What price your dollar?
Nissan’s luxury marque has the cars to make it here — now it all depends on those stickers
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