The Race is On
March 27, 2014
Japanese carmaker Nissan’s Infiniti Q50 is the latest contender joining the race for supremacy among premium mid-sized cars in Europe.
The Q50, previous versions of which were marked with the letter G, is set to cause quite a stir on the market. It aims to dethrone several premium-class models, and its main target is the BMW3. Is it in with a chance? Let’s look at the Infiniti’s selling points.
The Q50’s body is one of the most attractive in its class—and beyond. The sedan, which is 4,790 mm long, 1,820 mm wide and 1,455 mm in height, has classic, elegant lines and is extremely well balanced in terms of proportions. The Infiniti has its own unique style, with a distinctive grille, front headlights that look like they mean business and elongated taillights. In terms of the quality of the interior, the finishing materials used and the way individual pieces of equipment fit together, the Infiniti meets the highest standards. The car comfortably seats five passengers, who have a generous 500-liter luggage compartment at their disposal. There is a long list of comfort and safety features offered as standard. The car’s designers and engineers say they developed the suspension system based on tips and suggestions from Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel. They also say that, when designing the front seats, they were inspired by the results of NASA research on what the most comfortable position behind the wheel should look like.
In technical terms, this is a very advanced and refined model, stuffed with electronics. Customers who like hi-tech gadgets will love this car. It features a sophisticated In Touch system and two touchscreen displays in the center panel. The upper 8-inch display shows a map with navigation and several factory-installed applications such as a calendar, clock, compass and technical data. The lower 7-inch display regulates the air-conditioning, a Bose audio/CD system, and applications downloaded from your smartphone or from App Garage, the Infiniti app store. The armrest hides a USB port, audio sockets and a slot for an SD card with a map. Once you have hooked up your phone and logged into the application, you can browse through your email and social networking sites directly from the console—though hopefully not while driving...
The Infiniti Q50 is available with a choice of two engines: a 2.2l/170 hp turbocharged diesel and a 3.5V6/364 hp gasoline-electric hybrid unit. Under the hood of the test-drive model was a four-cylinder diesel borrowed from Mercedes paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission that can operate in several modes: Personal, Sport, Standard, and Snow. The technical parameters of the engine (with a maximum torque of 400 Nm) make it possible for the car to hit 100 kph in 8.5 seconds and achieve a top speed of 230 kph. Average fuel consumption according to the manufacturer is 4.8l./100 km. During the test-drive, it was almost two liters higher, but I drove dynamically, encouraged by the responsive engine and the direct feedback from the Q50’s steering system. This car is not only attractive and stylish, but also fun to drive.
Infiniti cars are still a rare sight on Polish roads. The brand was launched in 1989 targeting the U.S. market, in response by Nissan to a similar move earlier by Toyota, which had brought out the Lexus, and to Honda’s exclusive Acura. Although the Infiniti has only been present on European markets since 2008, it is increasingly giving the competition a run for its money.