Buy it, de-badge it, kill’em all
Funny story where I almost rear-ended someone shortly after I left the lot with the Red Sport… I knew this thing was quick. I was aware of its 400-horsepower twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 but I wasn’t expecting that a gentle flirt with the throttle pedal would activate launch-control. Every. Single. Time.
Seriously, it’s been a while since I’ve come across a car whose outside envelope lies so blatantly about the underlying potential. Sure, the Q50 Red Sport’s got fancy and unique 19×9 alloy wheels, specific dual exhaust tips, decklid spoiler, sport front bumper but then again, aren’t all of these accessories, minus the 19s, available on a Nissan Sentra?
This car is a relative bargain. At just shy of $53,000, no other car, not a BMW 340i xDrive or an Audi S4 comes close power- or feature-wise. To be frank, despite having 350 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,600-5,200 rpm, the Red Sport is no faster to 100 km/h than an S4, which covers the sprint in 4.7 seconds. Thing is, you expect fast in the S4, but not so much in the Q50. And then, there’s the noise the V6 produces as the 7 gears fly by at hyper-speed. I was blown away every time.
Equipment and technology levels are also complete. Heated steering wheel, 16-speaker Premium Bose audio, navigation, Infiniti InTouch dual displays loaded with connectivity, intelligent cruise control and more is included for the aforementioned price.
Where the Q50 RS falls a little flat for me is in the physical connection I have with the car. When my hands are on the wheel, my butt’s in the seat and my feet are working the pedals, I’m expecting, well, something. There’s a constant disconnected feeling that I can’t shake or overcome. It’s always there. I’m there, in the car, but I’m not 100% part of what’s going on. The Bimmers and Audis have shied away from total driver involvement but despite that, I still get the sense that my fingers are directly responsible, as opposed to connected, for what the front wheels are doing.
On the road, the 2018 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport still performs quite well. The electronically controlled Dynamic Digital Suspension works the road’s surface providing decent comfort all the while minimizing body roll. The drive is very sporty, but not as rewarding as the S4.
The 2018 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport is going to be a car I spot, and go mental over, at an old car show in 30 years. I’ll remember my near paint-swapping experience and how fast it was. A future classic perhaps?