The goal of user experience design is to make technology simple to use, easy to understand and aesthetically pleasing. The refreshed Infiniti Q50 does this well, starting with twin display screens in the center stack that make a powerful visual statement.
We’re not usually fans of stacking screens, but Infiniti makes the design work functionally and aesthetically with good sight lines and simple, intuitive icons placed within easy reach.
A lot of elements go into creating a great UX design, but too often product developers get sucked into the “more always is better” school of design. If a previous model had x number of functions, they work too hard trying to show the newest model has 2x or 4x as many features. This can result in overly complex interfaces and drivers being intimidated rather than enthralled by a new car or truck.
The Q50 avoids these traps by offering readily accessible redundant controls for many functions on the center stack and steering wheel, in addition to voice commands. This helps avoid fumbling around while driving and limits distraction.
“I can’t say enough about Infiniti’s ability to provide a variety of ways to control systems without getting overly complex or obtuse,” says editor Bob Gritzinger.
There also are helpful embedded videos that explain the various vehicle technologies, something you find in much more expensive vehicles.
With a sticker price of more than $57,000, you do expect a full array of advanced driver-assist systems, such as intelligent cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blindspot warning and intervention and backup collision intervention, but Infiniti raises the bar by offering several ADAS features it claims are world firsts.
The upgraded adaptive steering offers more options to tailor assisted-steering response to suit driver preferences, and it now works with active lane control to maintain lane position against crosswinds and uneven road surfaces.
Infiniti’s predictive-forward-collision warning system also can warn of risks that lie beyond the driver’s field of view. Infiniti says the system not only senses the relative velocity and distance of a vehicle directly ahead, but also of a vehicle traveling in front of the preceding vehicle, and it can alert the driver to a potential collision. Clearly these are strong building blocks for future fully autonomous driving.
Wrapping up all this advanced technology with a bow is a beautifully designed interior cabin featuring high-quality materials and finely crafted surfaces and textures.
Even at almost $60,000, “It’s a lot of car and technology for the money,” sums up editor Tom Murphy.