As electric vehicles (EVs) loom on the horizon, many current internal combustion engine vehicles have had their lifespan extended instead of receiving an expensive redesign. One of those vehicles that has mostly stood the test of time is the Infiniti Q50 sedan, which hasn’t changed much in the past several years.
While the Infiniti Q50 is rather dated at this point, it still holds some special character in how well it performs when you opt for the top-trim Red Sport 400, which has one of my favorite V6 engines, the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 that’s good for 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque.
There’s a reason Nissan decided to use the same engine in the new Nissan Z. It touts a nice, smooth punch and has gained notoriety amongst the enthusiast and tuner community. The only holdback is its aged platform and use of the old 7-speed automatic transmission. Still, the Q50 Red Sport 400 is good to hit 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds, and with the all-wheel-drive system on my test vehicle, it does it constantly without tire-spinning drama. The fuel mileage of the Q50 Red Sport 400 shows its age as well, with the not-so-thrilling EPA estimates of 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined.
For the 2023 model year, the Infiniti Q50 remains the same apart from a Black Opal Edition package ($2,200), which I had the pleasure of driving this week. What most will notice in the Infiniti Q50 Black Opal Edition is its unique paint color, Opal Metallic, which is somewhat of a return of the iridescent paint type that was first used on the Nissan R33 GT-R and later was found on a 100-unit run of the 2014 Nissan GT-R as Midnight Opal, and, a 2022 T-Spec model offered with the Midnight Purple paint color in limited quantities.
The unique family of “Midnight” and “Opal” paint colors are rather special. The Black Opal Metallic paint on the Q50 Black Opal Edition may first appear to be black, and then as the sunlight hits it at an angle or you move to view the vehicle at a quarter angle, the paint may appear dark green. Move a little more, and the paint appears to have a dark purple hue. The color shifting paint is actually a nice addition to the Q50 for those who want something out of the ordinary. I speculate that the Q50 Red Sport 400 Black Opal Edition will be in limited supply, but Infiniti hasn’t confirmed the number of units.
Other special characteristics found in the 2023 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 Black Opal Edition are darkened accents in the form of all black emblems on the rear, a black front grille with a black LED-illuminated Infiniti badge, and a carbon fiber rear spoiler.
If you’ve caught onto where I’m going with my review of this Q50 Red Sport Black Opal Edition, you may know that Infiniti is grasping at straws to keep such a vehicle relevant as it has now embarked in its tenth year for the current generation (even older for the Nissan FM platform). Granted, the Q50 received many refreshing updates throughout its life cycle, but there’s only so much you can do to keep the Q50 up to date. If anything, the Q50 has aged with grace and still attracts buyers who realize that at this juncture, you’re buying a quality vehicle that has a proven platform and mechanics that should last a long time without fault.
Apart from the special exterior treatment, the Q5 Red Sport 400 Black Opal Edition remains the same inside from what we’ve seen in previous years. To the credit of Infiniti, the Q50 started life ten years ago with an excellent platform that some would later think of as the American version of the GT-R, only tamed with its powertrain offerings at the time. The seating positions remain comfortable and spacious as a midsized sedan with quality materials throughout that you expect in a luxury vehicle.
Through the years, introducing the 3.0-liter twin-turbo VR-series engine, a powerplant that was somewhat derived from the GT-R, the Q50 attracted a broader base and some lighthearted enthusiasts, which is all a good thing. Today, in an attempt to keep the Q50 relevant, the Black Opal Edition is a good effort, but I’m not sure if doing such is enough. Maybe it’s time for a new Q50 EV?
The price of the 2023 Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 Black Opal Edition comes to $63,205, which includes the full gamut of features available for the Q50. There’s plenty of current technology, including the dual-screen infotainment setup with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, in addition to all the expected active safety features and adaptive cruise control.