The new, in-house-developed 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine (codenamed ‘VR30’) headlines the advancements for the updated Q50. It will be available in two performance levels. The entry version produces 224kW at 6400rpm and 400Nm between 1600-5200rpm, while the high-output version makes a meatier 298kW and 475Nm at the same engine speeds.
The new engine will also be offered in the all-new Infiniti Q60 coupe that launches in Australia at the end of 2016, and likely other medium/large models.
The twin-turbo V6 variants join the three existing Infiniti Q50 powertrains: the 155kW/350Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol and the 125kW/400Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel that are both sourced from Mercedes-Benz, and the 268kW 3.5-litre V6 hybrid.
The 2016 Infiniti Q50 also debuts the company’s second-generation Direct Adaptive Steering system. Widely criticised by local and international media in first-gen guise, Infiniti claims the new digital steering system has been “comprehensively modified” to deliver enhanced levels of steering feel and feedback, and even more personalisation options.
The Drive Mode Selector now offers six options: Personal, Standard, Snow, Eco, Sport, and – new for 2016 – Sport+. The Q50’s Personal steering mode allows drivers to select between three core ‘modes’ (Standard, Sport, and Sport+) and three ‘responses’ (Default, Dynamic, and Dynamic+).
New Infiniti Q50 Sport models get the brand’s Dynamic Digital Suspension (DDS), which claims to offer class-leading response and agility and enhanced ride comfort over the regular set-up. In all drive modes, DDS constantly adjusts the shock absorber value within a wide range of damping force to control body motion when cornering.
Regular Q50 models also benefit from revised front and rear stabiliser bars, which are said to produce a flatter ride and greater agility during cornering, and better maintain contact between the tyres and the road.
The introduction of the enhanced Infiniti Q50 in the second half of 2016 will be part of the brand’s biggest ever year in Australia. In addition to the Q60 coupe, the local division will launch the all-new Q30 and QX30 compact models and the refreshed Q70 large sedan.
Infiniti will be hoping the updates give the Q50 a much-needed boost in showrooms. So far this year the brand has sold just 288 Q50s across the country, leaving it well off the pace of its major rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (8802), BMW 3 Series (3859), Audi A4 (2331), Lexus IS (1959), Volvo S60/V60 (901), and even the just-launched Jaguar XE (433).