We’re of a mixed-mind about the upcoming Q50, the next generation of the popular and well-regarded G37. While the chassis has undoubtedly stepped up a notch in responsiveness (and it’s still not known if it’s an Infiniti chassis, a shared Mercedes chassis, or – as we believe – just an update to the existing FM chassis), we’re disappointed that the manual transmission option has been dropped. While that would be ok if some sort of dual-clutch automated transmission had been offered it wasn’t and in fact the same 7-speed automatic remains.
And just to establish our credentials, our Stillen-supercharged G37S with over 500-horsepower at the flywheel remains the high-water mark of our “fleet” in so many dimensions. From the ultra-responsive chassis to the great brakes to the great seats, everything works in concert with this terrific engine. We had hoped to see something along these lines from the factory in this next-generation car… and while a twin-turbocharged v-6 engine of over 500 horsepower has been discussed by Global President Johan de Nysschen as an engine for an upcoming “flagship”, there is no word that it will end up in the Q50.
On the other end of the spectrum, the new Direct Response Hybrid engine, is interesting and worthwhile. Readers will remember that the first generation of this engine was originally shown to the press in the 2007 Infiniti G35 chassis, although it was only ever offered as the flagship M35H hybrid. While we have very few details about the “refined” lineup of Infiniti VQ engines yet, we do notice two things from the following image: 1) the electric motor sandwiched between the engine and the torque converter-less 7-speed transmission, and 2) the lack of the tubular headers used on the current VQ37. And, as the video shows us, the purpose of the electric motor is to assist in acceleration. It apparently cannot propel the car on its own, which would have required a far larger battery pack. In other words, this hybrid system is designed for enthusiast type driving.
Then there is the styling, which borrows some of the existing M styling (which we can live with), but also (in our humble opinion) goes too far in some of the odd bulges on the hood and especially in the enormous grill. In the image of the clay buck below, taken in the styling studio, we’ll admit that the low and wide grill looks handsome. But in the final production car, this translates into an enormous opening which dominates the front of the car instead of being handsome and restrained. Personally, we’re not interested in going along for the ride as Infiniti attempts to define it’s signature “design language” if we have to live with some of the mishmash that we’ve seen across the M, JX35, and now the G50. And especially the styling of the frankly bizarre Infiniti LE concept.
Also note that the interior, while handsome, drops the adjustable dashboard that has been a feature of the G for the last two generations. We’re very disappointed about that.
But we are still willing to keep an open mind until we see it and drive it, especially after viewing the current development videos that Infiniti released to explain some of the new features of the car.
1: Formula One driver Sebastien Buemi test drives the all-new Infiniti Q50 Direct Response Hybrid.
2. President of Infiniti Global Johan de Nysschen and Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer Shiro Nakamura reveal the design philosophy and vision for the Infiniti Q50.
Press drives for the new Q50 are still some time off, so we’ll hold off a final opinion until then. And Infiniti has yet to show the new coupe, as well as any kind of replacement for the IPL models.