A star tryer
The hatch from Nissan’s luxury brand has Benz DNA and carries high hopes, writes John Carey
TODAY, only America likes Nissan luxury brand Infiniti. The new Q30, which will reach Australia in eight months or so, is its breakout car.
This small premium hatchback is the first stage in a grand plan to transform Infiniti into a worldwide rival for Toyota-owned Lexus.
Infiniti has high hopes for the Q30. Its primary mission is to seduce buyers in Europe, where the brand struggles, yet this distinctively styled five-seater also should boost Infiniti’s paltry sales in Australia. This year the brand will sell a bit over 500 cars, the best tally since its 2012 relaunch here.
German engineering and British manufacturing are key Q30 ingredients. Sharing much of its make-up with MercedesBenz’s range of small cars, including the A-Class, B-Class, CLA and GLA, this Infiniti will be built in a Nissan factory in the northeast of England.
This isn’t a spur-of-themoment job. The RenaultNissan Alliance, which owns Infiniti, signed a strategic cooperation deal with Daimler, the parent company of MercedesBenz, in 2010 and the Q30 is among several joint projects.
The Q30 has basically the same chassis as an A-Class hatchback and uses mostly Mercedes engines and gearboxes. These include the 1.6 and 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbos and the 2.1-litre turbo diesel that will come to Australia, all teamed with a Mercedes seven-speed doubleclutch automatic transmission.
In Europe, options will include all-wheel drive and a 1.5-litre Renault-built turbo diesel.
Only the front-drive version will come to Australia. Infiniti wants to leave some space for the closely related QX30 compact SUV, to follow it on sale in late 2016.
With the launch of the Q30 so far away, Infiniti has nothing