2021 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 AWD new car reviews

Ever since the introduction of the R35-chassis GT-R, the GT-R and Skyline became distinct models that no longer shared a common chassis. What does this have to do with the Q50? Even though the GT-R is the one sold here in North America, you can technically say that the Skyline is also available. We just call it the Infiniti Q50.

Don't believe us? Have a look for yourself:

Sure, it does come with a different shaped nose and taillights that supposedly tie the car back to the GT-R, but the Q50 is mechanically identical to the Skyline—twin-turbocharged VR30DDTT V6 and all.

Speaking of that VR30, it's normally rated for 300 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque, though will push out 400 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque when you go for the Red Sport 400 trim, which is how our tester came equipped.

Regardless of trim, all Q50s can be configured with rear-wheel-drive or, as the spec sheet informs us, a modern version of the ATESSA all-wheel-drive system, with gear changes handled by a seven-speed automatic transmission.

The real question, however, is does this rebadged Skyline actually drive like it's a tamer relative of an actual supercar? Keep scrolling to read our driving impressions.

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Dear Infiniti,

I admit it, we tend to forget about you as your lineup hasn’t really offered us much lately. Other than fancy SUVs, it’s been basically a laid-back version of the Z.

Oh, there’s a sporty sedan, too? The Q50 isn’t new for 2021. Or even 2020. Or even 2015 as this iteration dates back to 2014.

But not new doesn’t mean not news. It’s a really capable sports sedan.

Terrific power that’s only topped by an even more terrific automatic box. No hunting, no waiting. Even in the standard mode, it offered great logic. In Sport mode, it seemed to read my mind.

Then add in attractive looks, comfortable interior and a stable chassis. Thanks for the traditional shifter, grippy seats and big brakes.

We put some highway miles on this one. Even with the sportier setup, didn’t find it droning or tiresome at all. Easy road trip machine.

Does Infiniti have a BMW fighter on its hands? Love to hear what the crowd thinks. The Infiniti has the performance and the looks–sorry, but when talking BMW these days, you have to bring up that grille. Does the Infiniti have the pedigree for the $60k price tag? And, for a car, that while pretty cool is kinda dated, especially in this segment.

What would boost the Q50 all the way to the top? Better headlights. They’re not bad at all, but the ones on the Mazda XC-30 spoiled us. If a lower-priced Mazda can have that magic, then so should a car angling for premium status.

That’s it.

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Comments
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calteg
calteg Dork
1/4/21 2:16 p.m.

I seem to remember the Red Sport models having astronomical insurance bills. Apparently the key FOB was really easy to clone and they were stolen all of the time. No idea if/when they corrected this.  

Matt B (fs)
Matt B (fs) UltraDork
1/6/21 9:10 a.m.

I want to say that when these debuted there was at least one "traditional" car mag that panned it in comparison to their perennial favorite, some sort of 3-series.  I've been a little leery of their opinions for more than a decade now so I'd be interested to hear more from GRM on this one as the Infiniti stuff seems like a better bet on the used market.

Also, did these ever ship with a manual?

rothwem
rothwem Reader
1/6/21 9:16 a.m.

I think when they debuted, they had a silly steering by wire that lacked a physical connection to the wheels and made it super spooky to drive anywhere close to the limit.  I would hope that they either drastically improved it or ditched it by now, it was so universally panned.  

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
1/6/21 9:54 a.m.

This is one of those cars that I am shocked is still around, but I'm glad it is still around. Like David said, the base car has been around since 2014. It's one of those "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of vehicles. These drive really nice in their base form, and the automatic trans does exactly what its supposed to do and doesn't hinder the driving experience. Slapping another 100hp on top just makes it better. Only thing these lag behind with is the infotainment setup. It feels like it's from the early 2010's, and having to fumble around with a slow touch screen interface to put the heat on is not something I like in any car.

Fitzauto
Fitzauto Dork
1/6/21 10:19 a.m.

I've started putting these on my radar as a replacement daily once commuting becomes a thing again. Glad to hear they are everything I had hoped.

Matt B (fs)
Matt B (fs) UltraDork
1/6/21 10:46 a.m.
rothwem said:

I think when they debuted, they had a silly steering by wire that lacked a physical connection to the wheels and made it super spooky to drive anywhere close to the limit.  I would hope that they either drastically improved it or ditched it by now, it was so universally panned.  

Yeah ok I remember now. I wanted to say the reviewer said it lacked "connection" or something of the sort so that makes sense.

Vajingo
Vajingo Reader
1/6/21 2:51 p.m.

So what's the price of this versus a gtr? And why couldn't one buy this as a poor man's gtr? And race it with gtr parts? 

TJL (Forum Supporter)
TJL (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
1/6/21 3:16 p.m.

I had a regular q50 for a rental car. I have been a nissan fan for a long time, but that q50 was SO NICE! Very tight, quick, very comfy. I have considered a used one if i needed a sporty sedan

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
1/6/21 5:47 p.m.

I came in here expecting a small CUV.

This has been out since 2014?! Is this what they used to call a G37?

Dootz
Dootz Reader
1/6/21 8:55 p.m.

Shame we never got the Eau Rouge concept into production

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/7/21 12:54 a.m.

The 'steer by wire' was first for a production car and did have a clutch in the system to physically attach you to the steering rack when needed.  I think its highly historically significant because everything will have that at some point, somewhere along the way to losing the steering wheel entirely.

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr PowerDork
1/7/21 5:05 a.m.
Vajingo said:

So what's the price of this versus a gtr? And why couldn't one buy this as a poor man's gtr? And race it with gtr parts? 

I'm pretty sure the 2 cars don't share any parts.  The engine and trans are different for sure.  The chassis is different too.

tomtomgt356 (FS)
tomtomgt356 (FS) GRM+ Memberand Reader
1/7/21 6:52 a.m.
Matt B (fs) said:

Also, did these ever ship with a manual?

I know the G35 sedan was offered in a manual up to 2008. I think the G37 sedan was offered in a manual. I think they dropped the manual when they switched to the Q naming.

*I'm not an expert but I did a little research a few years ago before I bought my 2008 G35 manual sedan.

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