I worried about the new Q50 for three reasons:
the name change did not sit well with me, at first
the styling seemed ... confused as well
the steer-by-wire system's early announcement freaked me out, because I actually drove a 2003 Q45 briefly (years ago, third-gen car with Gatling-gun HIDs) that had a
n appallingly-bad electronic throttle.
The third-gen Q45's throttle had two settings: no forward movement for first two inches of toe-tip, then a huge, huge over-surge that confused the transmission as you immediately backed off the throttle.
Anyone know the big lurch I am referring to with old automatics? It basically heaves and feels very unhappy with this floored/no throttle driving style that is so common in traffic.
The dealer was able to alter the Q45's e-throttle settings, but it was never very truthful or authentic -- even after the tweaks.
So, were my big three worries from above justified?
Perhaps, but all solved one by one -- via just 20 minutes of road test time in the 4.9s-to-60-mph 2014 Q50S AWD Hybrid.
Name change is nice after some time, because all Infiniti's can now be casually called "the Q" by owners. Which is great.
Styling really cleans up in person as well, with a chunky jaw-line and exceptionally-well-executed surfacing.
LED fogs, blinkers and high-beams are a nice surprise. Unsure if the low-beams are LED or HID, but they all have the same shade of color. Which is not easy to do without using all-LED, all-HID or all-halogen lighting.
Nope. The steer-by-wire is amazing! I really liked it. Honestly. Good feel, great heavy weighting.
Adjustable weight and responsiveness -- but.. in a good way. Ahem.
The above video discussed how Airbus basically went fly-by-wire 20 years ahead of Boeing, and made their planes (arguably) safer and (definitely) much easier to fly.
Wired and computer-managed aeronautics makes 'AutoPilot' more of a true AutoPilot, versus basically the old version -- which was much more like Cruise Control in how limited its functionality was/is.
Does Boeing still use hydraulic systems exclusively?
No. They have gone FbW in the Triple Seven forward.
Planes Are Not Cars?
As far as this Infiniti's future autonomous driving abilities -- they are very close on the horizon from a technical perspective.
SbW (steer-by-wire) will also, in theory, let the steering wheel stay centered and straight-up while the car navigates and commutes in traffic on your behalf.
This will be more relaxing than watching it flail itself around like self-parking steerings --- and also easier for the driver/pilot to intervene and automatically disengage the system the moment his hands move the wheel.
Infiniti has a new mission. And Lexus is firmly in the background this time.
These new names mark a landmark shift in focus toward BMW. The BMW 535i will fall first, and -- Infiniti hopes -- the M5 next with the 560HP Q50 Eau Rouge packing GT-R pace.
Time for the AWD M5 to be pushed forward in the BMW product pipeline to even stay competitive -- let alone lead the pack!
Lastly: Sorry to Jeff, our very kind chaperone on the test drive! I should've introduced you when camera started rolling, buddy!
I'm sorry about that. I get nervous on camera and these videos are a one-take chance with zero editing or reshoots...
We are getting better at it pretty rapidly, however! Talking live on camera, on command... unscripted, is definitely more challenging than it might seem.