2018 Infiniti Q50S Red Sport 400 Is the ‘Essence’ of Driving

Several years ago I was invited to a special showing of a touring concept vehicle from Infiniti. It was called Essence, and it featured the styling trend for the future of the brand. Since then, we have seen elements appear in much of the new product including this 2018 Q50S Red Sport 400 sedan.

2018 Infiniti Q50S Red Sport 400/Images courtesy Infiniti

The Q50 is the replacement for the popular G-series of sedans in the Infiniti family. It is the best-selling model in the showroom and arrives in a Q60 coupe version we reviewed last year. Gone is the convertible hard top, but when Infiniti delivers it in the hot Red Sport 400 trim you have everything you will ever want, save for maybe a pit crew to change out those tires every once in a while.

The Q50 sedan – likes its coupe counterpart – arrives with choice of turbocharged engines, from the 2.0-liter four-cylinder to a pair of twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6s generating either 300 horsepower or, as our Red Sport 400 was equipped, 400 tire-spinning ponies. Consumers can also get a hybrid gasoline/electric Q50 powered by a 302hp V-6 engine mated to a 50 kW electrical motor rated at 67hp. All 2018 Q50 models come with a smooth-shifting 7-speed automatic transmission, and our car featured solid magnesium paddle shifters. There is a drive mode selector to allow for selection between Snow, Eco, Standard, Sport, and Personal settings. I spent most of my week in the Eco setting – NOT.

Underneath the Q50 Red Sport 400 is the Dynamic Digital Suspension that can be dialed up tighter with the Sport setting of the drive mode selector. Steering is also enhanced for a sportier feel, and the throttle barely needs any encouragement in this position. You will want to find some nice stretches of empty road when exploring the more aggressive aspects of this vehicle. At the corners, Infiniti treats the Red Sport 400 to sport brakes with painted calipers as well as unique 19-inch aluminum alloy wheels with summer run-flat tires. The 2018 Q50 is available in rear- or all-wheel drive running gear.

As with the Q60 we tested last year, the Q50S in Red Sport 400 trim receives some unique sporty elements to the front and rear fascia and this vehicle arrived with some carbon fiber appointments as well including the decklid spoiler. And you just cannot beat the depth of this gorgeous Dynamic Sunston paint in the bright sunlight.

Infiniti gave the Q50 a makeover of sorts for model year 2018, and both interior and exterior receive some attention. We found the interior to be just as exciting as the outside with all of the latest creature comforts and technology. The front sport bucket seats are very supportive without giving up any comfort, and there is actually usable seating in the rear – it is not just there for insurance savings. The car will seat four adults comfortably, although if you are pushing the Red Sport 400 to the limits that just means there are more people inside screaming.

We enjoyed both the Sensory and Proactive packages on this tester. Sensory equipment included the Bose Performance Series 16-speaker premium audio system with Bose Centerpoint surround sound, advance climate control system, and enhanced interior lighting. The Proactive package added the likes of intelligent cruise control, direct adaptive steering, lane departure prevention with active lane control, distance control assist, adaptive front lighting system with auto-leveling headlights, high beam assist, and Eco pedal.

I briefly touched on the powertrain earlier. This Red Sport 400 comes with the 400hp motor, a VR-Series 3.0-liter V-6 with twin turbochargers and twin water-to-air charge coolers with two water pumps, turbo speed sensor, and 14.7 psi turbo boost for those 400 ponies and 350 lb. ft. torque. All that power going to the rear wheels of this car will have the tires breaking loose quite often, especially when they are not yet warmed up and sticky. Take a few warm-up laps like the pros do on Sunday before putting the pedal to the metal. Fuel economy rating for this engine is 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.

Pricing for the 2018 Q50 sedan from Infiniti begins at $34,200 for the 2.0t Pure (base) model. Our Red Sport 400 tester starts at $51,000, and this one arrived with a final window sticker of just a tick over 60 grand. All-wheel drive will tack on an additional two grand to each model.

This is a gorgeous car with the “Essence” of Infiniti styling. It is a blast to drive, and it is very comfortable whether pushing it to its limits or taking it easy. The Eau Rouge version toured the auto shows a couple of years ago, and this production version is the “Oh My” street edition.

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About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.