Among midsize luxury sedans, the 2021 Lexus ES and 2021 Infiniti Q50 both offer alternatives to their more costly German competitors. We compare them.
2021 Lexus ES
2021 Lexus ES Starting Price: $41,015 | Price yours or View listings near you
Above Average: Reliable; optional hybrid; competitive price; excellent build quality.
Below Average: Not very sporty; unintuitive infotainment system; bland styling.
Consensus: Starting just over $40,000, the 2021 Lexus ES is a low-priced, solid, well-equipped, and comfortable midsize sedan, offering plenty of luxury touches and a choice of engines, including a hybrid. The ES is a repeat KBB Best Best Buy winner for luxury cars.
2021 Infiniti Q50
2021 Infiniti Q50 Starting Price: $37,625 | Price yours or view listings near you
Above Average: Powerful standard V6; sharp styling; competitive pricing; standard tech features.
Below Average: Interior needs a refresh; run-flat tires can be noisy; steering isn’t as sharp as we would like.
Consensus: Luxurious and powered by a standard twin-turbo V6, the 2021 Infiniti Q50 is comfortable, well-equipped, and fun to drive. The interior could use a refresh, however, and the steering is not as responsive as we would like in a sport sedan.
ES vs. Q50: Smooth vs. Sporty
People come to Lexus for bulletproof reliability, excellent build quality, good resale prices, and plenty of standard equipment. Starting just over $40,000, the 2021 Lexus ES brings all that plus excellent value. Lexus charges the same for the ES 250 (with all-wheel drive) and the ES 350 with the V6 but front-wheel drive. In fact, the ES 250 is the only variant with all-wheel drive, as the ES 300h hybrid also is front-wheel drive.
The 2021 ES comes well equipped, with 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, different driving modes, three USB ports, an 8-inch infotainment display, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration, and a 10-speaker Pioneer audio system.
Also standard is the Lexus Safety System Plus 2.0, which includes adaptive cruise control, forward-collision mitigation with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking, and automatic high beams, among other things. There’s plenty of space for passengers to stretch out and a good-size trunk. What the Lexus ES isn’t, however, is particularly sporty, although the ride is plenty comfortable and the handling confident.
With a look that’s both elegant and athletic, the 2021 Infiniti Q50 offers impressive performance at a good price. The standard engine is a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6, which sends 300 horsepower through a 7-speed automatic transmission to the rear wheels or, optionally, all four.
Also on tap is the Red Sport 400, with the same engine tuned for 400 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. Acceleration is excellent, although the steering is not as communicative as we would like, and we’re not huge fans of the optional Direct Adaptive Steering.
The seats are excellent and comfortable, and there are lots of soft surfaces inside. Rear-seat space is plentiful, although the trunk is a bit small.
Standard features in the Q50 are generous, including keyless ignition and entry, 8-way power-adjustable front seats, an infotainment system with two touchscreens, two USB ports, satellite radio, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility.
Standard safety features include forward collision mitigation, and upper trims add such driving aids as adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, and the ProAssist package, which includes a 360-degree camera system. Resale values are typically below average.
Warranty; optional all-wheel drive; good standard safety features.
2021 Lexus ES Advantages
Fuel economy; choice of engines, including a hybrid; larger trunk; high resale value.
2021 Infiniti Q50 Advantages
Lower starting price; V6 power; handling.
Which One is Right for Me?
The 2021 Lexus ES favors comfort over driving excitement. If you’re looking for high build quality, reliability, and good resale value, the ES stands out in the luxury class.
The 2021 Infiniti Q50, offers a powerful V6 engine and a performance-tuned suspension. If driving excitement is important to you, then the Q50 is the way to go.
Ready to buy a Lexus ES or Infiniti Q50? Shop for one on sale now near you.
|2021 Lexus ES||2021 Infiniti Q50|
|Engine||2.5-liter I4||3.0-liter turbo V6|
|Horsepower||203 hp @ 6,500 rpm||300 hp @ 6,400 rpm|
|Torque||184 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm||295 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm|
|Transmission||8-spd automatic||7-spd automatic|
|Fuel Economy||28 mpg (25 city/34 hwy)||23 mpg (20 city/29 hwy)|
|Also Available||3.5-liter V6; 2.5-liter I4 hybrid w/ CVT; AWD||AWD|
|Basic warranty||4 years/50,000 miles||4 years/60,000 miles|
|Powertrain Warranty||6 years/70,000 miles||6 years/70,000 miles|
|NHTSA Overall Safety Rating||5 stars||n/a|
|Max Seating Capacity||5||5|
|Wheelbase||113.0 inches||112.2 inches|
|Overall Length||195.9 inches||189.6 inches|
|Width||73.4 inches||71.8 inches|
|Height||57.1 inches||57.2 inches|
|Turning Diameter||38 feet||36.7 feet|
|Headroom, Front||37.5 inches||40.2 inches|
|Headroom, Rear||37.8 inches||37.5 inches|
|Legroom, Front||42.4 inches||44.5 inches|
|Legroom, Rear||39.2 inches||35.1 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Front||55.9 inches||56.7 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Rear||54.3 inches||56.1 inches|
|EPA Passenger Volume||100 cubic feet||101.5 cubic feet|
|EPA Cargo Volume||16.7 cubic feet||13.5 cubic feet|