Executive Punch - Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 vs Mercedes-Benz C-Class C43 AMG 4Matic

clifford chow
17 Aug 2017
 

Two compact executive sedans have gotten the all-important performance transplants.

The Infiniti Q50 400 RedSport is the Japanese company’s answer to the Mercedes-Benz AMG C43 Sedan.

Both cars carry on them twin-turbocharged 3.0 V6 engines, wrapped in compact executive sedan skin, and can carry four adults in comfort and at speed.

The unlike the 2.0, which uses a Mercedes-Benz sourced engine, the Red Sport utilises their proven VR30DETT, which is from the same family as the one powering Nissan’s glorious GTR.

Mated to a 7-speed automatic and driving just the rear wheels, it is quite the car for someone who treasures a purer drive, and occasional tail-happy moments, as we did learn from driving it.

Mercedes-Benz on the other hand, decided that their C-Class sedan be driven by all four wheels, and mated to a mated to a 9G-TRONIC automatic, making the C-Class a little safer for the less experienced.

With quite a number of vanilla 2.0 Q50s on the road, the Red Sport does blend in quite easily. Just a few understated bumper tweaks, and that little wing at the rear, and those larger 19” alloys with 245/40R19 tyres are a giveaway that this is something a little special.

Mercedes on the other hand, and in a reversal of “who’s car is visually louder” dressed up the C43 with a front bumper, with large intakes under the headlamps, front a metallic coloured front spoiler, and in the rear, quad exhaust finishers.

Internally, both cars are very different. The Infiniti carries on it two screens integrated into the dash, one for the GPS, and the other for everything other setting. While the display panel is very neat, the instrument binnacle does look a little toy-like.

The dash on the C-Class on the other hand, utilises a screen, which is mounted above the air-conditioning vents. While we did love how the instrument binnacle is laid out, the controls for the infotainment unit come across as a little fiddley, with some the buttons partially obscured by the trackpad.

Cargo room for the Infiniti is a rather impressive 510 litres, 30 litres more than what is offered by the C-Class. On the flip side, the C-Class is able to fold its rear seats in 40:60 fashion, allowing for longer objects to be slid into the car. The Infiniti on the other hand does not allow the rear seats to fold, but as a consolation, a ski hatch behind the centre armrest permits for some flexibility.

How Do They Drive?
The Infiniti accelerates to 100km/h in just 5.1 seconds. The 7 speed transmission in sports mode and under hard acceleration, does ‘throw’ the car forward a little at each cog swop, and you can feel at times, the rear wanting to get ahead. With 475Nm of torque made available at 1,750rpm, the Q50 does introduce all of this almost suddenly with a heavy foot. Treat this car with respect, and it will reward you with solid acceleration, and communication from the rear wheels is very good. The almost 400bhp on tap is plenty to put through those rear wheels. Cornering has to be taken with care too, as the engine is very eager with a spooled turbo.

The C-Class on the other hand, delivers its drive to all four wheels, with a rear bias. With a little more work to get the turbochargers spooled up, maximum torque is a rewarding 520Nm at 2,000rpm. Work that engine, and you do get a good push into the driver’s seat. There is less power coming from the German 3.0 V6 at 362bhp, but the century sprint time is a fantastic 4.7 seconds.

With its 9G-TRONIC transmission driving four driven wheels do prove themselves to be brilliant for cornering, and on wet roads, the C43 does shine. Used together with its driver aids, it is quite difficult to get into trouble with the Merc. The 9 ratios also mean low revs when cruising, keeping that V6 very quiet at highway speeds.

My gripes with both the cars are their engine notes, both the Infiniti and Merc have their quirks. The Japanese engine delivers performance while sounding like a smooth vacuum cleaner, while the German car’s sound seems rather artificial.

Both cars are able to damp up the bumps with ease, and come equipped with adjustable suspension settings, but the C43 does this better, since the front wheels are also driven, and therefore is able to take advantage of the suspension working to get more grip on uneven surfaces.

But here is the catch. While the Infiniti is built to sit shoulder to shoulder with the likes of the C43, Audi S4 and perhaps the BMW 340i, the $256,800 (16 Aug 2017) price tag sets this as a bargain, compared to the hefty $323,888 (16 Aug 2017) you have to fork out for the mild AMG sedan.

Our Thoughts


The Infiniti is like a dark horse, and from a price point of view, might be just that bargain.... Think the equivalent Audi S4, with something closer to S3 money... But in this case, we still say that the C43 is still the choice car, though with a (very) hefty price tag, that AMG engineering and badge, loud styling, all-wheel drive, and all of this sitting on the Mercedes-Benz brand makes the compact Merc simply better.

Read the full Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 Review Here!
Read the full Mercedes-Benz C-Class C43 AMG Review Here!

Car Loan Calculator - Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400

SGD 252,800 (21 Sep 2017)

This car is eligible for minimum 40% down payment

Car Loan Calculator - Mercedes-Benz C-Class C43

SGD 323,888 (11 Aug 2017)

Based on OMV, this car is eligible for minimum 40% down payment

Engine

Engine Capacity 2997cc Turbocharged
Engine Type V 6
Power 395bhp @ 4000rpm
Torque 475Nm @ 1750rpm
Power to Weight 227 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 5.1s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 250 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 10.4 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed Auto
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type Sedan
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4800 x 1820 x 1445) mm
Wheelbase 2850 mm
Kerb Weight 1740 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 80 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs

Engine

Engine Capacity 2996cc Turbocharged
Engine Type V 6
Power 362bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque 520Nm @ 2000rpm
Power to Weight 214.2 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 4.7s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 250 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 12.5 km/L
Drag Coefficient 0.320

Misc Technical Data

Drive Type F4
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type Sedan
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4686 x 1810 x 1442) mm
Wheelbase 2840 mm
Turning Circle 11.7 metres
Kerb Weight 1690 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 66 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Ventilated Discs