A small number of brand new Infiniti Q50 sedans have been recalled due to a fault affecting the marque's world-first 'steer-by-wire' technology.
Nissan North America is recalling 23 Infiniti Q50 models equipped with its Direct Adaptive Steering system, citing the potential for the system to fail in freezing temperatures, resulting in a total loss of steering control.
Infiniti also says the car’s three back-up engine control units (ECUs), specifically implemented in the hopes of preventing a loss of steering, as well as its mechanical back-up system, could fail in similar weather conditions rendering drivers unable to control the car.
The official recall notice from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) advises drivers to avoid using their car until it has been repaired.
Infiniti’s steer-by-wire system took 10 years for the carmaker to develop, and was tested on more than 400,000km of road. It does not use any physical connection between the steering wheel and front wheels during everyday driving, instead electronically transferring driver inputs to an actuator which drives the steering rack. Infiniti claims the system delivers faster input response times, while removing the potential unresponsiveness and excessive vibrations of some mechanical systems.
Infiniti Red Bull Racing Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel, the premium Japanese car maker's director of performance, had final input into the system, fine-tuning it for a more natural feel.
The recall issue does not affect any Australian vehicles, as the Q50 is not due to launch locally until early next year.