Infiniti as a brand does make some good vehicles… but its naming scheme could certainly be a little less confusing. Everything in the lineup now starts with the letter Q. If there’s a letter X following the Q, that designates a sport utility vehicle. Then there are the numbers: 50, 60 and 80, depending on the size of the vehicle.
It all sounds simple, but journalists love to complain about it. To further the confusion, you can also add Edition 30 to most new models, a designation that commemorates the brand’s 30 years of existence. Up until last year, there was also an Infiniti QX30 … which was actually a model based on the Mercedes GLA.
Here we have the new Infinity QX50 Edition 30. It’s a specially trimmed version of the QX50 that features some of the world’s first driver assistance technologies that Infiniti brought to market. Everything in Infiniti’s tech arsenal is on board, including Intelligent Cruise Control, Distance Control Assist, Around View Monitor, Backup Collision Intervention and Predictive Forward Collision Warning.
Additionally, there is a dark chrome exterior grille surround, fender trim and rear finisher in addition to black side-view mirrors, dark-finish wheels and body-color rear apron. Infiniti’s Group Vice President Jeff Pope says, “Infiniti was born to redefine the rules within the luxury space, and we continue to deliver a level of luxury that is meant to be lived in and to be experienced to the fullest. The Infiniti QX50 Edition 30 is the latest representation of this vision, bringing together inspired design and advanced driver assistance technology that we pioneered.”
The coolest piece of technology in the Infiniti isn’t in the dashboard, but under the hood. The QX50 uses one of the first variable compression engines available for our streets. This helps eke out every last bit of fuel economy from the turbocharged powerplant. It uses a high-compression strategy when you’re highway cruising, and, when you get on it, switches to lower compression to let the turbocharger do its thing for extra power.
In the cabin, the Infiniti Drive Mode selector had one of the most pronounced changes of pedal feel when switching from Eco to Sport mode that I have felt. The Infiniti also uses a brake-by-wire setup, with a soft pedal feel that lets the user use minimum effort to achieve maximum braking power. If the Predictive Forward Collision Warning is active, you can feel the brake pedal priming and hear the system getting ready to jump into action should you need maximum braking. It’s a cool driving aid that may startle you the first time it kicks in, and then you’re glad it’s there in case you need it.
The QX50 features some good-looking LED headlights. The lines of the hood sheet metal are particularly curvy and sexy, and it’s a nice thing to look at when gazing at the front end from the driver’s seat. My Edition 30 tester featured pretty 20-inch wheels, which the designers have pushed as far as possible to the corners. According to Infiniti, this helps minimize the intrusion of the wheel arches into the passenger cabin, maximizing interior space.
The car looks cool, but the cognoscenti might think the infotainment display looks a bit dated. However, Infiniti has retained the best of the past while looking toward the future. To keep the same dashboard layout, there are the familiar upper 8-inch and lower 7-inch screens, which are now both High Definition. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all QX50s. The new InTouch system allows access to the controls through touchscreen inputs or via a dial on the center console. The best thing about having two discrete infotainment screens is that the upper screen can show the navigation system map all the time. The lower screen can then show entertainment options such as satellite radio info all the time. For a lot of users, this is the “best of both worlds” scenario. Instead of having to toggle between menus and screens, you can just look up for nav, down for entertainment. This same strategy can be used in aftermarket installations when the customer wants a separate LCD display specifically for navigation so you never miss a turn.
The Infiniti QX50 offers some interesting tech not available on other small crossover vehicles. The four-wheel-drive system seems capable of delivering when the snow starts falling. It can send 50% of the power to the rear wheels to maintain traction. The QX50 Edition 30 also adds some additional niceties that black-out the look. Couple that with the beautiful Majestic White paint that was on my tester and it’s a head-turner coming in under $50K. Maybe an aftermarket upgrade to a six-speaker audio system is all you need!