The Infiniti Q50’s world-first steer-by-wire system has been detailed ahead of its introduction later this year.
The jet aircraft-inspired technology, which Infiniti calls direct adaptive steering, will be standard on the Q50 3.5 Hybrid and optional on the Q50 2.2d diesel in select markets. Australian availability will be confirmed closer to the car’s fourth-quarter launch.
Steer-by-wire technology electronically transfers the driver’s input to the front wheels where a high-response actuator drives the steering rack. Infiniti says the introduction of steer-by-wire means the Q50’s steering response is faster than that of conventional systems and free from the mechanical losses that can dull their responsiveness.
Infiniti also says the steering wheel is free from vibration yet offers a characteristically performance-oriented level of feedback from the road.
The steering can be adjusted on a touchscreen as part of the Infiniti drive mode selector, which offers up to four pre-programmed setting as well as an individual setting allowing drivers to personalise steering weight and response to suit their preferences and the type of road.
The steer-by-wire technology has been honed by three-time Formula One champion and Infiniti director of performance Sebastian Vettel, who fine-tuned the system at the premium Japanese car maker’s Tochigi test track.
Infiniti says it has subjected its direct adaptive steering system to more than 400,000km of real-world testing and has equipped it with a triple back-up with three separate electronic control units and a conventional mechanical steering linkage.
The direct adaptive steering system also incorporates active lane control, a camera-based system that acts to keep the Q50 in the middle of its lane by reading the lane markings and providing corrective steering inputs.
The Infiniti Q50 will go on sale in Australia during the final quarter of this year. Both petrol and diesel powertrains will be offered, though it’s unclear at this stage if the hybrid model – the performance flagship in the range – will be offered from launch.