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Infiniti Q50 redefines luxury

Carmaker pins high hopes on new sports sedan for its next big leap in Korea

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Published : 2014-02-16 19:37
Updated : 2014-02-16 19:37

The Infiniti Q50
The Japanese luxury car brand Infiniti is signaling a new direction of its technology, design and performance philosophy with the recent local launch of the refashioned sports sedan Q50.

“The Infiniti brand has become a leader in modern luxury and high-performance cars,” Infiniti Korea CEO Takehiko Kikuchi said at a launching event in Seoul last week. “With the Q50, we want to redefine luxury.”

The Q50, a replacement for the Infiniti G37 sedan, is the first Infiniti model after the carmaker announced a new naming convention last year. (Infiniti brought back the letter “Q” from the brand’s early sedans and coupes and “QX” for crossovers and SUVs.)

In Korea, buyers are offered rear- or all-wheel drive, a myriad of options and either a 170-horsepower diesel engine or a V6 hybrid that has 364 horsepower and a fuel economy of 12.6 kilometers per liter.

The Q50S Hybrid, in particular, shares the engine with the Q70S, the world’s fastest-accelerating full hybrid, putting it in the Guinness Book of World Records, while being equipped with an ultralight lithium-ion battery pack. 

The “wave” theme of exterior styling continues inside.

The sedan’s exterior styling sets the tone for future Infiniti models. Inspired by nature, the car displays a defining character line that emerges from the double-arch grille, flows to the sides of the vehicle “like a wave,” and wraps around to its rear, the company said.

Such bodywork produces a 0.26 drag coefficient and zero lift at the front and rear ― the best level in the car segment, according to the company.

The “wave” design theme continues inside, with graceful dashboard arches surrounding a pair of touch screens. The center console houses navigation, climate and audio controls on the upper half, with apps, settings and secondary navigation directions below.

The Q50 also boasts Infiniti’s technological supremacy, the company said. The optional Direct Adaptive Steering is the world’s first steer-by-wire system in a production car that eliminates any physical link between the steering wheel and the turning wheels.

It’s all done electronically to allow the driver to adjust both steering effort level and the steering ratio. The company said it delivers driver steering input to the wheels faster than a mechanical steering system.

The Drive Mode Selector on the center console allows the driver to choose among Snow, Eco, Standard, Sport and Custom settings. These adjust throttle response, transmission shifts, suspension calibration and steering preferences accordingly.

Another distinctive safety feature is the Active Lane Control, which uses a camera-based straight-line stability system to subtly turn the steering wheel to center the car in its lane and adjust for crosswinds and speed bumps.

All the new cutting-edge technologies underwent the harsh testing by Sebastian Vettel, the Formula One racing superstar who is now Infiniti’s director of performance, to elevate the driving performance, the company said.

And Korean high-end customers already seem to be reacting positively to the reworked luxury sedan. On the first day of its sale, the number of new contracts exceeded 200 units, according to the Korean unit.

“The new Infiniti Q50 signals our new leap this year,” said chief Kikuchi, who set the car’s monthly sales goal at some 200 units. “We will be ramping up efforts for the ultimate joy of being an Infiniti owner.”

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)

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