

2014 Infiniti Q50When Tom Wolfe first brought the story to life followed by Phillip Kaufman’s movie masterpiece, I’d always wondered what it would’ve been like to be one of those early astronauts in “The Right Stuff.” Being that I lacked a certain scientific background, among other things, I knew those dreams would never come to fruition. That is until I got behind the wheel of Infiniti’s Q50S Hybrid.

Now please don’t get me wrong; I’m not equating this Infiniti with riding the classic Saturn V or even the newer Enterprise Shuttle, but this car does have a certain “je ne sais quoi” that gives you a rocket ship experience, and it really starts with those beautiful 8-way power sport seats. The leather and lumbar wrap around you giving you a comfort quotient that prepares you for take off. And that’s just what you’re thinking when you look at the tastefully-appointed IP and information screens above the center stack. Colorful yet refined, that’s where you’re going to find all the technology and safety features this car comes equipped with. From the Infiniti entitled “In Touch Apps” to “In Tuition” which stores your preferences when you use the Intelligent Key and voice recognition to name a few, the screens are pleasing to look at and easier to use than most.

Now, since your putting out the bucks for a Premium car, you probably want to add the 5K Deluxe Tech Package that contains all the high-end features you see on luxury cars these days — Blind Spot this, Around View that and all kinds of Warnings — along with a couple more as well as some fabulous Maple wood trim throughout. And then if you’ve got another $1,400 you might as well add in the Navigation Package since you don’t have the Cape Canaveral crew as your backup.

Now if he’d of had this kind of cockpit, “Buzz” Aldrin might still be flying, though the Q50S Hybrid probably wouldn’t have handled the earth’s gravitational pull as well as his old Apollo 11 rig. That said, I will give the 3.5-liter V6 that powers the car more than a passing grade; it got me where I needed to go, and fast, with even better MPGs (+2) than I was expecting.

2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid Sport

Of course the car has it detractors. Some experts complain about “the brand thing:” what does Infiniti really stand for? And then there is the lack or room in the back seat and the trunk thanks to those hybrid batteries… but then it’s not like any of those Mercury Capsules had the room of a Rolls-Royce Drophead Coupe. But we’ll leave those questions for the intellectuals in the car community to tangle with. If you’re interested in a Premium vehicle with more than a little pep, that looks great both inside and out, and don’t mind parting with $50K for a car, then you might want to give the Infiniti Q50S Hybrid a spin. It may not be one of the current “stars” of the mid-lux segment as you can see by its competitive set above, but it’s certainly no slouch and something you wouldn’t mind kicking around the Milky Way Galaxy in… that or that Space Shuttle I mentioned.

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