My first experience of the Infiniti way of doing things came in a QX56, the yacht of choice for the discerning NFL linebacker. I recall climbing aboard into the opulence of leather upholstery with lacquered-timber trim and gliding off smoothly, as if through water at night. This feeling of a warm knife slowly slicing through butter I have come to understand as Infiniti.

The 2014 Infiniti Q50 has this feeling of luxury in motion, as does my buddy's 20-year-old Infiniti J30, a hand-me-down from his commuting father. (It seems that an Infiniti will last, given the proper care.) But what isn't luxury here is the skinny steering wheel that greets you at the helm. There’s no heavy lacquer to this interior, nor even much attention paid to perceptions of what might signify luxury in an automobile. Such things weren’t overlooked in the QX56, even though its exterior is the visual equivalent of an orthopedic shoe. We'll put this down as a fielding error on Infiniti’s part.

Maybe you’ve noticed much argumentum ad populum about the shortcomings of the 2014 Infiniti Q50’s steering action. To me it feels like the power-steering hamsters aren't running fast enough in their wheel, and the car doesn’t quite make the turn that I had visualized. I have grown used to this fairly painlessly, and if I never had heard the gossip perhaps I might never have noticed.

"Comfortable drivers are comfortable without this avoidance technology, although I’ll admit that it still may save me and others yet."

This car purports to drive itself. It doesn't, although there are times when it acts as if it wants to, thanks to a selection of proximity warnings that I’ve experienced all too often during city driving in L.A.

One nags you back into your lane by coming to the aid of what it believes to be a troubled navigator by taking control of the steering and braking. This warning system was quick to judge me while I was braking behind a car and corrected me even though I had the moment well in hand. The car pitched forward and then dove left in avoidance, shocking me into my own deployment of full assistance.

Comfortable drivers are comfortable without this avoidance technology, although I’ll admit that it still may save me and others yet. During my time with the 2014 Infiniti Q50, I happily let the technology help me park and pick up bandits in blind spots (spied as flashing warnings in the outside mirrors), but this is as much as this comfortable driver feels comfortable with.

BODY STYLE4-door sedan




AS TESTED$53,135

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