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[January 14, 2013]
New Infiniti Q50 small entry sedan adds hybrid model
Jan 14, 2013 (Detroit Free Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Its body replete with scallops and flares, its gaping grille ready to gulp down miles of highway, Infiniti's Q 50 sport sedan inaugurates a new look and a new nomenclature for the brand.
The Infiniti Q50, the Japanese automaker's most popular car, has a new look unveiled today at the North American International Auto Show.
The new sport sedan goes on sale this summer, the company said during a press conference that highlighted not only the panache of the brand, but also a return of the glitz factor to the auto show. The unveiling began with a performance by Cirque du Soleil.
The rear- or all-wheel-drive Q50 shares its 112.2-inch wheelbase with the G37 it replaces. At 188.3 inches long, 71.8 inches wide and 56.8 inches tall, the Q50 is longer, wider and lower, than the G37.
-- CAR & TRUCK OF YEAR: Cadillac ATS, Ram 1500 honored as North American car, truck of the year -- LIVE BLOG: Follow all the action from press preview days "We challenged ourselves with this new vehicle," said Infiniti's chief creative officer Shiro Nakamura. "It's rooted in the power of nature." Unlike competitors like the Audi A4, BMW 3 series and Cadillac ATS, the Q50 will not offer a four-cylinder engine. Power comes from a 328-horsepower 3.7L V6 that carries over from the G 37 or a new hybrid system that generates 354 hp from a 3.5L V6 and an electric motor. A seven-speed automatic transmission with downshift rev matching for sporty driving is standard.
Infiniti says a new type of steering system responds faster than a mechanical linkage, though the Q50 has one of those as a backup in case of electronic failure. Active Lane Control takes lane departure assist to the next level, using a camera and other sensors to make small steering adjustments to offset crosswinds and irregularities in the road surface.
Johan de Nysschen, who after a long career at Audi joined Nissan to helm Infiniti, said the new Q50 hinted at how the luxury division will "craft our brand and shape our destiny." The interior design borrows from Japanese tradition with aluminum trim inspired by traditional Samurai weapons and maple wood trim that's representative of the 16th Century Urushi painting technique.
Starting with the Q50 sedan, Infiniti is changing the names of all its models. The current G37 coupe and convertible will become Q60; the larger M sedan becomes the Q70. The EX, JX, FX and QX crossovers and SUVs become the QX50, 60, 70 and 80, respectively.
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