2018 INFINITI Q50 Hybrid Review

2018 INFINITI Q50 Hybrid Overview

Hybrid vehicles like the INFINITI Q50 Hybrid are best known for their ability to make a gallon of gas go further. But there is another benefit to hybrids that not many automakers take full advantage of—their potential for increased performance. Electric motors deliver all their power at 0 rpm, which makes for impressive performance figures. Hybrid powertrains are beginning to be seen in hypercars like the La Ferrari and Porsche 918 Spyder, but if you don’t have the cash to drop on one of these models, you’ll be happy to know there’s an affordable alternative—the 2018 Q50 Hybrid.

The heart of the Q50 Hybrid is a 3.5-liter V6 engine paired with a 50-kilowatt electric motor to deliver a total output of 360 hp. In the Q50 lineup, only the Red Sport 400 with its twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 outperforms the Hybrid, with an output of 400 hp. The end result for the Hybrid is an impressive 0-to-60 time of under 5 seconds. One issue noted by reviewers, however, is the vehicle’s tendency to lurch when accelerating under certain conditions, likely due to the Intelligent Dual Clutch Control. As the name suggests, 2 clutches are fitted to either end of the 7-speed automatic transmission to help smooth the transition from electric to hybrid power and vice-versa, although it seems INFINITI still has some work to do to perfect the system. Nevertheless, the Q50 Hybrid does stand out from the competition with the availability of all-wheel drive (AWD) in addition to the standard rear-wheel drive (RWD).

The EPA rates the Q50 Hybrid at 27 mpg city, 32 highway, and 29 combined with RWD and 26, 30, and 28 with AWD. When compared to other luxury hybrid sedans in the class, the Q50 Hybrid’s fuel-economy numbers come up a bit short. Taking into account that the performance on tap rivals that of turbocharged V6-equipped competitors but with slightly better fuel efficiency, however, the Q50 Hybrid does begin to make some sense.

The Q50 Hybrid is equipped with a sport-tuned suspension that offers composed handling when cornering but a slightly rougher ride than the standard Q50 model. INFINITI’s Direct Adaptive Steering, a steer-by-wire system that uses sensors and electrical signals to turn the front wheels, was revised in 2017 to address a number of problems such as poor feel and inconsistent weighting when turning. Test drivers, however, have given mixed feedback on this updated system—some say that INFINITI has fixed the various issues, while others note that turning the wheel still feels unnatural.

For 2018, INFINITI has given the Q50 Hybrid some exterior tweaks. The front end comes with updated LED headlights and a revised grille for a more aggressive look, while the rear boasts a new set of LED taillights. For the interior, INFINITI has borrowed some features from the Q60 coupe such as a reworked steering wheel and “spinal support” seats with improved comfort for long drives. The cabin gains some luxuriousness for 2018, with high-quality materials like wood trims for the dashboard and leather-like surfaces with double stitching. The dual-screen infotainment system, however, is starting look a bit dated compared to that of the Q50’s competitors.

The 2018 Q50 family will be INFINITI’s first model lineup to come equipped with the new ProPilot driver-assistance system. ProPilot includes adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning and braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-departure warning and prevention. INFINITI will begin selling the 2018 Q50 Hybrid at dealers later this summer.

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Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.

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