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2018 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport track review

By Scott Newman, 16 Jul 2018 Best Value Performance Cars

Drag-strip hero fails to turn a performance corner – quite literally

2018 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport review

The Bang For Your Bucks testing regime isn’t easy. Invariably one or more of the contestants each year fails to reach the finish unscathed and this year that dubious honour goes to the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport.

This track review was carried out in conjunction with MOTOR's Bang For Your Bucks 2018

Whilst all the necessary data for it to compete was gathered, not every judge had a chance to sample the Infiniti in a representative state.

Having completed his first flying lap, Luffy arrived at turn one to find the Infiniti’s brakes had disappeared, resulting in Air Wazza making its debut flight through the runoff. The unorthodox line led to some geometry issues, so the Q50 was grounded for safety reasons for the remainder of the event.

As it turns out, it wouldn’t have made any difference. Plug the numbers into the formula and the Infiniti would have finished 15th out of 15 regardless. In a straight line the Q50 acquitted itself well, the 298kW/475Nm 3.0-litre twin-turbo six propelling it to 100km/h in 4.89sec and 13 seconds dead over the quarter mile at an impressive 179.58km/h – second only to the Audi RS3 in both instances. Likewise its 2.8sec 80-120km/h effort.

The Infiniti’s struggles start when you reach a corner. Despite its accelerative prowess, the Q50 managed only the 12th fastest lap time, wedged between the Subaru BRZ tS and eco-tyred Toyota 86 Performance Pack, two cars with half the power and torque. Finding the culprit wasn’t difficult, as the Infiniti’s average apex speed was a mere 74.94km/h, easily the worst in the field.

Making the most of your dollars on Bang For Your Bucks 2018

This lack of grip costs the Q50 against the clock, but of more concern from behind the wheel is its wayward behaviour when driven quickly. Up to around six-tenths it’s fairly benign, though, even at this pace, ESP intervention is frequent. Begin to push the envelope and the experience becomes increasingly erratic.

ESP continues to intervene under power, yet appears to ignore lateral movement. It’s difficult to predict what it’s going to do next and it’s not overly keen to communicate any clues. Infiniti’s controversial by-wire steering doesn’t help – Morley described it thus: “if great steering is watching the footy live at the MCG, this is reading about it in the paper two days later” – constantly seeming a step behind your current input.

Even if no Q50 Red Sport ever sees a racetrack (which is very likely) its chassis is far too unresolved for a machine that purports to be a performance car. At first glance the Infiniti appears to offer far greater Bang For Your Buck than its immediate rivals (a similarly priced Audi A4 musters 185kW/370Nm, for instance), but the mechanically similar Kia Stinger is quicker and more resolved for $30K less.

Infiniti Q50 Red Sport BFYB 2018 Results - 15th place

0-100km/h: 4.89sec (2nd)
0-400m:
13.00sec @ 179.58km/h (2nd)
Lap Time:
1:42.20sec (12th)
Price:
$79,900
Bang Index:
123.4
Bucks Index:
62.9
BFYB Index:
96.2

Judges' Comments

Warren Luff - 15th
“Definitely a car that’s not suited to being on a racetrack and it lost brakes after one lap. The electronics are all trying to fight you and the seatbelt is trying to choke you. The gearbox is about as intuitive as much as I am a clairvoyant. The thing’s got good power and it still makes an alright lap time, but it’s not something that rewards you when you drive it on the limit. Nor is it a car that you feel like driving on the limit. So yeah, it’s interesting...”

David Morley - 15th
“Me no understand…”

Dylan Campbell - 15th
“Let the power and lovely interior materials distract you... from everything else”

Scott Newman - 15th
“An impressive engine that needs something else to propel”

Louis Cordony - 15th
“Unforgettable for all the wrong reasons”

FAST FACTS 
2018 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport

BODY: 4-door, 5-seat sedan
DRIVE:
 rear-wheel 
ENGINE: 2997cc V6, DOHC, 24v, twin-turbo
BORE/STROKE: 86.0mm x 86.0mm
COMPRESSION RATIO: 10.3:1
POWER: 298kW @ 6400rpm
TORQUE: 475Nm @ 5200rpm
WEIGHT: 1784kg
POWER-TO-WEIGHT: 167kW/tonne
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed automatic
SUSPENSION: A-arms, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar (f); multi-links, coil springs, adaptive dampers, anti-roll bar (r)
BRAKES: 355mm ventilated discs, 4-piston calipers (f); 314mm ventilated discs, 2-piston calipers (r)
WHEELS: 19.0 x 9.0-inch (f/r)
TYRES: Dunlop SP Sport Maxx CTT 245/40 R19 (f/r)
PRICE: $79,900

Bang For Your Bucks 2018

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