Driving in California can be hit or miss. If you’re in a major city, like Los Angeles or San Francisco, you’ll most likely get caught in soul-crushing traffic while trying to go from one side of town to the other. But in between these cities is a whole lot of nothing, at least if you cut through the central part of the state. These lonely roads are the perfect place to test out a car, like the new Infiniti Q50. That’s the car we planned to drive down to the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. But a closer look revealed a letter we’d missed at first glance, an “X.”

We Fell For The 325-HP V6 In The Infiniti QX50 On An 800-Mile Road Trip
We Fell For The 325-HP V6 In The Infiniti QX50 On An 800-Mile Road Trip

Yes, the new Q50 would not be our chariot from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Instead the 2017 QX50 would handle the load. The original plan was to cram into the Q50 and drive as quickly to LA as possible. Concerns of comfort and practicality were far from our mind. When the road is mostly flat and the terrain resembles a water color painted in varying shades of brown all you really want to do is mash the throttle and see what happens next. As it turns out the Infiniti QX50 was surprisingly capable of feeding our animalistic need for speed. Under the hood is a beefy 3.7-liter V6 engine that sends 325 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels.

All-wheel-drive can be had for $1,800 more, while the transmission is a seven-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The specs are outstanding when you consider that this is the only engine on offer. A base QX50 with an MSRP of $34,450 has the same amount of power on tap as one packing $8,290 worth of extras, like our car had. The QX50’s V6 was plenty capable of motivating the 3,855-lb crossover. Whether the task was pulling ahead of slowpokes in the fast lane or shooting out into a river of traffic on a crowded Los Angeles street, the powerplant provided exceptional acceleration. The 2016 QX50 (we couldn’t find stats for the 2017) does 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds.

We Fell For The 325-HP V6 In The Infiniti QX50 On An 800-Mile Road Trip
We Fell For The 325-HP V6 In The Infiniti QX50 On An 800-Mile Road Trip

This is the type of power you appreciate less for the thrills you get in straight lines and more for the practical benefits it offers, like darting across a busy two-way road to make a daring left turn. The QX50 does offer rev-matching downshifting when you elect to use the paddle shifters. Manual mode is useful in passing situations but this isn’t an overly sporty car. Cruising is the name of the game here. Needless to say we did a lot of that on the six hour drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles, averaging 21.4 mpg. Shockingly that’s not far off the official mpg ratings for the QX50, which come in at 17/24/20. The ride itself was comfortable if a bit noisy at times.

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