By Peter Perrotta
I often wonder if these big car manufacturers actually pay design engineers big bucks to sit around opulent conference rooms and come up with the ridiculous names they use for the colors of their exterior paints.
Instead of just using the basic colors of the rainbow spectrum, these guys come up with: Gun Metallic; Cinnamon Brown Pearl; Black Sapphire Metallic; Iridium Silver Metallic; Go Mango; Dark Moss; Sea Glass Pearl; Lagoon Blue Pearl.
You get the point.
So, if I told you this week’s review car has a “Dynamic Sunston” exterior with a “Quilted Gallery” interior you would have no trouble finding it in the parking lot, right?
Or, I could just play you Prince’s 1983 smash hit “Little Red Corvette”, in which he croons: “Move over baby, gimme the keys. I’m gonna tame your little red love machine.”
While it’s not a Corvette, the 2020 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 AWD that I recently drove for one week is definitely a “red machine” that one could easily fall in love with.
As it turns out, “Dynamic Sunston” is a sporty red – almost like a sparkly bronzed red – and “Quilted Gallery” is a very, very light creamy leather interior – almost white. This is a very appealing combination – unless, of course you have very small kids who want to eat PB&J’s and lollipops on road trips.
Taming this beast of a sports, luxury sedan, though, is horse of a different color.
The standard engine on the Red Sport 400 AWD is an exciting 3.0 liter, V6 twin turbo powerplant that puts out an impressive 400 horsepower at 350 pound feet of torque.
When you match that with a smooth 7 speed automatic transmission, 19-inch aluminum alloy Red Sport 400 wheels, sport brakes with red calipers and an “exclusive” Red Sport 400 dual exhaust, it makes for quite an impressive sports car to try and tame.
I did my best for the week that I had it. The drive mode selector on the center console affords the driver five options: standard, eco, sport, sport plus and snow.
I admittedly fell in love with the “sport plus” mode. While in sport plus, this sports sedan – thanks to the upgraded sport twin tip exhaust – emits a very satisfying growl when you step on it to do an aggressive lane change or interstate pass.
Some noted car critics have blasted this Red Sport for having a “noisy” interior cabin. I don’t agree. If you are the type of consumer that’s going to buy or lease a Red Sport 400, I really don’t think you would be the type of driver who would be after the safe, boring quiet sedan ride.
Nope, folks. The sheer fun of this car is in it’s impressive power, sexy styling and pinpoint handling. In all those categories, this car hits a home run.
However, for a top of the line Q50, all this fun doesn’t come cheap.
The Q50 Red Sport 400 AWD I tested carries a base price of $56,250. After you add the options and the $1,025 destination fee, the total MSRP sticker price of my tester came in at $60,745.
The options included: $800 for the exclusive paint; $270 for a cargo package that included a carpeted trunk mat, cargo net, first aid kit and shopping bag hooks; $465 for Infiniti “welcome” lighting; $1,520 for a carbon fiber package and $145 for rear USB charging ports.
The Q50 is available in four different trim lines, ranging from a base price of $36,400, for the Pure, to the top-of-the-line Red Sport at $56,250. The trim levels are Pure, Luxe, Sport and Red Sport 400.
While my tester featured an impressive automatic AWD system, the Q50 is also available in a rear wheel drive version. The lower priced models feature a 3.0 liter V6 turbo that puts out 300 horsepower, while my tested had the amped up 3.0 liter V6 turbo that put out 400 ponies.
The EPA rated gas mileage figures for my tester are 22 miles per gallon overall – 19 mpg in city driving and 26 mpg on the highway. It’s annual fuel cost is estimated at $2,200 per year as it uses about 4.5 gallons of gas per 100 miles of driving.
This particular vehicle has not received a rating for the government’s 5-star safety crash tests yet.
My overall impression of this vehicle is quite positive. A number of car critics have knocked it for its loud or noisy cabin and for lacking much pizazz on its interior design.
While I don’t agree on the noise factor, I kind of see where some of the critics are coming from about the understated feel and look of the interior cabin.
However, I don’t feel the lack of a more fresh, modern look should prevent anyone from giving this car serious consideration, especially if you are thinking about leasing or purchasing a luxury, sports sedan.
I feel there are enough positive attributes with this vehicle – particularly in its outward appearance and exciting drivability – to overcome the possible negatives.
Moreover, on the interior, I found the dual screen set-up of the center infotainment system to be a winner.
While Consumer Reports says “Infiniti’s touch-screen infotainment system is very cumbersome to use, requiring multiple steps and extra distraction for simple tasks,” I couldn’t disagree more.
I think the dual screen set-up is fantastic. The top touch screen is exclusively to display your navigation system and back-up camera view. While, the screen below it can be used for climate, audio, phone and other car settings.
For me, this set up is a winner. You can control your much used functions – like phone, climate and audio – while still enjoying an uninterrupted view of your navigation map guidance.
I found the Infiniti infotainment system simple to use and very functional.
Comfort wise, the seats and roominess of this Q50 are more than adequate.
“These are some of the most comfortable seats ever,” my wife exclaimed when she slipped into the passenger seat.
The Q50 Red Sport 400 AWD is worth checking out.
Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears weekly. Comments are welcome. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org