The car industry is engaged in a technological race with all of the urgency of a Bugatti Veyron with malfunctioning brakes, but now Infiniti is engaged in some retrograde motion.
In a move that will surely make gearheads smile, Nissan’s luxury brand will replace the drive-by-wire Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) system in the Q50S – the sportiest version of its small luxury sedan – with a hydraulic setup from its G37 predecessor, according to Car and Driver.
Car enthusiasts are generally suspicious of all manifestations of electric power steering, but DAS is particularly maligned for its completely artificial feel (the steering wheel isn’t connected to the road at all) and spooky automation.
Infiniti says the system has several comfort and safety benefits, but it has always seemed an odd choice for the Q50S, which is supposed to emphasize performance and driver involvement.
The old G37 (which, by the way, is still available as the 2015 Infiniti Q40) was praised for both of those qualities, so the switch bodes well for the current Q50S.
The change to hydraulic steering is expected to happen in the 2016 model year, coinciding with a mid-cycle refresh that will also include styling changes and chassis upgrades.
So far, this only seems to apply to the conventional Q50S. The Q50S Hybrid and non-S models may keep their current steering gear.
While DAS is an impressive feature for those looking for maximum tech, it doesn’t hold much appeal for luxury car buyers who put the driving experience above all else. That’s who the Q50S is aimed at, and by ditching the drive-by-wire system, Infiniti will make them happy.