What price your dol­lar?

Nis­san’s lux­ury mar­que has the cars to make it here — now it all de­pends on those stick­ers

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - PRESTIGE - CRAIG DUFF

BOU­TIQUE beers aren’t first choice for all but they are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly palat­able to Aus­tralians. And the lat­est pres­tige car mar­ket en­trant is play­ing in the same space.

In­finiti Cars Australia has a tar­get of 10 per cent of the seg­ment by 2020 and Cars­guide’s first taste of its prod­ucts in Bri­tain this week shows the lux­ury arm of Nis­san should be on the money — de­spite the com­pany re­fus­ing to an­nounce prices un­til closer to the of­fi­cial launch in Au­gust. Pric­ing will be key.

Audi, BMW and Lexus all have ca­pa­ble ve­hi­cles so In­finiti will have to play on price as well as per­for­mance and looks when it launches with three plat­forms and eight cars based on Nis­san’s 370Z ar­chi­tec­ture.

That range will pro­gres­sively ex­pand to seven dis­tinct mod­els by 2015 when In­finiti ex­pects to give the Ger­mans a se­ri­ous headache. Iron­i­cally, that will be partly due to the ar­rival of Daim­ler-built four­cylin­der pow­er­plants. The BMW X5 leads the lux­ury SUV mar­ket — and the squared-off Beemer is right in the FX’S head­lights. In­finiti will launch the all­wheel drive model with all the flavours needed to sat­isfy de­mand, from a punchy 235kw/360nm 3.7-litre V6 petrol model to a 3.0-litre turbo diesel and a hi-po 5.0-litre V8 that (just) eclipses the Porsche Cayenne V8 S’s 0-100km/h time of 5.9 sec­onds, though it can’t match it on fuel ef­fi­ciency.

In­finiti says the FX50S will be more than $100,000 but will have stan­dard equip­ment su­pe­rior to its ri­vals, such as seven-speed au­to­matic and 11-speaker Bose sound sys­tem.

The V6s rep­re­sent a more re­al­is­tic real-world drive but In­finiti Australia gen­eral man­ager Kevin Snell pre­dicts the 287kw/500nm FX50S will be the most pop­u­lar of the trio at launch as early adopters chase the ku­dos of own­ing the top-end model.

I’d buy the 175kw/550nm 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel. Its 0-100km/h time of 8.3 sec­onds doesn’t re­flect the ef­fort­less mid-range surge that’s on tap.

The long bon­net and solid rear roof pil­lars means up-close vis­i­bil­ity isn’t a strong suit, which is why they’re fit­ted with an ar­ray of cam­eras to help when park­ing.

The 50 also has four-wheel steer­ing to help with cor­ner­ing

Pre­mium feel: The FX Cross­over

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