The G37-supplanting Infiniti Q50 was shown at the Detroit show this week, and for the first time, there's a hybrid version of the brand's BMW 3-series fighter. Like its bigger brother's M35 hybrid (or Q-something hybrid starting next year), it has a big honkin' 3.5-liter V6 tied to an electric motor.
What you won't be able to get on the sedan-formerly-known-as-G anymore is a six-speed manual like you could in the G37, odd considering the car's common pieces with the Nissan 370Z sports coupe. Infiniti thinks that's OK, though, because the Q50 Hybrid is something called a Direct Response Hybrid!
In a video showcasing the development of the Q50, an international-sounding cast talks about how fun the hybrid makes the car – but of course, while keeping things low-emission and low calorie.
They've got one of their test drivers, Sebastien Buemi, going around the Nurburgring praising the power of the thing. But then one of Inifiniti's lead engineers of hybridization, Tetsuya Takahashi, says that because the hybrid's seven-speed auto doesn't have a torque converter, the power is sent directly to the wheels for a "manual transmission-like feel."
What that really sounds like is that it has a good autobox, but it doesn't make up for the lack of a row-it-yourself option on the Q50. More power is nice, but more power combined with a third pedal is the goal here. Also in the video: apparently the phrases "manual transmission" and "direct response" don't have Japanese equivalents.
I remain skeptical until I drive one of these, but the "direct response hybrid" sounds way too gimmicky, don't you think?