2017 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400: Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHigh Performance
Even though it’s the “entry-level” sedan in Nissan’s luxury lineup, the 2017 Infiniti Q50 comes loaded with luxurious appointments and high-tech features. Like other high-end car companies and premium brands, Infiniti has created a high-performance version to serve as a halo car showcasing what the Q50 is truly capable of — the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceWell Equipped
Generating a plentiful 400 horsepower, the Red Sport 400 is aptly named. Our test car was the rear-wheel-drive version — an all-wheel-drive setup also is available. Red Sports are not all red; however, ours was painted in Dynamic Sunstone Red, which is exclusive to this trim. Our tester was also equipped with almost every available option, including the Design Package, Technology Package, Driver Assistance Package and Premium Plus Package for a total MSRP of $60,220. This car is not for the faint of heart — competitors to the Q50 Red Sport include the Mercedes-AMG C63, BMW M3, Lexus IS F and Cadillac ATS-V.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceA “Sleeper”
The visible differences between the Red Sport 400 and the more common Q50 are rather subtle, making this car quite a sleeper (a car faster than it looks). The Red Sport has a sportier front fascia, 19-inch sport aluminum wheels, brushed-finish exhaust tips and chrome-finished red “S” badging on the trunk and front fenders.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience400 Horsepower
Looks aside, what’s under the skin makes this our favorite Q50. The 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine in the Red Sport generates the aforementioned 400 horsepower as well as 350 lb-ft of torque at a very low 1600 rpm. The only transmission offered is a 7-speed automatic.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceImpressive Performance
Although our opinions are based on limited time behind the wheel, we found the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 most impressive. Acceleration is strong with plenty of power on demand. Precise steering response gives the Red Sport 400 a spirited driving experience, especially on winding roads. Much to our enjoyment, the stability control system is not intrusive, keeping things in order without sapping power. The only issue we discovered: When trying to accelerate on slick surfaces, the car labored off the line. (Perhaps this could be solved with a tire swap?) That said, the all-wheel-drive version would undoubtedly perform better in slippery conditions.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceDrive Modes
The 2017 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 has multiple drive modes available that can alter steering response, suspension and throttle response. The differences are noticeable. Sport + is the most performance-oriented mode, and with this setting the car really comes alive with almost instantaneous acceleration and a composed ride. We preferred the ride in Sport + and were frustrated that the mode reverts to Normal every time the ignition turns off.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperiencePaddle Shifting
The Q50 can be shifted via paddles on the steering column; however, gear changes are very slow. After attempting to use the paddle shifters a few times, we gave up and went back to letting the transmission shift on its own, performing quick shifts up or down.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInterior
The Red Sport 400’s cabin is attractive, especially with the optional Special Design Package. Seats feature semi-aniline leather with quilted bolsters as well as contrasting stitching. The leather trim continues to the doors, which feature a matte-finish maple wood trim. The wood carries through to the dashboard, giving the entire car a feeling of luxury.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear Seat
The rear seat is comfortable but a bit cramped for full-size adults; however, it would certainly be usable for shorter trips. The driveline hump in the middle of the floor would make an extended drive an extremely uncomfortable experience for a fifth passenger.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceDual Screens
We like the dual-screen system in the center stack, which leaves the navigation screen up all the time. All other features — including audio, climate control and car settings — are relegated to the lower display screen. There are redundant hard buttons for most primary controls; however, there is no tuning knob for the audio system.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 9.0
We really enjoyed driving the Q50 Red Sport — during most of our time behind the wheel, the smiles never left our faces. Infiniti has done a great job combining a comfortable, attractive luxury sedan with the power and performance of a sports car — the perfect recipe for a great sports sedan.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInfiniti Q50 Red Sport 400

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInfiniti Q50 Red Sport 400

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInfiniti Q50 Red Sport 400

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInfiniti Q50 Red Sport 400

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInfiniti Q50 Red Sport 400

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInfiniti Q50 Red Sport 400

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInfiniti Q50 Red Sport 400

Luxury

Most Expensive New Cars in America

Feast your eyes on these high-priced rid…

Read more

SUV

Most Fuel-Efficient SUVs of 2017

A rundown of 4WD sport-utility vehicles …

Read more

Enthusiast

2017 Geneva Motor Show: High-Performance Rides

Sports cars abound at this annual auto e…

Read more