Friday - - Motoring - Seven-speed auto, RWD 208bhp @ 5,500rpm 350Nm @ 1,250rpm 245kph 7.2sec Dh145,000 Rep­re­sents good value con­sid­er­ing its spec­i­fi­ca­tions En­gine, stop-start, steer­ing, dy­nam­ics

con­di­tioned to ex­pect one is just plain weird. I’m not say­ing it’s wrong, but it is weird. You don’t have two TV sets sit­ting next to each other in your liv­ing room, but In­finiti seems to be ask­ing, why not? The bot­tom touch­screen also doesn’t con­fine key con­trols to, say, two lit­tle cor­ners of the dis­play sur­face, so you end up touch­ing all over the place and smudg­ing the en­tire thing with your fin­gers. After one day it’s icky and dis­gust­ing.

Then there’s a stan­dard stop­start in­cluded, which is just bad. It can’t com­pare to its ri­vals’ seam­less sys­tems, which you can’t de­tect, be­cause In­finiti’s is abrupt and bursts back into life with all the ‘pre­mi­um­ness’ of an earth mover.

The level of safety kit thrown in, how­ever, is highly com­mend­able be­cause you get all sorts of lane­keep­ing and dis­tance-warn­ing beeps and au­to­matic brakes. This all seems nice, but isn’t, be­cause after a few days you’ll grow irate from the in­ces­sant warn­ing beeps as the car sim­ply doesn’t un­der­stand ‘Dubai stan­dards’ driv­ing… So I switched them all off.

A pos­i­tive, you might think, would be the steer­ing. In­finiti ditched the dreaded steer-by-wire found in the big­ger Q50S and 3.7-litre mod­els, and stuck with a con­ven­tional, me­chan­i­cally linked rack and pin­ion steer­ing sys­tem. It sort of ends up be­ing an im­prove­ment, plainly be­cause it’s so easy to im­prove on the life­less steer-by-wire, not be­cause it’s ac­tu­ally very good. It’s ar­ti­fi­cially weighted, too, and even­tu­ally be­comes cum­ber­somely heavy.

No com­plaints about the ac­tual phys­i­cal act of steer­ing; turn right, and the car goes right. Re­peat in the op­po­site di­rec­tion as re­quired. f course, this be­ing the en­try-level Q50 2.0L, as it’s badged, the big­gest change is the 2.0-litre four-cylin­der di­rect-in­jec­tion tur­bocharged en­gine. The click and clat­ter of the di­rect in­jec­tion makes it sound rough, like a diesel, and the unit’s not re­ally in the same league as BMWor Mercedes four-cylin­der tur­bos in terms of re­fine­ment and flex­i­bil­ity. But get away from the lower revs and In­finiti’s 208bhp feels like more, and the car be­comes quite ur­gent on its way to a nice, com­fort­able 140kph. It’s pleas­ant on the move, eco­nom­i­cal too. In fact that’s what it is, eco­nom­i­cal, con­sid­er­ing the amount of stuff you get for Dh145,000. Ev­ery­thing, ba­si­cally, ex­cept the right badge.

Q50 2.0L 2.0-litre four-cyl turbo Trans­mis­sion The car comes with all the kit you’d ex­pect to get in its more ex­pen­sive sib­lings

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