TO INFINITI AND BEYOND
The car scene of Bangladesh is budding with interesting private imports gradually penetrating the market. Exclusive German and British marques are no longer an eye widening, mouth gasping relief from the drab vehicles plying around in the early 2000s. Increasing demand of European prestigious cars has encouraged a lot of auto dealers to import top of the range models. But dreary truth be told, all are the same- Mercedes, BMW or Audi with the occasional Porsches and Volks Wagens. A few months back, something very different caught my wife's attention at Car House- an Infiniti Q50. Yes, that's correct- my wife was lured away by the bold presence of the Q50. Soon enough, I fixed a date with the sport sedan that made me momentarily go green.
The Q50 has an aura of lurid charisma around it. It defies my logic how a Nissan in disguise of a European built brand can have such a dynamic presence. It has a bit of almost everything you want a sport sedan to have from the outside- sleek shoulder and waist lines that accentuate the robust design of the car, arched roofline with a tinted sunroof that meets the crescent cut C- pillar, large wheel arches to fit the massive 19 inches of grip, sharp distinctive head and tail lamps that almost suggest a human look, Infiniti's signature double arch trunk lines and wave patterned detailed textured double arched grille at the front that gives the car a decidedly aggressive stance. Dark chrome bits, anthracite wheels, brushed twin tip exhausts, functionally sculpted side mirrors, LED crystal design of the lamps and all the aerodynamically sculpted contours illustrates the meticulous attention to detail of the Q50. You will not find a single angle from which the car looks ordinary.
The interior of the Q50 is created to similar extraordinary standards. The interior environment offers a powerful blend of three dimensional elements, highest craftsmanship and premium quality, combining modern luxury and user focused advanced technology. The difference between Nissan and Infiniti is more than the variation between Toyota and Lexus; and this is very obvious when you step into the Q50. The firm and low positioned leather hugging seats are electronically adjustable with memory options to make life easier for you and the roomy interior space gives ample head and leg room that allows easy entry and exit for both the front and rear passengers. There's a myriad of sense stimulation elements such as brushed aluminum, textured magnesium, supple leather, textured fabric and maple wood trim that make the Q50 experience not only indulging but also intuitive for both the passenger and the driver alike.
I'll be honest- the Q50 is one of the most driver engaging vehicles I've come across with. The Q50 easily raises the performance standards of its class with a high degree of personalization options for four drivers through a fully customizable digital environment. Offering a sense of "my car knows me", the iKey can recognize each driver and automatically engage preset preferences for driving position, heating and cooling, premium audio "Studio on Wheels" by Bose, navigation and telemetric. For example, up to 96 optional settings in are offered in the custom mode alone. Easy setting or changing of settings is accessed through the innovative dual touchscreen displays and steering mounted soft touch controls. In addition, by using the drive mode selector located on the center console, engine, transmission, handling and steering adjustments of up to four types can be instantly tuned, for example, for sport, standard or touring settings. With all these driver engagement platforms being integrated in the center console, there is a seamless effect to the ergonomics at the disposal of a Q50 driver.
What about the drive train? Moment of truth. Push the start key and the 2.0 liter I4 turbo growls to life with the optical tacho and dual touch screens' welcome display. Pushing the leather clad gear lever to D, I went on a quick stroll towards the Airport. I focused on the standard mode, as honestly, it makes most sense to drive in this form mostly. The engine builds up revs very quickly, distributing the decent power of 208hp from 5,500 onwards. There is minimal turbo lag, thanks to the snail kicking in at low RPM of 1,250 and thus sending in a remarkable torque figure of 236 lb-ft from 3,000 RPM onwards. Handling and braking is noteworthy, but it it is when I made the U-turn at Airport and engaged the sport mode, that the true beast of a thing the Q50 unleashed on me.
The relatively soft suspension went stiff, throttle response went crisp and the steering very agile. The slightest of steering twitch made the car change lanes and brisk through the sparse traffic of a laid back Friday noon Dhaka while I flicked up the magnesium paddle shifters and right foot rooted on the firewall. This precise handling is provided by a two way steering system- electronic during the standard mode and mechanical while at sport. The 4-wheel independent multi-link suspension is comprised of double wishbone at the front and multi-link coil spring shock absorbers with stabilizer bars in the rear. This reduces the steering effort of the driver while increasing the road surface feedback significantly. I had to be twice as alert while at sport mode, but I was having four times more fun I was having in standard. Confident braking is granted by ABS and EBD embedded 4 wheel power assisted vented discs with 4 large piston calipers on the front and twin pots at the rear.
The split second gear changes at the basic auto mode push the car from 0to 100 at around 7 seconds. The seven speed automatic is the true magic of the Q50- despite the heavy chassis, the RWD platform provides a brilliant power to weight ratio that makes the Q50 so nimble. I paddle shifted my way into Dhaka traffic, down shifting at swerves, the gear revmatching a notch down instantly and ready to convey the boost from the 2.0 turbo. Yes, I have driven faster cars, but the way the power and torque is delivered into the road and the agility of theQ50 makes it so special.
It is pricey. At 1 crore 11 lacs taka, the Infiniti Q50 is an insane proposition if you compare to the luxury of a BMW or Mercedes at similar range. But luxury and engineering performance are the only focus of these European brands. So why should you compare the Q50 to them, when it offers so much more? Besides performance and modern luxury, the Q50 is endowed with exceptional value for money options and technological trickeries compared to its big name competitors. Infiniti has brought a true game changer in the luxury sports sedan segment.
For more information and test drive, contact Car House Limited.
Photos: Tasdid Chowdhury