BMW 340i xDrive vs Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400

3 Series, News | August 4th, 2016 by 29
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When BMW first announced the appearance of the 340i, to replace the 335i, fans were hit with mixed emotions. On one hand, they were glad …

When BMW first announced the appearance of the 340i, to replace the 335i, fans were hit with mixed emotions. On one hand, they were glad that BMW was updated its 3 Series. But on the other, they were sad that the famous N55 engine would be going by the wayside. However, the new B58 engine that powers the BMW 340i is a gem and is possibly be the best engine in its class. This, combined with the new LCI tweaks, makes the 340i a great all-around sport sedan.

But there’s a new player in this segment and it has its eyes set directly on the BMW 340i — the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400.

Now, while it probably has the worst name in the entire automotive industry (what the hell is Red Sport?) the Infiniti does pack some interesting specs. Using a new version of Nissan’s VR engine (the same engine in the GT-R), the Q50 Red Sport 400 packs, you guessed it, 400 hp from its twin-turbo 3.0 liter V6. That’s about 80 hp more than the BMW 340i’s 3.0 liter turbocharged 320 hp I6. Yet, it’s actually slower from 0-60 mph, doing it in 5.1 seconds compared to the 4.9 of the BMW.

2016 bmw 340i test drive images 50 750x500

This could have a lot to do with the transmissions of both cars. The Niss…erm..Infiniti sends its power through a seven-speed automatic, the same basic unit the brand has used for almost a decade. It was good when it first came out, but it can’t match the refinement or tactility of the ZF eight-speed in the Bimmer. Shifts are smooth and quick in the BMW 340i, but somewhat slushy in the Infiniti Q50.

In terms of handling and performance, the BMW 340i is the superior car here. While the Infiniti does boast some impressive stats, big sticky tires and a generally sporty demeanor, it simply can’t deliver. For good reference, there is a hilarious video review of the Q50 Red Sport by Jason Cammisa of Motor Trend. That video perfectly demonstrates why the Q50 Red Sport 400 is simply a bad sports car.

Much of the problem has to do with the car’s DAS (Direct Adaptive Steering) which is a steer-by-wire system. It essentially uses two powerful electric motors, one on the steering rack and one at the steering wheel, to deliver the driver’s inputs and give artificial “feel” back to the driver. It’s a complicated and convoluted system that ends up being more disconnected than anything else. But the real problem is that the car is always trying to do something to the steering that the driver might not be. If you turn in hard, mash the throttle and expect oversteer, you won’t get it. The Q50 will instead actually apply counter-steer without you doing so and try to correct the spin before it even happens. This causes a disconnect between what the driver wants to do and what the car wants to do and that is no bueno for sporty driving.

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2015 Infiniti Q50

On the other hand, the BMW 340i is a very predictable and, frankly, fantastic car to drive quickly. It isn’t the pure, communicative car that the E46 330i was, but it’s damn good and leaps and bounds better than the Infiniti Q50. Steering in the 340i is sharp, if a bit numb, and predictable. But its chassis dynamics are where it really shines. It’s a playful car, the 340i, and feels like a proper sports sedan should.

As far as looks are concerned, it’s a bit of a toss up. Looks are very subjective, so opinions will vary. However, the 340i is a good looking car, even if it’s a bit boring. On the other hand, the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 is a mess of strange humps, lumps and shapes. Personally, I can’t stand the way any new Infiniti looks and think they all look like bloated Orcas. But some find it to be good looking and the 340i garbage, so we’ll call this one a wash.

On the inside, though, things get closer between the two. While many find that the interior of the Q50 to be very good, it’s also a mishmash of odd ergonomics. The two-screen center stack setup is confusing and there seem to be a million buttons of all different shapes, textures, materials and colors throughout the entire center console. It’s a mess. However, aesthetically, is is nice and comes with a ton of luxury features. The BMW 340i, by contrast, is about as typically staid and German as possible, almost to the point of being boring. However, all the materials are top notch, ergonomics are superb and everything is where it should be. Also, BMW’s iDrive blows Infiniti’s system out of the water.

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Overall, the BMW 340i is a much better, far more refined sport sedan than the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400. It’s faster, handles better, has a better interior and better technology. The Q50 Red Sport 400 is a good start, as it has a good engine, a pretty good chassis and some nice technology. It just needs improvement in a lot of areas. But it has good bones and with some tweaking could be a very competitive car in the segment. Oh, and it needs a new name because that thing’s a disaster.

[Source: Globe and Mail]

29 responses to “BMW 340i xDrive vs Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400”

  1. William Cervini says:

    Is this guy biased or what?

    • Horatiu B. says:

      Who? Cause it wasn’t us reviewing it.

    • dn12005 says:

      Yep…pretty bias.

      Look we get it. BMW makes a more desirable car to most people in this market. That won’t change anytime soon and Infiniti poses no dire threat to BMW.

      But to write such a slanted piece discredits you. You stated claimed performance numbers from the manufacture, which was likely taking from an article that was released a lot sooner than your release: (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/reviews/new-cars/faceoff-bmw-340i-vs-infiniti-q50/article31253726/).

      You being a fan of BMW should know not to ascribe to such misinformation. Claimed HP? We all know BMW skirts these numbers. And a news flash, a quick dyno of the RS400 will reveal underrated HP as well. Now granted, with launch control, better RFT, and a (much) better transmission, the 340i will scoot to 0-60 a tick or two faster. 1/4? Not so much. 5-60? Forget it; better go and get one of the many tunes available for the B58 in order to beat the RS400 in any other performance metric other than 0-60. 60-0, yep, that would be another victory for the RS400.

      Taking the RS400 close to 10/10 requires becoming familiar with the car. A 1 hour to a day testing the car won’t accomplish this. So yes, the car will feel a lot different to a lot of people who are not use to it and this will discourage them from driving it at its limits. Having said that, those that have mastered the feel of the car, they have no issues pushing it hard and have a lot of fun doing it. Now, this is likely a clear win for the 340i, but don’t make it seem that the RS400 isn’t a track or twisty road capable car.

      And where do you get off with the 340i having more technology than the Q50? Are you serious? Please, don’t misinform your readers that way.

      There are several more merits that you can write to that will credibly argue for the 340i being a better car than the Q50. But not what your wrote.

      • Horatiu B. says:

        Again, not a review made by us. We just reiterated what the review said.

      • lin says:

        “Infiniti poses no dire threat to BMW”

        This pretty much sums up Infiniti at the moment. No ‘halo car’, no dedicated performance division, an eroding reputation as the faults of it’s parent company [Nissan] start to show through the cracks in the Infiniti line.

        If anything they pose a threat, and not even a dire threat, to Hyundai and it’s upcoming Genesis range. You could argue they pose a threat to Acura, but Acura has entered what seems to be an infinite lame duck status.

        • dn12005 says:

          @disqus_hLKEKxet6g:disqus

          Infiniti, currently, is doing quite well for themselves, in-spite of the many setbacks from Nissan. This crack in the Infiniti line you speak of is smitten with conjecture from an ill-informed position.

          They’ve finally become a viable asset to Nissan, which has been accomplished without an halo car. However, that’s to come, in the form of the Q80 – it has been green-lighted for production, due MY ’19. The dedicated performance line…go ahead and check that one off as well. Plans were recently finalized for Renault Sport and NISMO to create sport-tuned versions across Infiniti’s growing product line.

          More conjecture, the Genesis brand has a long row-to-hoe before disrupt the already established premium marques. Your “Infiniti posing a threat to Acura” statement continues your conjectural argument. Globally, your statement is not even close to being credible.

          Lastly, keep your eyes open for later this month, when Infiniti will introduce new engine technologies that will be available next year. Engine technologies that the Germans have been trying for two decades to develop – without any success.

      • TT335i says:

        Wait….you say that you know BMW doesn’t inflate their engine power numbers, and that the Infiniti dyno will reveal that it’s engine is also underrated. But then you jump to the conclusion that the Q50 will win a 5-60 run? Why? Would leads you to that? Whatever advantage the 340i has at 0-60 is also there from 5-60. There is no indication that the Q50 has better roll performance or better traction.
        Same goes for the 1/4 mile.

        I doubt that you’ll find the dyno of the Q50 to show the claimed power to be underrated. You say that owners of the 340i better get a tune in order to beat the Q50 in anything other than 0-60, but again, where is your evidence for that?

        BMW has never been about drag racing anyway. They are about balance between power and handling. The Q50 can not compete here. The non physically connected steering can not overcome the fact that a computer is doing the steering. The BMW will allow the driver to hang the rear end out on a turn if he/she wants, as long as you set the driver mode correctly. I’d like to see and feel what this is like in the Q50 as the steering is NOT connected at all to the steering wheels.

        You can spend as much time as you like with the Q50 to get used to it’s quirks regarding it’s handling. But then, why should you? Why should any driver have to relearn or re-calibrate car handling just to accommodate the ridiculous idea of steer-b-wire that Nissan/infiniti is pushing?
        It doesn’t look to me that anyone is saying the Q50 isn’t capable of a twisty road, or even on a track. However, what is being said is that when comparing the 2 cars, the BMW is the better of the 2 on twisty roads and on the track.

        The only technology that earns my ears and respect, in a drivers car, is the technology that allows it to be driven and how it feels when driving it. Connecting to a particular cell phone, or being able to play certain audio files, etc… is irrelevant to me as that has nothing to do with the technology attributable to driving.
        That’s not to say that that technology is not important to many people, as those things can make the daily commute or long drives more enjoyable.
        However, to me, my priorities regarding technology are the things that allow me to have more fun driving. That’s why the technology of electric assist has recent BMW’s not feeling like the used to. That’s an area where BMW needs more work, steering feel with electric assist steering racks.
        BMW is working on it and my 2016 340i Msport has a much improved and noticeably improved steering feel compared to my 2013 335i Msport, both of the F30 chassis family.
        Infiniti need to stop with the video game type steering. Any “feel” with that system will be artificial no matter what they try.

        • dn12005 says:

          Think you misunderstood my “underrated” statement. BMW 340’s HP is more closer to 380 at the crank and about 339 or so at the wheels (based on the few dynos I’ve seen posted).

          http://f30.bimmerpost.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1213066&highlight=dyno

          This was also more the case with the E9X as well, where the 300 stated horse power was probably more close to whp, about 330 crank. This is the main reason why the G37s(and the earlier Q50s), with more stated HP (330), were consistently beating by the 335i’s. The whp for those Infinitis were closer to 270 hp.

          The Q50 RS plays the same game as the Germans this time around. Although a small sample size and no two (different) dynos will pull consistent numbers, Stillen ran three sequential dyno runs on the RS400. They consistently pulled 375hp/350lb-ft/tq. Taking drivetrain lost in account, the RS is pulling 430hp/410lb-ft/tq.

          http://www.infinitiq50.org/forum/stillen/88657-stillen-r-d-q50-red-sport-3-0tt.html

          We’ll see Car and Driver’s performance test of the Q50RS RWD soon. But a sneak peak:

          4.5s 0-60
          13.0s 1/4m @112mph
          0-100 in 10.5s
          5.0s 5-60

          I was wrong on 70-0 (based on C&D’s test) the 340i bested the RS in their test. Motortrend, however, had the Q50 winning their 60-0 (two different stopping distances). The Q50 had better road holding in MT’s test while C&D gave that victory to the Beemer. *This wasn’t a head-to-head test but looking at test results respectively.

          The best numbers I’ve seen from the 340i was

          4.6 0-60 (likely w/o using launch control, will probably be faster w/launch ctrl)
          13.3 1/4 @ 106mph (likely faster w/ using launch control)
          0-100 in 11.6 (again, likely faster w/ using launch control)
          5.9s 5-60 (where there is no advantage using launch conrol)

          Simply put, the Q’s transmission sucks. There is a lot of wheel hop/spin (rwd; awd have not been tested yet) when pressing from 0mph. But once the wheels finally hook-up, the this new VR engine continues to pull and pull.

          On the handling (and steering) front, I get it, if it doesn’t feel good to you or inspire confidence, then the Q simply isn’t for you. But critique the car if you’ve experienced it, not if you’ve have not.

          Still, BMW’s pedigree along will make the 340i a better buy to most people.

        • Andrew James McCollum says:

          The q60 red sport has an intelligent drive system that can send 100% power to the rear wheels up to a 50/50 split. This is going to making it grabby at the start, and no drive train loss once traction is under control. The infinity will rape the BMW in terms of performance.

  2. 181 says:

    I’ve yet to see an Infiniti interior that compares to BMW.

    • frostieduck says:

      Not hating on BMW but the 3 series interior doesn’t come close to Infiniti. BMW has the edge in some places but the interior – no. The 3 series is very plain and boring. I read posts like yours and wonder if you really sat in either because there is just no way you could draw that conclusion if you had. Even the biased review above noted that.

      • 181 says:

        Oh I’ve been in them. I always feel like I’m in a Nissan–well, because I *am* in a Nissan! ;)

        Japanese styling has never done it for me. About Germans you say “boring”, I say “timeless”. Interiors are completely subjective so I am totally ok with your preference of Infinity interiors. Good day to you.

      • Andrew James McCollum says:

        BMW’s interior was pretty good 5 years ago. It’s been the same ever since.

    • Say What?? says:

      I think the BMW interiors are ugly, sorry. The Infiniti’s are much nicer with the exception of Mercedes which also has some nice interiors.

    • Teeter Von Schnauzen says:

      Definitely a matter of personal taste. I have still yet to see a BMW interior on anything below a 7 Series that doesn’t look bland and boring. They’re better than they used to be, but Infiniti’s interiors have generally had the same materials quality with more visual interest.

  3. Nathan Brinks says:

    Yeah, this review is pretty much void as all other testers are getting 4.5 for 0-60 for the Q50. I would still take the Q50, even if it did achieve the made up 0-60 that this guy invented.

  4. Vitaliy Shtym says:

    the 5.1 0-60 is either from the 300 HP version or from the last gen naturally aspirate VQ37, at least do some research before making another BMW advertising article to make it less obvious

    • Teeter Von Schnauzen says:

      The last test I saw of an AWD Q50 with the VQ engine, it ran 4.9s 0-60. I did see others clock in between 5.1-5.3 range. The RWD version could use launch control. The 2017 RS400’s are clocking in at 4.3s 0-60 new and 4.2 after the engine is broken-in. This VR engine is legit.

      • dn12005 says:

        Infiniti has yet to apply any launch control for their vehicles…the only one in the Nissan family that has LC is the GTR.

        If I misunderstood your post, my sincere apologies.

        • Teeter Von Schnauzen says:

          I was only pointing out that the RS 400, in RWD, easily overwhelms it’s rear wheels, whereas the AWD version simply takes off. The RWD version would benefit from both a locking center diff and launch control. The AWD version is good as-is.

          ;)

  5. Say What?? says:

    Lmao, the Red Sport is slower to 60? My stock Q50 Red Sport does 0-60 in 4.3 seconds. 5.1 is the regular Sport. This was definitely written by a BMW fanboy who has no idea about Infiniti.

  6. Teeter Von Schnauzen says:

    This sounds like it was written by some random guy who hasn’t actually driven either vehicle. While I wholeheartedly agree with the author about the “Q50 Red Sport” name being atrocious, he clearly does not like Infiniti as a brand, in general. It’s also lazy writing that he got the Q50 stats wrong. The RWD 0-60 is generally in the 4.4-4.5 second range with a 12.5 quarter mile. The AWD variant drops both numbers by a couple tenths.

    The 340i does have a better transmission and better steering, although I still found it to be surprisingly numb for a BMW. The Q50’s DAS feels artificial, although it never seemed confused when I drove it aggressively. I drove the AWD version, though, which may be tuned differently.

    Both in a straight line and through the twisties, I think the Q50 takes the 340i. I didn’t do any times runs or anything, but I did test drive then back-to-back on the same roads. The 340i’s engine pulls nicely, but the Q50’s mill always has more. Right. Now.

    I happen to think both cars are very nice looking. The interiors are similarly both very nice, albeit in different ways. I’m a nerd, so the dual-screen Infiniti system was immediately friendly. My wife, while very smart, is not as much of a nerd and she was so-so on the system. We both agreed that the BMW system was straightforward and useable, but that the Inifinti navigation was better.

    I think that overall the 340i is the better car. If I’m rating on a scale of 100, the 340i is a 95 and the Q50 is a 92. Neither is perfect and both have their strengths. The main difference is that a similarly equipped Infiniti model will be $120 less per month on a typical lease with nothing down/$4-5k less the BMW. For some, the differences will be worth the money, for other, not so much.

    I, personally, can’t wait to see the next S4 and RS4.

  7. Andrew James McCollum says:

    The 0-60 stats are wrong. There are many on road reviews of the q60 400 doing 0-60 in 4.5-4.6 It is also much faster in drag racing. it uses AWD to launch and then sends 100% of the power to the rear wheels for the rest of the race. This article is very biased and I can’t take a single thing he says for credit.

  8. Ricky DontLoseThatNumber says:

    You compared a black BMW 340i to a Q50 Red Sport 400. Except in the photo you showed a Red Q50 Hybrid. Huge difference in appearance between the RS400 and the Hybrid. A black RS400 is a better looking car than this 340i shown in this comparison in my humble opinion.

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