2016 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400

Saying “Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400” out loud makes us giggle. It’s a new Infiniti with the name of a NASCAR race. And if there exists an Infiniti dealer with a sense of humor, a gritty-­voiced “SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY!” ad must be in the works.


This starts as an engine story. Late in the 2016 model year, Infiniti replaced the Q50’s aging 328-hp VQ-series V-6 with a new twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6. The so-called VR30 comes in two strengths: 300 horses for the entry model and 400 for the Red Sport. The two versions are fundamentally identical and share the same block, heads, and turbochargers.

Along with higher-capacity intercoolers, the 400-hp unit’s turbochargers spin at up to 220,000 rpm, a speed Infiniti says is the fastest of any production V-6. They push 14.7 psi of boost.

The 400-hp engine is plenty strong, getting the Q50 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, quicker than a BMW 340i and a Cadillac CTS Vsport and matching the last Mercedes-Benz C450 AMG Sport (now replaced by the C43) we tested. This VR engine is loosely related to the old 3.7-liter VQ, which justly earned a reputation for harshness across its rev range. The new VR still lacks smoothness, but only near its 7000-rpm redline. At low rpm, the engine does an excellent impression of a velvety inline-six, and turbo lag is virtually nonexistent. With an EPA combined fuel-economy rating of 22 mpg, which also happens to be what we averaged, the 400 beats the old VQ’s mark of 21 by just 1 mpg. Read more...

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02 Jan 2017