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Consumer Reports Pans 2014 Infiniti Q50 and 2014 Lexus IS 250 Sedans

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Washington DC October 22, 2013; The NADA newsletter reported that Consumer Reports said two new Japanese luxury sedans scored low marks and are not among its recommended models.

The magazine says the redesigned Infiniti Q50 and Lexus IS 250 fell short in its tests and wound up near the bottom of its rankings — below the Lincoln MKZ 2.0 EcoBoost, BMW 328i, Mercedes-Benz C250 and Volvo S60 T5. The Q50 is intended to replace the G37 in Infiniti's lineup, but it has fallen behind its predecessor, the magazine says.

"The Infiniti G has been one of Consumer Reports' highest-rated sedans for many years, but after its 2014 redesign and transition to the new Q designation, this car seems to have lost its way," said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports found the Lexus IS 250 "neither sporty nor luxurious". In the trim with the small 2.5-liter V6 with all-wheel-drive, the "vehicle's acceleration lacks punch. Fuel economy is disappointing at 21 mpg overall", in Consumer Reports tests.

Complete Consumer Report Article

October 2013; Infiniti vs. Lexus is the Japanese luxury auto equivalent of the Hatfields vs. McCoys—or perhaps Chevy vs. Ford, with higher price tags. Both marques rolled into the market in 1989 and have gone head-to-head ever since.

So, on paper, the sports-sedan showdown between the redesigned Infiniti Q50 and Lexus IS 250 promised to generate some real spark. But in our testing, neither model lived up to expectations, and both ended up anchored at the bottom of our upscale-sedans category.

Most perplexing, however, is that the class leader—by a sizeable margin—is still the Infiniti G37, which the Q50 was designed to replace. What happened?

The G has been one of our highest-rated sedans for some time, earning a coveted spot in our annual Top Picks list for six of the past seven years. It delivers an inviting blend of sportiness, luxury, and comfort. But after its 2014 redesign and transition to Infiniti’s new Q designation, this car seems to have lost its way.

With mundane handling, due in part to its dull steering, the Q50 isn’t as much fun to drive as the G37. And, despite aiming for a more luxurious persona, it doesn’t match the G’s ride comfort or easy-to-use controls. Yes, the Q50 is quick and relatively roomy. But, overall, it doesn’t measure up to the higher-rated models in this class.

Still, the Q50 is much better than the IS 250, which is neither sporty nor luxurious. Its acceleration lacks punch, handling is lackluster and short on finesse, the cabin is cramped and not particularly quiet or well finished, and the ride is neither plush nor tied-down.

The good news? The Infiniti G37 will remain on sale for the near future, at a lower price than the Q50, but in limited numbers. And there are several other models in this class that are better choices than either the Q50 or the IS 250.

We tested both models with all-wheel drive because we’ve found most buyers choose it over rear-wheel drive in today’s upscale and luxury sedans. In fact, it can be hard to find two-wheel-drive versions in many regions of the country. To reflect this preference, when a sedan offers rear- or all-wheel drive, we will buy the AWD version. So equipped, our Q50 and IS 250 cost $44,855 and $43,823, respectively.