DASH­ING IN­FINITI TURNS HEADS

CAM­ERA OMIS­SION A BLIND SPOT

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - DRIVEWAY - Bill Buys

HEADS turned, eyes bulged and a few fel­low mo­torists opened their car win­dows while wait­ing at the lights and asked “what is that?”.

The ob­ject of in­trigue was an In­finiti Q30 Sport, a low-slung thing of beauty with gor­geous lines, an ag­gres­sive snout, dual rec­tan­gu­lar ex­hausts and a pur­pose­ful stance.

I'd have called it a sports SUV, but the mak­ers say it's a ‘cross­over’.

Ei­ther way, it's an eye mag­net, and it's an in­ter­est­ing ve­hi­cle in other as­pects too.

In­finiti is the stand­alone pre­mium model from the house of Nis­san, much as a Lexus is to Toy­ota, but it has more than a touch of Mercedes-Benz in its veins; and de­spite its Ital­ian name and Ja­panese-French her­itage, it's built in Eng­land.

The Q30s come in three en­gine choices, 1.6 and 2.0 turbo-petrol and 2.2litre turbo-diesel, all with seven-speed dual-clutch trans­mis­sion and front wheel drive.

Prices start from $38,900 for the 1.6GT, the 2.0 Sport is from $44,900 and the diesel Sports Pre­mium is $54,900.

Our steed was the $44,900 2.0 Sport, which had al­most ev­ery­thing we ex­pected: 19-inch al­loys, ex­cel­lent sports seats, sports sus­pen­sion, adap­tive LED head­lights, a 7-inch touch­screen with sat­nav, for­ward col­li­sion warn­ing, au­tonomous emer­gency brak­ing, a lovely dash trim in a taste­ful mix of suede, leather and pi­ano black and a six-speaker sound sys­tem.

The cabin is very Merc-like and the mighty 155kW/350Nm en­gine is the same as used in the Merc CLA and the chas­sis is Merc A-Class.

It's a re­fined car that glides along serenely in traf­fic, but a prod of the right foot turns it into a feisty per­former that can whoosh to 100km/h in about seven sec­onds and on to 250km/h.

The brakes (Brem­bos) and quick elec­tric-boosted steer­ing are, in a word, su­perb.

Oc­cu­pant ac­com­mo­da­tion is A1, prob­a­bly best in class, and there's a de­cent-sized boot, which can be ex­tended via the 60:40 split-fold rear seats.

Vis­i­bil­ity is fine, but when we snicked the gear lever into re­verse, we looked in vain for a re­vers­ing cam­era.

For that, you need to buy the Sport Pre­mium – at an ex­tra $8000 – which gets you a fab­u­lous 360-de­gree cam­era with park as­sis­tance, 10-speaker Bose sound, panoramic sun­roof, du­al­zone cli­mate con­trol and Nappa leather.

Re­vers­ing cam­eras are stan­dard in most new cars these days, even in some econ­omy hatches. But the Q30, which has a drive­away price of close on $50,000, gets only a pair of rear sen­sors.

We loved the car's fit and fin­ish, its in­her­ent per­for­mance and its im­pres­sive fuel econ­omy; we av­er­aged 7.0litres/100km and the of­fi­cial fig­ure is 6.3, no doubt quite at­tain­able on a long coun­try cruise.

Very lit­tle en­gine or road noise en­ters the cabin, which makes the drive that much more en­joy­able.

Its ea­ger pace and com­posed man­ners in­di­cate it would be hap­pier on the 200km/h-plus au­toroutes of Europe than dawdling about at half that speed on Oz roads.

Driv­ers can eas­ily go a bit quicker than in­tended but are re­minded of the lo­cal limit by a pic­ture of the rel­e­vant traf­fic sign that flashes up on the screen.

Ver­dict: A class act for folk who want some­thing dif­fer­ent from the rest.

No re­vers­ing cam­era is a glar­ing omis­sion.

The stylish In­finiti Q30 Sport at­tracts a lot of en­vi­ous looks.

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