2021 Lexus IS vs 2021 Infiniti Q50: The Classier Choice Is Clear

by Gabrielle DeSantis

The Lexus IS has been refreshed for the 2021 model year and among its revisions is a new look and new tech. But are these features worthy enough to stand up to another entry-level luxury sedan like the Infiniti Q50? Let’s see how these two sedans stack up.

The 2021 Lexus IS sedan still exudes luxury

2021 Lexus IS350 | Lexus

RELATED: The 2021 Lexus IS Is Tweaked, Not Fully Updated

If you like the Lexus IS when it was redesigned back in 2014, then you’ll love it now. Take a glance at the 2021 IS and you’ll notice that it’s really only slightly different than the previous model. That’s because Lexus kept a lot of the same body lines and curvatures of the last IS sedan and reshaped the front and rear fascias.

Ultimately, the 2021 Lexus IS features more aggressive headlights and upward-sloping taillights complete with a light bar that goes across the trunk. On the inside, the Lexus IS remains largely the same, as all of the buttons on the center console, the steering wheel, and even the seats remain the same. However, a new 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system is now available. Previously, you had to solely rely on the clunky touchpad on the center console (which still exists), but now you can toggle through menus easier with the touch of a finger.

Under the hood, the Lexus IS can be outfitted with a  241-hp, turbocharged four-cylinder engine (IS300) or a 311-hp, 3.5-liter V6 (IS350). And if you want to make your IS350 look a little sportier, you can opt for the F Sport package that includes dark 19-inch wheels, an updated exhaust, mesh front grille, and an optional red leather interior. There is also the option for a Dynamic Handling package with adaptive dampers.

The 2021 Infiniti Q50 is a formidable rival

A red 2021 Infiniti Q50 parked, the Q50 is among KBB's picks for the best affordable luxury cars
2021 Infiniti Q50 | Infiniti

RELATED: Is the Infiniti Q50 Worth Buying?

Infiniti has always been known for producing luxuriously powerful cars and the Q50 is no exception. Not much has changed for the 2021 model year save for a new “Sensory” trim level that features 19-inch wheels, leather seats, a 16-speaker Bose sound system, and open-pore wood trim. The mid-level Luxe trim now comes standard with a host of driver-assist features and the Signature Edition adds a sense of richness with its saddle-brown interior and dark-chrome exterior trim.

One of the Q50’s highlights is that it comes standard with a twin-turbo, 3.0-liter V6 engine that produces 300 hp and is paired to a seven-speed automatic transmission. According to Car and Driver’s testing, this combination is good for a 0-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds, as compared to the Lexus IS’ 5.6-second time. So it’s safe to say that the Infiniti Q50 is the quicker car.

However, performance doesn’t make the Q50 a clear winner as Car and Driver pointed out that its ride was “jittery” and “sometimes harsh,” which is not too indicative of a premium luxury sedan. They also stated that the car’s steering was light, but not too responsive. By the sound of it, the Q50 is great for acceleration, and we’re sure it feels nice on the inside, but the Lexus IS is still provides more of an all-around luxurious aura in our eyes.

If you want luxury, then choose the Lexus

silver 2021 Lexus IS sedan
2021 Lexus IS sedan | Lexus

That all being said, if you care about performance a little more than luxurious opulence, then choose the Infiniti Q50. However, if you think you would enjoy a plush ride, a comfortable and classier interior, and a good amount of power, then choose the Lexus IS. Fortunately, both cars are priced in the $40,000 to $55,000 range depending on the trim level you choose.

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