When it comes to luxury sport sedans, the German brands are the ones to beat. Japanese challengers like Lexus and Infiniti have been trying to do just that for the past decade or so, and their latest vehicles inch closer to that benchmark. To determine which is better, the 2014 Lexus IS 350 F Sport or 2014 Infiniti Q50 S, host Jonny Lieberman puts both to the test on this episode of Head 2 Head.
Lieberman first points out the styling differences between the cars, noting that the two look surprisingly similar finished in the same hue of red. The host can’t help but point out the Lexus’ polarizing front end, however, saying that it “might be the ugliest new car on the road.” But since this show isn’t about looks, Lieberman proceeds to test the sport sedans on the track. Equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 producing 306 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque, the Lexus IS 350 F Sport accelerated from 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds before completing the quarter-mile in 14.0 seconds at 98.5 seconds. With the Q50 S’ carryover 328-hp, 269-lb-ft 3.7-liter V-6, it was able to hit 60 mph a hair quicker at 5.2 seconds, and finish the quarter-mile in 13.8 seconds at 102.1 mph. Results were also similar in 60-0 mph braking, with the Q50 outstopping the IS by four feet. The cars differ the most in handling tests, with the Lexus showing more of a tendency toward understeer and the Infiniti exhibiting a tail-out, drift-happy character.
To see how the sedans perform in the real world, Lieberman drives the cars back to back on his favorite canyon road. The Infiniti Q50 S’ steer-by-wire system is immediately noticeable for the host, with its artificial feedback and general lack of feel compared to more traditional setups. Lieberman also notes that the ride is stiff and jarring. In the Lexus, Lieberman says he feels more in control and more confident, but wishes it had an extra 50 hp. Both interior receive compliments for their design, but both are also knocked for having poorly designed user interfaces. To find out which Japanese luxury sport sedan is the winner, check out the full video below.