Luxury sport sedan models aren't created equal. Some of them will appeal to those who simply want a hot-looking transport boasting a somewhat throaty roar from the engine, and some models will be appreciated by those who want a comfortable cruiser with an interior complete with all the trimmings. The INFINITI Q50 sits astride a dividing line between the two. It certainly looks like a sleek roadster, but it has the refinements many car buyers want.
Another popular model is the Lexus IS 350. This offering from Lexus is priced in the near-luxury range, but many shoppers will find that it doesn't stack up too well against the 2018 INFINITI Q50 in the areas of upscale, user-friendly interior design and driving experience. It's also not available in multiple trims, so buyers have fewer choices unless they shell out extra dollars for a package upgrade. A more detailed comparison between the two models follows.
The 2018 INFINITI Q50 boasts a nice interior composed of very high-quality materials. Both the front and rear seating areas are quite spacious. Six-footers will find that there's plenty of headroom in the rear seating area. The forward controls aren't too futuristic as to cause confusion. All the buttons and dials are right where they should be. The INFINITI InTouch system is quick to respond and is easy to navigate. Standard features on the base 2.0t trim include power-adjustable front seats, simulated leather upholstery, automatic dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera, and dual screen displays. Uplevel trims come with leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a navigation system. The 2018 Lexus IS 350 has a less appealing interior, and ergonomics aren't exactly up-to-date. The infotainment system isn't exactly user-friendly, and the rear seating area isn't as spacious as what is found inside the 2018 Q50 model.
The 2018 INFINITI Q50 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0L engine that produces 208 horsepower. Rear-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic transmission is standard. The 3.0t model has a 3.0L V6 rated at 300 horsepower, and the Red Sport 400 comes with a 400-horsepower V6. Drivers will find that the Q50 operates much like a smaller, sportier vehicle. Steering is precise and wonderfully responsive, and there's plenty of grip around tight turns. The 2018 Lexus IS 350 is equipped with a V6 engine capable of a 311-horsepower output, and it's paired to an eight-speed transmission, but if all-wheel drive is chosen, the only transmission available is six-speed. Handling is inferior to what is experienced on the Q50, and there's no other engine choice, so if 400 horsepower is desired, this model cannot be considered.
The INFINITI Q50 is available in five different trims, and each subsequent trim offers a bit more in terms of luxurious amenities and exterior accents. There's even the Q50 Hybrid Luxe, a model worth more than just a first or second look if a gasoline and electric combination sounds appealing. The Lexus IS 350 comes in a single trim, with the F Sport being considered a different version of this model. Few package options are available, and at least one of them must be purchased in order to get such niceties as a power-adjustable steering column, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.
MSRP excludes destination, taxes, title and registration fees. Starting at MSRP refers to the base model, optional equipment not included. Pricing and offers may change at any time without notification. To get full pricing details, see your dealer. All figures are EPA estimates. Actual mileage may vary.