Infiniti aims higher
A slightly elevated ride at a moderately elevated price is expected to be the rationale when the Infiniti QX30 goes on sale next week. The compact SUV is based on the MercedesBenz small car platform and is the higher-riding sibling to Infiniti’s just-launched Q30 hatch. Infiniti gets to calibrate the software and suspension, so there are subtle changes to the way the QX30 operates and the revised spring rates make it a more relaxed drive.
Infiniti Australia is promising a high level of standard spec but won’t — as it did with the Q30 — launch at a higher price point than the comparable Benz. Carsguide expects the price to start at about the $50,000 mark, depending on how much kit Infiniti packs into the small SUV. The QX30 will only sell here in all-wheel-drive configuration, unlike overseas markets. Of the engines available only the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder matched to a seven-speed automatic has been confirmed.
MINI JCW CONVERTIBLE
If the Mini convertible is the ultimate expression of your individuality, the John Cooper Works version is for those whose extroversion has a hooligan bent. It isn’t superquick but it is an engaging drive, especially by convertible standards — and they’re in dealerships now. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo cranks out 170kW/320Nm and is good for a 0-100km/h sprint time of about 6.5 seconds while officially using just 6.2L/100km.
The smart front-end suspension limits torque steer on takeoff and with the top up you can entertain notions of driving a sports car. Raising or lowering the soft-top lid takes 18 seconds and can be performed at speeds up to 30km/h. Prices for the JCW convertible start at $54,900. Standard gear includes a sixspeed automatic transmission with paddle-shifters, 12-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system, DAB radio, satnav, reversing camera, a head-up display and LED lights.
The Tiguan has grown up to help VW grow its SUV sales in a segment up more than 12 per cent so far this year. The Mazda CX-5 competitor is bigger and better equipped and it needs to be with a starting price of $31,990 for the 1.4-litre turbo matched to six-speed manual. The six-speed auto adds $2500.
Safety software helps offset the high entry price, with cityspeed autonomous emergency braking including pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, fatigue detection and an active bonnet to protect pedestrians.
The cabin has an eight-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, auto headlight and wipers and cruise control.
Headlining the range is the Highline DSG 4 Motion with a choice a 162kW/350Nm 2.0litre petrol engine ($48,490) or 140kW/400Nm diesel engine ($49,990) paired with a sevenspeed dual-clutch auto.
Infiniti QX30, main picture; Mini JCW Convertible, below centre; Volkswagen Tiguan, bottom