CHATHAM, Mass. – Power, comfort, luxurious amenities, comprehensive technology features – the 2021 INFINITI Q50 RED SPORT 400 AWD checks all the boxes of a modern luxury sport sedan and is ready to do battle with those from Europe, Asia and the Americas.
The top-of-the-range of the entry-level INFINITI sedans, the Q50 RED SPORT has virtually every bell and whistle you would expect in such a sedan, from leather seating to Bose designed audio to a 400-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 engine putting 350 pounds-feet of torque through a full-time all-wheel-drive (AWD) system.
And the sum of all the pieces results in a very well-conceived, enjoyable-to-drive machine.
A modern powertrain and chassis
Aluminum construction of the 3-liter engine helps keep powertrain weight under control and although the basic dimensions of the engine are the same for all members of the Q50 line, this top variant is tuned to produce 100 more horsepower and 55 lb.-ft. more torque than its PURE, LUXE and SENSORY siblings (INFINITI’S names for the Q50 versions).
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Exclusive to the RED SPORT 400’s engine — an extra water pump to aid in cooling and an optical turbine speed sensor, the latter of which allows for the twin-turbochargers to perform at up to 240,000 rpm, higher than ever before for a V6 engine, thus helping to provide the extra grunt from this version’s motor.
Behind the engine is a seven-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission which can be manually shifted with the standard steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters. Again, in the version I drove, power went to all four wheels (an optional addition as the RED SPORT, like other versions, can also be had with rear-wheel drive).
The Q50 RED SPORT rides wonderfully, even when pushed. The engine’s broad power band allows for pushing and the chassis does its job, providing a sure-footed, solid-platform-inspiring confidence and security when driving with verve. And it does not beat you up when the road surfaces are less than ideal.
Four-wheel independent suspension produces that balance between ride comfort and handling confidence. The front suspension is a double-wishbone design, while the rear suspension utilizes a multi-link design with coil springs and Dual Flow Path® shock absorbers. Extensive use of aluminum components for the suspension keeps weight down. The suspension also offers front and rear stabilizer bars.
Standard on RED SPORT 400 is INFINITI’s Dynamic Digital Suspension, which constantly adjusts the shock absorber valves within a wide range of damping force to control body motion when cornering. This setup monitors body roll, pitch and bounce rate to restrain body motion for a comfortable, confident and insulated ride in all conditions, ensuring that bumps and undulating road conditions are absorbed to maintain flat body posture.
Bringing the INFINITI Q50 RED SPORT to a halt is a four-wheel power-assisted vented disc brake system (14 inches up front, 13 in the rear) with red-painted multi-piston calipers (four piston-front, two-piston rear) with four-wheel antilock system (ABS), Electronic Brake force Distribution and Brake Assist.
The primary communications link between the vehicle and the road are the tires, which in the case of the INFINITI Q50 RED SPORT 400 AWD are Dunlop 245/40R19 all-season run-flat tires mounted on 19×9-inch aluminum wheels.
Driver-assist features to fit a luxury sport sedan
INFINITI packs an extensive suite of advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) as standard in the Q50 RED SPORT including: predictive forward-collision warning; forward emergency braking (AEB); blind-spot warning; lane-departure warning; backup-collision intervention; automatic high beams; Around View® Monitor with moving-object detection; intelligent cruise control with distance-control assist; active trace control and front-and-rear sonar system.
Additional safety features include automatic collision notification+ and emergency call+.
Luxury throughout marks the INFINITI Q50 RED SPORT
When seated in the leather covered heated and electrically adjusted front seats (with manually adjustable thigh bolsters) the occupants immediately know they are in a luxury car. The fit and finish is excellent, the lines all flow smoothly from doors to dash to console.
Technology flourishes throughout the car. The digital instrument cluster can be configured by the driver to show pertinent information, as can the TWO display screens in the center of the dash.
The eight-inch upper multi-function touch screen displays the maps which are part of the standard navigation system. A console-mounted dial allows for fine tuning of this display, which is also home for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto screens should you choose to use one of these systems.
The seven-inch lower touch screen provides supplemental controls for the infotainment system, automatic dual-zone climate-control system (which thankfully, easily coped with the extreme humidity and summer heat of Cape Cod during my week), vehicle settings and other communications services beyond Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Sound in the test vehicle was pumped up by the standard Bose 16-speaker premium audio system.
Like many systems it is comprehensive but takes a bit of learning to get maximum functionality. Buttons to take you directly to the audio and climate-control screens, as well as the major climate-control functions, make the system even more user friendly and are appreciated.
Living with the INFINITI Q50 RED SPORT 400 AWD
It was not long ago when the prospect of 400 horsepower meant buying a V10 Dodge Viper or a European super car and getting very low double-digit fuel-economy figures, but now cars like the INFINITI Q50 RED SPORT 400 AWD bring this much power with plush comfort for five and their luggage as well as very reasonable gas consumption rates.
My relatively heavy use of the accelerator – I loved hearing the crackle of the exhaust along with the smooth power surge – returned approximately 24.4 miles per gallon. This bettered the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s 22 mpg overall rating (19 city, 26 highway), which is a good thing as the sport sedan wants premium-grade fuel to maximize performance.
The INFINITI Q50 RED SPORT 400 AWD I drove came with a base price of $57,750 plus $1,025 destination fee. Some major options, like the carbon-fiber package (black carbon-fiber pieces inside and out), premium paint and the cargo package brought the final price to $62,955, right in the ballpark with its multi-national competition.
A top-flight luxury sport sedan combines comfort, modern technology and performance in a vehicle which can provide solid, daily transportation. INFINITI has been producing such vehicles since the mid-980s and continues it with the Q50 RED SPORT 400 AWD