New Infiniti Q50 offers steer by wire image

In order to lure away premium-car buyers from the dominant German brands, Infiniti is counting on a world-first technology for a serial production car – steer-by-wire – and the addition of the diesel powertrain to the new Q50.

You might be dazzled by the naming convention, as the new Q50 is actually a facelift of the former G sedan. Infiniti now uses the letter Q plus a two-digit number for cars and QX plus a two-digit number for SUVs. That means the G coupe and cabrio became the Q60 and the EX SUV is now the QX50.

With the new steer by wire system, there is no more mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the wheels. Steering happens via electronically controlled motors and the option costs 1,000 euros. This means driving is more precise because the steering adjusts based on speed and road type. It is also more comfortable than conventional systems because the wheels no longer transmit road defects to the driver’s arms via the steering wheel.

The Q50 will now also offer a 170hp 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel from Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz, which is also supplying the Q50’s six-speed manual and its seven-speed automatic transmissions. Infiniti’s parent, Nissan, together with Renault entered into a strategic alliance with Daimler in 2010 that includes sharing powertrains and platforms.

Comparing the gasoline-electric hybrid with the new diesel, the hybrid offers more than twice as much power, 364 hp vs. 170 hp, while CO2 emissions are only 26 % higher at 144g/km (6.2 L/100km) vs. 114g/km (4.4 L/100km).

The Q50 will be joined by the Q30 compact, which Infiniti plans to debut at the Geneva auto show in March 2015. The Q30 will use Mercedes’s new MFA architecture and it will be the first Infiniti built in Europe. Infiniti has struggled to gain a foothold since its 2008 launch in Europe, where this year it has sold just 1,662 units through 10 months, according to JATO Dynamics.

Via Automotive News Europe