The Japanese luxury car company stumped up no fewer than seven models Down Under last year, including the Q30, the company’s first foray into the premium compact crossover market.
This is the company’s first vehicle to be built in Europe, using new production facilities in Sunderland, UK, designed to satisfy the high demands of premium vehicle manufacturing.
The Q30 is available in three model grades – GT, Sport and Sport Premium – Sport versions standing alone with different design and dimensions. For example, the Q30 Sport model, at 1475 mm long, sits 15 mm lower than the GT, while individual suspension settings produce distinctive ride and handling.
The entry-level GT comes with a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine, while the Sport and Sport Premium are available with either a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine or 2.2-litre turbo-diesel motor.
Test car was the Q30S (S for Sports) 2.2-litre diesel, selling for $46,900, plus on-road costs, or $47,900 with optional premium Bose sound.
With a mix of sharp angles and smooth curves in perfect proportion the Q30 is close to top of the coupe class and on test received a plethora of praise from curious onlookers on its sporty style.
Headlamps with a distinctive feline appearance flank Infiniti’s signature double-arch radiator grille; a thin A-pillar gives the driver a clearer three-quarter view; the coupe-like profile is emphasised by a sharp hip line crease and shallow glassed area extending to a crescent-cut rear.
The Q30S sits 15 mm lower than the GT entry-level variant and features different fenders, gloss black grille and 19-inch alloy wheels. The rear bumper is differentiated by dark chrome dual rectangular exhaust finishers.
Interior designers chose highest quality materials to create a modern-looking and luxurious cabin. A super-soft, tactile material is used to line many of the surfaces, such as door trims and the centre armrest, to which occupants have most contact.
Dinamica, a new Italian suede-like material used increasingly in the high-fashion industry, has been applied to the ceiling and pillars, and Q30’s seats are upholstered in premium materials such as Nappa Leather and Alcantara.
Space and practicality are not compromised by the coupe-like exterior; occupants and luggage enjoy some of the best in the segment, notably the 430-litre boot.
Infiniti’s InTouch infotainment system, first introduced on the Q50, has been upgraded for the Q30. Tablet-style, a 7-inch touchscreen offers drivers and occupants a wide range of apps, plus access to email and social media, while providing driving performance data including fuel consumption, time and other trip information.
The driver also has access to key information through the instrument binnacle, within the driver’s line of sight, and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity is on tap. Infiniti InTouch also boasts the company’s latest turn-by-turn navigation system, which can be upgraded to feature NavTraffic, offering real-time information on traffic. Voice recognition can control audio and phone.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The 2.2-litre turbo-diesel comes up with 125 kW of power and peak torque of 350 Nm from an accessible 1400 to 3400 rpm while returning a combined-cycle fuel consumption rate of 5.2 litres per 100 km (with a CO2 output of 120 g/km).
A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, tuned especially to suit the Q30, is designed to offer near seamless up and down-shifts, plus the benefits of fuel economy and reduced emissions. The combination has the Q30 Sport clocking a respectable 8.3 seconds for the sprint from rest.
Australasian New Car Assessment Program praised Infiniti for making autonomous emergency braking standard in the Infiniti Q30, giving the compact crossover its highest five-star safety rating.
Other active safety features include ABS anti-skid brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, blind spot warning, forward collision warning with forward emergency braking, auto high beam assist, intelligent cruise control and intelligent park assist. The park brake is electronic.
While the Q30 undeniably looks good on the outside with its coupe-class sharpness, it loses out with a sharply raked back window limiting the driver’s rear view.
However, cabin space is up with the best in the premium compact segment. Cargo capacity is also competitive, the boot’s 430 litres complemented by a wide, square aperture, and practical, squared-off dimensions. With 60:40 split-fold, rear seats free up additional room for cargo.
From the outside there’s no denying the presence of a diesel engine under the bonnet with its familiar rattle. However, occupants enjoy a calm, quiet existence with low levels of cabin noise, vibration and harshness, thanks to extensive use of sound-absorbent materials and rigid body structure.
Also, a new Active Noise Cancellation system, which emits sound waves through the four door speakers, counteracts noises that may distract and fatigue the driver, such as low frequency booming from the engine.
On the other hand, Active Sound Control, which monitors the throttle pedal position, engine speed and road speed, works to smooth out any variations in engine tone to project a pleasing sound under acceleration.
Engineers and designers have sat down and thought about seating too, finding many car seats force occupants’ spines into a ‘C’ shape offering little shoulder support, placing 40 per cent more load on the spine compared to when standing.
Q30 seat backs match the curvature of the spine, minimising pressure on lower and upper back muscles, with a more even alignment between chest and pelvis, while extensive upper body support spreads the occupants’ weight more evenly all the way up the chair.
Made-to-measure wheels and tyres chime in too, while active noise cancellation on the diesel motor minimises booming sounds and active sound control smooths out rough edges to engine tone.
Not everything works as well. The engine stop / start system gives the car (and driver) the jitters, with seemingly no immediate plans to move off on releasing the foot brake and pressing the ‘go’ pedal. It ambles into action in its own time. Solution? Switch it off – and add to air pollution, not ideal.
Fuel economy is a bonus, though, with consumption of only eight litres per 100 kilometres in stuttering city traffic and almost half that when given its head on the open road.
Infiniti reckons generations X and Y are the new breed of premium car buyer, using a vehicle as an expression of ‘self’ rather than ‘status’ – a ‘made for me’ approach that is at the core of new luxury. And I thought a car was a way of getting from A to B economically, in relative comfort and with a smile-inducing drive.
AT A GLANCE
Infiniti Q30 1.6t GT: $38,900
Infiniti Q30 2.0t Sports: $44,900
Infiniti Q30 2.0t Sports, with Bose Sound: $45,900
Infiniti Q30 2.2d Sports: $46,900
Infiniti Q30 2.2d Sports, with Bose Sound: $47,900
Infiniti Q30 2.0t Sports Premium: $52,900
Infiniti Q30 2.2d Sports Premium: $54,900
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Infiniti dealer for drive-away prices.
19in five twin-spoke gun metal grey aluminium alloy wheels with 8.0 235/45R/19 run-flat tyres
LED headlights with automatic leveller
LED signature Daytime Running Lights
Adaptive Front lighting with cornering light function and integrated LED indicators
Crack-resistant polycarbonate headlight covers
Automatic headlight activation
High beam assist (auto high/low beam)
Cruise control with speed limiter
Electronic Stability Program
Electronic Brake force Distribution
Vehicle Dynamic Control
Lane Departure Warning
Forward Collision Warning with Forward Emergency Braking
Tyre Pressure Monitoring
Rear parking sensors
Traffic Sign Recognition
Alcantara/leatherette facing upholstery with white leatherette inserts and Alcantara dashboard finisher, door armrest and centre armrest
Sports seats with fixed head restraints
Multifunction D shaped sports steering wheel in Nappa leather with gearshift paddles
Full colour vehicle information display – (digital speedometer, compass, fuel consumption and outside temperature display)
Bluetooth hands free phone system with audio streaming and voice recognition
Infiniti InTouch infotainment system with 7-inch touch screen, Infiniti InTouch apps, Infiniti controller
InTouch Navigation system 3 with SUNA live traffic updates
CD MP3/WMA compatibility, Radio Data System, speed-sensitive volume control, USB connectivity
Infiniti voice recognition system
Six- speaker audio system
SPECIFICATIONS (Infiniti Q30 2.2-litre turbo-diesel five-door crossover)
Capacity: 2.143 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 125 kW @ 3400-4000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 350 Nm @ 1400-3400 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 5.2 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 120 g/km
DRIVELINE: Seven-speed dual clutch automatic
Length: 4425 mm
Wheelbase: 2700 mm
Width: 1805 mm
Height: 1476 mm
Turning Circle: 11.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 1413 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 45 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Solid disc
Four years / 100,000 km