One year and six months ago, I lost the love of my life when my faithful 1996 Saturn passed on. Instead of jumping into another ?relationship,? I opted to spend a year off-road and, for once, take my time choosing a nice, new vehicle. In the months ahead, I?ll be reviewing the cars that are vying to fill the shoes my Saturn left behind. I hope you?ll come along for the ride . . .
It?s hard to say what makes a relationship ?click.? It boils down to chemistry, yes, but how does one define chemistry? What makes someone irresistible to one person and anathema to another?
I had occasion to mull this mystery over recently when I spent a week with a car that was clearly out of my league.
The Infiniti Q50 is a svelte, sultry sedan, and I will admit that its outward beauty gave me the tingles. Every time an ad for it came on TV, my eyes would trail away from whatever I was doing and glom onto it, hypnotized. (You: So what you’re saying, Marie, is: you’re superficial? Marie: Correct.)
There?s no denying this is a sexy beast, muscular on the outside, lush and buttery on the inside.
But from the moment I took the driver?s seat, I felt out of sorts with it. The sweeping dashboard looks like a cockpit, with two big touch screens (each with oodles of apps, including everything from drive mode selector to social media by voice instruction) and all kinds of personalization options (should I be in sport mode or standard, personal or eco? Should I select standard steering or heavy steering?).
For a techie or a die-hard gearhead, these choices would be sheer heaven.
Me, I like things a little more “ordinary folks.” I felt as if I was driving a computer rather than a car. I had to think too much about things I didn’t want to think about and spend too much time fussing with touch screens.
?You don’t understand me,? the car seemed to chide. “You’re not trying hard enough.”
We just weren?t feeling each other, the Q50 and I.
On the road, I liked the Q50 well enough, but it lacked passion. ?The Direct Adaptive Steering felt a bit dull. The ride felt a bit coarse, and the engine and the cabin itself were a little noisier and grindier than a luxury sedan should be.
Some of my friends who had the pleasure of meeting my new ?date? thought I was crazy. They thought he was perfect for me. Or rather, for them. They were acting like friends who?d gone to a lot of trouble setting me up on a blind date with their super-smart cousin, and I should be showing a little more gratitude.
?Why don?t you like it?” one of them asked accusingly. “It?s awesome! And it?s crazy fast!?
?I LOVE this car!? another gushed. ?It’s got so much power! You just haven’t figured it out yet.?
“Whatever,” I huffed mulishly.
Because here?s the thing: Yes, it has a lot of clever, computerized doo-dads, but I could learn how to work all of those should I so choose. I just don?t, particularly, choose. What I am looking for in a car is the same thing I?d look for in any relationship: must be easy to get along with, not too fussy, not too complicated and not too much work. Good looks would also not be a problem.
For me, this car’s tech-heavy presence took away that je ne sais quoie, that joie de vivre, that ?insert favourite French phrase here? that basically translates to ?fun.?
The Q50 did have some lovely features, such as seatbelts that retract automatically and rain sensors and a beefy Bose sound system, and, thanks to its AWD, handled curves and highways like a champ.
It also has the best camera-assist system of any car I?ve been in (and I?ve been in a lot), including side-view assist and rear-view assist, and in Eco mode, it was surprisingly easy on gas.
And it has to be said (again), it is a strikingly handsome car, inside and out.
But overall, the Q50 was not the right fit for me. It’s good at a lot of things, they’re just not the things I’m interested in.
Heart score: 6.8 out of 10
Price: $47,450 as tested (Q50 Sport AWD)