As a car manufacturer, Infiniti doesn’t trip off the tongue very quickly in this country. Yet in the US, it’d rank in the top five. When you consider Infiniti was originally launched 25 years ago, the company does not have much brand awareness in the UK at all. In a valiant attempt to take on the Germans at their own game, Nissan, Toyota and Honda all launched premium brands. As I have mentioned before, in America they have managed to outsell their competitors by making their cars not only look great but also by packing them with technology and the trump card? Excellent reliability.
Infiniti was originally launched in Europe about eight years ago; they launched the Q45 which looked very nice. This smart looking car didn’t put Infiniti on the map but now Infiniti is here with a bang. Thanks to clever F1 sponsorship with the Red Bull team they are also looking to enter a car into the BTTC (British Touring Car Championship).
The Q50 definitely looks the part with great curvy styling and optional 19” alloys. The design sets it apart from its German competitors
They have also invested heavily into the design of their dealerships, which look amazing; as soon as you walk into the showroom the place just screams quality. Thankfully, for a change, Infiniti have chosen our very own local super-group Vertu to lead the charge in spreading the word about this company.
The car I decided to try first is the stunning looking Q50; this car is firmly aimed at the BMW 3 series. This lucrative market is sewn up by the big three German manufacturers. These cars will carry reps up and down the country and they need to be reliable, economical and just a nice place to be covering those miles. The Q50 definitely looks the part with great curvy styling and optional 19” alloys. The design sets it apart from its German competitors. Infiniti have also launched an all-important Hybrid model. This car is fitted with a 3.5lt V6 engine which produces 302bhp and an electric motor which produces 67bhp. The hybrid’s top speed is 155mph and it sprints to 62mph in a very respectable 5.1 seconds. This car is a real wolf in sheep’s clothing; I managed to beat quite a few boy racers away from the lights (much to their annoyance).
This variant is also available with the practicality of four wheel drive. The car should return 45mpg and amazingly it emits the same co2 as the diesel. The hybrid version steals 100 litres of boot space over the diesel model. Two areas where the Q50 is let down are that it is heavier compared to its competitors and the second area is its electric steering. More and more manufacturers are using this new technology but I found it far too light and for one am not a fan, you do not have the same feedback and it feels too vague.
I personally drove the car in sport mode as it made the steering a bit heavier and it felt slightly better. The car I drove was the range-topping Sport model which was fully loaded with specification, from Bose speakers to adaptive cruise control. This applies the brakes if the car thinks you are going to have an accident. The dash is dominated by an iPad style screen that controls everything from the car’s Sat Nav to its heating.
Some of the switchgear feels a bit cheap and there are too many buttons for my liking. Infiniti still have a lot to learn from both Mercedes and Audi. The new C Class interior and new TT’s interior really set the benchmark in terms of both style and quality.
The Q50 is longer than all of its rivals but considering this it’s quite cramped in the back and the boot is quite an awkward shape, but the rear seats can be folded to increase practicality.
The Q50 is priced from £28,000 and the range topping hybrid model costs £40,000.
The best-selling car in the range is bound to be the diesel but the hybrid’s high price may put many buyers off.
This car really is ideal for someone looking to drive something different and with excellent lease deals available the Infiniti brand is going to be one to watch.
Another model is about or be launched soon called the Q30. This stunning car will help win new customers to the brand and the best news is it will be built at the Nissan plant at Washington, Sunderland.