Dropping the cloth from what’s the first to fall under the brand’s new naming structure, the 2014 Infiniti Q50 kicked off the 2013 Detroit Auto Show with a little help from Cirque Du Soleil.
The maker made the abrupt announcement late last year that it is shifting not just the G sedan, coupe and convertibles but its entire lineup to wear a “Q” prefix. SUVs will now be named QX while others will have the single letter followed by a number to designate rank in the lineup – as well as price. But while the choice might have seemed strange in December, it’s now clear that this is part of a push by the brand to distinguish the new from the old.
Modelled after the Essence concept first shown during the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, the car features the swooping, voluminous style you’ve no doubt come to expect from the brand. It also features “crescent-cut” c-pillars based on those seen in the concept almost three and a half years go. LED headlights and a throughly revised body styling that stands out while remaining true to the brand’s motif all stand to help Infiniti break away from its good, but not great G37 sedan.
SEE ALSO: 2013 Detroit Auto Show Live Coverage
Once again, the brand relies on its 3.7-liter V6 engine to power the rear wheels. That means 328 hp pushed to the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission. Infiniti and Nissan could probably rest on their collective engine laurels, even beyond 2014, but thankfully the company understand how shortsighted that would be. The remedy?
Corresponding with the name change, Infiniti will trickle down its hybrid drivetrain from the M35h, (named the world’s fastest full hybrid last year), to the Q50. Customers will be able to choose between either rear- or all-wheel drive configurations powered by a 3.5-liter V6 which makes 354 hp in tandem with the hybrid electric system.
Translation: Lexus had better put its dukes up because there’s new competition in the entry-level luxury hybrid sedan market. That’s a mouthful, but the truth is that poaching customers away from Toyota’s luxury marque might be pretty easy with rear-wheel drive as a dangling temptation. Sadly, it doesn’t sound like there will be a manual in the sedan’s deck of cards anymore, but this should still shape up to be contender.
Infiniti also added its new InTouch infotainment system, improved smartphone app integration and safety features like active lane control and other touches like available maple trim for the cabin.
While the company is still mum on price, the sedan is slated to be in showrooms by this summer, so details shouldn’t be far away.
GALLERY: 2014 Infiniti Q50 Live Photos
GALLERY: 2014 Infiniti Q50
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